Of course I didn’t recognise him. I didn’t really remember him. He had been a pleasant teenager, over thirty years ago, when he would call in to my gallery with his father.

All I saw today was this lanky chap, in his fifties, weather beaten, very ‘country’ with those deep lines etched in his face by the years and the elements. He had a curiosity about him, I could see. I hoped he might see something to buy at my garage sale. He was looking intently at my enamelling kiln and the small enamelled plaque that was perched on top of it. I started to explain why I was thinking of selling the kiln. He looked at me intently.

‘It is you,’ he said, as he perused the label on the plaque. It held my name, naturally. He looked at me again, then at the price tag. ‘Yes, it’s you all right. I’m Herb McLeod’s son. Greg McLeod. Do you remember me?’

It was now my turn to look searchingly at him. It was easy, because his father had worn the same gnarled, but attractive look. ‘Oh yes, I can see the nice to see you Greg!’ I replied. ‘We loved Herb...’ His Dad had died when he was about the same age at this fellow, I thought. ‘Poor Herb, he died too young.’

I asked him what he did in life and found out he was a bit of a drifter really, getting manual work where he could. I gathered he had not put down roots.

“Remember when we all went to see ‘On Golden Pond’ at the Wintergarden Theatre in Brisbane?’ he asked me. I remembered seeing the much loved film, but could not recall with whom. ‘We all went together, drove down in the one car,’ he added, ‘you and Susan and Chris, Dad and me. Susan was the same age as me.’ He asked what my two children were doing, but returned his attention to the plaque.

‘I always remembered a beautiful enamel that you did. Little white flowers, what were they called? I loved it. Never forgot it. What were they, those flowers?’ I tried to recall. Jasmine? I had done a lot of those. ‘No, it was a small flower, very pure sort of.’

He said he always wondered how we were. I could see that by my making him welcome, as a lad, he had been impressed. I would have asked him about himself, I am sure. I would have shown an interest in him. I always did. Susan and I probably asked them to join us in a cup of tea. I was grateful to Herb...he kept an eye on my daughter Susan when I was away. He owned the ‘water truck’ that supplied households with water in the dry season. He filled the tanks, and drove past our gallery quite a lot. He was a good friend to her, and each held a platonic attraction for the other. When young Greg was helping him in busy times, both father and son would visit my daughter. Yes, we were all such good mates.

And now, here was Greg, standing in my shed, trying to remember the flower that I had depicted in enamel in those far off days. I had no idea at the time that he had been so taken with my work. I knew he had wandered about the gallery, looking, just looking. It would have been unusual then, as now, for a gangling youth to be interested in any sort of art. Certainly not my delicate enamels. They were, well, so feminine!

‘Snowdrops! That’s it!’ suddenly he exclaimed. ‘The First Snowdrop! That’s what it was called! A beautiful little picture...I loved it. I have carried it in my mind ever since. What was it all about? Did you grow them?’

What memories this man was educing in me! The snowdrops, I explained, were stolen for me by someone who had loved me very much, if illicitly. This person knew how I loved those flowers, and he knew where there were some his wife’s garden! One day he arrived, triumphant, with a bucketful of bulbs still covered in soil. I was overwhelmed and have carted the snowdrops with me from house to house in several moves. I have cared for them. They are precious to me for many reasons. I told Greg about the ‘hot snowdrops’, as I have always called them.

‘If ever you make another snowdrop enamel, let me know,’ he said. I explained that I was now retired from this arduous art, and I knew he was not contactable anyhow. We both knew there was little likelihood of seeing each other again, but the meeting was so memorable.

‘Give my regards to Chris and Susan,’ he said as he left with a grin and a wave, ‘See ya’...’