I wrote a story for the newspaper yesterday about middle school art students who had drawn portraits of senior citizens at a nearby retirement home.
The old people were invited to a reception at the school where the portraits and short stories the eighth-graders had written about them hung in a hallway.
The work was amazing.
And the scene was touching.
I couldn't help but be struck by the two generations. One: young, naive, innocent, oh-so optimistic, eager. The other: old, wise, realistic, resigned.
In some cases, 80 years separated these two players in my little story.
The old people from what I could tell absolutely loved the drawings the kids had worked on so carefully for more than a month. One man couldn't get over how exact the wrinkles on his forehead and neck were drawn, how just like him it looked (though he joked: "I'm not sure I like the picture.").
He stood in the corner where his portrait was for at least half an hour. Just looking at it, studying it, marveling about something or other.
I was struck by how in awe and appreciative the senior citizens were of the students' efforts.
They almost just couldn't get over it.
You know what I think a lot of it is?
The fact that someone took the time to talk to them, study them, draw their beautiful, wise faces and then invite them over for a cookie and punch to see what they all look like in artistic pencil.
They were a part of something different, and they were center stage.
The other thing I noticed is how much the older people wanted to talk. They have stories to tell -- about younger days, wives, children, great-great-grandchildren, businesses they used to own, wars fought, children lost.
It's heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time.
Looking at them, listening to them, reminds me just how much life I still have to live. So much -- I hope -- that I can't even imagine it.