Monday, January 25, 2010

The Meaning of Life

We watched the Jets' incredibly entertaining trek through the NFL playoffs come to a disappointing but not entirely unexpected result in Indianapolis - and I presume that all of the rain that Indianapolis successfully repels all summer torments its residents throughout the autumn and the winter given that the Colts have played every home game in their history in their present zip code indoors - from Joe's house last night. While the wheels were coming off of the J-E-T-S bus in the second half, Margaret and I were actually sitting with her Dad at his kitchen table taking a look at some singularly amazing photographs.

Margaret's mom was the ultimate chronicler of her family's life. Last night Joe and I were talking about his house and its history and - with seemingly little effort - Margaret found several boxes of photos from a drawer in a desk in her Mom's office, a number of which chronicled the home's construction.......in 1960. There was a set as well that documented some early celebrations that Joe and Sue had hosted at their home. The photos were terrific and because my mother-in-law was the type of person she was there was no guess work at all as to what we were looking at and when the events had taken place. Sue recorded the date, the names of each person in it and what was depicted in the photo on the rear of each. And a half century later one did not have to guess how happy she was when she marked the pictures - her use of punctuation told the story. Joe and Sue hosted their first party at their home in 1960 - and fifty years later - her excitement at having hosted a social gathering with her husband at her home was as clear as the exclamation point she used in marking the photos for posterity.

It was most certainly a bit of a tough trip down memory lane for Joe. He and Sue lived almost a half-century together in their ranch house on Howard Avenue, raised their children there, welcomed their grandchildren into the world there and lived a hellaciously fine life there. And fifty years ago when they crossed the threshold of their new home for the first time, neither of them envisioned a life where one would be without the other. And never envisioned an evening in which one would be present only through the magic of photography.

Looking through some photographs I found inside a drawer
I was taken by a photograph of you
There were one or two
I know that you would have liked a little more
But they didn't show your spirit quite as true

You were turning 'round to see who was behind you
And I took your childish laughter by surprise
And at the moment that my camera happened to find you
There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes.

-AK

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