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There’s a young painter here in Denton named John Bramblitt. He’s really good, especially when you learn he’s completely blind and he paints everything from touch and memory. He was also the keynote speaker for the Alice Givens Jones Foundation Scholarship Luncheon this last Saturday.

A little background first: The Alice Givens Jones Foundation is a local charity organization set up to help out legally blind students with some of their expenses for college.  They’re a pretty neat organization.

One of the directors of the organization, in fact the daughter of the organization’s namesake, saw that Ben wanted to meet John Bramblitt, so they invited us to their Scholarship Luncheon.

We arrive at the Crescent Court in Dallas and the boys are immediately impressed with their three-story fountain in the center of the courtyard.

We made our way to the right place and discovered we were to be seated with the scholars themselves front and center in the room. In addition to Bennett and his big brother, we were seated with five charming women at various points in their education. One of them even was honored to visit President Obama to share some of her work in stem cell research for blindness!

The dinner itself was incredible. Southwest cilantro Ceasar salad followed by the best lasagna I’ve ever had. Here’s the obligatory food picture.

an image of a lasagna and bread on a plate

Conversation was lovely, too. At first, the boys had a small problem relating to the conversational issues relevant to undergraduates, but C turned the conversation to their favorite books, and everything flowed smoothly from there.

The main event was a talk from John Bramblitt. He’s a delightful and funny man. He wasn’t born blind, but lost his sight due to epilepsy. His story is incredible. You should read it yourself.

Toward the end of his talk, John invited everyone in the room to visit him in his studio, and he’d be happy to teach us all to paint without sight. After the program, I introduced Ben and myself to John and asked him if his invitation was serious. He said it was. We’ll be visiting him when we can.

While we were there ostensibly to meet John, being in that room around so many intelligent and capable individuals with sight issues was truly inspirational. I may have got a little more significance from the event than the boys, but the look on Bennett’s face when he realized he was speaking to the scholarship winners, college-bound, and they were blind, was priceless. This isn’t that picture, but it’s still a pretty good shot.

Our thanks to Pamela Ajayi and everyone at the Alice Givens Jones Foundation for allowing us to attend. Pam, your kindness expanded the horizons of our little guy more than you know.

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