Yes, wife and daughter are re-visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando while I continue to rot in the heat at home in Texas. But it is a completely okay thing. As you can see, they are with recently widowed mother-in-law, wife’s sisters, and various nieces. It is an all-girl trip. It is all about family and healing.
You can also probably tell that they buy into the Filipino-American picture-taking thing where you must document your own face and the faces of your family at every stop or pause or line waiting for the Golden Horseshoe Musical Review in Adventureland. Oh, and we can’t forget the taking pictures of food before you eat it.
And you can probably also Sherlock Holmes the identity of the niece in charge of photos and posting them on Instagram. You will not, however, get their proper names from me. I try to protect identities in all my public posts. So when I tell you that this last one is a picture of Pompolina Ipsokookie eating a Mickey Mouse pretzel, you can rest assured that only one of the names in that sentence is not made up. (Oopsie! I used Mickey’s real name by accident. Never mind.)
I do not regret them having worlds of fun without me. I am not in good enough health to travel. I also have to stay at home with the son who is learning to drive and has a job to get to. And I do get to see the incessant pictures and have a bit of second-hand fun. It also helps that I am not paying for the trip. I am being sued by Banko Merricka and don’t have any money. And they might use a Disney Trip in court to say I have plenty of money and I am just being Scroogie with it. (And I don’t necessarily mean to insult Scrooge McDuck, so, Disney, you do NOT have to sue me too.)
Anyway, Disney World trips by family members give me something to think about and post about to get my mind off my troubles. Such things help to take away a bit of the pain of this wonderful life.
I have to admit, I have changed a lot from my high school graduation portrait. The extra facial fur hides some of the wrinkles and all the little pink itches and bleeds gifted to me by the miracle of diabetic psoriasis. My hair has totally changed color without dye or bleach. And you can’t see it, but the brain is full of a lot more wrinkles.
This picture of my wife and I is from more than five years ago… what I looked like then reflected more who and what I was when I was still teaching and able to live life without so much arthritis pain and inability to breathe. Not so many parts of me had fallen off or stopped working back then. I sometimes think being younger than I am now is something to be wished for. But I really don’t suppose that if I were to find a magic lamp that had a genii in it, I would want to be younger again if it cost me everything I have learned since I was that age. I am an older man now… a sicker man… a less happy man.
But there is wisdom to be found in growing older. And there is a certain magic in that which is really quite priceless.
One of Facebook’s gifts that I actually appreciate is the connection it has given me to old photos. Being connected to family members and old high school friends that live far away and I haven’t met face to face for a very, very long time gives me access to shared photos that have existed for a very long time. I never would have gotten access to them if somebody hadn’t posted it on Facebook. Example number one is a photo of Son Number One who is now a Marine stationed in (No the government did not remove this portion. That is paranoid old me.) The picture shows Dorin as a ring-bearer at a family wedding in the Philippines when he was not yet two. I was teaching at the time and couldn’t go with them, so, though I have seen copies of this Photo in relatives’ houses, I never had access to it until photo-mania hit Facebook.
Here’s another case in point. There was a time when my Iowegian farm family had lots of four-generation photos and even some five-generation photos. This one makes me a little sad. Only the two little girls in this photo are still living. Great Grandma Hinckley (I can use her real name here because she’s been gone since before desktop computers… who is going to be able to exploit that in any way?) lived to be almost 100 years old. This shows not only her, but her eldest daughter, that daughter’s only son, and that son’s three kids. John was younger than me, but his heart did not last anywhere near as long as mine has at this writing. My own three kids would never have even an inkling of who these people were and their blood connection without the Facebook posts of a cousin who is still kicking. (Thank you for that, Louise.) Four-generation photos have not occurred again in my family for a long time now. And before this photo was taken, Iowans did not live long enough on average to do photos like this. My Great Grandma (who actually was pretty Great and doesn’t get the Great just for being old) took a lot of these, as did both of my Grandmas. Big farming families generate lots and lots of family photos.
The photo from the train station in Yugoslavia was a gift from a time when my cousins hosted a foreign exchange student and the whole family got to broaden its world. I am able to be Facebook friends with the Yugoslavian girl (Whose name translates to Snow White in English) even though she has lived most of her life in Eastern Europe. I can even collect pictures of her grandchildren if I wish. (Can’t return the favor, though, as I don’t have any grandkids and probably won’t for a few years. Mom has to settle for a three-generation picture. And it is harder and harder now to get the whole clan together, (especially since my younger brother has become a Tea Party Republican and swore off both logic and the use of facts in shaping his thinking). But I think the best gift of all is how these old photos can keep my family alive for me in ways mere memory can’t manage. We lost Uncle Larry a couple of years ago now to lung cancer. Still, life and love and laughter live on…