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From: Dia, CT
Dear Nick - This is a true story.
One bygone day, in my teenage years, I happened to look outdoors and saw this strange, elderly man wandering about in the backyard of my parent's home. He looked like a tramp really, with oversized pants and a beat-up hat and a cane. Gathering up my nerve (I was painfully shy), I went out to confront him. I just remember he looked very incongruous against the manicured monotony of a typical suburban lawn. He had strikingly white hair and a beard, a rummy nose, bright, vermillion lips and tiny blue eyes. I don't think he ever told me his name or what he was doing there. The odd thing is that he almost immediately asked me if I was an artist, and I answered in the affirmative, though, at the time, I was just some malcontented kid who liked to draw pictures.
Shortly thereafter my dad came home from work, and I think he was even more disconcerted by the presence of the man than I was. Oddly enough, he went out of his way to be civil, offering the man - who was an absolute stranger and possibly mad for all we knew - a cup of tea and a ride home, which he accepted.
I recall little else except giving the man a ride "home"... which ended up being way up in the hills a number of miles away from where we lived. I remember my dad driving up and up and up till we came to this old, delapidated shack with gaping window frames (and no mail box). The man said "Stop here"... cause this was apparently where he lived. Then, he got out but told us to wait for a few minutes cause he had something for me. We waited what seemed like an hour and were just about to leave, when suddenly the man reappeared carrying what seemed to be a large scrap of paper. It turned out to be an old, faded fragment of a billboard (circa 50's or early 60's), with an airbrushed illustration of a woman's face on it. He handed it to me and said: "See, this is art... go on, take it, it's yours."
And then he seemingly vanished, and we never saw him again. - Best Wishes, Dia