Tightwad Memories

Tightwad Cafe Diner Food Illustration - Doodlewash

Today’s prompt of “Blue-Plate special,” comes from a term that means a low-priced meal at a diner that changes daily. This frugal meal brought back memories of visiting Tightwad, Missouri, a little village with a population of less than 70 people that was just down the road from my grandmother’s farm when I was a kid.  Yes, you heard that correctly, the actual name of the town is Tightwad, a word used to refer to a miserly person. Legend has it that a postman was making deliveries there and saw a watermelon he wanted at the grocery. Not wanting to carry it around all day with him, he asked the grocer to hold it for him, but when he returned to buy it later that day, the grocer had already sold it. Apparently, to someone who said they’d give him 50 cents more for it. The postman declared the man a “tightwad!” and no doubt continued to do so each time he saw him after that. Some sources say it was a rooster instead, which looks nothing like a watermelon, so this one can probably just be chalked up to local lore. But, no matter the exact story, I always thought the name was hilarious and wonderful so it was one of my favorite places to visit as a kid. I’ve completely imagined this table setting from Tightwad Cafe, as I haven’t been back there since I was young, but I’ve heard the food is amazing, so if you’re ever in Tightwad, definitely check it out!

I adored going out to eat at all the little places around my grandparent’s house. They lived near Truman Lake, a large and expansive lake, and the views were amazing. The food was always good old-fashioned country home cooking and I adored it. Sure, green beans might be the only fiber or indeed color to be found on the plate, beyond the plate itself, but they were always fresh from the farm! Once, we had a family reunion at the one and only park shelter to be found in Tightwad. It was fun and memorable and I enjoyed every minute. I actually took a picture, which I’ve made available in my Freshly Curious Free Photos for Artists & Writers archive, of the restrooms available on that day that just made me giggle. Yeah, if you’re curious, I stopped at a modern gas station on the way home. But, it was fun to reconnect with family just steps away from Tightwad Bank. Yep, that’s probably the best name for a bank that ever existed. And it’s quite popular as around 20% of the accounts are from tourists who are thrilled to write a check to their utility company using a check with a Tightwad Bank logo on it.

In truth, I’ve not thought of Tightwad in years, so this is why I adore these daily prompts. They always spark memories that, while wonderful, might have been totally forgotten. Though I only visited the country, having grown up in the suburbs and then moving to the city as an adult, I still love the memories of spending my summers there. Life wasn’t always simple in the country, as there are plenty of issues to deal with wherever we end up in life. But, it had a certain sincerity that I think is sometimes lacking in the city. Perhaps that’s why I was always thrilled to learn that I got to spend time on my grandparent’s farm. It was like escaping to a completely different land and so thrilling and wonderful. And sure, parts were very simple indeed. I was a kid living in a time before the Internet and so I never felt like I was missing anything more than perhaps one of my television shows. Yet, who needed television when you had an entire green land to explore and a chance discover new things? And, though I miss those amazing times, I mostly just miss the company of my grandparents, who shaped my life in ways I’m sure they never knew. So, it was extraordinarily lovely to travel back in time today and once again experience those Tightwad memories.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Opus (Vivid Pink), Vermilion, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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 20 - Diner Food Tightwad Cafe Illustration_IG

 

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
25 Comments
  1. Chad 3 months ago

    Sounds like a great place to visit! I love your water color – it matches the story perfectly.

  2. Lisa 3 months ago

    I, on the other hand, have lived most of my life in the country. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. How do people even rest their eyes without miles of green? Kidding–not kidding. My only experience with city life as a kid was visiting my ne’er-do-well grandfather in Milwaukee. It was exciting, but never felt totally safe. I’m not sure why. Maybe we had been warned by our parents not to wander off because it wasn’t safe. I do remember all the houses on the street, looking almost the same. When we were out on the porch I could write my name in the sooty city dirt from the industrial fallout. The country is so quiet. When I moved to the Chicago area it took my a while to get used to the constant hum. When I moved back to the country it was like ahhh! Listen to the birds.

    Side note! I am totally down with that plate of food!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww yay! The country is truly the best! 😃💕I’ve grown used to the hum of the city and the helicopters and loud trains that arrive in the middle of the night, but still long for that pure peace I remember so well! And yay! hehe… thrilled you’re down with this plate of food, LIsa! It’s one of my faves!! Totally imagined, of course, but so delicious!

  3. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    Your painting reminds me of the blue-plate specials that we used to get in local store’s cafes. Little holes in the wall with just a few tables and a bar, but the food was always fresh and delicious, though also fried and accompanied by a real ice cream milk shake! I love your mug!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      hehe! Yay! Yeah, but even that fried food was better for us than the over-processed foods of today. I loved those cafes! That make me smile! And a real ice cream milk shake is honestly just about the best thing in the world!! 😃💕

  4. Karen Fortier 3 months ago

    Great blue plate special Charlie

  5. Mireya 3 months ago

    Okay I’ve been thinking about fried chicken, so how’d you know?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      hehe! I was reading your mind, Mireya! 😃💕 That’s not creepy is it? lol… hope you got some of that fried chicken!

  6. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    I love road trips and discovering cool things like Tightwad! I would definitely open a bank account there.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe… I’ve totally thought about opening a bank account there… it’s just so cool! But, I don’t even write physical checks anymore so I haven’t done it yet.

  7. betty11 3 months ago

    Wow! Your drawing is really good!😯😯😯
    By the way why don’t you reply to your comments?🤔😁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Betty! 😃💕 I actually do respond to every comment, but I wait until the next day when I’ve set aside time. I do all of this as a side hobby, so I want to be sure I have time set aside to read each comment fully! Thrilled you enjoyed this!! ❤️

  8. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    Farm memories are some of the best!!! Wonderful blue plate special!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 I adore the farm!! I miss it SO much!!

  9. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    And your story reminds me of all the summers we spent at my grandparents in Upper Michigan. Early years it did not have running water or inside plumbing at that. No bathroom. Outhouse out back and an inside small port a potty. It was a fancy inside one, wicker frame with wood lid and a white porcelain pot. Probably from the victorian era. Lol. I’ll have to google it! My parents would take us to Lake Superior for our weekly “baths”. It was always so cold. Your blue plate special reminds me also of the one stop for breakfast on the 6 hour drive to my grandparents.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh wow! I adore your story, Lori! 😃💕 What a wonderful memory! Yeah… those cafes could always manage to make up for that long road trip! Though yours was WAY longer than mine. I would have had to stop several times on that journey with my insanely short attention span. 😊

  10. Sharon Mann 3 months ago

    Boy, does this bring back memories. I love your food plate, I remember that meal as a kid.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, this was the best meal ever!! hehe… at least when I was a kid. So delicious!

  11. smzang 3 months ago

    I love that story, and the plate of food has my mouth watering!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕hehe… mouth watering is the best compliment for a food sketch!!

  12. Snehlata. 3 months ago

    Loved The food n the story.

  13. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

    Would I love to meet the founders of Tightwad, Missouri, and wondering if Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) had anything to do with this nonsense. Sounds like something he would have dreamed up, from the postman to the watermelon and the hilarious unlikeliness of the whole incident. I bet old Mr. Clemens laughs out loud up there in the clouds every time someone writes holds a Tightwad Bank check under the lights to see if it’s real. Only we down here call it “thunder.”

    I do like your painting of the Blue Plate special – wouldn’t care to eat it, however. But a good artwork.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, this is some country food realness happening here! And true… Mark Twain would have loved the absurdity of this town and all of its stories!

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