When I was growing up in South Carolina, we had family all around us. Sometimes on Sundays, there’d be so many people gathered for supper my mother would worry if she had enough to feed all the folks!
Those Sunday suppers were a tradition in our family, something we could count on. And like most family traditions I guess mom was at the heart of it. One of my favorites, in fact one of hers too, was always giving her hand-drawn pictures for birthdays other special occasions. Now that I think about it, that could be the reason I became an artist in the first place! My mother loved roosters, had all manner of rooster pictures, paintings and pottery around the house. When I was about 3 or 4, I drew one for her as best as I could for Mother’s Day. She loved that picture— gushed about it for weeks to anyone who’d listen. I was so proud of myself that I decided I’d draw her another one for her birthday. She loved that one, too, of course, like any mom would. From there it became a tradition: if there was a special day, my mom would get a rooster drawing from me. And we continued that family tradition throughout her entire life. While I loved the tradition and my drawings certainly got better as I got older, I never thought much about what happened to those roosters once I’d given them to her.
But after she passed we were going through her things and I found myself up in her attic. Among all of the Christmas decorations, family photographs and other momentos, I discovered a box. When I opened it, tears came immediately to my eyes: she'd kept every rooster drawing I’d ever given her, a collection of about 40 in all.
I treasure those drawings and my memories of her. In fact, I’ve turned some of them into finished sculptures. And to this day, roosters are still a favorite subject of my art. I’d love to hear about a favorite tradition you have in your own family.