AN OLD PHOTOGRAPH
The house is on fire. What inanimate possession would you save?
Me? Photographs, memories of a life lived well, not wisely.
A faded black-and-white print of my siblings and I beckon. Albie, so much older, I never knew him. Anthon, the gentle one with a love of music and books. He arrived one Friday night with half a lamb, a chunk of beef, a sausage machine and a bottle of whisky, determined to make sausages. We did. We also drank the bottle of whisky.
Jo, who broke my red tricycle when she sat on it, then told our mother I’d done it because I was so fat. And twenty years later, in true Fairy Godmother fashion, spent the night sewing pink feathers on a white dress so I’d look special for a Holiday Party. Chris, closest to me in age, my hero on a white charger. He also taught me to drive and didn’t even flinch when I took out the half-open garage door with the new jeep. And chubby-cheeked me with our dog.
Only two of us now. We seldom see each other. Distances are too big, air fares too high. We e-mail now and then, call from time to time.
But it’s okay. I can talk to them. They’re just a photograph away.