When my father was in the army, our family was sent to Kagnew Station, Eritrea, in Ethiopia. I was very young at the time and my memories are few, but my parents took a lot of pictures. I especially love the photographs of the people.
I have vague memories of children materializing whenever we were out and about in Ethiopia. Those memories came flooding back when we first went to visit our work site in Bosnia. The car pulled in, and a small passel of girls came running out, excited to see “the Americans.”
I was very excited when, in Bosnia, I saw the word DRVO on a sign, because it was one of the words I had learned on the app I used before the trip. The sign was at a lumberyard, so I probably could have figured it out with the words. Lumberyards are readily identifiable by the lumber. Still — it felt like an accomplishment.
I took a few pictures of wood this afternoon — none of it lumber at a lumberyard, although I did drive by our local lumberyard and think about it.
In a month all our maples will be wearing their most beautiful colors. We’ll be bringing that firewood into the house. The sunflower will be dried and ready for the birds.
Today, however, is a balmy September day, a good day to snap a few photos.
My like-affair with cows probably began when my parents bought an old farmhouse next door to a working dairy farm.
When little-girl-me pulled up a handful of grass and held it out to a friendly cow, my new bovine friend would take from my hand, drawing my fingers close enough that I could feel her smooth wet nose. There’s nothing quite like a cow’s muzzle.
Teenage me spent a week one year at the county fair, helping with the 4-H dairy judging. Not judging them, of course, but distributing ribbons. I watched, and listened, and plodded around the ring, stepping over fresh cow-pies, handing ribbons to my peers dressed in showman white.
“I really like the dairy-ness of this cow,” the judge said about an exceptional animal, and, to this day, I have no idea what he meant. It was a cow. A dairy cow.
When adult me traveled to Bosnia this year, I put together a little photo album of my family to show the family we were helping. Since I had a few empty pages at the end, I stuck in a view looking across the valley from our front door, and a picture of the cows down the road. The Bosnian women loved looking at the photos of my children. One of the Bosnian men got very excited about the picture of the cows. He pointed to the picture, then pointed to me, then back to the picture, obviously asking, “Are these yours?”
I shook my head. “No, they live down the road from my house,” I said. When it was translated to him. he looked sad. Maybe he was hoping to talk dairy.
I don’t know much about dairy, but I do appreciate cows’ wet muzzles, sorrowful eyes, and the clunky gait they have when they run.
I thought I had a large family when I was growing up.
My parents had five children — a nice, symmetrical boy-girl-boy-girl-boy.
Then I met my husband. He was the second of thirteen. As if that wasn’t enough, his cousin also came to live with them when her mother passed away, so really there were fourteen children in the family. And one bathroom.
Big is a relative term. My family was not big in comparison with Bud’s.
Bud and I have eight children — somewhere in between mine and his. Not that we planned it. We never sat down and said, “I grew up in a family of five kids. You grew up in a family of thirteen. Let’s split the difference.”
That would have been silly.
That would also have been nine.
We are just blessed. So very blessed.
When I saw on Cee’s Photography blog a challenge about Big and Small, of course I thought of family.
Really — that’s pretty much what I think about 90% of the time. Family will never be an overworked topic for me.
In particular, I thought of this photograph — my youngest and my oldest sons.
This was at Philip’s wedding. Karl was gaining on Philip a very little.
In recent pictures I found this one of Philip next to Karl while setting up a family shot. Philip’s little boy, Henry, loves his Uncle Karl.