The Joy Of Bendy Straws

Glass Of Water Straw Watercolor Illustration - Doodlewash

For our prompt of “Drinks” today, I chose my favorite summer drink now, which is actually just a glass of ice cold water, usually without the ice. That’s not a very exotic summer drink, so the kid in me likes to include a bendy straw to transform it into a bit of awesome. I’ve no idea why, but I’ve always loved bendy straws. In my defense, they are more practical than their pencil-straight cousins. We actually use washable metal straws today to avoid recycling issues, but I have fond memories of the neon bendy straws when I was a kid so that’s what I depicted here. Beyond bending them you could also stretch them and generally just play with them. This was a time before all of the fidget cubes, fidget spinners, and the like, so bendy straws were quite popular for many things beyond the intended use. There was also something called a “crazy straw,” a clear hard plastic straw, that looked like a shoelace that hadn’t been tied properly. I remember thinking it was cool to see a bit of red Kool-Aid work it’s way through the labyrinth of tubing as my eyes crossed to watch the show. I also remember that the straws smelled horrible, but it’s no doubt that I had a knock-off as we didn’t have money for the name brand things.

I’ve actually painted bendy straws a few times here on Doodlewash, since they remind me so much of childhood. I got chickenpox when I was young and had to stay home from school for a couple of weeks. I was a bit older than I should have been, but thankfully this meant that VHS rental stores were just in vogue. So, my mother rented all of the Alfred Hitchcock movies for me to watch while I was recuperating. This, and a can of Sprite with, yes, a bendy straw, completed my care. Also, and a mysterious homeopathic remedy for my skin that my mother dutifully applied that left no visible scars. Perhaps this is why I still like bubbles and mysteries to this day! But, it’s definitely why I absolutely adore my mother and credit her for pretty much anything I end up DOing along the way. When you have someone in your life who loves you in that most ridiculous way that always makes if feel like the sun is permanently shining on you, it’s a beautiful gift indeed. And, no matter what I accomplish in life, I’ll never forget the source of my own creative energy.

This actually came from both of my parents, as I inherited my dad’s impulsive and curious nature. He would jump into any new thing that seemed interesting and fun, completely ignore any of the prerequisite skills. He taught me that I don’t have to know everything in order to move my dream forward. And my mother, who constantly encouraged me no matter what I wanted to try next. No doubt, she saw a bit of her husband in myself and figured she should just roll with the outcome. The result was me, the guy standing before you who likes sketching stuff each and every day. A guy who wants to change the world, but has too much exuberance to ever implement that plan properly. I’m not particularly famous, or notably accomplished, but I’m a product of two wonderful parents who wished the most for me. And, that makes me feel like a complete success! I’ve not come close to achieving the dreams they imagined for me, nor even the imaginative dreams of my littlest self. But, each thing I DO each day brings me one step closer to that dream of me that my family and my littlest self once had. Though, despite this formidable cheering section, I oddly find myself pausing once again to once more experience the joy of bendy straws.

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About the Doodlewash

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Day 2 - Glass Of Water Straw Watercolor Illustration_IG
Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
43 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 4 months ago

    I love your bendy straw! I remember the the crazy straw too, though I don’t think I ever had one. I don’t use straws at all anymore. They aren’t really good for digestion – they give you gas. I’m full of it already – I don’t need anything that gives me more, lol!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕haha!! I’m with you… yeah… digestion and aging are not friends to be sure! lol When I was younger they said if you drank beer through a straw you’d get drunk quicker. These days, I’ve no threat of getting drunk because I’d get too sleepy first. 😊hehe

  2. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 4 months ago

    Looks fabulous!!!! Ya water or tea are my go to drinks. 🙂 Oh a fun caterpillar that can be made from a straw thought you might like it lol. Then again I am a big kid. 🙂 https://youtu.be/8VRXC6BKkTs

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Oh my gosh!! That video is SO fun!! You KNOW I’ll be trying it soon! lol

  3. Victoria Ballinger 4 months ago

    That was absolutely beautiful, both the art and heartfelt words!! I, too, still love bendy straws and remember crazy straws fondly. I actually found extra long bendy straws recently that I am enjoying. The bendy part is several inches long and I find myself playing with it with the same rapt fascination and giddy enjoyment of childhood. It’s such a small thing, but has brought me much joy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Victoria! 😃💕 Love hearing that! hehe… yeah, isn’t it great to discover something that takes you back to being a kid again. It’s such a wonderful feeling. I always feel like the best ME I could possibly BE in those moments.

      • Victoria Ballinger 3 months ago

        You’re welcome:). It is always great to rediscover childhood joys. One of the many things I’ve loved about parenthood is sharing all the little joyful things I loved with my kids. Discovering new joys with them is great too. They are nearly grown now, but it’s amazing how often the small things are among their favorite memories. It’s still the littlest things that can bring joy even now for them as teens, and for my husband and I as we enter middle age. Reminders to appreciate those things in our fast-paced world these days are so important. I’m glad that you are helping people to see that through your art and beautiful, heartfelt messages along with sharing your art:).

        I’m so glad I discovered your blog!! This is the first post I saw and I’ve been trying to see/read more as I have time. I love your art and writing styles both!! I look forward to seeing more. Thank you for doing this, sharing your work and inspiring others:)!!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

          What a wonderful comment! I love that you’re sharing the simplest things with your family, Victoria! 😃💕 And so thrilled you found my blog! If you like my stories, I hope you’ll check out my podcast (it’s an audible version of some of the best and an easy way to catch up!). Here’s the link – https://doodlewash.com/sketching-stuff-podcast/

          • Victoria Ballinger 3 months ago

            Thank you!! I bookmarked the link to your podcast:). I look forward to listening to it soon!!

          • Author
            Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

            Awesome!! Let me know your thoughts in the comments on the posts! I only appeared on audio for the first time last year… hehe… and did my first-ever video during Sketchbook Revival in April. So all feedback is welcome! 🙂

          • Victoria Ballinger 3 months ago

            I’m sure you’re doing great!! I will give feedback though, but expect it to be positive:).

          • Author
            Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

            Aww thanks! But if there’s anything you’d like me to change, I appreciate that feedback as well!

      • Victoria Ballinger 3 months ago

        Exploring your blog site more, I just discovered that I have both of your books!! 🙂 I recently purchased both, the first one on my Kindle, and the new book, my daughter and I wanted to explore together the moment we saw it, so I bought it in paperback. We plan to use it over the Summer, and hope to convince her brother to join us at least a little bit. 🙂

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

          Oh wow!! That’s SO awesome to hear, Victoria! Thank you so much for buying my books! 😃💕I hope you and your daughter enjoy them! And double hope you can get brother to join as well! hehe

          • Victoria Ballinger 3 months ago

            You’re welcome!! 🙂 Thank you!! I know we will enjoy the books. My daughter is a young (16) artist. I’m trying to regain skills I once had, but lost because I, sadly, gave up on art for a long time due to feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I kick myself for that every day. 🙁 I’m working on a major reorganization of my studio. I hope to get back to making art regularly once I get it done. My daughter and I have taken over the living room with art stuff so we can hang out together while creating.

            My son has a great time making art when his sister and I convince him to join us. We talk and laugh and have a great time even when we’re all doing completely different things and using different mediums. It’s so much fun and I’m looking forward to Summer days with nothing we “have to” do so we can create as often as possible. 🙂

          • Author
            Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

            I adore that!! I’m so thrilled to hear you family is coming together to make art! That makes me SO happy to hear! ❤️Yeah, and my book is built to help people only remember what they already know. 😉 hehe We are all artists! It’s not about learning how to become one, but remembering who we really are in the first place!

          • Victoria Ballinger 3 months ago

            Thank you!! Art is so important! I’ve had art supplies in my kids’ hands since it was safe to do so. We did art projects and science experiments regularly when they were little. I’ve tried to make art and learning a constant part of their lives. They can cook too because they were in the kitchen since they could stand on chairs to “help” even when I really just gave them ingrdients to play with before they were able to follow complex directions. My husband also nurtures creativity. They build and design things with him regularly. Since they were tiny they’ve helped (mostly watched when tiny) him repair things and learn his various creative hobbies. We are a hobby oriented family and try to encourage creativity as much as possible. We have art supplies, musical instruments and equipment for various hobbies available around here for them to pick up and use. Our daughter taught herself to play several instruments and we just bought her another. Our son prefers building and designing. He’s taking leatherworking and metalworking classes this week at camp and is excited to get home and pursue both further. Creative pursuits, the arts, are vital parts of our lives.

            I know we’ll have a ball sharing your books and podcast this Summer! 🙂 We may pass along your podcast link to my daughter’s best friend as well. I think she will love it too!!

            May I quote you? I’d like to quote what you said after hehe. I keep a journal of quotes and I have some quotes printed out and laminated hanging up around my studio. I use quotes from my quote journal to leave inspirational notes on my husband’s and kids’ mirrors. I change them out as the writing gets messed up from shower steam in the bathrooms or when I deem them to be in need of updating. Mirrors in the kids’ rooms last longest, of course, since there’s no shower steam. We have a big white board up in their old playroom from when I taught my son preschool at home until we got him into a program the next school year. They do doodles on it and I leave quotes there too. I wrote my own messages to them straight from my heart onto their bedroom windows. They see those twice a day, at least, when opening and closing curtains. I got a bit off topic there, but I wanted you to know how I would use the quote if you allow me to quote you. 🙂

  4. Laura Kate 4 months ago

    Enjoyed your plug for motherhood. Hooray for unconditional love!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 Moms are just the greatest, along with dads, of course! Good parents are the best thing in the world!

  5. Karen Fortier 4 months ago

    Charlie, I love your bendy straw and share your drink choice but will take mine with ice when possible.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Yeah, I usually always had ice, but now that I’m married to a European, it’s ice free most of the time. As long as it’s still really cold, I’m good! lol

  6. memadtwo 3 months ago

    We don’t stop often enough to think of all our parents did for us and how they made us what we are today…I like the tangents of your thought processes Charlie. From straws to all the gifts of our childhood! may we pass them on. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕 And yay to that! Parents are the most important thing in our world, even when they aren’t the star of the show anymore. They made our characters what they are today!

  7. Zertab Quaderi 3 months ago

    Hats off to your parents and what a great doodle of the glass, Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Zertab! 😃💕 So thrilled you enjoyed this one!

  8. Lisa 3 months ago

    I’m of an age before the MMR shots were invented, so of course had all of them. When I had the mumps my mom happened to catch a mouse in the cellar. It was trapped by one leg, so she let it loose in a giant pickle jar and propped it up on a card table by my sick bed. The poor thing lost its paw, but was no worse for it it seems because she built a nest of chewed up toilet paper tubes and had a litter of babies. After all three of we kids went through the mumps the jar was set in the garden with the lid off and set free. The bad news is that the mom abandoned her babies thereby introducing us to the whole good mother/bad mother trope. 😂😂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh my goodness! That’s an amazing story, Lisa! 😃 A pet injured mouse during the mumps of all things! Wow!… and yeah, the primal story that unfolded… what a lot of lessons to learn all at once! ;-)hehe

  9. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    I love when you write about your parents and the wonderful influences they had on you. I don’t remember having bendy straws as a child, but I certainly used them with my kids.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕Yeah, my parents were wonderful. No matter what I DO today, I can’t help but pause to thank them.

  10. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    You were very lucky to have such nurturing parents. Kudos to you for recognizing it too. Your glass and straw……are so perfect. I need to get going on my prompts. Just realized we are into day 4, and I haven’t done one Yikes! I’ve sketched, but not for DW.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Yeah, my parents made my life destined for fun and creative adventure. And I’m endlessly thankful for that. And yeah, you totally need to get to sketching some of those prompts! You know, of course, the prompts are totally optional, so still be sure to use the hashtag when you post! Everything counts! 😉

  11. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    Beautiful glass!! and love the green straw. We’ve switched to re-usable stainless straws too…not as much fun but hope we’re doing a tiny bit to help the environment.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, we’re all stainless steel here as well, but I still remember playing with those silly plastic straws!

  12. Robert J. Coleman 3 months ago

    The thing that hit me was the way the straw points almost directly at the viewer–an open invite to slake one’s thirst. Just what you need on a hot summer day, and given to you by a loving mom. your vignettes are a peek into a happy childhood, and I know exactly what showing us. Love it! bob.c

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕 Yeah, I love to paint straws like this… it’s a total and complete invite! So happy you enjoy these posts… I think peeking into childhood is the best thing of all!

  13. Robert J. Coleman 3 months ago

    edit: “what you are showing us” sorry bout that! rjc

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      hehe… I always totally self-edit in my head so I didn’t even notice! 😉

  14. Karen 3 months ago

    Oh! We have a couple metal straws at our house too! But also teenage boys, so we just reuse the straws that come with their slurpees when they buy them. 😄 Have you tried the silicone straws yet? Some have a “bend” at the top end already. I don’t know if these will be good or just feel squishy and weird between your teeth… what do you think?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      I’ve not tried those straws… hehe… yeah the silicone thing is sometimes just too squishy and weird for my tastes. We went metal and rigid instead…lol 😉

    • Victoria Ballinger 3 months ago

      We have some of the silicone strwas and none of us like them. I’m not sure if it’s just the ones we got or not, but they remind me of wet noodles. They are just too squishy and weird. We have a variety of hard plastic reusable straws that are dishwasher safe that we use regularly. They last a long time, clean easily (unless they and the cups they were in end up as science experiments lurking too long in teenager’s rooms. In those cases, I toss cup and all…) and aren’t weird at all. We’ve amassed a decent collection. I like them much better than metal straws too. I like the variety of cute colors and patterns available as well. It’s just more fun for me somehow to have a cute or pretty straw, especially one I can wash and reuse many times, than a plain stainless one. The metal ones I tried got uncomfortably hot or cold, depending on the beverage temperature of course, during use for me, which hasn’t been an issue with the hard plastic kind. These are just my experiences and opinions, but I hope my sharing helps you. 🙂

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

        Yeah, we only use the metal straws for smoothies and they still manage to get a bit too cold! 😉 hehe

  15. Charlie, a belated congratulations on the books! I had no idea. That’s so awesome and perfect. And as always I love your bendy straw story. For some reason whenever my kids are sick, they get a straw in their drink. 🤷‍♀️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thank you so much, Eileen! 😃💕 Yeah, I finally did that illustrated memoir on my bucket list and an instructional book, served up Charlie style, of course in the form of an Activity Book that I loved as a kid! hehe And glad you enjoyed this post!! YESSS! Bendy straws were always there when I was sick as a kid, along with grandma’s handmade blanket… I think that’s why I still have such an affection for them to this day. ❤️

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