And so we come again to our regularly scheduled Pick a Photo, Any Photo day. Who knows when a Pick a Photo day will occur? Not me. Pick a Photo days just happen, like squirrels invading your eaves will just happen, if you, like me, are not ever vigilant.
The rules of the pick a photo day are very simple: open up the old slides-transferred-to-digital file, choose a numbered slide at random, insert it into the post, and write.
So very simple. And yet some of us, some of us meaning me, can’t seem to follow such simple rules. Some of us, meaning me, descend upon slide #49, open it up, gaze at it and think, Nah, and close it down following only the briefest of soul wrestling matches. Flagrant disobeyal of rules.
Back to the slide file. I shall descend upon the number that reflects the age to which I hope to live without infirmity of any kind and with everyone I love still alive – laugh if you must, but why not dream large? – and here we go.
The problem, if it can be termed a problem, is that this slide is so very, very tiny that I can’t tell who it is. It may well be Oatie on the left, and me on the right. (Oatie? Hello through these many years – is that you?)
At any rate, these children are swinging in their little wooden swings. Sand beneath their feet. Trees surrounding. Cool air blowing past them when they lean back and get going again.
Outside the frame of the slide, their parents and grandparents are setting out a picnic. This is the annual Transfer Day, when the children go to stay with their grandparents for a week while their parents go. . . where? do. . . what? The children have no idea. So far as they know, their parents are placed on Pause during the seven days that their children are not with them, in that creaky old house in the foothills upstate.
Swing, children, whoever you may actually be, because you’re too young to have to do anything other than be children. Potato salad awaits you, along with already-prepared sandwiches from the downstate kitchen of the grandmother. Fruit salad and iced tea with lemon and Sweet ‘n Low. A cake, perhaps. Watermelon.
After the picnic has been eaten, you will get into the backseat of your grandparents’ car. You will travel another hour and a half to their house, while your parents are either on Pause, remaining frozen in time at this state park until seven days have passed, or off on an adventure of which you know nothing.
Nightly visits to Dairy Queen await you at your grandparents’ house, along with scrambled eggs every morning, should you wish them, and you do wish them. Jody the dog. A blue glass bowl full of wrapped butterscotch candies. Lessons in the correct folding of towels. Visits to the summer-house-neighbors, who are never there, but whose pool always is, and which you are allowed to swim in. Visits to your great-aunt’s house, the one attached to the lawnmower repair shop, so that the smells of motor oil and baking cookies intertwine. The closet with its stacks of board games, including Mousetrap, your favorite. Back to your grandmother’s house, and the cool green pleather chair in the basement, where you are allowed to read as long as you want.
Swing high, swing low, swing as long as you like and don’t worry for a moment about swinging too high and falling out, because that wooden bar will keep you safe. Yes, how lucky you are, you children who may or may not be me and Oatie.