For our August Art Challenge prompt of “Popsicle” today, I made a sketch of a little kitty about to devour one in many different colors. I’ve no idea what flavor this particular popsicle would be, but I’m assuming it would taste like rainbows. As a kid, I loved all of the sweet treats that zoomed through my neighborhood via the ice cream van. I’m sure the driver wasn’t supposed to drive that fast, but it made the experience more dramatic as we kids starting running and screaming after it, coins jangling loudly in our shorts. The race was the fun part. The difficult part was trying to decide how to spend those coins and choose that one perfect treat. It seemed like an impossible task at the time with all of those yummy, brightly-colored options emblazoned across the side of the van. I actually loved the banana bomb pop on the really hot summer days, but my all-time favorite was of the strawberry shortcake variety. In the end, it barely mattered as next came a race between the tongue and the sun to finish the popsicle before it wilted into a mass of gooey syrup leaving only a viscous stick behind.
Like so many things, it was the entire experience of those times that made them special. I tried one of those popsicles as an adult and it didn’t taste quite the same. It had the flavor I remembered, but lacked all of the emotion and excitement that made it taste so good. There are plenty of foods like this from my childhood. From fried bologna sandwiches to the little hot dogs carved to pop up like little figures as they boiled (which seems a tad ghastly thinking about it now), it all made me so happy. It wasn’t just the way everything tasted, it was the way my mom made something so ordinary seem so rather extraordinary. All attempts to recreate that time with only the food have always come up short. Some memories are best savored in the imagination, where all of the necessary elements can come together to bring back those same remarkable feelings.
That’s not to say there are no popsicles in my freezer today. There are actually some all-fruit sweetened lime popsicles that I always get each summer. They remind me of the Limeade drink I would enjoy as a kid during the hot summer months. Though, these popsicles are much smaller and only have 60 calories, they still make me feel like a kid and not the old guy who bought them while worrying about his waistline. I was happy to share the experience with Philippe who, I was pleased to learn, enjoyed them as well. He didn’t have any of the memories that I had, but still said that they were delicious. Our childhoods were drastically different considering mine took place in the middle of America and his in the middle of Paris. But, despite the drastic difference in food, we had many similar experiences. That’s the beauty of childhood. It’s an exploration of the most basic things in life while be nearly overwhelmed by the thrill of each new discovery. It’s a state of mind that I continually try to recapture every day. In many ways, I’ll always be that kid tasting rainbows, relentlessly trying to discover and invent new things, still chasing after popsicles.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Opus (Vivid Pink), Quinacridone Red, Hansa Yellow Medium, Benzimida Orange, Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine (Green Shade), and Indigo. ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click Here!