Long Story Short: 2008 in technicolor

By the time we got home Christmas evening, my entire family was ready for some individual down time. The day had been great. Perhaps, the best all-around Christmas morning we’ve ever known, but a day of family, presents, paper, ribbons, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, two fruit pies and one cake warrant some quiet.As I settled in to write this column, I realized that, even though our timing was a little off, not a creature was stirring all through the house. It was late, and we were all exhausted.

Only my camera was between the keyboard and me. It was time to get the column done and go to bed.

However, I can stall with the best of them.

After I uploaded our house’s version of Christmas morning glee to share with all my “friends” on Facebook, I found one image leading to the next.

I’m not proud of this, but every time I find a new chip that holds an amazing quantity of images, I find myself testing the limit. Sitting at my desk, “working” on my column, I saw:


  • Action shots of my family and friends catching more than our share of Mardi Gras beads  
  • Dozens of photos of my daughters at the New Orleans zoo – on the carousel and climbing Monkey Hill (if you haven’t done this lately, make plans to do it soon)  
  • Walking across the National Mall after our spring break marathon drive to Washington, D.C.  
  • Riding the paddle boats around the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial with old friends  
  • Dozens more shots of bubble-making and dancing at a Persian New Year’s party  
  • Kindergarten graduation  
  • An “Artmospheric” series of going-away parties  
  • Swimming and diving through June and July  
  • Making new friends in New Brunswick in August  
  • Picking satsumas with Petunia Scouts  
  • Making homemade pizza  
  • Running through the rain at Vermilionville  
  • Rare snowballs being thrown in front of our home  
  • Cutting down our Christmas tree And on through the holiday season.

    There was 2008 – flying right past me, in full color, some of the series of images creating a sort of jerky flipbook style kinescope on a screen smaller than my palm.

    The 12 months of images brought plenty of smiles to my face.

    On the other hand, some of my favorite childhood memories are with at least one of my grandparents sitting around a shoebox full of old photographs, letters and postcards. My grandparents told me the stories that went with the pictures.

    Sitting there with a year-in-pictures in what amounts to a high-tech shoebox, I thought about how the way one generation tells the next the things of the past continues to change. Though we don’t know how the details of that passing on of yesteryear will happen, I have the faith that it will. That urge to tell the next generation how it was is strong.

    As I looked at 2008, I wondered what 2009 has in store. Given the chance, I could get all worked up about the possibilities of the economy, the geo-political structure at home or abroad and the basics of my own family’s decisions in the coming months and year. However, I’m trying hard to put focus on something someone far wiser said.

    “What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Jan Risher’s column appears Sundays. E-mail her at jan@janrisher.com.

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