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Rodney Took All The Best Ones

June 2, 2022

This painting should not exist. In fact, the artist wanted it destroyed. He specifically requested that.

It’s not my fault he didn’t accompany us to the dump that day.

This picture doesn’t have a name. The artist never named it.

The artist was my father, Lloyd V Bliss. He took up painting later in life. He did several water colors. Eventually he gave it up. The paint supplies were sold and the actual paintings went into a pile in his garage.

One day he asked me to come over and help clean out his garage. “Help” was what he said. Not necessarily what he wanted. He wanted my brother and me to clean out his garage. I had a truck and he wanted “everything to go to the dump!”

That’s what he said, “Everything goes.”

That’s easy direction to take. Basically after being a storage shed for years he decided he wanted to start using his garage to store cars in. He didn’t want to keep anything. So, my brother and I started hauling boxes and bins, old broken tools, and piles of papers.

As I was carrying one box out to the truck my dad stopped me.

Wait. Let me see what’s in that one? No, I want to keep this one.

But, you said that everything would go.


So, you want us to throw out everything except the stuff you want to keep?


Apparently the box held some old army discharge papers.

Eventually I came on a stack of paintings.

What about these? Do you want these kept?

Are you kidding? Absolutely not. Be sure and throw those away!

Sure, Dad. They went into the front of the truck. You know because there was not enough room in the bed.

And if I forgot to clear them out later from the cab? Hardly my fault.

So, I ended up with a pile of paintings. I never told my dad I had them. He was serious about wanting them destroyed. Eventually I had this one framed. The blues and grays of the mat and frame set off the subdued colors of the sea and the boat.

We had a boat when I was a kid. Not a sailboat. Ours was a ski boat that we rigged for fishing. We never caught many fish, but we had a good time. We lived near Puget Sound. There were plenty of sailboats in and around Olympia.

I imagine the silhouettes of the two people are my father and me. We had a strained relationship at times. There was always love, but it didn’t always show. However, I could see us spending the day on a boat. Not even talking. Just being there as the boat cut through the waters of Puget Sound.

My father passed away about ten years ago. After his death as we were discussing what to do with some of his things. I mentioned to my family that I had some paintings that Dad had done.

We had to decide how to divide them up. I had already framed the sailboat picture. As my siblings considered the remaining pictures they joked,

Rodney, already took the best ones.

One. I took ONE painting. But, yeah, I think it was his best one.

It’s not my fault they didn’t go to the dump with me that day.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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