You will have a chance to howdy them both at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art Thursday from 6-8 p.m. The event is free to the public.
Dooley will be on hand to sign his new book, "Vince Dooley's Garden," a paean to his love of gardening. Not only is Dooley a Hall-of-Fame football coach, he is a Master Gardener and his home in Athens is a showplace of flowers, including a bunch I can't begin to pronounce.
Penley, a nationally-renowned artist and a Great American, illustrated Dooley's book and will sign copies of his own book, "Reconstruction of America," that include paintings of historical and popular figures and reflects his pride in his country.
I have both books and both are excellent.
In addition, Penley will have other works for sale and there will be a silent auction to benefit the museum, including UGA merchandise signed by Coach Dooley.
The irrepressible Sally Macaulay, director of the museum, calls the evening a "Red & Black Tailgate Night" and with Dooley and Penley, a UGA graduate, on hand it will be that. But if your college preferences run to other colors, it will still be a great evening, getting to spend some time with these two remarkable men.
I have known the coach for more than 45 years. He is a true Renaissance man and I am honored to have him as a friend,
I just recently met Steve Penley and was delighted to find out that he is as nice as he is talented. And he is very talented.
As you may know, I dabble in art and am a student of Kristopher Meadows, of Marietta, a fine artist in his own right, who is currently displaying his work at DK Gallery on the Square in Marietta.
Under Meadow's tutelage, I recently completed a painting of the Sea of Galilee as a gift to Northside Methodist Church in Atlanta and showed up with my work at the same time Penley was delivering an 8-foot by 40-foot mural to be hung at the entrance of the church's new Faith and Arts Center.
It is a magnificent work, depicting the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It was a mixed blessing, meeting Penley. I have long admired the man and his paintings.
I have been privileged to have one of my paintings in an art auction at the Marietta/Cobb Museum with one of his, which I considered a high moment in my nascent art career, but here I was face-to-face with him as he rolled out his mural.
When I saw what he had done, I felt like I was holding an Etch-A-Sketch.
So, what did he do? He asked if he could see my painting and the photos of the others I had done.
Penley wants to see my work? Oh, great. And me without a convenient hole to crawl into.
After what seemed an inordinately long inspection, he said, "Your stuff is really good. I need to hire you to paint clouds and skies for me." That was totally untrue. The man doesn't need anybody to paint anything for him, but he made me feel that I might just be able to paint a lick with his comments.
Imagine: Steve Penley and I standing around shooting the breeze about art like we were equals, which we most assuredly are not.
It was like Colin Powell talking to Gomer Pyle about military strategy.
Penley is also gracious in his praise of the arts in Marietta. He told the MDJ's Sally Litchfield, "I love the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, which is such an asset to the Marietta community. When I exhibited at the museum, I instantly felt such a connection with the people of Marietta and was so flattered by their response to me. I am excited to donate my time and talent in Marietta. People there like me - something that doesn't always happen."
I think the man is being modest. If you don't like Steve Penley's work, you don't like black-eyed peas.
Alas, I will not be at the big event because of a scheduling conflict, but if you can make it that evening, please tell Coach Dooley hello for me and tell Steve Penley that Dick Yarbrough said he can paint better than a jackrabbit can run.
If he looks puzzled, tell him that's a compliment.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at email@example.com or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.