Do you remember when you were in first and second grade and you got to bring something to class for Show and Tell? It was a lovely thing for kids; they had the chance to bring something that was special to them and share it with classmates. Show and Tell was a wealth of things. It gave kids a chance to stand up in front of the class and speak. It gave the other kids a chance to learn something new, something they may have not been familiar with. And it gave all of them a little insight about each other and brought them closer together.
This little kiddie version of Antiques Roadshow produced awe at the presentation of a gerbil, or a garden snake, or a spool of yarn, or a Slinky, or a robot made out of tinker toys. And a smart teacher would watch Show and Tell closely for, if she or he did, they would learn a little of what motivates a particular child and use that knowledge to further student learning.
My blog today is not so much about a Show and Tell of our early years; instead it is about a group of oldsters who Play Show and Tell. I was just reading the newspaper the other day and came across a story about Show and Tell sessions held at the Royal Oaks Assisted Living Facility here in Sun City.
What a brilliant idea, I thought! It seems these folks have been sitting down to community dinner every evening, perhaps praising or bitching about the meatloaf, maybe discussing religion, or politics, or their bus tour out to the local casino for a spirited round of Bingo. But, like so many of us, reluctant to discuss the triumphs and tragedies of our life, of past travels, of those times when we lived in the prime of our lives, strong and proud and feeling immortal, sometimes we don't open up well to others! For this generation it would appear too much like boasting.
So someone out in Royal Oaks came up with the idea of Show and Tell for the Geritol set! And it seems it was a great success. They all gathered in the ballroom, bringing their treasures, here to fore, stored away on a high shelf in the back closet, nearly forgotten in a box in the garage, or maybe even carefully tended in some treasured place, to be taken out and admired on secret occasions.
So, in they came. A lady who painted lovely watercolors, her pictures mounted for all to admire. Another lady, who perhaps learned the art of 19th century needlework from her great grandmother, displaying needle art little seen for nearly two centuries, the stitching so fine it looked like a painting. One gentleman sat quietly at a table with his three published books. He sat and talked about the fine art of writing with each person who stopped by to marvel that an author lived among them.
I would imagine that this marvelous Show and Tell session produced a few small miracles; a few scales fell from the eyes, the birds nest hair of an aged one was smoothed and combed and groomed for the spotlights! The worry lines around the eyes and forehead receded markedly as they spoke of past glories, of their day in the sun so long ago.
And when Show and Tell is over, never again will any of them look at each other in the same way. A humped back, an aging shuffle, a plea of "say again" for the hearing impaired, a quick grasp of glasses hung from the neck...just to see again, will never again be the hallmarks of this particular group of oldies...no, each time they emerge from their Assisted Living "cocoon", and arrive for dinner, all will be redeemed and rewarded for ancient glories. Knotted arthritic hands will be overlooked in favor of an image of a strong and fine set of hands that painted the most delicate of water lilies or knitted a tapestry of sparrows and magnolia trees, or a set of hands that mated mind and pen and wrote books deemed worthy of being published.
And life, even in the latest of seasons, is good.