A Handful Of Pecans

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 10 - A Handful Of Pecans - Doodlewash

For tonight’s little entry we have some pecans in various states of being cracked. They can be bought shelled, of course, but I grew up knowing that cracking them was part of the whole experience. It’s like unwrapping a gift by someone who can’t wrap properly and uses too much tape. There’s a struggle at first, but in the end you know the reward will be worth it. As a kid, we would always have a bowl filled with these on the table and a little silver nutcracker nearby, or just sitting on top of the pecans themselves. Since the outside looks and acts like a piece of wood, it takes a bit of practice to crack them just right. Getting it all out cleanly is an important skill as the little extra bits can give a bit of an acrid taste. My dad was a master at this and could crack them in a single swift motion that made it seem like nothing happened at all. At least, that’s how I remember it. The years have come and gone since those days and sometimes memories can make things seem more incredible than they really were. That’s why memories are so wonderful.

My dad passed away several years ago. I was vacationing on the coast of Spain when it happened, watching the sun set on the water. These were the days before smart phones and international calling plans so it wasn’t until I returned home that I found out something had happened. Beyond the shock and sadness, I found myself searching my mind for all the best memories. The ones that I hadn’t thought about in years. The ones that featured him in the best light and made me remember the best moments. My parents lived in Texas and my dad wasn’t very good at telephone conversations. These first came to mind, but each one was the same and involved my mother handing him the phone and him reluctantly taking it for a few awkward moments of restrained conversation. Digging further, I would find much more, which included bits of wisdom like telling me that if I wanted to be writer I should do it and make it happen. This, actually on a phone conversation, just a month before he was gone forever.

And then my mind went to those times spent as a family back in our suburban home miles from the city. Sitting together during the cold weather months, with only the glow of the television to barely light the pecans on the table. While battling my grief, I saw that bowl in my mind’s eye and I did the inexplicable. I smiled. I saw my father cracking pecans and cursing when one didn’t quite crack the way that it should. I saw him showing me how to do it and giggled at myself as I fumbled about trying. My dad and I didn’t have a lot in common, but in that moment, we have everything in common. And that made it the best moment of all. Sometimes in life, the memories we least expect can matter more than any in the world. It’s not always the big moments in life that move us. Often, the bits that truly capture our hearts can involve something as beautifully simple as a handful of pecans.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 10 - A Handful Of Pecans - Doodlewash

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

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34 Comments
  1. Pamela Smith 1 week ago

    They look like I could pick them up and eat them,so real looking.

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 week ago

    What a beautiful story about your father, Charlie. And how wonderful that shortly before he died, he told you to go take hold of your dream. He gave you his blessing to be the person you wanted to become. I’m sure that has meant so much to you over the years that he’s been gone. Enjoying an evening cracking nuts just the right way, as my dad did, scooping the meat into your mouth – your dad will always be with you even if he isn’t right by your side.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Thanks so much for the lovely words, Sharon! 😃💕 Yes, it’s a memory that I alway hold close. And it always makes me so happy.

  3. Sandra Strait 1 week ago

    Beautiful pecans and a beautiful memory! It’s been 35 years since I lost my father and I still have moments like that where something simple will trigger a childhood memory of him. That’s why our loved ones are never truly gone.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      So true, Sandra! 😃💕 People can never truly leave us when they are in our hearts.

  4. Mary Roff 1 week ago

    Lovely story and lovely memories and lovely painting.

  5. Indira Govindan 1 week ago

    Lovely painting and such a lovely story.

  6. Susan Cuss 1 week ago

    Sometimes it’s the quietest, smallest moments that hold the most meaning, that pull at our hearts. A lovely memory of your father, Charlie. The pecans look good enough to eat.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕 So true… the smallest moments are always the best of all!

  7. Jill Kuhn 1 week ago

    Well said, Charlie – it IS the little moments that make a BIG difference! ❤️ I remember our family had a bowl of nuts in their shells too. My dad was also good at cracking them open… It reminds my of a Christmas memory that I will have to share on my blog sometime. Thanks for reminding me. 😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Thanks, Jill! 😃💕 Yay! Glad this brought back good memories and stories!

  8. smzang 1 week ago

    ” bits of wisdom like telling me that if I wanted to be writer I should do it and make it happen.”

    You have made it happen, and I’m thinking from somewhere among the stars he is nodding
    his approval with a smile on his face.

    Our first snow of the season today (just flurries) I always feel like a kid when the first snowflakes
    fly, and even more so when remembering how our family cracked nuts for days, and then the
    holiday baking began in earnest. Thank you so much for the many joys you have caused me to
    recall as I peruse your site.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement… it really means so much to me! 😃💕 And first snowflakes are the best way to feel like a kid again. I love that!

  9. June Hadaway 1 week ago

    Nice looking pecans. Love the colors. Hope you are feeling better Charlie.

  10. SnehLata Maheshwari 1 week ago

    Sweet memories Charlie my pa also did for me . Liked the story n as well your art.

  11. Sharon Nolfi 1 week ago

    We had that same bowl of nuts and silver nut cracker on our table! We would enjoy them after dinner. My dad was also a master cracker, especially on Brazil nuts. I lost my dad in 1990, but your post brought back his memory very clearly. He and my mother are forever in my heart and memories. Thanks for this post.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Aww I know they’ll always be with you, Sharon! 😃💕 Those memories are the best things in the world. They keep our loved ones close at all times.

  12. M. L. Kappa 1 week ago

    What a lovely post, Charlie. I also have memories of moments like those, many years after my father’s death. And, btw, we always keep a bowl of walnuts on our coffee table, with a nutcracker! 🍁🥜

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Thanks so much, Marina! 😃💕 Glad this post brought back good memories. And yay to have nuts and nutcracker nearby.

  13. fletchrf 7 days ago

    Warm story, warm image.

    I enjoy your musings very much, and musing myself I wonder if having a pre-determined goal for your painting eliminates the tumbling rush of ideas of what to paint, that I have. Thus, much of the time I could be painting, is spent trying to decide what to paint. I haven’t joined in with your daily doodles (decision made yes?) because a daily committment frightens me. Perhaps a weekly target is the way forward for me?

    The reason for this ramble is that I also enjoy the reflections that accompany your doodles. The day-to-day issues of life seem to occupy my mind, and musings like yours don’t appear. Perhaps they never will, but I won’t know unless I try.

    I think I need to make a committment to not only do a specific painting a week, but also write something about the thoughts and feelings it evokes, not for anyone else, just me. No! I don’t think, I do commit to doing that…… Now all I need to do is come up with my list. 🙂

  14. memadtwo 7 days ago

    Wonderful tribute to your father Charlie. It’s the little things that tug at our heart. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 Those little things are everything in the world!

  15. anamika808creative 7 days ago

    Oh I love them..!!!

  16. Sandra Gilbert 5 days ago

    It is always the simplest memories that mean the most. As I get older, I find that I reflect quite a bit on things I did as a child and the lessons I learned along the way.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Yeah, I definitely do that more and more. I still have a lot of things I’m looking forward to, but it’s always wonderful to stop and take a moment to look back. 😃💕

  17. Delores Azary 5 days ago

    I enjoy what you write as much as I enjoy the paintings! What beautiful sentiments about your father!

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