September Journey with Phyllis Buell

Syracuse Journal-Democrat

This Funny Thing Called Life . . .

I’ve been putting pictures and other mementos “away” this past week and reflecting on the times of my life they represented.

Baby pictures, school pictures, wedding pictures, pictures of my own babies, pictures with my parents and grandparents, wedding pictures of my own children, grandchildren and then, all of a sudden, there are pictures of their weddings . . . and now their children are leaving the nest of home.

Wow, the years go by so fast, don’t they?

I think I have always valued “time.”

It is even more precious to me now as I hold in my hands the passing of the years that seem to have gone by at the speed of sound.

I looked at a picture and remember the time when it was taken. The events and circumstances of that time in my life would come into focus as clearly as the present day.

Events of life then – not just the picture came to mind.

Sometimes, the remembering brought a grin of thinking how much “little” things meant to me at the time . . . and absolutely no one has a clue today.

In other words, I worried about things that “might show” in a picture and didn’t really matter in this scheme of life.

“Would that scratch on Ken’s face show in the picture?” I wondered. It took a lot of years for me to realize that memory would only bring a smile to my face when I saw it . . . and recalled he had taken a tumble from the tree in the front yard, The scratch was his only injury.

Then there were a few pictures with people missing. My grandmother Cook was an expert at removing people from a family picture. They might have been in the family at some time in our lives, but she removed them with a deft swipe of a razor blade when divorce or another circumstance took them away!

Oh, the ones with animals! Mark and Dixie, the orphan colt that has had an influence on all of our lives.

And cats, cats, cats, down through the years.

That thought brought back a picture we didn’t take to my mind. One cold, wet spring, Carolyn’s favorite little Persian cat had been missing for several days.

Living on the highway, we often lost felines, but we hadn’t found him.

We had given up hope, when Merle appeared, absolutely triumphant, with a mudball of a cat in his arms. He had found him, crying and hungry in the stock barn. His hair was caked in mud and he couldn’t get back to the house. Mickie didn’t even mind the many baths to turn him back into a happy cat.

No picture – but a happy memory anyway.

Precious memories are wrapped up in the many pictures of our lives. It isn’t just the image captured on paper – it is “the rest of the story” we treasure.

Phyllis Buell, September Journeys