Sunday, March 29, 2009

They're Baa-aack

When my father died last May, we put together a memorial service for him in four days. In four days we managed to get the word out to friends and family, order flowers, get my siblings together with the pastor at Dad's church to share stories, and shop for appropriate clothes for me and my girls.

The most astonishing thing we pulled off was the photographs. For a family as spread out as my dad's, his sisters managed to dig through old shoeboxes crammed with shots of them as kids, those terrific sepia-toned 3x3 pictures that nobody had looked at for decades. Hundreds and hundreds of photos came my way, emailed to me, burned onto zip drives, and spilling out of envelopes. A few of the originals had my grandmother's spidery handwriting on the back describing the scene, but most of them did not. Some were self-explanatory - you could see my father's mischevious smile or serious adolescent face plain as day. Others were a set-up for spirited debate among my aunts as they struggled to determine just who else was in that photo with him. I loved every minute of it.

In the end, we put together a gorgeous display board with images from every phase of my father's life and I came home with the treasure of some of the original photos. I burned CDs for each of my siblings and my father's wife so that they could enjoy the pictures, too. My girls and I spent hours going through each of them, giggling about Papa's baby fat, remarking at the freckles that dusted his face as a young boy, and seeing him as a big brother teaching his youngest sister how to throw the football. Then we put the photos away in albums and set them in a special place with artwork made for him by my daughters and a small urn of his ashes.

The pictures keep talking to me, though. Every time I download photos from my digital camera to my computer they show up. It doesn't matter whether I'm putting the pictures onto my laptop or the family computer, somehow, a small subset of those 1940s sepia-toned pictures is mixed in with the downloads on my memory card. No matter that I delete the images from the memory card each time I put them on my hard drive (it gives me more space on the card for the next set of pictures I want to take), these same photos of Dad keep cropping up.

Uploading pictures from my writing weekend with Deb in February, there they were.
Uploading pictures from Lola's first piano lesson, they appeared in the list of photos.
Uploading pictures we took at Christmas, Dad was there as a toddler, sitting on a horse with his father.
I don't know what he's trying to tell me, but I like that he keeps popping up now and then.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

I think he's just trying to say, "Hi! I'm right here - EVERYWHERE!"

Scott from Oregon said...

It's nice how we can keep our loved ones "in a file" these days.

Deb Shucka said...

Sounds like love to me. Lucky you.

Jerri said...

How perfectly special that is. As Carrie says, no accidents.

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