Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Will you be my Grandpappy?

As long ago as Dillon and I got our new calling, we still haven't taught yet. Our first lesson is this Sunday. We both feel a bit clueless, so Dillon asked the Sunday School President for some advice. He gladly agreed and wanted us to meet with him at his house. He has quite the resume and was more than helpful with teaching strategies. He even gave us a wonderful check list for lessons. Great advise! This wasn't what struck me about him though.

When we walked into his home, he had us sit at his table. The table top was divided into four sections. Each section was wood burnt with images of humming birds and cherry trees that were painted with plant dyes. It was absolutely gorgeous. The chairs were simple, but also very nice with a single oriental symbol in the middle of each back rest and a muted mauve cushion. When I commented on its beauty he pointed out his other oriental pieces in the house. There were several paintings, a large chest, a sideboard cabinet and a couple of things inside it. All so nice. As I wistfully looked around even more, I decided that his taste in decor was delightful.

As we talked he mentioned that he teaches a poetry class at the senior citizens' center every week. With what I am sure were big, awe-struck looking eyes, I said, "You write poetry?" He nodded and said that he is seriously considering getting published. I asked him if he had a sample I could read. As he went to get it from his car, he tossed what looked like a knitted throw at me. "Check that out," he said, "I just got that back from being blocked." My hands moved over its incredibly soft, light brown intricate, yet understated, leaf pattern.

I whispered to Dillon, "Did he say he made this?!?" Dillon said he thought so.

When he came back from his car with a binder full of papers (that I later learned were all poems), I clarified that he did indeed make it. He told me that it's one of those things you put one arm through and throw the other end over your shoulder, around your neck. I pictured him adorning himself with his creation as he motioned with his hands. I smiled, seeing him in it. 'What a cool old man,' I thought.

He set a paper on the table. He explained that he grew up in a very small town - Hyde Park, UT - and that this poem was inspired by his childhood there. He was considering the poem as his opening piece in his first published collection. It was a great poem with great visual images of 'sepia mesas' and 'opaque nights.' Love it. I was also struck by the style he used in that poem. It was like that majority of my poems - free verse, capitals starting every line, no (or little) punctuation. I brought it up to see why he did that and we talked a bit about it. It was great to hear that he liked the effect it had on this particular poem, but, unlike me, he uses different styles depending on the poem. I told him I would love to read all his works and he smiled, "I doubt that." He said that he was looking through his poems on his computer and there were over 1100 pages in the document. I will buy his book though.

He also picked up painting in his mid forties. I think I caught some glimpses of his art in his garage as we were leaving. There was one, at least, that I would buy from him. Very cool.

I felt like the entire time I was there I was a kid in a candy store - a giant candy store. There was so much to take in while I was there, between the things in his home and what I learned about him, that, just as I thought I had gotten over the awe of the previous experience, I would discover something else.

At 77 years old, he is a 'white hair,' as he put it, but, as is, is one of the most fascinating, sharp, educated people I know. I just want to just follow him around all day like a little puppy and would if I could. I feel like I could learn so much from him.

So uh, what do ya say, Florin... you wanna be my Grandpappy?...

1 comment:

Paul + Emily said...

That is the same man that sat in on one of our lessons in primary, and I remember thinking to myself, what an intelligent fascinating man.. and now that I hear these stories..WOW! Next time you visit him, I want to come! It sounds like you both learned a lot from him! He sounds like an incredibly talented and intellectual man! I am so excited for you guys to teach Sunday school on Sunday! You definitely need to let us know how it goes! You both will do amazing! I am sure of it! :)