Anyway, I lost some irreplaceable photographs.
There were three portraits that I especially regretted losing since I am always on the look-out for a good portrait. One was a young man with a charming smile who wore a tie to the recent A Gincana jamboree. It was possibly the only tie present the entire day, his personal fashion statement. We shared a laugh as he tried to teach me some dance moves. I’m not a dancer at all. Although every person in Brasil appears to have it, I have no rhythm in my genes. Ivan chuckled as he tried to get me to copy moves I couldn’t do. Then, I took a portrait of him and his tie.
It just so happened a few days later that Ivan attended a birthday party and he knew I was going to be there. As soon as he saw me, he gave me a hug (which all Brasilians do) and then gave me a two-page letter – in English. The kid didn’t speak English. This was a major effort on his part and I was very touched.
Of course, I wanted another portrait. Ivan didn’t happen to have the tie on, so he raced home for the same clothes he wore in the previous photo. Again, I found this to be such a thoughtful gesture. So, I retrieved one lost portrait that I never expected. But, the surprises weren’t over for the night.
I presented Ivan a portrait I drew from Mexico. It’s how I thank the people I meet along the way. I never expect anything in return, but Ivan told me that he had a gift for me as well. Then, he took off his tie and put it on me.
It was a very good moment in Brazil.
Ivan’s letter started out with a quote that I took with me from Brasil. I’m not really sure if they are his words or something he translated from Portuguese. Either way, it is a good message.
In life, we take many turns . . .
And during these turns,
We find many people who mark us
And they leave us something special.
Of course, he meant it for me, but I find it is also true for the very special people I met in Brasil.
There was one more special memory as I worked on this portrait. While in Brasil, I was treated as a celebrity. People took hundreds of selfies with me. They asked for my autograph. Many were thrilled to be in my presence. It isn't a lifestyle that I'm used to. I know the truth. And, the truth is, I'm no celebrity -- except for in one small corner of southern Brasil. However, a few hours into the work on this portrait, I noticed that my name was on Ivan's sleeve. His was one of the many, many shirts I signed while in South America. I don't usually sign my name to my portraits. But on this occasion, my name accompanied a special memory.