One Little Owl, So Many Textures

I like owls. It’s their eyes and the mystery behind them that I find fascinating. Today, I created a little owl but gave him twelve different looks using PaintShop Pro 2019 Ultimate, color and texture.

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Our Little Ray of Sunshine

Lucas, our great-grandson, had a rough start in this world, from being born with an enlarged head, a hole in his heart, and respiratory and swallowing problems. Later he developed muscular weakness, preventing him from walking. Just weeks following his birth came a battery of tests ruling out fluid on the brain, autism, and downs syndrome. He’s had physical therapists, speech therapists, and chewing and swallowing therapists. And through it all, he has never lost his beautiful, contagious smile. Lucas will be three next month. He is walking and talking and knows how to spell his name. He may be delayed in some things, but smiling isn’t one of them. He is truly a ray of sunshine wherever he goes and teaches us many, many things about life. We love you, Lucas!

 

I’m Not Stubborn!

I’d rather have eaten a can of worms than have my hair washed. And my parents would have gladly fed them to me rather than wrestled with me to wash it.

We didn’t have modern conveniences like indoor plumbing, walk-in showers, and bathtubs. We had electricity, though, thanks to one of my dad’s many skills.

And speaking of daddy, he rarely ever raised his voice, never lost his cool and never liked whipping us kids. Mom did, though. She liked law and order and didn’t hesitate to exercise her militant authority when needed. You’d have thought she was the one that served in the army instead of my dad.

But to keep peace with mom, during Saturday’s hair-washing night, daddy reluctantly sat beside the galvanized tub with a long, skinny switch; the kind that wrapped around your legs several times like a leather strap. Mom picked it out.

Like a stern-faced Sargeant, mom sat me down on the stool and leaned my head back, allowing my long red hair to cascade into the metal tub. Then the waterboarding began.

As if being electrocuted, I kicked and screamed and wriggled my slippery, half-naked body free from daddy’s firm grip and flew out the door, across the porch, down the steps, and down the dirt lane. If we had had any neighbors, they would have been standing on their porches with shotguns thinking a mass murderer was on the loose.

We lived in the heart of the woods where the only light we had was the moon and the stars. For a little six-year-old with a big imagination and afraid of the dark, that was just a tiny spark in a cave. Every tree was a leaping bear; every sound a prowling monster looking for children to eat.

Suddenly, I came to my senses and decided I’d rather be drowned than eaten alive and shot like a bullet back into the house.

And there they were, mom standing triumphantly with the pitcher of water in her hand and daddy sitting, seemingly amused, still holding the switch.

There were other Saturday night hair washings. But, remembering the monsters lurking outside in the pitch dark, I stayed glued to the stool. That doesn’t mean I didn’t cry and kick and scream and make it easy for my mother to torture me. Oh, no! She always had to pay for her evil crimes!

When Apologizing is like Eating Dirt

I’ll never forget that day. My brother, Kenny, and I were left alone while mom and daddy went to the grocery store. Because my youngest brother, Leonard, was too young to stay with us, he always got to go and Kenny and I always had to stay home.

Kenny, who was eight at the time, is four-teen months younger than I and a hundred years wiser. He never sassed, never questioned, and never ran out the door kicking and screaming like a lunatic. He was made of moonbeams and stardust and placed delicately in my mother’s arms.

Me, I was made of cowhide and hurled like a football in her lap.

Long before video games and iPhones and five-hundred TV channels, we actually had to sit and talk to each other or play pick-up sticks or ball and jacks or tinker toys or build little log cabins out of Lincoln Logs.

Well, that day we got bored with all that. We needed some adventure. The kind of adventure we had before moving into that stupid cramped, cinder block apartment, far away from the woods and trickling streams and giant bullfrogs. The bottom line was we didn’t like living there.

While pacing the tiny living room floor, I glanced out the window and saw the landlord working in her flowerbed. For whatever reason, mom, and daddy didn’t like the landlords, so I didn’t like them either.

Suddenly, as if being poked with the devil’s pitchfork, I coaxed Kenny into doing something totally out of character for both of us. We raised the window, stuck out our pea-brain heads and yelled, “Hey, old lady Brummel! Hey, old lady Brummel!”

We lived quite a distance away, so I didn’t think she even heard us until she threw down her garden tools and stormed toward the apartment huffing and puffing and smoke pouring out of her ears.

Oh, no! She’s coming to chop off our arms and legs!

Like a cat with its tail on fire, Kenny ran downstairs and locked the door just in the nick of time before she started pounding on it and screaming like the big bad wolf, “Let me in! Let me in! I’m telling your parents when they get home!”

True to her word and to my horror, as soon as the car pulled into the driveway, the phone started ringing.

My mother was the warden at our house. A strict, religious warden that didn’t put up with nonsense and expected her brood to follow the rules or else. And that day “or else” meant that we march our little impudent behinds over to the landlord and apologize!

I’d rather have shoveled a pile of manure in the freezing cold stark naked.

Yes, she made me go, but I made her pay!

Like a bloody battle between the North and the South, I bawled and kicked and screamed as mom nearly yanked my arm out of the socket, pulling and dragging me across the field. By the time we got to the landlord’s house, mom needed a long nap and I needed a straight jacket.

I thought that if I danced around bawling and screaming long and hard enough, mom would give up and take me home. But, oh no! If it meant waiting for the rapture to take place, I was going to straighten up and apologize before I could even think about going home.

Like swallowing a ton of bricks, I finally choked up the words everyone was waiting to hear and never talked my brother into doing anything that stupid again.

But, I just remembered that other time when . . .

Digital Photo Painting

Using Paint Shop Pro 2019, I turn ordinary photos into works of art. I also create picture tubes, bookmarks, Facebook Covers, cards, tags, and more. I don't sell my art, therefore, all my creations are free for your own personal use.

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