There are moments that happen in life when you know you are experiencing something special. The energy in the air seems to change, the focus shifts and for that brief period of time you are part of the magic.
Union leader Karen and I had the privilege of sharing one of those moments not that long ago.
Our usual Friday morning routine at the museum during the summer is easy and casual. We spend the time folding handouts and chatting or harassing Jeff.
For some reason on this morning, our chatter and nonsense wasn’t bothering George too much and he came out of the office to hang out. Now usually, if we were lucky, George would say hello as he passed by in the morning on his way to walk the grounds. At 97 years of age, a walk or light nap at his desk was much preferred to our non-stop banter.
But this day was different. George stopped at the counter and started sharing stories. Now that wasn’t all that unusual, he often helped me or Karen with history or facts. No, this time it was personal.
George draws. He sketches. He cartoons. And at 97 he does it just as well if not better than he ever did. The captions, current to the time, funny and witty. I had only been introduced to his cartoons recently while working on the docent manual, one graces the cover.
Oh, he tells us, there are tons of them. He draws or sketches on sticky note pads all the time. With that he walked off to Jeff’s office and returned with a large binder. It’s one of many sitting on the top shelf, that just so happen to be filled with cartoons of George’s.
Setting it down on the counter in front of us, we were encouraged to flip through as he told us stories about certain drawings and what mood he had been in. Some cartoons had to do with hobbies, others poking fun at current events or even Jeff and the museum itself, all becoming even more funny once we were included in on the jokes.
As George spoke, Karen and I exchanged glances of recognition. I felt the hair on my arms stand up. This was special and the look on Karen’s face confirmed it.
We finished going through the binder. The moment ending as the final page turned.
And back to the normal routine he went. Our time with George was through, but now we knew where the magic was being kept.
George left us not much longer after that. At 97 he had been there done that enough. His art is part of a greater picture of a full life.
Thank you, George, for sharing.