Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When time stood still

..If you breathe,you live...If you live,you dance.

With two easels, five pictures and a poly-folder under my arm..I entered the residential home. I had visited last Friday to introduce myself..It had been a difficult thing to do....You see my Dad lived there in the late 1990's...He died in 2000....and not having been there since,I expected to see him..( those of you who know the timeless nature of a residential home will know about the ingredients..Poor souls sitting around the edge of the room..That familiar smell...Everything moves in slow motion except the staff who bustle about because they're over worked and actually very underpaid!..)

Thus it was that the Deputy Manager ushered in a small selection of the more awake residents. " The Art Man is here..Don't you want to do some art?"...A resounding vote of apathy and Altzeimers was accompanied by the rattle of the tea trolley. So I sat with my cuppa and chatted to a couple who it turned out were man and wife..( here they shared separate rooms)..He answered most of my questions..78 years of life and 60 years of marriage did not dull the shine in his eyes as he looked at his wife. She with snowy white hair and a Glaswegian accent spoke of things not here anymore, people and names, situations long ago, but present to her...He smiled and appologised for her, the dying memories and grasp of the present..it's sometimes easier to live in the past...

They came with me to view my pictures and talk about them..they couldn't quite grasp why I would want to do what I do and in any case, their eye sight was too poor to actually see the dots...( note self: Buy a big magnifying glass!!! )

Having looked at my pictures, they were keen that I should look at their photos which were carefully mounted in a clip frame hanging in her room, photographs of grown up children,weddings, stiffly posed portraits from the war. They stood gazing with me into the past..then he brought out a well thumbed book in which long ago he had recorded the results of breeding Canaries. Dark Cinnamon ( Cock ) and Green / gold ( hen )..Four chicks..Feeding well. Pages and pages of accurately written statistics...He looked at me and I knew that he was asking me to see him as the man he was..The working husband and father, the designer of radio relay stations for the Airforce. Our interlude was brought to a close with the announcement that " Dinner's ready " I left in humble admiration and a deep deep hatred of the inevitability of old age.

I left with my easels, five pictures, poly folder..And a Murry Mint.. I will go back next Tuesday.