Dr. Pepper and the Human Heart

My dad is the little guy in front. His sister Jewel, and brother Pete are in back. Meema was 48 when she had my dad.

Every year at Christmas time, I buy a 6-pack of Dr. Pepper from the Dublin, Texas bottling plant. I buy the soda because it reminds me of my dad. He was raised on a farm in the community of Bunyan, Texas, which is seven miles outside of Dublin. His community was so small, that he was schooled in Dublin. When we would go to visit Meema and Pappa we would drive to Dublin, stop by the Dr. Pepper plant, and buy a soda. A Dublin Dr. Pepper is made with “Imperial Pure Cane Sugar”, and that is what makes it so special.

I loved to go and visit at the farm. The house was built by Pappa out of riverbed sandstone, and he had shaped the stone and mortar to spell the family name “WARD” at the front of the house. We would throw all the fishing tackle in the “turtle” (trunk) of the Rambler. Meema would punch the button into “Drive”, and we would haul off across the pasture to go fishing in the creek. When we got home, Meema would clean the fish, fry it up in a skillet, set out some garden tomatoes, and raw onion. She made sweet tea in big goblets.

My dad died in a tragic accident in the oil patch when I was fifteen, and was buried alongside Pappa in Green Creek Cemetery (a community cemetery predating the civil war). After we buried Daddy, my brother and I went back to the farm, hopped in his brand new 1970 Cutlass, and tore out over the pastures with “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolfe blaring from the car speakers. We came to a halt out in the midst of the potato field, and bawled our eyes out. That night, we walked down the dark, caliche  road to the community grocery store. We listened as the widowed owner played Gospel songs on her Hammond organ, with her three-legged terrier howling the lead. We laughed our butts off.

Many years later, my mother gave me Daddy’s Bible. In the pages, I found his last Bible study. It was on the HEART. I sobbed. I struggled with my own heart, but I never knew that he struggled with his.

Today, when I bought the Dr. Pepper from the Dublin plant, I thought of my Dad, and I thought about Christ. He is our sweet sacrifice (sugar) and gives us a place in His royal lineage (Imperial). He fills all the chinks, sink holes, and crevices out of our souls, and helps us walk through both the dark roads and green pastures of life. Merry Christmas.

I Sketched Patty Sylvana live at Link Coworking

Patty finalizing her work at Link

Patty always like to sit in the back section at work, facing the windows.  She is so happy in her spot, as I hope that you can see.  She always says: “Don’t you just love to sit and look out this window?” It is truly a fantastic view out the floor-to ceiling windows, with the white Japanese lanterns floating above us.

Patty loves to thrift shop, and comes in with some great outfits from the outcast bins. I wonder, how in the world did someone pass up such a great outfit?

I Drew Samantha at Houndstooth Coffee

She was only on the floor for a couple of minutes

Here is my quick sketch of Samantha at Houndstooth Coffee. They have the best coffees in town, really. Samantha is one of the baristas at Houndstooth, and she is sweet to everybody. She’s part of my clan – the club of small people. She wasn’t on the floor that day, there were already four people working the front. She had come up front to talk to Sean, the owner for a few minutes. She was standing with her hands in her pocket, and the eyes of her elbows facing outward. I hope that you can tell that.

I Saw Eric Johnson at Houndstooth Coffee

He was sitting in the front corner

Eric Johnson came into Houndstooth Coffee, and sat up front, directly across the room from me. He looked almost the same as he did over 30 years ago, when my husband did some studio keyboard work with him. I could have gone over and done the “Remember me?” stuff, but I didn’t want to intrude on his morning. Some young college kid recognized him and chatted it up, and Eric was lovely to him – just like I remember that he was to everyone in the past. I have no idea what he is up to musically these days. I’m sure that he doesn’t know that I have kept up my work, either. Best to him and the lady that was with him.

Don’t Make Your Girlfriend Angry

She split and went outside to sit by herself

 His girlfriend came in earlier, ordered a coffee, and put her head in her hands. She looked fit, pretty, and had a hangover. Her head was almost on the table. He comes in, joins her at the table. She doesn’t even look up. He keeps trying to get her attention, but she is not going for it. He gets up, and checks on their pitbull who is basking outside in the sun. When he returns, she gets up, and goes outside to nurse her hangover in private.

A Sketch of an Angry Irishman at Epoch This Morning

He was sitting one table over from Claire and me.

He sat down with his laptop and Topo Chico. Three things interested me: he had an incredible head of strawberry blonde hair, he was very angry, and he looked very Irish. I have a soft-spot for the Irish, since my grandmother’s maiden name was Bebe (Irish). We’re smart, feisty, and we can latch on to an issue and thrash it to submission. Such was the case. This guy, who had on a blue tooth, was going after his home internet service provider for a good 1/2 hour. He was a captive audience.

The Change in the Weather at Epoch Coffee

On the cellphone at Epoch

The weather has changed early this year, and we are all enjoying being outside. I’ve heard from my horse-loving neighbors that their horses have put on thick winter coats already, and they are claiming that it will be a very cold winter. But for now, the weather is glorious, and the summer’s veil of heat has been raised.

So, everyone is outside, and basking in the low sun and blue, blue sky. This young woman was sunning herself, enjoying her coffee, and chatting on the phone outside of Epoch. I painted her through the window, very quickly. She was quite stylish in her black top, fashionable sunglasses, and casual updo.

Eating Peanut Butter from the Jar at Epoch Coffee

He was very fit and thin

He was sitting beside me, eating peanut butter with a spoon, straight out of the jar. I assume that he had just completed an intense run, since he was very fit and thin. People who are this fit can eat an entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting – they require the fat and protein. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anyone do this in public; it’s usually associated with binge eating. What seems like an unhealthy attitude towards eating, certainly has its place. When a person is as fit as this guy was, it makes perfect sense that he was pounding down the fat, carbs, and protein.

I captured him as he was taking a break from the jar, and watching something on his laptop. He had on a “wife-beater tank top T-shirt, and running shorts. He was also plugged into his iPod, but I chose to leave that out of the picture.

Early Riser at FlightPath Coffee

The only customer in the back room in the early morning

I arrived early at FlightPath. This man came in a few minutes afterwards. I was trying to be really discreet, and not get caught painting him, but I’m fairly certain that he knew. It’s always best to have a buffer zone of other customers to offer distractions.

Since I have taken yellow off my palette for now, this painting took on a somber tone, even though the walls are really yellow. It matched the mood perfectly – with his gray box-tailed shirt, and his black pants and soft-soled nubuck shoes. The painting and subject took on a muted tone, and that is exactly what I experienced. As if activity was suspended and murky. It didn’t help that I had stolen the lamp of his table before he arrived.

He Was at FlightPath Coffee This Morning

He was engrossed in his writing, and using his Bible as reference

I rarely go out painting at early breakfast hours, because there just aren’t a lot of early birds in the summer for me to paint. This morning, I just felt like going out early. It seemed like a good day for FlightPath.

When I arrived, there was only one other customer in the back half of the coffee house. I was able to set up at my favorite table, have breakfast, and wait for some more folks to arrive.

This young man had a sweet, intent disposition. He had on a bright yellow shirt that matched the walls, but I have omitted yellow from my palette for a spell – I don’t know why.

He had a big leather Bible that was to the right of his laptop, that he was referencing as he wrote. The deeper he got into his thinking and writing, the more often he reached for it. At first, the Bible was laying properly, and then he flipped it on its spine, splaying open the pages. The next time, he laid the Bible on its belly, splitting the book  somewhere in the first sections of the Old Testament.

I know that a lot of younger clergy hang out in coffee houses, and some folks have Bible studies there. But, his intense study said “Seminary student” to me. I really don’t know…