I remember the gray sky filled with billowing thunder caps, the horse-drawn wagon in the parade that I struggled to see, and the photographer that frustrated me by being in the way of my view. Best of all, I remember feeling safe because my Dad was so strong as he put me up on the bricks of the General Store.
Dad, me, Kathy, and Mom at the Bridgeport General Store in 1970, watching the Fourth of July parade.
And, I remember this photo hanging in my grandmother's sewing/guest room along with so many others—a collection of stories that covered that wall in her favorite room. At the time, I thought it so different and wonderful that my grandmother covered an entire wall with photographs. Now, I consider whether to do that in my own home.
But, it's this one photo at the moment that has my attention. For, this photo is one of the threads in the kite string between Dad and me, something that ties me to him—my kite—as it's carried away by the wind; a metaphor for his passing. This photograph is a story full of color and life that soothes the pain of loss.
Which makes me wonder: What would I do if I lost my photos?
I imagine I'd be upset, confused, and ready for a fight. But, I wonder if I wouldn't be a little relieved, too; the burden of managing and organizing them, gone.
Yet, how many times have I forgotten an experience or moment that was important to me? How many times has my photo collection, or revisiting it on a regular basis, helped me recall things I care about? Things usurped by things I must care about (like, remembering how to solve and graph a system of equations so that I can help Duncan do the same).
Oh, my photos matter a great deal to me—or, at least, certain photos do.
Truth is, I'd be crushed if my collection of photographs—my stories—vanished. And then, I'd pick up my camera (or pen) and go to work, weaving as much kite string as I could.