June 6, 2021
2,100 words

When I was a young man not long after Sandra and I got married, I enjoyed staying up sometimes and watching the late-night comedians. I considered this a way of unwinding from a busy day.

Most of the comedians, especially during their opening monologues would make fun of just about anyone or anything. Sometimes this was the funniest part of the show.

One of the frequent targets of these comedians was to make fun of creative people. Not necessarily by calling out any person’s name, but simply their chosen profession.

It was funny to the comedian especially to make fun of artists, painters, and especially dancers. They seemed to always infer that men in these professions were too lady-like. This would be too politically incorrect to do a skit like this today, but back then, it could really make the audience laugh, including me.

Once after the host and his guest were making fun of an artist it made me think of a real-life situation I was familiar with.

I knew a man for about two years before he eventually moved to another state. He was around 30 years old when I knew him and would not pursue any kind of degree or even a trade he could work at to support himself after his parents were deceased.  

His parents were very concerned about his attitude of not doing anything to prepare for life without them paying for everything for him so out of love, they cut him completely out of their wills. They assumed he would be forced to learn to do something because he would need to eat, etc.

When I knew him his parents were already deceased so sure enough he would work at anything to meagerly get by. His jobs were usually just part-time or temporary. Eventually, a man in the construction business hired him as basically a handyman doing whatever work he was asked to do. His boss would eventually have him helping out painting houses, fences, barns, or whatever was needing painting.

The man did not like painting. He was actually ashamed to tell people who asked him what he did for a living that he was a painter. His rationale was that people who found out he was a painter would probably look down on him because at his age that would appear to be all he had accomplished in life.

So the man began telling people who asked him what he did for a living that he was an artist. He would even say that he had been commissioned to paint things all over the state. When asked just where some of his commissioned works could be seen, he always somehow shied away from the least hint that he was simply a barn painter. He wanted the more prestigious reputation of being an artist.

The previous paragraphs helped get me to the subject of this blog post. People who enjoy drawing, doodling, or whatever, usually on paper.

All three of mine and Sandra’s children loved to doodle. They could sometimes spend hours doodling or drawing. Then they would show Sandra or me their work and ask us what we thought about it?  Naturally, as loving parents, we would always say it was very pretty. The difficult part was when one of them would ask us do you know what my drawing is? Sometimes we would say, “sure, tell me more about it”? And they would interpret to us what the painting/doodling was. To this day I still have a desk drawer full of their signed masterpieces.

To further explain this situation that the parents of doodlers face, I need to tell you my late brother, David’s thoughts on the subject.

You would simply have to know David to fully understand this story. He loved to pull jokes on people. He would spend a lot of time setting up a victim he wanted to tell this story to.

Well, I was his victim one day when I was visiting him in his home. He loved sitting in his reclining chair and had many of his supplies nearby so he would not have to get up to retrieve them.

On this remembered day as I came in and took a seat in a chair close to David, he said to me, “I want to show you a drawing an eight-year-old friend brought to me recently.”  He said that Bill’s family had several drawers full of Bill’s drawings and that it would be okay with Bill if they gave me this particular drawing for a souvenir.

David knew both of Bill’s parents well and they told David that the reason they wanted him to have that particular drawing of Bill’s was that it meant so much to Bill.

The day Bill originally drew the picture, he ran to the living room where both his parents were sitting and yelled, “I have a new drawing, I want yall to look at it and tell me how good it is.” Both of bill’s parents examined the page well, from every angle possible. Soon they had to tell Bill that they could not understand what the drawing was.

Bill was very upset and told them that surely they could understand the drawing if they realized that it was a scene in their backyard. They examined the drawing again and still told Bill they could not understand what it was.

Finally, Bill began to interpret the drawing to them by explaining every aspect of the drawing to them.

I won’t tell you how Bill explained the drawing to his parents. I want to tell you how David explained the drawing to me. It’s hilarious.

So here I am at David’s house and he told me he wanted me to look at Bill’s drawing and tell him what it was. I immediately told David that I could not figure it out.

He said, “You’re  kidding me, You can’t figure out Bill’s drawing?” He said this kid was a budding genius with much potential to become a famous artist someday. David said he could interpret what the drawing was immediately upon first seeing it.

I told David he would have to explain the drawing to me. He said, “Okay, but first let me walk you through this drawing step by step and I am sure then you can figure it out on your own.”

He told me that this drawing was a scene in Bill’s backyard at his home. David said I will give you a hint and then see if you can figure out what the drawing is. David said the scene was of the barn, a chicken house, and some cows and chickens running around in the barn lot.

Then David told me he wanted me to point out the different components of this drawing. I said, “Well, I’ll give it a try.”

I was assuming Bill knew a little bit about scale, so I began pointing things out as I assumed they must be.

First, I pointed at the biggest object in the drawing and said, “This must be the barn.” David nodded yes. Then I tapped the second biggest part of the drawing and said, “This must be the chicken house. Again David nodded yes. Then there were several other objects of varying sizes. I pointed at one and told David, “ This must be a cow.” Again, he nodded yes. Then I saw some things of a little smaller size and said, “this must be a chicken.” David said, “You doing fine, Bro.”  Now tell me what else you see? “ I looked for a long time, but could only see what looked like me to be big specks. He said, “What do you think those things are?” I said, “Which one? He said well, point it out to me, and at least guess what you think it is.  So I took my finger and tapped on one of the specks vigorously. David burst out laughing for about thirty seconds and then said to me, “Oh my God, You just put your finger on a large pile of B.S.”

David worked hard setting me up on that joke. Then he told me that was one of his favorite tricks to pull on people.

So you ask, “Where are you going with this story?” Hang on and you’ll see. Before I finish you’ll see there is value to be learned in the remainder of this post.

The next part of this post is something I have preached in sermons for many years. We’re still on the topic of doodlers, remember?

I begin by telling my congregation that this is a true story. It’s about a young boy who all his life wanted to be nothing but a painter. His parents were not wealthy and they told the little boy early on they could not afford to buy paper, paints, etc. for him to draw on.

So the little boy would get up early every morning to search out the better neighborhoods to see if he could find work to do. One morning he came by a house that looked as though there was some yard work going on. He approached the owner of the house and told him he worked cheap and would do a good job.

The owner of the house took the little boy all around the house and said to him, “Do all this today and I will pay you a certain amount of money. There is a tool shed in the back that has all the supplies and tools you will need.”

The little boy worked hard to get everything done before dark.  The final project was to build three window boxes to go under the windows of the man’s house in the front yard. The little boy worked fast and got everything done he was asked to do. But the little boy thought how pretty those window boxes would be if he painted some birds and flowers on them. So that’s what the little boy did.

When he finished his work, he put up all the tools,  cleaned up his mess, and went to see the owner of the house and collect his pay before leaving.

The owner came out to inspect the little boy’s work before paying him. As the owner went around the house, he came to the beautifully painted window boxes. The owner said  to the little boy, “I did not tell you to paint these window boxes.”

The little boy said he knew that but thought they would be very pretty painted and that he saw that he could paint them and still get home by dark.

The owner was so impressed with the little boy’s attitude that he paid that little boy twice as much as he quoted to the little boy earlier that morning.

The little boy had enough money now to buy art supplies for a long time.

The little boy continued painting anything he could and soon developed a great reputation as an up-and-coming painter. By age 13 the little boy had apprenticed himself out to further learn his skills to two great artists in their own right.

Eventually, as this little boy had become a man, he started getting all sorts of invitations to paint great projects.

He soon realized his skills were given to him by God and made a vow to God that he would spend the rest of his life painting for the glory of God. He vowed never to marry and live a life of celibacy just as priests did. He painted many great masterpieces in his life that are still with us today. He was born in Rome, Italy on March 6, 1475, and died on Feb. 18, 1564, at the age of 88 years old.

My favorite work that he rendered was the hand of God outstretching to touch Adam and give him life.

A great anecdote about this artist was when he was doing the sculpture of David from a discarded chunk of marble, several little boys kept coming by where this artist was constantly chipping away at the marble day by day. One day a little boy asked this artist, “How did you know that David was in this piece of marble?”

The artist said that was simple. He said, “God told me he was in here.”

I pay my humble honor to this great doodler/ artist, Michaelangelo.

God Bless You,
Spencer and Sandra Plumley

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