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    When I was in grade school art class, the teacher ordered us to draw a dragon. I finished drawing—what I thought was— a pretty good looking dragon, and took out a book to read until the rest of my classmates were finished. After we handed in our assignment, the teacher asked me to stay after class. When the last child had left, she held up my dragon and said, “This is the worst piece of art I have ever seen!” She was probably right, but then she added, “And, no one reads in my class.”

    Consequently, I was stuck drawing stick figures for many years, until, on a whim, as an adult, I took a class called, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.” It was taught by a gentle woman who specialized in working with children with special needs. Perfect! In a nutshell, I was taught to look at objects in a different way and kind of draw them upside down. Finally, I was able to draw something that resembled what I was looking at. I still doodle for fun. So many times, we have hidden desires to be able to excel in a craft where we have absolutely no proficiency.

    My Grandfather could have been a professional concert pianist had his father allowed it. My Mother sang like an angel, and my Father played the violin. Unfortunately, the musical gene skipped both me and my brother. Since my family was steeped in music, my parents insisted that I learn to play the piano. Unfortunately, I went through three teachers before they discovered it was me.  My little brother did bang on a bass drum for awhile, until he marched in a school parade behind the flatulent horses. That was the end of his musical career.

    My maternal grandmother was a wonderful seamstress and milliner. As a matter of fact, there is a family legend that she made a hat for Archduchess Sophie of Austria before she and Archduke Ferdinand were shot, and it set off WWI. I really don’t think that the assassin did it because he hated Sophie’s hat.  Unfortunately, Grandma’s sewing talent seems to have drowned in the gene pool, because even though my Mother could sing, she couldn’t sew. As a matter of fact, she made me two dresses when I was in second grade. I refused to wear them. She then donated them to a rummage sale. The good news was that the sale was a huge success.The bad news was that no one bought the two dresses. Mother said, “I couldn’t even give them away.”

    My Father thought himself a reasonably good photographer until he and Mom took a trip and his thumb appeared on every historical landmark in Europe. My Father-in-law was a successful dentist. Since he could fix teeth, he was convinced that he was also an excellent handyman. He was so inept that when he glued a broken vase together—not only did it leak—but something in the glue killed the flowers.

    So here’s the moral of this tale: Very few of us can be good at everything, but many of us are extremely good at something. Certainly, it’s commendable to try new things, but it’s also worthwhile to be realistic about our talents and abilities. Many times in my life, I have been approached by someone who says, “I have a book in me.” And, all those times, I have wanted to say, “Perhaps, that’s where it should stay.”

    I promise, I won’t play you a tune, I won’t draw you a dragon, and I won’t darn your socks. Mother taught me all she knew about sewing.  However, I will write you a story that will make you laugh, and I will  do it with the right side of my brain.

    Esther Blumenfeld

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