During our 'get together' I received a return phone call from an ad I had responded to by leaving a message. Through happenstance (I love that word...happenstance) the caller was selling off a quantity of display fixtures. To make a long story short I made the trip out to his home and upon arrival I was greeted by the gentleman and his wife, both professional artists as it turns out. We spent the next couple of hours touring their home studio talking about art, the show circuit, their experiences and so on. As I spoke of the mounting pressure that I was experiencing with the show prep they smiled warmly at each other and the wife said simply, "I remember".
By the time all was said and done I had been given a large amount of material and equipment that they had lovingly cared for throughout their careers. Much more than what he had described on the telephone hours earlier. But the most bittersweet was the manila envelope bound with a rubber band...chock full of footnotes and sketches. I opened it to find the details of over twenty years worth of ideas and display plans for dozens of venues that they had attended professionally. It had all been recorded as their careers literally blossomed. I was floored by all of this. Here, I started my day with what I thought was the weight of the world on my shoulders and by evening it had turned around 180 degrees. The short time I spent with these wonderful people had completely recharged my spirit and my outlook.
And as I put the last box into the cab of my truck I turned and asked, "how are you able to part with all of this?" The gentlemen then told me he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and since its onset he has been unable to continue doing the work he loved. We then said our goodbyes but not before they asked me to keep in touch and to let them know whenever I needed some advice. I plan to see them again in spring.