We started talking about boats and ships. When Burt recognized that I had some interest in the subject, we sat down so he could show me photos of the model ship he was working on.
In the mean time, his wife kept interrupting with questions about my name and if I had pictures at the show. It turned out she had Alzheimer's.
I managed to carry on two conversations at the same time, although one was rather disjointed. I had an interesting talk with Burt while I patiently answered his wife as she asked the same questions over and over again.
The conversation finally wound down and Burt said to me, "Come with us to the car, I have something for you." As we were walking to the car, Burt on one side of his wife, and I on the other, I offered her my arm for support. She took it as she was having a bit of trouble negotiating the sidewalk. About halfway to the car, her grip shifted from my arm to holding my hand. It felt very natural and quite sweet.
Burt opened the car door and I helped his wife into the front seat. He opened the trunk of the car and gently pulled out something small. He cradled it in his hands and showed it to me. It was a model of a windmill that he had made. He proudly pointed out all the parts and pieces that went into creating it. He showed how the vanes actually turned in the wind. He held it for a while as we both stood there admiring his workmanship.
He finally handed it over to me, knowing how much I would appreciate his gift. And, while he never spoke the words, I know, too, that he appreciated my gift of patience.
The people we encounter at shows may not purchase our work, but still, our lives are enriched by the connections that we make.
I gave this one couple a positive experience and in the end, isn't that what art is all about?