The title of my blog will hopefully make sense by the end.
Here’s a picture my dad pulled out after I lost my mom. He absolutely loves this picture. He tells me he gets up often to sit and stare at it. Many times he says he talks to my mom. The picture hangs on the wall by his recliner so he has a perfect view. He will often say, “Doesn’t your moma look so beautiful and healthy there?” Of course she does!
I forgot about that picture until I walked into my dad’s house and saw it on the wall. My mind went racing back to that time. I believe this was a special picture offer where you get a free 8 x 10 when you purchase a package. There always seemed to be a gimmick back in the day.
Every memory of that day came flooding back fast. I remember when this picture was taken so very well. At first glance, Jim’s throat is obvious. He had a bleed and it shows with greater detail in the picture, even worse than it was. We never stressed too much on these bleeds because they were par for the course with hemophilia. If my brothers didn’t have a bleed, then that would be out of our norm.
Moma insisted on Jim and Chubs wearing matching shirts. From my recollection, they were not too happy about that, especially Jim. I don’t quite blame them, as they were five years apart, but Moma insisted they dressed alike. You can see the results in the picture who won that battle.
Chubs had a broken leg. When did he NOT have a broken leg? He wasn’t clumsy, just an occupational hazard of hemophilia. I was strategically placed in front of him to hide his crutch under his left arm. That’s why his left shoulder is lower than his right. He needed to use one crutch to keep his balance. This was back in the day when there a thick plaster cast that went from your toes to your hip. You needed a wire hanger to scratch the itches.
In my younger days, Daddy was deemed a big man. I look at him now and cannot believe how big he was back then. I remember when I couldn’t fit my arms around him. He spent his many years running a backhoe and a jackhammer (without ear plugs – pre-OSHA mandate days). He was the best backhoe operator in town, as many of his former coworkers have told me. Along with his size was great strength. He was the strongest man I knew. He thinks it’s funny that I weigh more than him now. I look forward to getting old; I’m going to be skinny! ha
I was only a mere five years old in this picture. This was just a year before I got glasses, and my self-confidence fell a few notches. I remember the dress with that little ruffle. Moma loved that green and cream dress. I wore it a lot. And being poor, I really didn’t have a lot of options. The most important part about me in this picture is my Snoopy watch. Please scroll back up to humor me, and take another peek at my watch. I sure loved that watch. I wore it all the dang time. Snoopy’s arms were the hands of the watch. I wanted that watch in the picture so bad. The photographer wanted me to put my hands in my lap like my mom, but I wasn’t having it. I wanted my super cool watch in the picture. Well…you can see the result. I was a little rebellious even at five.
I saved the best part of this picture for last, my mom. She was so beautiful. The 1/4 Cherokee Indian she has in her blood shows very distinctly in her hair. It was so long and so full. I wanted hair like hers; I still do. She always had such dark, deep-set eyes. There was nothing ever dark about her though. She was an angel who walked on earth, and I was just lucky enough for God to let her be mine. You can see my mom’s angelic tenderness as it is so beautifully displayed in her gentle smile.
Did you notice the yellow in my mom’s dress? I remember her dress the most. There was a texture to it. I remember always running my fingers along the lined textures as if they were little rows, like in a freshly planted garden. I can still ‘feel’ that dress. I can feel how every line felt under my little fingers. She would often wear this dress to church and I would always want to touch the texture. She would smack my hands to tell me to stop. I couldn’t help myself; I love texture.
We couldn’t afford many family pictures. This was the first one we had together and it took us till I was five years old to afford one. Today we take pictures on our phones and never give it a second thought.
How many times do you try to take a picture and someone becomes so dramatic about having their picture taken? I have zero tolerance with that. I always make that individual suck it up and take a picture anyway. Get over yourself. The picture isn’t totally about you and how terrible you think you look. A picture is capturing a moment in time. A moment you can never get back. Forty plus years later I forgot about this family picture until I saw it again. Today I cannot stop thinking about this picture…about a time when we were poor, but we didn’t realize it. A time when finances were tough, but we still made do as a family. A time we all got together for a family photo because Moma made us. Now we are at a time when two of the five members of this little family are now in Heaven. A time when all I have is a photo that brought back memories of this very special day. To anyone who reads my blogs, please take lots of pictures, no matter how messy your hair may be, or how ‘tired’ you are of having your picture taken. Regrets are things we didn’t do. Never look back with regrets; look back with memories.
Reflecting back to the title of this blog, As the saying goes… A picture is worth a 1000 words. After I finished typing out every memory and thought I had of this picture, I did a word count: 1057. The saying is true; truer than true.
Take lots of pictures. One day all you will have are the memories.
Peace out, Trout!