On a short flight, the airline serves a pre packaged chocolate croissant that tastes quite awful. In my hunger, in trying to salvage the chocolate middle, my fingers are smudged with chocolate, and while clasping my book, I smear a page bottom with a scant trace of chocolate. I try to clean the spot, and when it spreads the smudge, I annotate the spot: "A chocolate croissant on the flight from Lesvos to Athens Greece."
Since it is highly likely this book will someday land on a used book store shelf, it at least needs to be sent with a story. The future owner of Thirteen Days by Robert F Kennedy, will at least know, that like Mr. Kennedy, the book has seen a different part of the world.
Margo is sitting in her high chair, the tray scattered with watermelon and avocado slices. When I show her each of the three miniature paintings found on a blanket in Athens, and purchased just for her, she says, "Thank-you," after each one. She's only a 14-month old, and she seems to understand they are a gift.
But they are far from Van Gogh's, and so I suspect one day she will outgrow them as part of her decor, and they will be sold at a garage sale or donated to the Salvation Army Thrift Shop. If that is where they are to be found, the treasure seeker may pick one up and feel a moment of endearment. When the purchaser shows her finds, she will say, "And look here on the back. They came from Athens!" They will wonder who Margo, Grandma Pat, and Grandpa Tony were and imagine the scene of an artist peddling his wares.
Or better yet, Margo will treasure the whimsical nature and stained glass colors of the paintings, and hang them in her daughter's room, who might one day hang them in her own daughter's room. What will make them special is that they came as gifts from a distant land, from a distant grandma and grandpa who come alive if only briefly, on the back of a picture.