This afternoon my friend Marieke and I were having a coffee and a beer at The Rambler, a café near the Gent Sint-Pieters train station.

The sun was shining … above us and also at the table beside. Two men were engaged in a spirited discussion in Flemish. The older fellow began talking to us, and soon discovered that my Flemish is on the edge of reality. Marieke translated. And our neighbour sure laughed a lot.

Back in the world of two separate conversations, Marieke and I talked about our inspirations in painting and writing. There’s no planning. Something comes to us … and we’re off!

Eventually our friend’s companion bid adieu and he was happy to turn his smile towards us. We were happy too. It’s always great to welcome a bright spirit.

And included in Marieke’s welcome was her drawing pad and pencil.

Roland is 84. He has travelled the world with his business but he stopped all that “doing” six years ago. He has family (children and grandchildren?) in the USA. He misses them so. Roland’s doctors say his heart is not up to snuff and they’ve ordered him not to fly for longer than two hours.


Weighing most heavily on this fine fellow is his wife of sixty years. She has Alzheimers, with little short-term memory. Thank God she still knows him. But the sadness lingered in his eyes even as he leaned towards us.

“Are you in love?” Roland asked.

I looked at Marieke and said “yes”. She smiled.

We were accompanied today by a lovely human being. Marieke’s drawing captured his grace.

It was three souls dancing

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