When I was a kid, getting a little fruit cup was one of my favorite things in the world. I particularly liked the strange little cherries inside that were sort of reddish pink in color and looked more like little candies than fruit. The larger version of this was called fruit salad and it was made for gatherings by cutting up a bunch of fruit and tossing it all together into a bowl. If you purchased the mixture in a can, it was often called fruit cocktail, which is actually the name I remember most as a kid. The word cocktail in this instance isn’t the alcholic kind, but the version that applies to any little bits of food simply thrown together and served as a chilled appetizer. The canned version back then was always served in a heavy syrup and the whole concoction was a sweet mushy mess that you barely had to chew. The pears were my favorite, until you got the random one that wasn’t quite ripe and actually required chewing. That sucked. But overall, it was quite delightful.
These days, a fruit cup for adults is actually just a bunch of fruit in a cup, often packaging in a way that you can grab it on the run. We’re always on the run these days. But, it’s real fruit that you can still recognize, cut into slices or entirely whole, in the case of berries. I understand this is a far superior way to eat fruit, but I miss my little cocktail cups sometimes. The little squares of fruit were fun, although it was sometimes impossible to distinguish the difference in flavor between a grape and peach. But finding the little cherries was like finding buried treasure, made special because there were so few of them. These days, I’ve graduated to whole fruit without the syrup, but I miss the sweet days of little fruit cups. That should be a song, “the sweet days of little fruit cups.” Something with a little folk country music in the background. Another thing that you’d find in my house as I was growing up.
I’ve no idea where I’m going with all of this, other than to say that sometimes those little childhood treats are fun to remember. And, as I’ve grown into my version of adulthood, even when I now know there’s a better way it doesn’t stop me from wanting to just have what I had back then. Thinking about all the wreckless abandon I had when approaching my creative projects reminds me that the little kid I used to be was wise in his own special way. And so each day as I look both backward and forward, I have to stop and give him some credit for making me the artist I am today. Some days, I’m not sure if I’m drawing, sketching, painting, or illustrating, as these terms often seem hard to precisely define. It’s a bit more like I’m simply grabbing for supplies, painting or drawing and yet always splashing around with a smile, making my own little fruit salad to go.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Indian Yellow, Red Orange, Sennelier Red, Phthalocyanine Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Phthalo. Green Pale, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al-Star Fountain Pen – Extra Fine, with Platinum Carbon black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.