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.
Please forgive this post. I blame it on my brother and the fact that I’ve been struggling to write.
“Why don’t you write ’10 Things About Zombies’?” my brother suggested.
“I don’t know ten things about zombies,” I said.
“Make them up,” he said, but I couldn’t think of anything.
“Zombies are dead,” I told him.
“You need to come up with something more interesting,” he replied.
So I tried.
I came up with five facts, but the first one is really a correction.
Zombie Fact #1: Zombies are not dead; they are undead.
Cee Neuner is starting a weekly photo challenge called “Alphabet with a Twist.” For the next 26 weeks, she’ll feature a different letter ~~ with a twist ~~ for her Fun Foto Challenge.
Maybe it’s because I’m a little twisted myself — but, I felt like I could commit to this challenge.
A (with a twist) is Ap. The photo needs to feature something that begins with the letters “Ap.”
I’m adding my own second requirement for this challenge. I’m going to use old family pictures.
Zombie Fact #2: Zombies don’t like to be photographed. Most zombie photos are staged and not real.
A few years ago, I started scanning my father’s slides to get them into a digital format. All of the photographs in this post were taken by my father before I was even born. Not staged. 100% real. No zombies.
So…. A is for Appetite.
Zombie Fact #3: Zombies like watermelon.
Watermelon is red and juicy. If you look at zombie pictures (which I know are staged) they often have red juicy stuff running down their chin. Watermelon, while not the consistency of brains or flesh, looks appetizing enough to fool your average zombie.
My mother told me that watermelon was sometimes soothing for a child that was teething. I like to think that’s why she was feeding it to Stewart in this picture, but she may have kept watermelon on hand in case of zombie attack.
Zombie Fact #4: Zombies are delighted when they see a baby with food on his or her face.
Zombies really aren’t so different from the rest of us. What parent hasn’t taken a picture of junior with spaghetti on his head or chocolate ice cream smeared all over his face?
For zombies, though, they find it attractive because they identify with it. Most zombies have lost their swallow reflex. Remember the zombie pictures with red liquid dripping down their chin? Well, they can’t help it. Their swallow reflex died with them and didn’t come back to life. That’s why they talk the way they do. That’s why they eat the way they do. When they see a baby with food all over his face, they think he’s one of them. They feel a kinship.
This can actually be used to a family’s advantage when under attack. Hold the food-covered baby in plain view while the rest of the family slowly backs out of a room invaded by zombies. The zombies will be so enamored that they won’t attack. Once everyone is out the room. Shut the door and run.
This is a picture of my mother feeding Stewart.
He doesn’t have anywhere near enough food on his face to distract zombies. It’s okay. He lived his whole life without a single zombie attack.
My mother and my oldest brother have both passed away but they will never be zombies, because —
Zombie Fact #5: A person who lives a life of service to others can never become a zombie.
My mother and my brother both gave freely and generously of themselves. It’s like a zombie vaccine.
This should serve as a reminder to all.
We should be kind.
We should be generous.
We should put others first.
— if for no other reason than it will keep us from being zombies.
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.