A Special Saturday Story:) Mr. Dan

17 Dec

“In this world of memories, there’s no need for strangers.

-Kenshin to Kaoru”

Nobuhiro Watsuki

*******************

The day before I left McKinney to fly back home to Chicago, I had some last minute Christmas orders, painting ornaments, shopping, and scrambling to get ready. I always like to share my Mr. Dan story. Most of my friends know it and laugh when I say, “I have to paint my Christmas gift for Mr. Dan’s dead wife.”

For those who haven’t heard the story…A few years back, I received a call from an artist friend who said that an elderly gentleman came into her art studio asking if she could paint on porcelain or chinaware. She recounted the story to me.

“A nice elderly gentleman has been buying a special hand-painted Christmas gift from a local artist for many years. He has been married for over fifty years, and every year he surprised her with a special white porcelain gift with bluebonnets painted on it, and an inscription on the back. She has passed away, but he wants to continue having a gift made. I know you paint on glass and paint bluebonnets, do you think you could help him out?”

Well, I was so moved and saddened that this man lost his wife, but wanted to continue the tradition of having a special gift made. I agreed to meet Mr. Dan and see if I could help him. We met at Snug on the Square, and he brought a few examples of previous gifts. I told him that I’d be happy to do that for him.

The hardest part was finding the right piece of white milk glass or porcelain. He left all the details to my discretion. I scoured antique shops and thrift stores looking for a perfect piece. When I found a lovely white chinaware heart shaped covered box, I painted it and wrote on the bottom, as petitioned, to Sue Lobe Dan, with the date. As I painted bluebonnets with glass paint, I felt so sad for Mr. Dan, and thought how he really must miss her. He still wants to get her a gift.

When all was done, I met Mr. Dan to give him his gift. He really liked it, and I was hoping it would give him comfort. Then, Mr. Dan said, “I’ll be able to sneak this in the house without Sue seeing it. She’s at her sister’s house.”

What? I didn’t say anything to Mr. Dan about his dead wife not being dead. I was too embarrassed. Then, it dawned on me. Oh! The artist who had painted the gift had passed away, not his wife. Now, every year around Thanksgiving, Mr. Dan calls and asks if I’d still be able to paint a gift for Sue. And, every year, I say of course, and laugh to myself. And every year, Mr. Dan takes out his check book to pay me, and I refuse to take his money. I tell him that my only payment is a hug and to give my best regards to his wife, Sue.

Mr. Dan walked, ever so slowly, back to his truck with his cane in one hand and gift in the other. I gave him a hug and said, “See you next year.” He smiled and said, “God willing.”

2 Responses to “A Special Saturday Story:) Mr. Dan”

  1. Shirley Dragas December 17, 2017 at 4:07 am #

    Great story Toni.

  2. Rebel Girl December 17, 2017 at 4:28 am #

    What a wonderful story, and a happy ending! 🙂

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