I’ve been able to draw ever since I can remember. I love the feeling of a pencil resting in my hand. When we came to Canada in 1968 aboard the Russian ocean liner ‘The Alexander Pushkin,” they held an art contest aboard the ship. I entered a profile drawing of a cavalier brandishing a sword and won the second prize of a small doll; a fat Russian Cossack. The drawing hangs, framed, in my son’s room and the Cossack sits on a shelf in our kitchen. Both are now 45 years old.

We settled in Montreal. One day in school, we had art class. The teacher asked us each to draw a face and then strolled around making comments on our efforts.

When he came to me he just said, “Oh. Well, I see that you’ve done this before.”

My wife has railed against me telling me that if she could draw or sing like me that she would spend all her time drawing and singing. I didn’t relate for the longest time because those sweet gifts never felt like gifts given to me. They felt like gifts that were always there. I would say to her, “You don’t know that. You think you’d draw and sing but you don’t know!” I was such an arse. But they truly are gifts bestowed. They are gifts to be grateful for.

Recently, my son asked me to draw him something from an anime comic book. I peeled it off in about 15 minutes. It was my son’s reaction that shook me. He was stunned and over-joyed. He took it to school in his backpack and showed all his buddies. Then one of them was so impressed that he said to my son, “Do you think your dad would draw something for me?” Of course! His buddy was so happy with what I drew that he put it up on his bedroom wall.

The point is that if we keep these various gifts tucked inside because they don’t resonate with us, we’re depriving the world of the things that make us, us.

And so, with that in mind, I share these with you.

And I love my boy for reminding me to say thank you for the gift.

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