Why I Do What I Do:
One of my dearest memories is a few years ago while visiting my grandfather. He was the greatest story teller I knew. I was envious of him in that way. The way he could remember facts and details of stories that were decades old without missing a beat. Truth be told, I barely knew him. Outside of stories my mother had told, I knew very little about this man, and had only seen him a handful of times in my life. It was bewildering, to watch a man I barely knew - except that he was a hard working, masculine, frugal, no bullshit type of person - squirm in the passenger seat next to me when he couldn’t think of something quick enough and silence became louder than his stories. I can’t say for sure, but I expect the last time he spent hours, days, with a 23 year old wasn’t all too recent. It was clear we both found each other fascinating and bonded over our love for Hwy 1.
One night during our visit, I asked if he had any old photos that I could look through, and the way his eyes lit up, I’ll never forget. He hadn’t but finished shouting “Yes!” before he was half way up the staircase in search of photos to show his granddaughter.
The stories that came about because of those old photographs, are stories I may have never known. My favorite moment is when he would find a photo, and laugh and laugh, giving you the most desperate feeling one can only know from feeling left out of the joke. His laugh was juicy with details that left you dying to know the story behind it.
A shift happened in me that day and I’ve never been the same.
From the grandest landscapes, to the tiny necklace you wear around your neck. The way you look at your love, dance with your father, or laugh with your mother. these moments need to be captured, remembered, told and retold.
And maybe one day, our grand children will ask to see old photographs, and we’re going to want to have photos that tell the best stories.
grandpa Jim 1935 - 2017