Yesterday, as I sat in a booth at a Denny's in Orem Utah, my cousin Mark--from literally half a world away--posted a picture of my father's family.
I look at a lot of pictures. I take a lot of pictures. I appreciate the art of photography. I like, when I see an incredible photograph, to enjoy the experience that view provides. The photo my cousin posted wasn't high art, no effects were used, no filters. But, even without all that, I found it one of the most amazing photographs I've seen in a long time.
It was a photo of my father's family, the only child missing was the one not yet born.
And, incidentally, that child not in the picture is the only member of the family still alive.
My father's in the picture, Harry, fourth from the left on the front row.
I didn't know a lot about my father's family. Growing up, we visited my uncles and aunts on my father's side. My father's parents passed away decades before, so long, in fact, my mother never knew her in-laws. They were gone before she met my father. And since my father passed away forty-three years ago this February, we spent even less time visiting his side of the family. I doubt it was intentional, just the way it was.
My cousin Mark, who currently lives in Russia and is on a LDS mission with his wife, has been posting interesting family stories for the past couple of days (his father, Jack, is the baby of the photo--second from the left on the front row...). I remember spending time with his family growing up. We had good times with Jack and Lova, even though my cousins were several years older than us.
I don't have a lot of memories of my father, and unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer people around who knew him or remember him. Now that my mother has also passed, my main source of knowledge of the man left with her.
Growing up without the advantage of having a father in my life was not ideal, especially when I would like to have had his wisdom and council as I try to navigate life with all its challenges. I am grateful to the man who, with is parents and siblings, posed for a photo in a field in Idaho around 1930, and who grew up to be someone I still admire, who I look up to, and who I look forward to one day getting to know a lot better.