When I met you last Sunday, Jan. 3, you were practicing flash cards with words on them, so I'll understand if you can't quite grasp what I'm about to write, but when you get down to it, it's pretty simple. This is a BIG and heartfelt thank-you for the wonderful painting you presented to me, of myself and your mom, Shelly Snow.
As any number of my friends will tell you, I am a complete sucker for positive female attention, even when the girl in question is only 5, like you. And it's even more amazing when you consider we had never met at all before last week.
Oh, I had heard plenty about you. Your aunt Hilary has more pictures of you in her house than anyone else, I'm pretty sure. And scanning through your mom's pics on Facebook, I even knew you were artistically inclined.
Still, knowledge pales next to experience, so when you pressed your painting into my hands, I could have been a pin in your Wii game. I was completely bowled over. This wasn't just paint and paper - it was paint on canvas, mounted on wood and everything! You went all out!
You told me that was the sun coming out from behind the cloud. There were two figures at the bottom, and you pointed to them and said the one on the left was me, and the one on the right was your mom.
Gifted as you obviously are, Reba, I'm not sure you know just how prescient you are as well. That means you know things before they happen. Somehow you figured out my favorite color is red and you made me that color. Your mom tells me you're quite good at capturing her too. She said to me "And I am a rectangle, which is pretty true : )"
On top of all that (kinda literally, come to think of it), the sun coming out from the clouds reminded me of two songs by my all-time favorite group, the Beatles: "Here Comes the Sun" and "I"ll Follow the Sun." You got it goin' ON, friend!
When I took my painting back home, I immediately took a picture of myself with it, so I could show all my friends. I have been telling anybody and everybody about it. I write for a newspaper, and I talked to a lady who runs a big arts group in Middletown. I told her about your painting too, and she seemed about as charmed as I was, if that's even possible.
Your painting has been a great pick-me-up. If I'm ever feeling down or overwhelmed, all I have to do is look at your painting, and it's impossible not to smile. I'd carry it around with me everywhere, but I I want to keep it in good shape, so it has to stay at my house.
But does that stop me from looking at it when I'm away? Hardly! I even made your painting the picture on my laptop. So now, if work ever gets to be too much for me, all I have to do is push all the windows aside, and voila - Instant Smile!
In all honesty, Reba, this is one of my very favorite gifts I've ever gotten, and I will treasure it forever. That really means a lot that you did that for me, even before meeting me. I was surprised by your painting, but I wasn't at all surprised you're a great girl because you come from great stock - and that goes for both your nuclear and extended families, in every sense of the word.
You know, when I was a kid, I always wished I could draw or paint like you can. However, my talent is in words much more than pictures, so I hope what I've written here is enough to say thank you very, very much. I am truly touched. I can't wait to see you again, and I hope I can be in another one of your paintings sometime. Stay creative, kid! You're aces at it! Color me thrilled!
Your nutty uncle Eric
P.S. Don't worry about calling your mom and dad Shelly and Chad - I called my parents by their given names when I was about your age! Made sense to me! ;)