Sunday, June 05, 2005


Time’s passage is not obvious on a day-to-day basis, but when you look at what happens over the span of a decade or two, it can be downright disconcerting.

What with the recent graduation of the Mistress of Sarcasm, we’ve had a lot of relatives settling in at Chez Elisson for visits of varying lengths. And that’s when the old photo albums come out.

I came home last week to a pile of 1980’s-vintage photo albums scattered on the coffee table, albums packed with 4 x 6 photos taken with my (still-alive-and-kicking) Canon AE-1. I opened one up – it happened to have pictures from the summer of 1987 in it – and what struck me is how many people in the first few pages of that album are no longer walking the planet.

There was Loretta, my Aunt Zelda’s younger sister, a vivacious redhead who was my first childhood crush. There was Grandma Shirley (the Momma d’Eli). There was Uncle Gerry, my dad’s brother and Zelda’s husband. There was my mother. There was our friend JoAnn’s mother, who passed away less than two weeks ago after an eight-year struggle with Alzheimer’s. And in albums from one year earlier, there was SWMBO’s dad.

All of them, gone…and all within the last two decades.

You just never know when your number’s up or in what manner the Big Guy will tell you to hang up your jock and hit the Shower Eternal. Aortic aneurysm. Liver failure. Parkinson’s. Alzheimer’s. Plain old Old Age.

But what you do know is that every day when you roll out of bed, you’re buying a lottery ticket. Those are just some of the prizes…and eventually, we’re all winners.

Do I sound macabre? Maudlin? Maybe so. But like many of us, I can laugh in the face of Death…just as long as I know he’s not staring right back at me.

Looking at those albums makes me a little sad. I miss all of those people. I miss being able to talk with them, to spend time with them, to share meals with them.

But at least I can look at their images, frozen in the wink of a shutter so long ago. And I can remember. That makes me smile.

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