She walked by my booth with little fanfare. Alone. Not carrying anything. As if she was out for a walk and just strolled into the art show to see what the fuss was all about. She turned around, came back and stopped. She studied everything I had painted as if at a museum and then picked up my information card. Finally she spoke. “You’re good.” I smiled and said thank you. She carried on about some of my awards and what-not. Then she said, “I’m older than dirt. And I have no business buying any art. But I really like what you do.” Then she was gone and I thought that was the last I’d see of her.
After the show, I got a phone call at home. “You probably don’t remember me…” but I did. She asked if I still had that big swan she admired. I did. Then she reminded me she was older than dirt and sent a check in the mail. The next year she came by and purchased a cardinal at the show. A year later, while my mom was in hospice, she emailed and asked about commissioning a piece. My daughter and I took the opportunity to deliver in person, and take a break from caring for my mom. So we drove to Nashville to her house. She insisted she take us to lunch. So we got in her car and she drove us to her favorite place, where they knew her well, and she said we had to have the carrot cake for dessert. We don’t like carrot cake, but that day we did. I savored every second of that visit. We were given a tour of her beautiful home, she shared stories about her fascinating life and I snapped a photo of her at the piano with my daughter.
This spunky independent woman who was close to my mom’s age was so dear to me and had become one of the highlights of this particular show in Nashville. The next year I noticed she didn’t come by. My heart, already sore after losing my mom, grew worried. So I googled her name and I found her obituary. I was heartbroken.
I’ve been thinking about her so much lately and thought it would be a good idea to add our story to my blog. It illustrates what I miss most about in person art shows and connections like this are a significant part of why I love what I do. Eye to eye. Heart to heart.
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