My Dad Always Liked Onions

Day 17 - My Dad Always Liked Onions Watercolor #doodlewashJune2018 Doodlewash

Today we have some onions in answer to our art challenge prompt. It’s oddly the first vegetable that came to mind when I was thinking of my dad today on Father’s Day. He passed away over 15 years ago now, and so this day is always a bit of a reflective time for me. As each year passes, I find myself trying to cling to those memories that keep him close to me. And while onions may seem like an odd thing to recall, what I remember most was that he was what they refer to as a “meat and potatoes” kind of man. And potatoes, while technically a vegetable, don’t really count as one. This is not even a defining feature for a man in the Midwest back then or often now, but it’s the image that came to mind. Grilled onions would always accompany his steaks, but I never liked onions back then. In truth, we never seemed to have very much in common when I was a kid or even through my adulthood. But that always made him rather fascinating to me. He wasn’t ever my best friend, but he was always someone I admired, even when we didn’t share the same tastes.

My mother loves to tell a story where a very Little Charlie was having a long chat with his dad. She didn’t want to disturb us and says to this day she still has no idea what we were talking about for so long. It was the moment after this long chat that she remembers most. He worked nights and had left to go to work for the evening and, after he was gone, I turned to my mother, paused for a moment, and then simply said, “I like that guy.” Sure, it’s comical and illustrates just what an odd child I was, but it was also a defining story that would serve to sum up our entire relationship. There would be very few moments where I would say, “I love you” and I’m not entirely sure now if they ever happened or I just suppose they must have occurred. One is meant to love their father so I’m sure I must have said that at one point or another. When he unexpectedly passed away, I found myself searching for all of those little moments that seemed to matter most. And while some worry if they told someone they loved them before they passed, I only hoped he knew that after all of those years, I did indeed still like that guy.

And were a miracle to occur that would allow us to have that chat again today, I’m certain things would be very much the same. Because now, I finally realize that for all of our differences, we weren’t very different after all. We were made from the same cloth as they say, and though the patterns seemed so unique, they were, in the end, not that different at all. I’d love to know what we chatted about those decades ago in that little dark room just before he went to work. I’m sure he imparted some wisdom that I was meant to take with me until this day. But, something tells me that whatever he said, I did take it to heart, and it was certainly important as I never told another person. Not even my mother. And while I’ve fumbled and succeeded throughout life, I think I’ve managed to turn out to be a rather good person in the end. This is in no small part because of that guy I chatted with when I was so very young. That guy would live on to become a driving force in everything I do in life, even if, in this moment, I can only recall that my dad always liked onions.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue, (my Da Vinci Trio, Click Here to Learn More!) + Opus (Vivid Pink). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
 Day 17 - My Dad Always Liked Onions Watercolor #doodlewashJune2018 Doodlewash
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

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!

23 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 5 months ago

    Sometimes the line between the different and the same between can be hard to quantify. I think there are subspecies of personality, where someone is just different enough to be their own person yet definitely the same personality species as someone else. We tend to obsess about the differences though so they seem more significant. It’s been 36 years since I lost my father, and it is the small things – a certain food or activity that brings him to mind most strongly.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Aww so true, Sandra! 😃💕There are so many of those little things that bring people back to us. I think that’s why I can seem to sketch away from them. It’s just that bit of “stuff’ in our lives that becomes the most important in the end.

  2. June Hadaway 5 months ago

    Perfect onions, shine and all. Your dad made a huge impression on you I’m sure… with, lasting memories. If we could only go back in time, huh? I am certain though, we would do it all over again…. the same way, as you said.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 Hehe… I’m with you! I don’t think I’d change a thing in the end. It was all meant to happen just as it did!

  3. Mary Roff 5 months ago

    Your painting and your story are a lovely tribute to your Dad. It’s not the word that expresses our love but our actions and I’m sure you father knew how much you loved him. Somewhere he is pointing to this post and proudly saying, “that is my son.”

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕Aww that’s such a sweet thing to think about… I think he must be. Even on the day when I do something crazy… hehe… he would definitely still say that!

  4. SnehLata Maheshwari 5 months ago

    Loved the story of dad definitely pa also a center part of the family i too miss my pa.
    Liked onion , very pretty art.lie
    Thanks.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 He was an intriguing man for sure, and I do miss him each and every day.

  5. Lisa 5 months ago

    Great story. I miss my dad all the time. He was one of those bigger than life kind of guys, so his place is going to be hard to fill.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, I feel the same way. It’s not possible to replace a father, but that’s okay. It’s what makes them so amazing in the first place!

  6. Sharon Nolfi 5 months ago

    You’ve written a wonderful tribute to your dad, Charlie. It sounds like both your parents were fundamentally good people and that their good qualities are reflected in you. I love reading about your childhood!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, I had wonderful parents. It’s definitely something I cherish to this day!

  7. Mary McDonough 5 months ago

    Your words touch my heart. Thank you, Charlie, for sharing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Mary!😃💕Parents are such an important part of our journey, even when they’re no longer with us.

  8. Laura (PA Pict) 5 months ago

    This was a beautifully written and very touching post, Charlie. Although both of my parents are still living, my two oldest brothers died prematurely (at 21 and 41) so I found myself relating to aspects of your post. Obviously I don’t know you in real life but you seem to be a really great human being and that is a fantastic tribute to your dad.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      That’s such a sweet thing to hear! Thank you Laura! 😃💕 I’m rather positive we would get along perfectly in real life. So sorry to learn about your brothers. It’s so tough to lose a family member, but then again, they really never leave us. Our hearts just never let them go.

  9. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 months ago

    This is a sensitive tribute to your dad, Charlie, and a portrait of fathers and sons everywhere. You are a talented writer. I know you love Doodlewashing, but your writing is superb. I’m pretty sure your dad is smiling at you now as he thinks, “I like that guy.”

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Aww… that made my eyes water… thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 I think it might like this guy. He used to read my mom poetry, something I only learned after his death. We likely had more in common than I will ever know.

  10. Susan Cuss 5 months ago

    Wonderful, heart-felt memories, Charlie. Thank you for sharing. Hey, even your onions shine!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Susan! 😃💕 My dad was a very important influence on my life. And yeah, I like to think he is responsible for that bit of shine I always like to add to everything. 😉

  11. smzang 5 months ago

    “And were a miracle to occur that would allow us to have that chat again today, I’m certain things would be very much the same.” That is the highest compliment of all…
    it realizes things were as they were meant to be and still are. Beautiful!!

    About onions….Vidalias are in the stores now…the best onion ever. I mix them with sweet peppers and mushrooms and live in bliss as I savor them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 You always make me feel so much better about my writing. I’m never sure if I’m actually writing or really just rambling, so I’m always thrilled when you find a morsel that feels like the real thing! 😊 And yay for Vidalias… they’re so delicious!

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