Friday, July 30, 2021

Goodbye, Nazzie

This was not a good day.

Today we had to say goodbye to Nosfurratu, or Nazzie for short (though we could never all agree on the spelling of her full name or nickname). She got sick just a couple of days ago, and spent two days at the vet's office, but she just couldn't make it, she was too sick. She wouldn't eat and her body temperature kept going down and there was fluid in her chest and she was having trouble breathing.

We're devastated. She wasn't even three years old yet.

Goodbye, Nazzie. We were lucky to have you as our little fur girl for two and a half years.

Jess texted this picture to me back in March. I'm terribly sad that I won't get anymore of Jess's wonderful Selfies with Nazzie.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Two Views of Our Screened-In Back Porch

(A few weeks ago I wrote a post based around just a picture of the house I grew up in in Lilburn. Here's another one, except this is based on a different view of the house, and this time there are two pictures.)

I don't remember exactly when Dad and my uncle Richard (Scott's dad) built this screened-in porch on our house in Lilburn, but I remember the building of it well, even if I'm not sure when it was. But I think it must have been 1981 or 1982 -- I'm almost certain I was at least in middle school at the time, if not already in high school -- which means that for the first eight or nine years we lived there, there was no back porch. In my memory, that house always had a screened-in porch, even though I know that wasn't true. (Memory is often unreliable like that. I think I might have learned that in college; I don't remember.)(Do you see what I did there?)

We spent a lot of time out there, or at least I think we did. (If we didn't, then we should have.) In these pictures you can just make out the white and blue plastic and canvas table and chairs we had on the porch, at which we had summer lunches and the occasional game of Trivial Pursuit. I think there was also some wicker furniture too. And ceiling fans? I think so, but you can't tell in these pictures, and my memory doesn't fill them in. What I wish was true is that I spent a lot of time out there reading, and I know I did some, but I think even after this porch was built I still spent most of my time in my bedroom reading Piers Anthony and Clifford D. Simak novels and playing my guitar.

I do remember this, though: my fourteen-year-old self was in much better shape than I am now, forty years later (not surprisingly), and back then I could do something that I wouldn't even attempt now, which is to climb up on the gate of our chain-link fence, just beside the house (you can just barely see it in one of the pictures above), and pull myself up onto the roof. Some days I would take a book with me and a little plastic jug-shaped container of juice and sit up there on the porch roof -- which was pitched at a more comfortable angle than the rest of the roof-- and read for a while. Whether this is something I just did a couple of times or something I did every day for a whole summer I'm not sure. I outgrew the habit (probably pretty quickly because I imagine it was hot up there, even if it does seem like a cool thing to do).

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Buford Highway Recollections: Another Book Post

Book Nook as it appears now, in its current location on North Druid Hills road

In the early 1980s, my cousin and friend Scott and I would go on book-buying trips down Buford Highway once a month or so. (At least I remember it as being that often and that regular. Maybe it's something we only did three or four times…but I remember it as being every month or so for a period of a year or so. Also, for me they were book-buying trips, but I think Scott was actually more interested in looking for records.) Sometimes we'd go on a Saturday, sometimes on a weekday afternoon after school—most of the time when this was a regular event for us, we were both still in high school at Berkmar, me in ninth or tenth grade and him in eleventh or twelfth.

The high spot of these trips was Book Nook. Back then it used to be where Clairmont intersects Buford Highway. (Some years ago, it moved to—and still occupies—a building on North Druid Hills, which is fine, and I still go there two or three times a year, but I liked the old location better.) Book Nook was a large used bookstore with a great SF/fantasy section, and probably quite a lot of other types of books, too, but I don't remember because I never looked anywhere else. I do remember, though, that you had to go by—or was it through?—the comic books to get to the SF bookcases. (Book Nook is still a large used bookstore, and it still has a pretty good SF/fantasy section, but now when I go there I also go to several other sections, and also in their current location you don't have to go through the comic books to get to the science fiction shelves.)

When I was in high school, I used to go to the library during my study hall period and look at the original 1977 Science Fiction Encyclopedia—still my favorite edition, primarily because of the illustrations, which were omitted from the mid-90s update. I loved that book; I read more about science fiction than I actually read science fiction. Sometime in the mid-80s, a year or two after Scott and I had pretty much stopped going on our Buford Highway excursions, on a Book Nook visit with my first girlfriend, Laura, I found a copy of the Encyclopedia, and I pounced on it, though I was (and still am) a little disappointed that it didn't have the dust jacket. I can't remember how much it cost, or whether I was able to buy it right away or if I had to go back later (hoping all the while that no one else had gotten to it before me, I'm sure) with the right amount of money. More than thirty years later, I still love that book.

Besides Book Nook, there were at least two other places Scott and I would go regularly. One of them was also a used bookstore; I remember going there one afternoon and finding a copy of Harlan Ellison's landmark anthology Dangerous Visions and thinking I'd found a real prize. I realized years later that it was just a cheap and fairly common book club edition, but I still have that copy, and have read…oh, maybe a fourth of it in the thirty-five years since I bought it. (I've always been guilty of spending more money buying books than time reading them.)

Three books I still have that I know I bought at bookstores along Buford Highway in the 1980s

The other store I remember Scott and me going to on Buford Highway was primarily a used record store—I remember Scott buying an ABBA record there once—but they might have had used books too. I can vaguely picture the inside of the store, but not its location along Buford Highway. I can also remember the owner of the store, as he rang up Scott's ABBA record, telling him about how the members of ABBA spoke no English and learned all their songs phonetically but didn't know what they were singing. Scott just nodded and said, "Oh, really, that's interesting," but as soon as we left the store he told me that was a load of crap (which I'm pretty sure I already knew).

I recall one time on a Saturday Scott and I had lunch at the McDonald's that was near Book Nook, and as we ate, Mike Beaty and Toni Pecoraro, two guys we knew from Berkmar, came in. Mike had a huge afro—look at Neal Schon on the back of a late 70s Journey album—and Tony had shoulder length hair. The both played guitar and were in a band together. I know now that they were just a couple of teenagers, not very different from any other teenagers, but at the time I thought they were rock stars. I don't remember if we talked to them, or if they even acknowledged our presence.

I still occasionally drive down Buford Highway, usually just for nostalgia's sake, since all the book stores and used record stores are now long gone (or, thankfully, moved elsewhere in the case of Book Nook). Sometimes it makes me happy just to be there, since I have so many great memories of that time in my life, and of those book-buying trips with Scott. Sometimes it makes me sad that the area has changed so much, and sadder still that I can't be fifteen again, heading out with Scott to drive down Buford Highway.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Self Portrait with Ennui

or, Rainy Tuesday with Nowhere To Go

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Throwback Thursday: The Blogger as a Cub Scout

I was a Cub Scout for a whole year—or at least much of a school year, if not actually a whole calendar year. I quit way before I ever had a shot at going from the minor leagues of the Cub Scouts to the big leagues of the Boy Scouts, and I don't regret not participating longer. Every once in a while I have a student who includes in their "About Me" post at the beginning of the semester the fact that they were—or are—an Eagle Scout, and that's great for them, but it doesn't bother me that I never was. I can't tie a Shawshank knot or pitch a tent in fifteen seconds or tell at a glance which mushrooms are edible and which are not, and I'm okay with that. I don't like mushrooms anyway. (Besides, ALL mushrooms are edible. Some of them will, however, kill you.) I do know that, had I stayed in the Cub Scouts, the next level up within the Cub Scouts—not in the Boy Scouts, but the Cub Scouts—was actually called Webelos, which is awfully close to Weebles—"Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down"—and maybe that's part of why I dropped out. I mean, seriously, if you want a nine-year-old kid to continue in your organization, don't threaten him with a dumb-ass title like "Webelo."

Here I am in my uniform, sometime in 1976. There's no date written on the photograph, but I know it was 1976 because the strongest association I have of the Cub Scouts—along with some vague recollections of Den meetings at our Den Leader's house (I'm not sure what should really be capitalized here, so I'm just going to use initial caps on anything that sounds officious or official)—is of marching with my Den in Lilburn's Bicentennial Parade. Although, to be honest, I don't actually "remember" that, I just know it is a fact of my past: I marched in Lilburn's Bicentennial Parade with my Cub Scout Troop. We have a picture or two from that day, but I don't truly have any memories of it.

The only true memory I have of my time in the Cub Scouts is participating in the pinewood derby, a wood-model-car race—or maybe it was the space derby, which is basically the same thing except instead of cars on the ground you race balsa-wood rocket/space ship things suspended on fishing line. I vaguely remember working on my car, or rocket, but what I really remember is going to a church in Lilburn—it's now Calvary Baptist Church, but I'm sure it wasn't called that then—for the actual race. (It's the big church on the right as you're going down Lawrenceville Highway toward Lilburn Square, where the Lilburn-Tucker Cinema used to be.) I don't have any idea how my car, or rocket, did in the race (though if I'd won I'm sure I would remember that), but I do remember that at that time I was reading The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow, which is I think the fourteenth Three Investigators book, and now whenever I drive by that church in Lilburn, which is several times a year, I think about that book, and about going to the church for the pinewood derby (or space derby, whichever). (And about misusing the word "vigil," a word I learned from that Three Investigators book, one day when I was trying to impress Jarrod Parker with my vocabulary in Mrs. Osteen's fourth grade class—but that's a whole 'nother story.)

Maybe the best thing that came out of my brief association with the Cub Scouts was my subscription to Boys’ Life magazine, which I'm pretty sure extended two or three years past my membership in the Cub Scouts. I enjoyed reading Boys’ Life—a magazine which still exists, and which is published by the Boy Scouts of America for its members; it has apparently been renamed Scout Life, a change I don't care for—more than I enjoyed being a Cub Scout. I read the joke page, Think & Grin, of every issue thoroughly, memorizing some of what I considered the best jokes. (I still know some of them today, more than forty years later.) I remember when they started serializing a comic version of Robert A. Heinlein's Between Planets, though I didn't read it. (These days it wouldn’t be described as a "comic version," it would be called a "graphic novel," but thankfully that term hadn't been invented back then.) Nor did my subscription last through the end of that serialization; somewhere in there my subscription to Boys’ Life was replaced with a subscription to Guitar Player magazine, which was more enjoyable, and more appropriate, to the fifteen-year-old me. Now I remember the two magazines with equal fondness. (When I actually read the Heinlein novel a few years later, I thought immediately of Boys’ Life magazine, but that association didn't last long.)

Before I close this musing, I need to say a few things about that living room. This picture is forty-five years old, and I haven't lived in that house for thirty years, and I'd forgotten that the fireplace hearth was just a big old block of concrete. I remember the dark brown wood of the fireplace and mantle, though, and the black metal of the firebox, and those candles and the ceramic turtle up on the mantle. In the middle of the mantle is a black case, which I think was the case for the very camera my mother used to take this picture. On the right side of the frame there's a red chest of drawers, which I remember well, with a bowling trophy one top of it. Not long after this, my uncle Wayne would build some shelves into that space for us, and eventually there would be quite a few bowling trophies on those shelves.

And here's something I remember very well about this scene: there's a knot-hole in the fireplace—in this picture you can see it as a little circle a bit past half-way up the frame, beneath the mantle and pretty close to the left edge of the picture—and when I was a kid I would push things into that hole so they would fall into the hollow space behind the wood. Mostly I put bits of paper back there, candy and gum wrappers and things like that; I had the idea that they might be discovered years later when the house was renovated or demolished. And for all I know, they will be—or perhaps already have been, if the current owners have altered the fireplace. I would love to be able to comb through the debris back there and see if I wrote any notes and dropped them through that little hole. I can easily imagine the ten-year-old me writing a note for posterity and depositing it in that hole.

This is one of the longest posts I've ever written, but I'm about to extend it even further: here's a picture of me and my Cub Scout Den—the picture of me and my Cub Scout Den; I don't know if there are any others—marching in the Lilburn Bicentennial Parade:

I'm the left-most Cub Scout in the picture, and our Den Leader—I don't remember her name, or anyone else's name—is right beside me. I'm not sure who the green-uniform-and-red-beret-wearing guy behind me is.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Tybee Island Beach 2021

This week we went for a brief--Tuesday through Thursday for me and Jessica; Tuesday through Friday for Anna and Elyse--vacation to Tybee Island. We actually stayed in a cabin on Skidaway Island (in Skidaway Island State Park), but the main interest (for Anna and Elyse, at least) was the beach at Tybee Island, though we did also go for a few-hours-long trip into Savannah (mostly to visit River Street Sweets and get some candy).

Here are a whole bunch of pictures I made on the trip (plus one Anna texted to me), starting with the walk down the municipal pier on Tybee Island Beach and including a few pictures of our cabin:

The cabin's loft, in which the kids slept

Elyse up in the loft

The view from the loft

Wednesday morning Anna and Elyse went on a dolphin-watching boat tour; Anna texted this picture to me when they arrived at the place for the tour.

I took this picture from the parking deck on Wednesday afternoon when we went to Savannah.

Thursday morning we went to the beach early,  arriving before 8:00 so we could get a good parking spot (and have some time at the beach before the rain started). There were already some people there:

Jessica and I came home Thursday afternoon. We stopped for supper at the DQ in Wrightsville, which, it turns out, is almost exactly halfway home. (That was nice to find out but unplanned.) Jessica wanted me to take a picture of the church across the street, being sure to get the DQ sign in the frame:

Jessica and I went through a terrible thunderstorm in Covington around 9:30, but we were home by 10:30. Anna and Elyse got home today (Friday) a little before 1:00.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Eight-Year-Old Me and My New Cassette Recorder

I'm pretty sure this was my eighth birthday, back in 1975. I remember that cassette tape player/recorder so well; I used it for years to record songs from the radio, and me and Sharon doing skits and reading stories, and me playing my guitar (a few years later; when this picture was taken I didn't yet have a real guitar and couldn't have played it if I did). I still have some of those cassettes; in fact, I've digitized a few of them and now I can listen to MP3 files of my much-younger self saying things that I now don't remember ever having said. Some of them were recorded over tapes Dad gave me that, prior to my using them, contained software code. At least one of those tapes contains some "Star Wars" music I recorded off the radio.

I wish I could read the text on the cover of the cassette player's manual, but the quality of this picture won't allow it. I probably didn't read the manual back then, either, since the buttons were all clearly labeled and the microphone only plugged into one jack. It wasn't exactly rocket science to use the thing.

I remember that snazzy denim outfit I'm wearing. (Whether in calling it "snazzy" I'm being serious or sarcastic I'll leave up to you to decide. I'm not actually sure myself.) I can remember wearing it to school, probably to Mrs. Martin's third grade class and maybe also, if I didn't grow too much that summer, to Mrs. Sutton's fourth grade class the next year.

And, man, look at the kitchen! That chicken/fruit basket wallpaper was great, and the giant wooden fork and spoon on the wall on either side of that violin-thing draped with plastic grapes (you can't tell that's what it is in this picture, but that's what I recall it being) is also pretty wonderful. The sign on the wall near the corner that says "Complaints to the cook can be hazardous to your health" now seems vaguely threatening and ominous, but no one back then would have seen it that way. That simulated-brick tile floor really completed the faux-rustic feel of the place. I don't remember having a round table, though; what I picture when I think about the kitchen when I was growing up is a rectangular table up against the wall beside the counter, which probably wouldn't have even been visible in this picture. Clearly, however, I am standing at a round table. Maybe the other table came later.

What's really amazing is that only ten years later I was graduating from high school and starting college. I realize now what a short time ten years really is, but I doubt that the high-school-senior me of 1985 would have looked at this picture and said, "Seems like only yesterday." (However, it's true that I did change a lot more in the ten years from 1975 to 1985 than I did in the ten years from 2011 to now.)

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Helen Tubing 2021

Today we went to Helen, Georgia (about 70 miles north of us), so Anna and Elyse could go tubing on the Chattahoochee for the first time in two years (the tubing places did open for a while last year, but we decided it was best not to go then, what with the pandemic and all).

The entrance to Helen Tubing has been completely redone, and it's no longer just $3 either

While Anna and Elyse floated down the river, Jessica and I went into Helen proper to wait for them to appear on the river under the bridge by the Troll Tavern. While we were there, I made -- sometimes rather sneakily -- a bunch of pictures, including these:

This is what it looks like waiting under the bridge and watching for people on the river

These are just random people tubing; look all you want, but you won't find Anna and Elyse among them

This is one of the sneakily-acquired pictures. They were posing for a picture someone else was taking of them. I apologize to them for sneaking this picture, but they were out in public. Also, "Do not climb Biggy!" (Nobody did while we were seated near him.)

Cool River Tubing is not the company Anna and Elyse went through, I just liked the look of their bus

Horsie & Ducky Platz

Finally, about an hour and twenty minutes after they'd first gotten into the river, Anna and Elyse made it to the bridge:

Shortly after this we picked them up at the Helen Tubing end point, and then we all went back to downtown Helen and at some funnel cake (except for Elyse, who prefers ice cream), and then we came home.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Dad and Jeff and Me on the Sofa, 1974

I love looking at this kind of photograph, an "everyday life" picture with no clearly associated event or holiday, just us in our house being us. The house is, of course, our house in Lilburn, and "us" in this case is me, in the middle, Jeff, and Dad. This picture is from February of 1974, a couple of months before I turned seven and right around the time Jeff turned four. Dad was only twenty-nine when this picture was made--still practically a kid himself! (Though near the end of that year he did turn thirty.) When this picture was made I was a little more than half-way through first grade, Miss McDowall's class at Bethesda Elementary. Jeff hadn't started school at all yet.

Behind us is the pool table that we had for the first few years we lived in Lilburn. I vaguely remember playing pool, but my biggest memory involving the pool table is this: Mom and Jan were working on a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, which they kept, for reasons I'm not clear about, on a rolling board under the pool table (or maybe they just put it there temporarily, I don't know), and one day Jeff and Alan got under there and messed it up so much that they (Mom and Jan) just gave up on it. I reminded Mom of this a few years ago, but she didn't remember it. I remember it well. In any case, I don't think we had the pool table past 1978.

On the left side of the frame at the top you can see a red bookcase which Anna and I have now; as I write this, it's in our bedroom on Anna's side with a lot of picture books and middle-grade and YA novels and library books on it. There are some books on the bookcase in this picture, but I can't tell what they are. It looks like there might be a set or a series there; where they cookbooks, perhaps? You can also see--or at least I can see; if you didn't already know what they were, you probably wouldn't recognize them--a set of crossed-swords bookends (or at least you can see one of them), which I think I might have had at some point. I don't know where they are now.

Near the top right corner--but not quite in the corner--is another object you might not recognize if you didn't already know what it is: a roundish red bun warmer, sitting on or beside the stove. I can't distinguish any of the other objects on the stove or the kitchen counters, up there at the top of the frame, though I'm sure there's a blender and a coffee maker there, and, who knows?, maybe a waffle maker. The folding wooden doors at the back of the kitchen are quite visible; behind them was the washing machine and dryer, and also the water heater. On the left side of the kitchen you can see the refrigerator, green, which I'm pretty sure was the same refrigerator we had a decade later when I was in high school.

I wish like anything I knew what book that is open between me and Dad. Jeff and I are both in our pajamas--was this nighttime, just before bed, or was it one morning? I suspect it was night. That yellow shirt Dad is wearing could have been a dress shirt he wore to work that day, or it could have been just what he was wearing on the day this was taken. What was going on that made Jeff look so wary of me and Dad? What was that pattern on Jeff's pajamas? What prompted Mom to take this picture?

Whatever it was, I'm glad she did. I cherish these reminders of how great it was to be a kid in the 1970's.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Twenty-Year Anniversary!

Twenty years ago today--twenty years ago!--Anna and I got married.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie! I love you!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Our House in Lilburn

Most of the pictures I choose for these musings have me in them, and often other members of my family as well, but this is just a house. Well, since my family and I may have been at home when this was taken, we might be, in the broadest sense, "in" this picture, but you sure can't see us.

But you can see the house, obviously. This is the house I grew up in, our house on Johns Way in Lilburn. We moved there in 1972, when the house was brand new and I was five, and I lived there until 1991, about a year after I graduated from college. Mom and Dad lived there until 1995, and when they told me they were putting it on the market I was incredulous: Sell my childhood home and live somewhere else?! Now I'm glad they moved — the neighborhood was sort of falling apart, I realize now — but at the time I was dead set against it. They moved anyway, of course.

I can date this picture to 1984 or 1985 based on the cars in the carport. The dark blue car on the left was Dad's Cadillac; it was originally a company car when Dad worked for CompuShop, but he later bought it. The car beside that was our 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which became my car after...well, I'll get to that in a minute; at this point it was still Mom's car. The white car beside it was a 1984 Toyota Corolla, which I bought—or really, Dad bought for me—after I totaled my beloved 1977 Toyota Corolla in April of 1984. Sometime after this picture was taken, or I think it must have been after this picture was taken, I wrecked that white Corolla on my way to work one morning for Maid in Georgia. It wasn't totaled—that is, the insurance company said it could be fixed, and was not a "total loss," but by that point anyone's confidence in me as a safe driver should have been. Within a few months, I was driving the Monte Carlo. I'm not sure what became of the white Corolla, but Dad eventually got a Toyota Celica. I don't remember what Mom drove then, my first couple of years of college.

The house was then a dark green with light green trim; it's still there, still owned (I'm pretty sure) by the family that bought it in 1995, but it's not green anymore. I drive by it every once in a while—okay, not "every once in a while," but every chance I get, anytime I'm in or anywhere near Lilburn. It was a great house to grow up in, and the neighborhood was great too. It was the kind of neighborhood where the ten-year-old me could take off on his bike after school and be gone for a couple of hours, sometimes playing with the other kids in the neighborhood (Kenny Moss, Steve Brooks, and others whose names I don't now remember), sometimes just riding around the neighborhood (it was a big circle, so I didn't have to go anywhere near a main road) or on the trails behind the neighborhood, through the woods. (Those woods have long since been turned into other subdivisions, but when I was a kid, Gwinnett County wasn't nearly as developed as it is now.) I don't think kids do that anymore—go out riding their bikes or playing in the neighborhood for hours, I mean—but that's more about the fears of parents and society today than about the current desires of kids.

But by the time this picture was taken, I was seventeen or eighteen, and my bike riding and playing in the neighborhood days were long gone. But I lived here for another six or seven years after this picture was taken, and it was, as I've said already, a great house to live in. Someday I'll write more about it.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Elyse Gets Glasses!

Her braces will be off soon, so she will look even more different

Today joined the rest of us in wearing glasses!

Don't they look good on her?

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Me, Jeff, and Dad in Granny's Living Room

This picture is a study in green--the green of the built-in drawers on the left side of the frame, the green of the linoleum floor, the green of my dad's striped shirt and solid tie, the green of my brother's pants. There are also some pronounced reds--my shirt, Jeff's shirt (striped though it is), and the Consolidated Freightways toy truck in the bottom right corner of the frame.

And I doubt you would know that that is a Consolidated Freightways toy truck without me telling you, and I probably wouldn't know either, except we have some other pictures from the same time--probably the same day, actually--that show it better. My grandfather worked for Consolidated Freightways, which is why Jeff got specifically a Consolidated Freightways toy truck for his birthday, and not just any old toy truck.

Like so many of the important pictures from my childhood, this was taken at my grandparents' house in Tucker. This was 1973, after (or possibly the day of) Jeff's birthday. I think that Mattel Preschool toy train (the "Motor Putt-Putt Railroad," Google tells me it was called), the brown tracks of which (all you can see of the train set in the picture) Dad is bending over to look at, was another of Jeff's birthday presents that year. Jeff was into trucks and trains when he was a little kid. I definitely remember playing with that train. (I also remember the train in Pa's attic, which I've also written about, but I definitely remember this train, with the plastic brown oval track.)

What I'd forgotten, but which this picture reminds me of, is that house's laundry room door's flowery pattern--was that perhaps contact paper covering the door? I can't quite remember it well enough to say for sure. But man, just seeing that door reminds me of the smell of that laundry room--humidity and clean clothes and the warmth of a gas dryer. (If it wasn't actually a gas dryer in there, don't correct me; just let me go on thinking that.) That laundry room was a veritable treasure trove of stuff--mostly tools and old magazines and newspapers, actually--and I loved going through it in the late seventies. At least I think I did; I would sure love to be able to visit it--as it was then, of course--now.

And that television set, on that rolling cart! As far as I know, that was the same TV on which Granny and I would watch "Wheel of Fortune" together--the Chuck Woolery "Wheel of Fortune"; it was that long ago--and on which I'm pretty sure I saw "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" one Christmas in the early or mid seventies.

What you can't see in this picture is my mother standing or sitting behind me, taking the picture, and my grandmother sitting beside her, but I know they were there, and I'm glad my mom took so many pictures like this when we were growing up. They mean a lot to me now.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Remembering Kevin

Two years ago today my friend Kevin went home to be with the Lord.

If he were still with us, Kevin would be 60 now -- twice the age he was in this picture (which, yes, was taken thirty years ago). As we see him here, Kevin was young and (relatively) newly married; he was still a couple of years away from becoming a parent for the first time, nearly a decade away from completing his Ph.D., almost a dozen years from starting his career in academia, twenty-five years away from publishing his book (Cognitive Psychology of Religion, of which he was justly proud). I'm glad to revisit this picture of him from when I had known him only a year or so, happy to know he would someday achieve all of those things. But it also breaks my heart a little to see him so young, so long ago.