“You can have it.”
“I don’t even own a press.”
“Just take them anyway.”
I nearly cried. I held him and hugged for probably an awkward amount of time and kissed his cheeks multiple times. In his old age he smiled and jokingly tried to convince me to come home with him. He did what he could to help me get everything to my car, but he was tired from the long weekend and his age was catching up to him. He knew it. That’s why he was passing it all on. Because he knew soon he would be too.
I gave him a check anyway.
“Please. Take it.”
“I’ll take it but I won’t cash it.”
“You’re allowed to make your decisions, but at least take the check.”
“Do you have a press?” He asked already forgetting that I had mentioned I didn’t.
“Well if I had one I’d give it to you too.”
“You’ve done so much already.”
He kissed my forehead and hugged me.
“If I wasn’t married I’d fall in love with you.” He said with both my hands in his and his wise old eyes gleaming with delight.
David Peat, designer and letterpress printer extraordinaire, gave me metal type. I was in awe. In complete delight. We spoke a little about life. Told me to let my fiancé know he was a very lucky man. Told me to take good care of his type. I promised I would.
“EMILY! Come over to my table and take whatever you want!”
I never question renown designers when they shout at me. Especially when they’re Rick Griffith. I scooted immediately over and found my poster love. As I collected myself Rick ran over with a pen and autographed the poster.
“Now go. Have adventures. Get out of the tri-state area! You’re already so special. Go be special out in the world. Stay lovely and talented.”
We hugged tightly and he ran to pack up his wares. I’d never forget our lunch together that Saturday afternoon, before my high blood sugar made me super sick. He was an absolute delight. A lovely weirdo like myself. A heart to connect to and be deep with. We added each other on Facebook to keep in touch.
I collected all my things as well. All my business cards were gone. All my posters had been swapped for other work. The work of friends and other lovely humans I had the pleasure of meeting. I met some beautiful people. I worked along side Alan Kitching, Jessica Hiche, and Erik Speikermann. I listened to their lectures. I spoke with them. They spoke with me. It was like we were all friends. It was amazing. I was awestruck and humbled all at once.
It was one of the most amazing weekends of my life. I wish it had never ended.