Our FB friend – Sandy Smalley

KC19-1 - The Smalleys

“What would you like me to draw?” I asked.

“I’d like you to draw for me ‘Octimus Prime’ please.”  This is what Myles (9 years of age) asked me to draw as I sat down to get into rapport with one of Sandy’s children.

KC19-2“What the hell is it?” I asked.  And off Myles tooted to return with a toy Transformer!  And so for the next 40 minutes or so, I focused on square boxes and circles and triangles and rectangle of all sizes in-between conversational chat and jokes about Ansett parties and blow up sheep.  When done, Myles asked me to flip the page and draw OP as the truck – this was more in tune with what I was familiar with.  Once the last stroke of the pencil was lifted, his words, “I have never met an artist” humbled me.  Little did he know, I had never met ‘Octimus Prime’ before neither!  Myles had reminded us that when you put your mind to it, we can do it.

The connection with Sandy originated from BClaires past, as a work colleague from Ansett New Zealand days.

We once attended a wedding theme fancy dress party at The Sign of the Kiwi on top of the Port Hills, Christchurch organised by Sandy and then partner Warner.  BClaire dressed with a curtain rail attachment with a shower curtain dangling above her head (wedding shower); and I wearing deer antlers and artificial dog poo affixed to my chest (stag doo)!  To our surprise during the party and unbeknown to guests, it was their actual wedding.  How cool was that?!

A visit to Sandy during our trip to Nelson, we learnt that life has moved forward.  We were welcomed by Ellie (Sandy’s older daughter) and Myles and introduced to her new partner Simon.  It began an afternoon of catching up to share stories that bridged the absence of flesh to flesh time, it lasted until we turned off the lights in the second bedroom parked up the driveway to crash the night.

Ellie has Downes Syndrome and her ability to host total strangers was just beautiful.  Bringing out the ukulele got her imagination going and watching her strum and sing would have resulted in any ‘X Factor’ Judge standing to give an ovation, she had her audience being entertained.

KC19-4The following morning, Myles asked for my autograph on his pictures.  He said I should write a book and illustrate it.  So I showed him ‘Re-Kindle You’, the book I have authored and self illustrated.  The look on his face was priceless.  As we thumbed through the first chapter pages, Myles was introduced to the concept that life is simple; that we can go through life with a series of grins or a series of grimaces; which would be better; and that it’s our choice which series we choose.

An example of a grin and grimace was shared.

“If I roll over in the morning and see BClaire lying there with no make-up on and hair like a roaster – would that be a grin or a grimace?”

Myles hesitated and so I responded, “That would be a grimace Myles.”

“If BClaire got up and did her hair and put make up on, would that be a grin or a grimace?”

Myles  responded with grin and then I asked, “Which would be better.”

The grin.  He got it and continued to turn the pages some more.

The next words from Myles were that he wanted to buy the book to teach him how to make better choices growing up.  I reckon the look on our faces were just as he Myles had experienced earlier – priceless.

Sandy’s children are a reflection of the their mothers vivacious character – Octimus Primo!

And without a doubt, their own blow up sheep experiences are yet to come!