Friday, April 20, 2018

Slides to DVD Experience

In a spare bedroom closet on a shelf, in my bedroom under my bed and in the attic, I found approximately a hundred and twenty some slides. All were taken with my 35mm camera purchased in 1978. Since I needed prints from them before I could finish my photo albums, I researched online and felt like Walmart could do the job, but it wasn't as easy as it sounds. 

Store 1: The first Walmart store photo area that I stopped by told me to come back later when another person would be there who could give me the information that I needed. Since I don't live in that town I couldn't come back later that day. 

Store 2: The next WM store, in another town, said they couldn't do it there, that I would need to go to a bigger store. I left, but was pretty darn sure they could do it.

Store 3: The next and final store that I tried, the photo clerk frowned at me and said, "I'm not sure we do that." 

I said, "Yes, you do. The website says so." Then right before my eyes a brochure appeared (like Harry Potter magic) in a rack on the counter. I pulled it out, scanned it and found the area that informed on transferring slides to a DVD. "This is what I need." I sounded more confident than I felt.

She too read the brochure, told me to bundle them in bunches of 40 when I brought them back.

The next time I traveled to that town, I took my bundled slides hoping for no more resistance. The associate helped me through using the slooooow kiosk and the packaging. It took about three weeks to transfer from one media to the other. At some point, I received an email to look at them online. Then someone from the store called me to say my order was in! When I picked them up, the same associate remembered me. She somberly told me some of the photographs were faded. I grinned and said, "That's okay because some of the slides are nearly forty years old."

The DVD, full of images, is a gift. There are pictures I don't remember taking and others forgotten until I saw them again.

This cute picture of my son and daughter was taken at Easter one year. A Chuck Norris, action figure, was in my son's basket. Little sis needed baby doll supplies. Both received those multi-ink pens. I love my kids, but my eyes are drawn to my wallpaper and paneling. My cabinets are now white and there is no wallpaper or paneling.

I could tell you a story about Mr. and Mrs. Parakeet, if I could remember them. I don't know if I took a picture of my neighbor's birds (which I highly doubt) or if I zeroed out the memory of owning these beauties.

I call this photo: The tootsie roll caper. My daughter is hiding her sucker behind her back. She's got some good hair going on there.

My son on his trike.

Several of the slides are of my dad. Seeing new pictures of him is super meaningful.

Here's one of my daughter and I in matching dresses, sort of. I wasn't much into matchy stuff, but made them to make her happy. I love how I am sandwiching her tiny hand between mine.

Lastly is of my oldest niece of whom I love so much. She's nearly forty herself (like the slides) and physically an absolute beauty. We are no longer in contact.

And that is my Slides to DVD Experience.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Year in Passing and St. Patrick's Day

(I put off posting this until now, hence the reference to St. Patrick's Day)

Ronnie Powell
St. Patrick's Day has a different meaning for me now. My dad's funeral was held on March 17, 2017, a day before my March birthday, and fitting (in my opinion) since Dad was partly Irish and redheaded. It’s been a year since his passing and still weird to be at family functions without seeing his cowboy hat and hearing the click of his boots.

Dad's fast departure from this life was difficult for us, but I'm glad he didn't have to suffer a long time with illness. He didn't want it that way. Dad's illnesses seemed to come fast and hard, but in reality had been percolating in the background. We were surprised by the diagnoses: COPD (he didn’t know), lung cancer (he didn’t know that one either until the hospital stay), pneumonia and a stroke at some point that (evidently) didn't slow him down because he never knew about the stroke. Doctors and nurses alike shook their heads regarding his shredded lungs and how he breathed without being connected to an oxygen tank, in his everyday life. He didn’t need the hospital oxygen either, they said, but they had to keep it attached to him. 

He did seem superhuman at times.

His viewing and the funeral were the best as those kind of services go. He'd joked with Mom that they would have to pay people to come to their funerals, since over the years they'd lost a lot of family and friends, but that was far from the truth. Many people attended. Each person who waited in line told us the history of their relationship with Dad. Most we knew, but some came as new information (at least to me). And many wanted to share a story about him. The funeral part was led by a pastor that we once knew. Dad was not a church goer, but he really liked this young fella. Evidently the feeling was mutual because they spent time together camping and hiking. Ben presented a message that touched the hearts of most who attended the service, from our community of friends and family, the religious and nonreligious alike.
Dad didn't compliment me much, but once said that I was a good driver. Told me he liked how I kept my house and property tidy. He loved my children an incredible amount, told me so and showed it. On our trips together and car rides to writing classes, Dad told me stories of his youth, probably some I didn't need to hear. 😉
People who have been in our lives and then die often leave their voice in our heads and claim a portion of our hearts. You'll still hear them at times influencing your actions and decisions. My dad influenced me in many ways. We both: 
  • love writing.
  • like mowing our yards.
  • walk fast.
  • are hard workers.
  • entertain a bit of the no nonsense attitude.
  • love singing. He loved to sing and felt that I got my (so called) talent from him.
  • have a love affair with bacon and over easy eggs.
  • love buzzards. We even talked about buzzards. I do like a pretty buzzard!
When you lose someone that you love, your life has to change; there's no way around it. After all these years, I have no answers for overcoming grief or living without the people that we still want in our lives.
I suspect there is no easy answer.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

One Sunday Morning

My brother and I - 1961- Easter 
As a youngster, after Sunday school in our beautiful country church, my mom, two siblings, me, my maternal grandma, cousins and aunt that lived with Grandma all sat in the same pews (one or two) for the worship service. Since my grandma (and grandpa) had eight children, the extended family was large. Added to the "family" pew each weekend were visiting family members who sometimes attended church with Grandma Sadie. Needless to say, the family pew(s) overflowed. I would like to add that these were not assigned pews, but squatted, claimed emotionally by families.

My involvement with the family pew thing changed as I became a teenager and wandered around the church with friends,  until I married.

But this isn't a story about family pews. No. This story is about the pew that helped trap me. 

We weren't the only ones that sat in the same place each Sunday. In front of us, sat three of the elder women of the church and community who often sat together. They all had fluffy white sometimes blued tinted hair which I fought to not touch because their hair 'looked' soft. (I read somewhere that women blued their hair because they didn't want their gray hair to look yellow.)

One particular Sunday, the congregation sang its hymns, stood and sat as directed. (I can still hear my grandma’s sweet singing voice.) I liked two of the ladies who sat in front of us, but the third I did not care for since she was surly to me.  I witnessed her snippiness to others, too. All three of the ladies were close neighbors to us and each other. That day, a couple of things were flitting through my mind and it wasn't church related: obsessing on their soft hair and thinking on what I would do after church. I don't recall if I was singing, but I do remember running my hand over the wood of the back of the pew in front of me. That is where I left my arm, dangling over the back of the next pew when the singing stopped. 

After that last song, the song leader told us to be seated. Before I could collect both arms, the lady that wasn't so nice, fell back into her seat, slamming her body against my arm. There I stood with my skinny little arm pinned by her back to the pew. The moment was so brief, but felt lengthy as I pondered how to free myself without talking to the surly woman. I knew she would say I shouldn't have put it there in the first place. 

The woman didn't seem to notice that MY arm was the lump between her back and the seat. Maybe she thought the lump was her sweater or something because she shifted her shoulders side to side then pressed back even more against me. Suddenly, she moved again, this time forward, giving me the opportunity to pull my arm out and sit down. I looked at my mom who hadn't noticed my dilemma. She'd been in a whispering conversation with my grandma, as they sat down. 

I want to point out that others thought this woman was not surly but instead likable. Somehow, she left that impression on me.