Could your imagination be part of the secret to long life?
“That’s Ashcroft,” he started. “You know ‘The Lord of the Rings’?” he asked and I nodded that I did. “This is Gandolf’s brother. Ashcroft is also a wizard, but he doesn’t really like being a wizard.”
We looked together at the drawing of Ashcroft and I admired the detail of the long, full-body-length coat that faded from dark to light coloring from the top to the bottom.
Tony slid Ashcroft to the floor and immediately started in on the next color drawing. “She’s a fairy and those are gnomes,” he said as he looked at the characters on the poster-size paper.
“Is she a giant or are the gnomes really tiny?” I asked because the difference in their sizes was extreme. The gnomes were maybe as large as one of her fingers and she loomed over the scene like a setting sun.
“Oh, they’re very small, but she’s a normal size, just like you,” he said.
He turned this one over and I noticed some writing on the back. It had a date: September 2015, just a few months ago.
Tony has been “working” beyond his retirement and continues to enjoy his work and create new characters, creatures and scenes with just paper and colored pencils.
He retired quite some time ago now, but he’s still going strong with his work. I count back the years to his retirement and count that it was almost 40 years ago. He didn’t retire early, it’s just that now, he’s pretty old.
He recently turned 101.
“That’s a tree spirit,” he says of the next one which has the detailed face of a woman buried in the bark of a tree and covered in leaves.
His favorites seem to be the leprechauns and he has names for many of them and tells me a little about their characters.
He talks about them as if he knows them and then it occurs to me, he does. They live in his mind, in his imagination.
He reads Clive Cussler, really appreciated the quality of the animation in Minions (and invited me to watch it with him), eats white bread with a slice of cheese and has a family of leprechauns who live in his artist’s studio.
If my family of four adds up all of our ages, we have more years—barely. But even with the vivid imaginations of young boys, I’m not sure we have the family of characters he has in his mind.
I don’t want it there, but I have this ad repeating in my head. The credit card company (I can’t remember which one … ) and at the end, they ask, “What’s in your wallet?”
So I ask you, “What’s in your imagination?”
- Possible: rekindle your imagination at any age.
- Impossible: lose your imagination completely.
- Repossible: create leprechauns at age 100+.
Would love to see the tree spirit. Tell Tony he has a new fan!