Do you have a really good friend who you may not have seen in a while, but when you’re back together, you pick up right where you left off, without missing a beat?
Meet Annie. She’s that kind of friend. She’s actually my second cousin and I hadn’t seen her in years. We used to spend time together in the summer: a week on my family’s farm (which she says was a real treat for her) and a week at her family’s home, outside of NYC (which was a treat for me!) We did this for several consecutive summers through our early teens . . . and then, life just got in the way.
Well, yesterday, Annie (who lives clear across the country now) showed up at my Mom’s farm because she was in New York, attending to some family business, and she wanted to share her happy childhood memories on the farm with her own children. I made sure to arrange some time for a quick visit to my husband’s family farm, where we live, as well.
Even this photo brought back memories. Annie, the eternal photographer, would delight in taking rolls and rolls (back then!) of photos around the farm. We did crazy stuff and I was a willing subject. She had me pose in a prom dress in blistering heat in a hayfield until she got the lighting just right. We also attempted some photojournalist-type essays with close-ups of our hands as we climbed out of chicken coops or some such nonsense. Now, 30 (or more) years later, here we are posing in my Mom’s flower garden, while Annie’s son snapped the shot. She suggested we move around to the other side of the flowers to take advantage of the best light and to kneel down so more of the pinkish-purple cone flowers would show in the picture. What you don’t see is another one of her sons who jumped through the garden at the very moment the shutter flicked and landed on the other side (just kind of cropped that out). Oh, the beauty of digital photography, which we definitely did not have way back then. But, we did have a darkroom set up in an old house on the farm (i.e., a room that I painted black with shades on the windows) where I mixed chemicals and developed my own black/white pix to my heart’s content.
Anyways, as we relived our summers of decades ago with fond memories of “minding cows” on the farm while we serenaded them with our clarinets (a story for another time) and our trips to Greenwich Village or Annie’s annual carnival in her hometown, we realized that we hadn’t missed a beat. We could still just about finish each other’s sentences.
Then, to my surprise, Annie gifted me with this wonderful, watercolor painting, created by her mother.
You see, the reason Annie was back in New York, was to clean out her parents’ home, because her Mom had recently passed away. She was a wonderful artist and I’m sure her home was brimming with lots of her creations. Annie picked this one out for me, she said, because the apples in the still-life reminded her of our farm and she knew her mother would want me to have it. Thank you, Aunt Dotty, for your creative spirit and for all the happy memories spent with you summers long ago.
Have YOU had a chance to reconnect with a good friend or family member this summer?