Lost Memories

So, with Father’s day breathing down our collective necks, it’s time for those of us with the obligation, to start thinking about a gift.

My particular style for finding the perfect Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, anniversary, or birthday gift is to,

A: Remember what day it is, ON the actual day of the intended gift giving, and then…

B: Run around at the last minute like an idiot, trying to find a gift that doesn’t come across as one that wasn’t gathered up at the last minute by an idiot.

I rarely succeed.

Surprise, surprise.

The problem is usually not that I didn’t think of anything in the previous weeks. The problem is more likely to be that I had a bunch of GREAT ideas that would take way more time to get up and running that I actually have, and thus, were shelved.

I’m long on great ideas, short on time and funds. My Mother likes to point out that I should have been born rich; then I could have great ideas and pay others to actually finish them. I think prodominatly, my Mother likes this idea because that would ipso facto, make her rich as well. Hey, if you’re going to play “If I had a million dollars”, you might as well share the fictional wealth!

This brings me to this years brilliant “You don’t have time for this foolishness” gift for Dad.

A few weeks back, my family and I went to visit the old homestead in New Hampshire. While I was there, I spent some quality time rooting around in my old room. In the bottom of a jar of pens, pencils, mummified erasers and dead bugs, I found a long forgotten slide. The image took me a minute to discern. The celluloid was in rough shape after who knows how long knocking around at the bottom of all those writing implements and various types of ick. Then, it came into focus. Not only did I figure out the picture, but I remembered it being taken as well. It’s of me… from long, long ago. In the photo, I’m five and at the family cottage looking over the deck rail with the sun is behind me. As I figured this out, my eyes widened as I vaguely recalled having my Dad call up instructions to me to set my head a certain way and look off in a particular direction. He was an avid amateur photographer and loved trying out “art shots” and new lighting techniques. In this case, I think the desired effect was a sunny halo around my five year old mellon.

The slide is out of focus and I have the feeling that he might have considered it a failed attempt. That might explain how it escaped from its carousel at some point, ending up kicking around in my room. At any rate, I scooped it up and brought it back with us when the vacation was over. I had to bring it to a photo developer to get a scan good enough to attempt to repair the image. When I started working on it, I had confidence in my abilities with Photoshop and thought that it might take an hour. It took a lot longer than I expected. After a three hours, I was starting to think that this, like so many of my great ideas, was going to turn out as yet another “almost finished it” gift. Today, with not much time left, I decided to knuckle down and finish or go blind and loopy trying. It took a lot longer than I thought it would…

But I did it.

I had it printed on eight by twelve, matte paper and I picked up a glass clip style frame for it to go in. I’m very pleased.

It’s hard to get gifts for my folks now. They don’t really need more stuff and the stuff that they want, they go get. My goal is to not get them “dustables” or nick-nacks if at all possible. This will take up some wall space somewhere, but all in all, I think it’s a good Father’s day gift. The fun (and new part) is that I’ll be getting something from my children too!

I’d love a framed picture of my kids.

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5 Responses

  1. That’s a lovely present 🙂

  2. It’s a lovely shot. Very wistful and I think the muted tones and the lack of sharp focus help make it a better image.

    It’s almost like an idealised and faded memory of childhood.

    I’m reminded of a verse from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

    Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
    Your Winter garment of Repentance fling:
    The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To flutter–and the Bird is on the Wing.

  3. That is a great gift but now you’ve got me panicked about Father’s Day.

  4. Great story TP. Makes me miss my dad. Father’s Day was always a bit easier for me because there was always some tool he needed. I still miss the giving part. I’m sure your dad will love it.

    Ironically I was just talking to my wife this morning about having some old slides digitally copied. I’ve been trying to do an anniversary present for my in-laws for two years. Whenever they are out of town we sneak over and scan photos all week. The plan is to do a nice DVD for them eventually. The hardest part is getting my wife’s brother to forward photos from his home in England. Yikes!

  5. Thanks every body. I wish I could do this for all my Dad’s photos. He has a closet full of slides that just sit there and gather dust. It’s funny how we just don’t get out the projector and screen any more.

    Razz, thanks for the bit of poetry. It’s beautiful and very poignant. I agree with you that the soft focus actually makes the photo now. Funny how what made it a cast off back when it was taken, really makes the piece now.

    PC, Good luck on your project. It’s sounds like it will be great when it’s finally done. What kind of a scanner are you using?

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