“Take More Real Pictures”

No one takes pictures anymore. They only snap selfies. I recently attended the funeral of a great Aunt back home while visiting in Kentucky. On a table, plastered to a black cardboard, they had pictures of her life. Pictures of life in the kitchen, shucking corn at a picnic table in the back yard, her youngest daughter and herself leaning over to sniff a flower that had grown from a plant, and many more of her holding her first child, dating her future husband and many Christmas celebrations.

I walked away from that display moved to tears more than the words of any eulogy or preacher could have ever done. I was walking out of the funeral home thinking, “what a dear, old sweet lady” she was to my early childhood years. Hillary Clinton wrote a book called, “It Takes a Village” to raise a child. And it really does. My Aunt was the first person to get me to eat home cooking and my obvious waistline testifies to the fact that she introduced me to the delights of various pies and cakes! You get a sense of history with old pictures, you get a ‘feel’ for a time and a place and you are taken back in time as you recall your roots.

Ours is a fast-paced, self-indulgent age and what we want we tend to get right away whether we can pay for it or pay on it for an amount of time or purchase it on credit, without regard to waiting for it. No wonder the selfie is so popular because it indulges our most basic need; to be seen and to be loved. But I doubt I would have been so moved to tears if my relative only had her face in those pictures. The very fact that someone thought enough of her, enough of the moment to capture her love for her family, her love of nature and gardening summed up who she was. Funny. I don’t think I get in a modern selfie.  It would be truly sad to collect a lifetime of self- portraits with no one to mourn them one day. May all your pictures include others and may you take many more of them.

James Pence

Pleasant Grove Community

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