What did we do before selfie? Who took this shot? Four of us. We were not traveling in a group of five. I would guess some passerby did the shot? But I am recicent to put my camera in someone else’s hands. But in the face of no other explanation this is the explanation. The group shot of family in front of some picturesque scene is an obligatory vacation picture. It’s interesting to find them among my early slides.
34k, 45k, 56k, 88k, 73k, 102k, 88k – 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Yearly digital image count
So my catalogs are jumbled or the files are in places… I dare not think about. There is logic to the madness. Right!?
On average I got snapshots just like anyone else has. Some travel shots. Group shots. Cats! But 100k images in one year? 273 shots per day? Whew! Nuts! I guess I am a nut job. I gotta ask.. how many folks are smiling, how many are looking when I ask them to smile…?
I met Colleen. I had never had a cat. Well, for about ten minutes when I was a kid in Elkins… I had a black cat named Pepper. My parents made me give it back.
But… three, five, seven, six, eight, seven, eight – cats. Colleen came with three cats. Feather and Spice came as twin Maine coons. Ray and Nutley followed when Ray latched onto my shirt at the pet store. Patch died. Tillie arrived to take Patch’s empty bowl and Peas came the next day when we found out the sister had been left behind in the pet store. Ray died. And now… tryouts… Mozart had joined the band of cats. He is on probation. Stay tuned. Colleen has doubts. He passed tryouts in the pet store. But… it is a long way to discover whether he fits into our home full of cats. Seven was a lucky number! But, I had eight bowls to feed. Somehow… But we are whole again.
Try and catch your cats. Get a picture. Yeah, right! I chased them all down. Easy and hard. But I got a shot of each, one the same day, within the same hour. It was quite the feat. They don’t exactly cooperate. No one smiles on cue. In fact, chasing them down led me on a merry chase around the house. I gotta clean. We got a lotta dust.
Eight!? It also happens to be the number of years we’ve been together…. oops, it’s nine. But, it is our anniversary, married – our fourth. Happy anniversary dear! (shhh! I almost forgot.)
I am old enough to remember developing film. I developed my own film in my own makeshift darkroom. No drug store for me. Usually it was long enough that I did not recall what or when the first frame/picture was taken. Ha ha!
Nowadays, I download images from my memory cards from four cameras. I am not daily nor even weekly sometimes. I just get around to the task and download to five redundant external hard drives. Yeah! I bet you don’t. mistakes happen 100% of the time. yes, capitalization?! I missed two days and forgot to download the memory card of those two days. I picked up the error eventually. I cringe at all the inaccuracy. I’m doing the best I can.
Christmas, New Year’s, it was not a long time between downloads…. A lot happened. Gnomes, carolers, groups, weather, oh my! Boring? Excitement? Day to day journalism.
Who’s it for? Me? Legacy? Family? Compulsive? Ha ha. I am justly detail oriented and keep a record. I do not trust that things last but am hoping this legacy will prove helpful to the grandchildren and beyond.
They grow up
Fast! Did we?… get old too? Older? Things change fast. So fast. Stop! I want to savor the moment. Too late! It’s bittersweet. The kids are hurtling onward to their future. And we… I daresay there are moments to treasure. It has changed so much so fast.
I’m shy. Herding groups, directing groups, is not my specialty. (See: cats.) Everyone is good humored and used to my cajoling albeit some reluctantly. Nonetheless everyone understands the importance of documenting family. (cats excepted) I am indeed fortunate to be able to gather loved ones and get a shot – or two. The carrot is that I post them so they are shared and preserved for all. Yeah, it’s hard to herd cats.
I casually offered. They accepted. You learn new things every day. How about the cat tower? Hmmm… I had not thought about that nor had ever tried it. Cooperation? Hardly?!! Mike and Jen thought (innocently) they could hold all four cats for a single take. A single picture? They have seen Colleen’s pics. We did it with seven cats across the table. Easy! About 101 pictures later… They had great ideas and we improvised as we went along. Nut crackers, cat tower, oh my! Done! I’d do it again… no cats were harmed… a few scratches later…
Old slides. On her 40th (b’day), I took lisa to London. It was a grand gesture. I had recently left my group medical practice to go on my own. It was a scary time. And about that time we were in Disney as the slides indicate. Apparently, I was mad at the mother in law – a sweet lady who had done nothing to deserve… lisa had always had issues (Freudian). Lila was traveling with Ann who took the picture explaining the group shot of the family in London. Confused? Me too.
Aside from the horse guards, the London bus is pretty assuredly a London tip off. An aside – Dave carried around a pig, a stuffed pig, everywhere we went on that trip. He spoke to the pig. I never did figure that one out. And he has never mentioned nor told me what was in his head. I never saw the pig again when we returned. I am puzzled to this day over the fact that my usual generosity was absent and we did not share a single meal with Lila or Ann when we met in London. It was a most strange encounter of the family kind.
Look up – search – “copy” on the hard drive. Hmmm. Hole in the head, not hole in the wall…. It seems that we shot a lot of group shots of our cats. Brilliant?! The years are different but seem to be annual more recently. I get the idea to do it again in November. It works. I guess I shall do it again and again. Meanwhile, the shots are ever more precious. They remind us of love found and love lost. Cats may come and go but they are ever in our hearts. We are so lucky to be together, one and all.
It’s a wrap
You go through the holidays. We got through the first leg – Thanksgiving. Christmas to come, it should be ever interesting. We managed to pull it off. Smiles! We had some. And there were members of the family who would have rather avoided the camera but reluctantly posed. Jen scrapbooks. A lot of the group shots are for her. And we will do it once more next year. I hope. Meanwhile my cats remain ever obedient and climb right up on the table whenever I call.
What are you doing New Year’s Eve?
Harry Connick Jr sang… and with a bit of luck I never have to be alone again on New Year’s. Ah! Peace and serenity. It sure is good to have it and if you get it, it sure is good to have it at the end. I got no complaints. It is like an O Henry story around here. We trip over one another worrying about the other. Are you happy? Are you ok? You bet!!
At my age not too many weddings occur. I suppose that is not true. All the kids, nephews and nieces… ha ha. There was only one girl, Jules on my side of the family. She’s married already. Well, there are a few more – two more…. It was interesting to see who brought who to the wedding. And it is equally telling to see who is still together. One of us has declared he is gay. I guess the girl he brought was a beard. I am still with Colleen. Some might have mixed feelings. Not us!
Success does not depend upon the food. The food is the centerpiece. Does it matter. No. it is the people. It is family. It is gathering together after three long years of covid separation. We survived. Some had it. Twice. We were fortunate to have missed Covid. Safe? No. There is a positive number for new cases and deaths. But the risk? is at acceptable levels. All the old recipes were pulled. My turkey was made in our new oven which overcooked the bird in less time than we expected. No one complained. It was as though we were seeing long lost relatives. Mistakes were made. And everyone had an excellent time. No one went away hungry.
It will always be thus. You regret the pictures you did not take. And you continue to not take the very same pictures you regretted going forward into the future. Eh? Why?
There are almost no group pictures of me and my brothers as adults. We gathered regularly especially at the holidays. We lived close enough to be at one another’s homes. Group pictures with the family were done pretty regularly. Sentiment? Anyone? Did anyone? Well, there are images of us individually and so forth. You cannot go back and shoot again. And it appears no one else has the sentiment. Had the sentiment. Will have the sentiment. Do better? No, I fear it’s just more of the same. Hold on to those you love tightly.
What is there to say?
Family photo time! My timing was poor. Colleen said no and had a fit. We were just getting over severe colds and she was sleep deprived and still coughing. Plus, we were in a cooking frenzy a few days before Thanksgiving. Ha ha, it ain’r a pretty picture.
Take seven cats and ask them to cooperate. Right?! Each was frog marched up to the table and forced to look at the camera. Cooperation was at a minimum. Jen laughed at how happy Willow looked to be there. The passable shots were melded. Voila!
We got photobombed. Spice is over Colleen’s left shoulder. So, I got eight cats and didn’t know it.
Happy Holidays from our Family to yours.
If you are going to do this, then go for it. Multiple shots and poses. It took about 130 shots in all. And no, it was not perfect. But this is all tongue in cheek. Eh?! A few years back the ladies in the drug store giggled. The peeked at my prints and were impressed that the cats all lined up. With straight face I told them I have trained cats….
As you can readily see Colleen came around to my way of thinking. We truly do love our cats.
“Ok! All you guys, get up on the table and smile. Now!”
For about two weeks in the summer I chase family groups. It’s not too hard. You announce group photo and everyone slowly gathers. If you stand back far enough no one really notices if someone has their eyes closed. I shoot multiples, just in case…. There are plenty of smiles. Groups are generally all different in composition. With camera in hand there is always something for me to do. Thankfully no one complains about their picture in the posted photos.
Planning. Herding cats. Family. They are willing subjects. Just reluctant. Good natured, I suppose they value the historical memory. These images will filter down thru the years…. Who’s there? Who’s missing? I do it because I can. Will anyone care? The remote control for the camera has a battery. I have never replaced it – in years and years. This family keeps reunion(ing) about once a year…. Take multiple shots. Someone always has their eyes closed.
It’s like an O Henry story – everyone is trying to do the right thing and we all miss by, that much. Alternately – no good deed shall go unpunished. Or, vacation – a game the whole family can play.
We tried to visit Jules and the kids before she started work once more after maternity leave. How many times have I had sick kids during important events? Christmas flu anyone?
No surprise. The little girls were both sick. And Jules…and us. You name it, they got it and had it. And, they shared! The coup de grace was getting shoes and socks soaked when a rogue wave overtook us on the beach! Yeah, well, nothing so dramatic?!
We all stumbled over ourselves trying to be good to one another. Jules wanted to entertain us. She wanted to take us to see things. She wanted me to cook with Noa. Etc etc… I was not at all demanding and wanted everyone to get well. We just never seemed to mesh. Plenty of smiles but there was a lot of illness. Funny. The kids never did look too ill. Neither were we.
Colleen and I spent the second night home alternately coughing and trying not to wake one another. The girls are mending. Jules missed her first day to return to school. And, it was all on Halloween. Boo!
Eight pictures six cats. We are doing a kitchen renovation. The cats are kept free and separated from the workmen. I got two or three (cats). They are spooked. Strangers! So, they hide. The others are with Colleen and want to see. They are ready to go explore the doings. Sort of. Several want out. Freedom! And Feather? She has steadfastly remained hidden under the couch since the doorbell rang.
In the books
How much is enough? I never know. It’s not a competition. Photo op? How many shots do you take? This was my second time seeing Quinn. I won’t see Noa or Quinn for a while. They live far away. I shot throughout the day – about 7 hours. Colleen shot. Jules shot. Jeff shot with my camera. We got 2000 images. Do you think there was a good one? Sure! From a certain perspective the day was a success. A great success?! I think the moments will be more precious as time passes.
Time flies. Patience was never my forte. Today’s news reported reviving dead pig cells – after death! My my! One last visit before every one departs for home. We made a long road trip, a day trip, to see the grands. Cute! It is bittersweet. We don’t see them often and will not see them for a while now. They grow up so fast! It’s already autumn and every one has returned to their school routines. Will it ever be routine? Covid is among us still. Plot and plan, who flies/drives next? Parenting is so different nowadays. Grandparenting? It’s hard work, just go with it.
Photography? In the old days I might have been content to take a couple pictures of the day – slides – and a group picture at some point. Film cost! So, at most a roll (of 36) or two. Four would have been extravagant. Do the math. I did nearly 2000 shots. Digital is free. Memory cards are cheap. Go for it. It was a memorable day. Here were representative shots of start and finish.
Family photo. I just call. The cats obediently line up. Click. Done.
This particular time Elle led us on a merry chase. She’s smart. And quick. We eventually caught her. No one gets to decline my invitation to be in the family photo. Yeah, yeah, it ain’t perfect. The lighting is the same – flash. And the camera is on a tripod. So, except for the position of the models it should all match up pretty well. In theory?! In reality it is never quite ideal. Multiple redundant shots are used to get acceptable poses. It is good enough to pass a casual test. Alas, this image portrays our family and changes that have occurred. It’s seven cats – count ‘em. Soon enough that number may change (increase). I am feeling lucky! No doubt I feel so very fortunate to have a wonderful family.
What’s fake? The straight line? Ha ha, no. Spice and Peas are next to one another. They are arch enemies. Wrong! Colleen has identified Peas next to Feather. Shhh… I cannot tell the kids apart. Birthdays? Don’t ask.
The family has been gathering for a very long time in this place at this time. Call it reunion. It happens annually. There are fulltime residents/relatives close-by in disparate branches of the family to make massive gatherings of 40 or more. Is it hello? Or good-bye? The picture could go either way. Too soon! Younger. Older. The groups change. It’s all bittersweet. Hugs and kisses. Wave!
Missing? Ha ha. It’s cats and flowers. I simply have too many. Flowers are available in great quantity, too numerous to choose one above the others. Cats, I have seven. Try to herd them together. Nope, not happening. The best I can do is to get some individual shots (of the cats) and usually I will not see them all at the same time. Feather is smart enough to avoid me when she wants to hide. Smart cats? Oh, yes! May I also “point” out that the family responds to command and suggestion differently as is amply on display here. They are cooperative but can be hard to herd together too.