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The Gift

Updated: Jan 9

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My late father-in-law, John Hopkins , left a gift for his granddaughter that she will receive  for her entire life.  John was a hobby artist.  He loved to paint watercolours and was very good at it.  He had a special box that he purchased to hold his beautiful brushes and paints.  He had really good supplies because he was serious about it.   When he passed away 15 years ago my husband, Jim, asked his mother if he could have the box because he knew how special it was to John.   And so the box came to our little home and has been living here with us ever since.  Every once in a while Jim would get

the box  out and look through it and it's a little connection with his dad. When our daughter Madeline was born Jim continued to  get the box out and he would often tell Madeline a story about her grandfather that she had never met.  No one has used the supplies in the box, but over the years we've looked at them and talked about them and John.  This summer Madeline took a

week long course at the Haliburton School of the Arts with Marg McIntyre. It was called "The Works" and the kids did everything from sketching to watercolours  to acrylics and cartooning.  Madeline loved the course, and the teacher,  and learned so much (I could write an article about the lifetime impact of having a good teacher).   The art she produced is very

beautiful.  I have no doubt that she has a lifelong hobby ahead of her and that I will be the recipient of many more beautiful cards.  While on vacation, after the art course, I watched Madeline teach a friend of mine how to do a watercolour  of a flower.  It made me realize how much she had learned from Marg.  She was knowledgeable, very exact in the care of the

brushes and the paints, she was fun and patient and so encouraging.   What she had learned had stuck.  When we came home from vacation and Madeline wanted to make a card for a friend, she and I began the process of gathering

up her art supplies.  They are stored in several locations in the house (under the bed, in the shelf beside the computer, under the art books in the hutch, in the "pit of yuk"  in our basement).  I always get crabby trying to find everything she needs.  When we finally had her paints, paper, brushes etc. she started to make her card.  In that moment as we watched her work,

it came to Jim and I  that she has earned the  right to inherit her

grandfathers'  watercolour box.  She is an artist.  She knows how to take care of the equipment.  She knows how special the box is.  And she will use it for the rest of her  life.  A piece of her grandfather will be with her forever.  What  a lovely gift.   Thank you  John and Marg!

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