Betty J. Slade
Our grandson, Spencer, was a dark horse, a nerd, and a late bloomer with a curious mind. This child spent weeks preparing how to ask a girl to prom only to be turned down. At 6’3” in high school, he had outgrown his peers in size, and they seemed to had outgrown him in social skills.
As a teenager, Spencer spent hours in his room editing his skateboard videos. Comfortable behind the camera, he was asked to shoot his YWMA trip to China and make a video for their project. He was focused, driven and intent on editing his videos. He couldn’t be bothered with people who weren’t going somewhere. He declared many times that he had places to go and people to see.
Our grandson was home for the winter break from college and would be returning for his junior year. He was already working on his senior project in his filming class. The student’s were asked to present a ten-minute film. He had written a ninety-minute script and was working on it for his senior year’s project.
Why were we surprised when my Sweet Al and me arrived in California for Christmas, only to be met by a film crew? The crew was comprised of a director, producer, scriptwriter, set and costume designer and cameraman.
With computers on the dining room table, they were discussing scenes and locations for his storyline. I was not invited, but I took a seat anyway and became part of the round table discussion.
Sweet Al said, “What are you doing, Betty? You weren’t invited.”
I wanted to be a part. They were my kind of artists—Idea people, movers and shakers and progressive thinkers. I moved into character and conversed with the film crew. "I am also a writer, I've written three books and two scripts. I might be able to help you."
Needless to say, the young men from Biola University Film Department were slightly impressed with my accomplishments.
My Sweet Al said, "Leave them alone. They know what they are doing."
"But, I know where the pitfalls are. I’ve learned a lot in writing books and script and my knowledge might be valuable to them."
"They're being nice because you're a grandmother and they're not going to beat up on Spencer's grandmother."
Spencer collaborated with the crew. I wanted to collaborate with them, too. As I listened to them, I marveled at the young minds and their ideas. Were we that smart when we were twenty-two years old? We weren't.
My grandson said, "Grandma, we are having a conference call in five minutes, you have to be quiet. Granddad has to be quiet, too."
"Well good luck in keeping him quiet, but I will try to stay out of it. It will be hard." I excused myself from the group and told them I needed to call home and let the family know we arrived safely.
I called our son. "How are the dogs, your Dad wants to know. We arrived safely and were met with a fanfare, a movie production team. I have been helping them with some of my ideas."
With his annoying quick wit, he said, "So, they’re doing a movie about you?"
Another naysayer, I should know better then tell him anything. I said, "No. I was just helping them out. They said they learned some things they didn’t know."
"Don't tell me that they have cast you as the lead character in Spencer's movie?"
"No. But, they did invite me to their premiere. It's not always about me."
"It's about Spencer. He plans to be a director and hopes to direct young adult and coming-of-age films. He wants to produce good clean movies in Hollywood.”
I spoke to Spencer about the path of an artist. I told him he had no idea about temptation or life itself. He is choosing a path that will chew him up and spit him out, but only he can walk this path and learn from it. I warned him he might skin his knees, bloody his shins and risk rejection. I was talking to a skateboarder.
He responded, “That’s already happened. Thanks Grandma for the pep talk. But I’ve already been faced with temptations and rejection."
Final Brushstroke! I’m not ready to checkout. He needs a lot of prayer. That’s my job now. I’m so aware how the next generation has moved into that place where they will meet the world with their bright ideas and high ideals. They will find the world is not ready for them. But, he will grow in character, and experience what it is to be an artist. I’m not counting him out. I’m putting my money on this dark horse. He’s a winner.
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