Tonight, I have been scanning old family photos.
My Mom. I’ll tell you. She loved photographs. I think she probably still does love her photographs. She just doesn’t remember about them, most of the time.
But there is plenty to remember, if she could. Since the time of Mom & Dad’s marriage, Mom would take photographs of everything. I’ve spoken to it here before.
I think there were many people who took “pictures” back then. And certainly now… more than ever… a gazillion people take photographs of everything and anything. Especially themselves.
But there are a couple of differences between Lucy K. and the others.
Sixty years ago, the technology did not exist that we have today. So. You bought a film camera, loaded it with film… mostly 12 to 24 frames at a time…. and you took pictures. There were no previews, or deletes. You didn’t know immediately, how the photo looked. You snapped… and you waited…. and you hoped.
Depending on the upcoming events, your wait might be a very long time. It could be a month until the next birthday rolled around, or little Tommy’s First Communion or whatever. And then you would “finish off the roll” when the occasion finally came about.
From there… more waiting. You would rewind the film, take the little canister out, and transport it to your nearest photo lab. This could be a grocery or a pharmacy, in later years. But in the early days, it was a lab. And then you would wait once more. Maybe a week until the processing could be completed.
Finally, the delivery date would arrive. Going to pick up that envelope of photographs was like Christmas morning. And when the clerk handed the white envelope packet across the counter, you could almost hear the trumpets sounding. We would rush out to that greenish-gold station wagon and sit in that car, looking through the returns. “Oh hell’s bells. I cut off your Father’s head in that one.” “Well, Ann has her eyes closed there.” “Oh, that one is all blurry.”
And so it would go.
But given the challenge of the blind shot, Mom did pretty darn good. The majority were in focus. And while she occasionally played headhunter with the frame, most of the time, she sized it up pretty well. My Dad was pretty handy at this too.
I have to think that the “anticipation” was a big attraction. The waiting. The hoping. But Mom took it one step further. She would immediately place them all in the photo albums, and label them. It was almost like a ritual.
So now, our family is blessed with nearly 100 photo albums, all in chronological order, and all labeled with people’s names and events. It is more than amazing.
Thinking about it now, it is very telling about how our society has evolved…. or maybe…. emerged, is the better word. There used to be ritual, and waiting, and hoping. It took discipline, and resolve to wait. Not just for photographs, but for many other things too.
Today, there is very little waiting for anything. Photos are snapped instantly, and viewed instantly. And just as quickly as it came, the the Trash Can Icon on every smartphone takes the photo forever away. I’ll tell you now, when it was a film photograph, it had to be excruciatingly bad to hit the trash can.
Everything now is immediate. Do you want to know what a Wallaby is? Ask Siri. Forty years ago, you had to wait until your next trip to the library. Unless you were lucky enough to have an Encyclopedia Britannica. And the news. You know it before Scott Pelley does. No waiting. No anticipation. It is all immediate. But here it is….. getting late.
And wouldn’t you know. I started out telling you that I was scanning photos… it was getting late…. and that I wouldn’t have much time to write.
But after writing this, I see…
Sometimes it is more important to slow down and make time… for those things which are important to us.
For those people who are important to us.
It’s a snap.
You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.