Did you ever hear of Justin William Chase? That’s okay; I hadn’t either until just the other day, but as soon as I get a chance I sure want to check him out. I’m talking about Justin Senior, now. He must have been quite some Daddy. Justin Chase was a painter, and I don’t mean just another water-colourist, but a real hum-dinger of an artist. Well, one would assume such an important gentleman, wouldn’t have much time for his little boy when he was so totally focused on his creatively. I could imagine when Junior was climbing all over everything and pestering him his father would have wanted to lean over to the door and holler.
“Wife! Could you come and get that boy of yours? He’s being a real nuisance!” Maybe he would want to drum impatiently with his fingers on the easel’s edge ‘til the boy’s mother scooped him up and carried him away. Anyway, that’s how it could have been, but no, it wasn’t like that at all. Mr. Chase really loved that boy. Sometimes he would find small tasks for Justin to do, but what delighted the little fella most was when Daddy put him on his lap; and after handing him a paintbrush, he would put his large hand over Justin’s wee one and together they would swirl and splash paint on that canvas until a wonderful picture would appear.
Can’t you just hear the little boy’s piping voice? “I want to be just like you, Daddy. I want to be a famous painter just like you.”
Well, it sure looked like that was exactly what was going to happen. When Justin became a man he said his tender farewells to his father whom he loved and admired so dearly. Then he went to a fine artist school way across the ocean in Paris. Didn’t take long ‘til folks over there were thoroughly impressed with the paintings of such a young artist. ‘How did you ever learn that you needed to hold the paint brush in just that position, sir?’ Was one of the questions he was asked. He thought about it, for a moment, and could see in his mind’s eye his father’s hand guiding his. “My father taught me.”
It wasn’t long before Justin became rich and famous with all that stress that so often comes with it. People were lining up at his door, impatient if “their” picture wasn’t done as soon as they wanted it.
Daddy was soon noticing that the letters didn’t come as frequently as they once had, and when his son did write they were shorter and well, it wasn’t hard for the Father to read between the lines. Justin wasn’t enjoying his work like he used to.
Sounds like the letter Daddy sent off was short and to the point: “Come home son, before it’s too late.”
Well, that sure got Justin Jr. attention. He knew Dad was getting older, but was he unwell, also? Justin looked around at the half finished paintings that cluttered his studio, and the lack of customers, and felt like a total failure. I guess I just don’t have the gift like my Dad does. It didn’t take long for him to pack up and set sail for his homeland.
Dad met him and they embraced, but the son was sadly conscious of how much smaller his father seemed, and definitely frailer. On the other hand, his Dad noticed Justin’s despondency and wanted to cheer him up. “Let’s go and paint, son, just like we did in the old days when you were young.”
Justin hung his head. “I can’t, Dad. I’ve lost the gift. I’ll never be as good a painter as you.”
Dad gently guided him over to the easel and with his hand over Justin’s they splashed and swirled paints just like they had in years gone by. Not only did Justin have more fun than he had had in years, but it was the most beautiful painting he had ever seen.
When they were done, Justin stood back in amazement. “That’s the best painting you ever did, Dad. “
“I didn’t do it, son. You did. I am nearly blind. I just held your hand, and you did the painting.”
Lord, hold my hand. My talent is so useless if Your hand isn’t guiding mine.