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!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. 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!