When I walked into the kitchen yesterday morning, the first thing my mother-in-law said to me was not the usual, “Good morning” or “How are you this morning, dear?” No, instead she greeted me with, “Jeff, I’d forgotten that you used to have darker hair.”
That’s because she was looking through an album of photographs, all meticulously labeled with years and names and appropriate proverbs and quotes and decorated with handmade designs (so maybe it is more a scrapbook than strictly a photo album), of various family Christmas gatherings from 1996 to 2003, including a 50th anniversary party for Cindy’s mom and dad. All lovingly created as a gift to Cindy’s mom back in 2003 by Cindy’s cousin Darla.
In this day of digital photographs we seldom create actual albums of photos that you can hold in your hands and leaf through, being careful not to dislodge the photos from the white, scalloped, adhesive corner holders (remember those?) or from the clear plastic page covers that would attempt to hold the precious photos in place. But there is something special about opening up a book, created with love and care and a sense of the importance of those moments captured in pictures, with all the dates noted and all the participants’ names written next to the photos, that transports you back as you turn the pages.
Some of those in the photos I have only seen once or twice in the past 17 years, so having their names, especially for someone as forgetful about names as I am, was a nice reminder. Some in the photos are no longer with us, absent either through death or divorce or the always moving streams of time that change relationships. But they are still with us in memory and the photos are a bittersweet reminder of the time we were able to spend with them.
So thank you, cousin Darla, for the time and effort and talent and love that produced this album. Thank you for creating and giving something that can be pulled from the shelf and gazed upon, bringing back fond memories and filling our hearts with the joy of those times and people in our lives.
And thank you, especially, for reminding ALL of us that my hair used to be darker.