Excuse me are you listening? 6-22
Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dear Readers,

The Box

Three days before Thanksgiving, I received a box in the mail from my youngest sister, Kendra. It has been very hard since, my father passed away in late September.

I didn't think  receiving the box was going to be emotional for me but some things just have a way of sneaking up on you at a moments notice.  I was by myself, I thank goodness for that.   I had come in from a hard day of work the night before and my children were hovering around the box like buzzards.  I smiled as I likened it to getting a telegram from a relative who lived miles away.

I shooed them away and told them. “It is addressed to R-I-N-A, not to you!  Move away from my box.”

I love getting boxes from my sister, they always make you feel someone loves you.  In the quietness of my kitchen, I rubbed my hand over the box.  I thought that she did a great job executing the wrapping of the box.  The tape was perfect and the brown paper was crisp.  I would have used a paper bag and hastily taped it because I'm not that thoughtful and I always feel rushed. 

The familiarity of my sister's handwriting made me smile and consider not opening up the box just yet.  I felt a lump in my throat and my eyes began to well with tears.  Somewhere deep down inside, I wished that I was in some magical kingdom and my kitchen held some pathway directly to her dining room and that I could sit down and hold her hand and be back before lunch.  I just wanted to hear her tell a joke with a Caribbean accent and laugh at her own joke.  Beautiful person.

Multidimensional Magic

Kendra is so amazing.  I knew that there was magic in the box but I did not want to...  I am not really sure how to equate what I felt at that very moment but I was acutely aware of “the box”.  I poured a cup of coffee and stared at it for another minute.

I got a knife out the drawer and carefully cut the tape that was on the sides and carefully pulled back the brown paper.  It is funny because almost all of the boxes that Kendra sends us things in are from some type of cookware.

She is a fabulous cook and makes certain that her food is made with the safest and best.  For instance, while I was in New York, I learned about stainless steel pans and how to make Jamaica stew fish and not have the skin stick to the pan.

I thought to myself, as I looked over the box, “That Pyrex pie pan sure looks good with that blueberry pie looking so tasty that I could smell the baking pie.”  I added mentally that she was probably preparing for a big Thanksgiving dinner.  I wanted her to come to Michigan but time and travel did not allow it.  She needs a rest.  Selfishly, I must admit to myself that driving 13 hours to Michigan is not relaxation.  Sure her husband could drive but she also has two kids.  If they're anything like mine, they would begin to ask questions as soon as we got on the highway.
“Are we there yet?” and “How long is going to take to get there?”, would be high on the list of questions.

I carefully opened the box and immediately knew what was inside.  It was full of my father's magazines and other miscellaneous items for me and my daughter.  My sister, Kendra, is the one who buys my daughter all her fabulous clothing. 

I could hear my sister telling me about the great deal that she got on the clothes that were carefully folded in the box.

I remember telling her that I love her dress that she was wearing and inside the box was mine.  She is thoughtful.  I rubbed my hands over the satin house dress and thought about comfort.

She also included a purple Capricorn Coach key chain. On the other side of the box was a stack of magazines.

As I pulled the magazines out, the lump in my throat reappeared.  I quickly read over the titles “Fortune”, “Time” and of course my favorite, “Popular Photography & Imaging”.

My father loved magazines.  After his funeral, I told my sister that the only things that I wanted where some magazines and one of my father's pillows.

I knew that I wanted the magazines so that I could get to know my father better.  They would give me brief insight to what thoughts surrounded him during his last months of life.  I wanted the pillow to hold on to for comfort when I felt like I needed to make a connection.

The Future

I ran my hands over the glossy covers of each magazine and read what was inside each magazine, so I could get an overall synopsis of what he was exposed to.  I'm learning a lot about my father.  I didn't know he read “Time” or “Fortune”.  There was also a course catalog from the Rocky Mountain School of Photography.  I thought that was strange.

The magazine was for those who were interested in going to photography school.  At first glance, I was confused by it's inclusion in the box and then I opened the catalog.

It was about celebrating their 20th year in existence.  It was about the changes that had occurred in the field of photography but most of all it was encouraging those to begin a career or at the least take a few classes.  I knew my father was not going to take Adobe Photoshop classes but I bet he knew about them.  I never thought to ask him for pointers or tips on handling a camera, lighting or anything remotely relating to photography.  I take pictures and document lives all the time.

Learning Lessons

I thought this magazine is in here by mistake.  But as I read on I understood.

The first line I read said in bold white letters, “In looking back, we see that we've been looking forward all along.”  I felt the words speak to me.

The second page I turned to said. “Every year we look through our viewfinder and see the same thing. The future.” 

I realized at that moment, that my life has changed, but the cycle about life will never stop revolving and it was our future is important.  I reflected on my father's life, my and my sister's life and our children's lives.  I remembered that the children are going to be our future.  For  now I have embraced the time that I spent on this earth with my father and appreciate the things that he is still teaching me in death. 

I think I will get my daughter a real camera for Christmas.


Rina Risper

P.S.  Be careful this holiday season.


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