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OtterSummer 8.34-PixEase

Yesterday was The Muse’s mother’s birthdate. Supper conversation centered around this woman The Grand Otter and I never met. The Muse told one of her mother’s infamous almost off-color jokes and described some of what passed for routine when The Muse was The Otter’s age, giving us a real feel for who this woman must have been; The Otter’s Great Grandmother.

I remember from my own youth just how unlikely it seemed that those ancestors in those pictures ever inhabited the four dimensional, technicolor world I knew. I imagined their world having been grey or sepia, their lives at most two-dimensional; narrower. But now, of course, I’m old enough to remember long-ago times and recall them in sparkly hues, with more dimensions than seem existent now. No mere photograph does any of ‘em justice.

After supper, The Otter cleaned up the kitchen with only the minimum of fuss. It’s nearly impossible to argue against doing one’s fair share if you didn’t help make a meal you just ate. Then, Muse and Otter moved to the couch with The Muse’s laptop while I busied myself with a conniption over the rising humidity. Later, when we toasted The Muse’s mom with a wee dram of single malt, I learned that they were looking at pictures. Pictures of past Otter Summers.

The Muse went to bed, leaving The Otter with her history on her lap. Around midnight, I went out one last time to try to coax the Wild Rose cat in from the grumbling mugginess, and found The Otter still peering into her past. The cat came in and we went upstairs, me to sleep and her to try to best her past prodigious record for shedding fur.

I almost never took pictures. Now, of course, with the camera in my phone, I never leave home without a camera, but I still rarely feel moved to try to capture any moment. I’ve seen pictures of The Muse’s mom, and not one of them competes well with the least of the stories I hear about her. What anyone looks like might be their least significant attribute. What did she think? How did she feel? What must she have been aspiring toward? These seem better representations of who she might have been.

I don’t know what The Otter found in those pictures of past times. Perhaps the images sparked memories, reminding her of some story or, better yet, a long-forgotten almost off-color joke. Who knows where anything past goes? I have plenty of present to concern myself with. The Otter has a lot more upside than I have left and a lot more pictures of her brief and fading past than I’ve managed to collect in my much longer history. I’m just trying to savor this moment knowing it’ll soon be gone whatever I do.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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