Three Eeks

I Continue My Talent Search

Unknown-2Mom encouraged her daughters to find and pursue interests. We obliged: Carolyn walloped home runs; I walked barefoot on hot asphalt; and Barbara charged a fee to those who wanted to sit by her on the school bus.

I sensed Mom had hoped for more, so I decided to become an artist like my dad.

For as long as my siblings and I can remember, Dad drew a stylized chicken. With admirable consistency, he sketched a side view of a tall, skinny rooster with a long neck and prominent wattle. Its beak gaped wide and dripped exactly three drops of drool. The word “Eek!” also escaped, written three to seven times, depending on Dad’s whimsy and the chicken’s mental state.

He shared his talent with us by leaving small scraps of paper with his gaunt rooster here and there around the house: beneath a doily on the piano, tucked into the toothbrush jar, or slipped inside a book. (As an adult, I once found a seven-eek chicken in my medicine cabinet after Dad visited. I chose to think it was not a comment on my cooking.)

Admiring my father’s skill and persistence with his art, I decided to discover a topic of equal interest for my life’s work. Having recently read The Secret Garden, I set about drawing pictures of a gate in a crumbling brick wall adorned with gracefully twined roses.

I practiced until I achieved consistency, and then entered my crayon painting in the school art fair.

I expected a blue ribbon, but received a note suggesting I work on proportion. When I asked my teacher what proportion meant, she replied that my huge roses were too big for the wall; it looked like a fence made of tinker toys supporting pink cabbages.


The next Christmas, I asked for book on sketching. Santa delivered. The book started with step-by-step illustrated directions for drawing people’s heads by using a circle for the head and smaller circles to mark the placement and size of each feature before filling in the details. Chapter two explained how to use the circle technique for bodies and clothing. Then came chapters on animals, houses, and outdoor settings; all hung on a series of circles.

A year later, I was still on heads.

I was rescued from my fruitless pursuit when my youngest brothers exercised their artistic abilities by scribbling my book with orange crayon. I shrieked and complained, then gave up on art and decided to be an Olympic runner.

But I continued to feel an artistic bond with my father: to this day, whenever a raindrop hits me, I picture him in heaven—carefully drawing an emaciated, drooling rooster—and tucking it away for me to find later.

Have any thoughts on today’s post?
Please comment below.




27 thoughts on “Three Eeks

  1. Oh the memories that brought back! I had forgotten about the roosters! It made me laugh! Your parents were all about bringing out the best in us and I hope that the gift I received from them can continue to be given to others-especially my children.


  2. Your stories are such a breath of fresh air in my day! It’s as if I am sitting at your kitchen table and you are looking out the window with a smile, recounting, enjoying and telling a beautiful story. Your humor, mixed with disappointment is such a gift. The fact that your Dad continued the rooster notes well into your adult years just adds another layer that I love learning about you. Thank you for sharing.


    • Carrie, what a lovely comment. I like knowing that you feel we’re sitting together at my kitchen table as you read my blog.

      My only regret is that I never thought of preserving one of Dad’s drooling roosters. I need to ask my siblings if any of them did. If so, I’ll scan it in and feature it on a future blog.


  3. Hello! I see where you and I have similar story-telling “tics” I suppose you could say. Such as…


    That, and plenty more made me smile!

    I am following you, in my Reader, but reader is not notifying me of your work! I’ll have to be more vigilant about staying in touch.


  4. Dear Aunt Beulah, My Ma was an artist,a very good one. My 2 siblings and I were inept at art, my nephew got the gift. Odd how that is. Thanks for another lovely post, something I now look forward to on my Tuesday, Cheers, Sheila.


  5. My father used to draw foxes. Once, in elementary school, a teacher asked us to draw a picture of a forest. I spent the whole afternoon crying, because I could not (and still cannot) draw. When my father came home, he took pity on me and drew an ugly tree and pretty foxes playing around the tree. (He could not draw trees well. As I said before, he drew foxes.) But I did not keep the picture, either.


  6. I love the title for this post.

    It’s sweet that your Dad used his artwork as a way to communicate with his children—even into adulthood.

    Your post struck a chord with me. I’ve always wished I could draw and have been buying sketchbooks off and on for years. Last month I finally gave away the last sketchbook I purchased (bought several years ago) when I realized that I was never to advance beyond simple stick figures. I’ll just let my camera do the “drawing” for me!


  7. Whenever I’m doing anything truly domestic–sewing curtains or decorating a birthday cake–I feel my mom at my shoulder. She could do anything. I don’t think she believed she was talented, merely resourceful. She believed she needed to do it herself or do without. She could always find a way. Maybe that was her talent. I hope that’s the one I got.


  8. What a lovely comment, Christina. It’s good to hear from you. I didn’t save any skinny roosters, but my extended family has reacted to this post with a search, and my brother and his artist wife intend to try to re-create one, but we’re all sorry that none of us saved an original.,


  9. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after browsing through some of the posts I realized
    it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly delighted I found it and I’ll
    be book-marking it and checking back often!


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