JUST 15 Minutes....

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Upon leaving after my 3-hour paperwork catch-up time at the library, I was approached by an enthusiastic, young, special-needs teen. He tapped me gently and asked: “Would you play this board game with me?”

He look hopeful as it was set up already.

“Well, it’s time for me to leave but how long does this game take?” I asked.

He said he did not know because he just got it, BUT (hopeful again) he read the instructions and it looked easy.

At this point, I’m thinking it’s best to leave as I cannot assess his true capacity for reasoning, yet it seemed so harmless and so I struck a deal of 15 minutes. He was thrilled. After formal introductions with his stutter and speech impediments it was very clear he was quite astute and sensitive.

Walker walked me through the steps of a board game that required some level of critical thinking. He wanted to play very fair and his gift no fear with humility. We all have different gifts and Walker had the gift of being himself and quite content.

The young librarian must have known Walker because he was kind to bring us paper we would need for our hidden answers. I felt a grin on my face the entire time. So sweet was our fifteen minutes and we shook on it with true civility. With excitement, he ran to tell his brother and Mom. It made me realize how I missed working with remedial readers and how spontaneous children are. It is Fresh and rewarding in the innocence and trust.

Approaching my canvas, there are times when my mind is truly clear, fresh and without expectation. This often produces a stronger piece. While a thumbnail or some colors pulled, it’s not certain the exact outcome. 

Walker inspired me to paint. At the human level, he showed me the beauty of another person, a stranger, a teen, challenged and yet so bright and full of hope. It was rich and Walker did not care about my age, gender or ancestry. He kept it simple.



And WE simply enjoyed the board game. He DID read the instructions! He was prepared for the out come. In the end, I had won, no skill, just luck.  He stood and said “Thank you” and I replied: “Walker, we must shake on it!” So, we shook hands.

It makes we grateful for the little moments that make life shine and that I am able to bring this joy to my studio. 

Thank you Walker.



Patti Wheat

Patti Wheat, 1557 Regimental Lane, Johns Island, SC