Boys on the Table.

I am absolutely not a 'scrapbooker.' But I secretly admire their quirky ways. Scrapbookers belong to their own sort of underworld. They gather together in hotels and lodges, sometimes for days on end. They stay up all night and day, surrounded by snacks, stickers, scissors, photos, and archival albums that are meant to last for generations. Sometimes I suspect they even have secret handshakes or rites of passage. At their heart, scrapbookers are historians. Like most in the scrapbooking species, my friend Lois has gorgeous dark-bound books lining shelves in her living room. It's a special sort of library -- a thing of beauty. It contains future proof of past years. It's to be her legacy. Sadly, it will not be mine.

Obsession & Neglect. For me, organizing family photos is like reading fiction novels. There are two options -- neglect, or obsession. There is no in-between. When I read fiction, my whole life goes on hold and my house goes to hell in a handbasket. I could learn self-discipline. But that's just not going to happen. So I don't read fiction. In the same way, I'm certain if I became a scrapbooker, my creative OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) take over, and ruin what little balance I have in my life. I'd cloister myself away and start making albums. My house would implode. The boys would start wearing the same clothes everyday -- for months. My friends would wonder if I'd moved away. Steve would grow a long beard and wish for a better wife. So, scrapbooking is not for me. But I sure can see the value in the history of it all. I long for some permanent order in our photo 'archives.'

Put it on the Table. When Lois told me that she and my other friend, Adina, were going to start a new business, I was excited. In the past, they have collaborated in designing and painting backdrops for the Thin Air Theatre Company, at the Butte Theatre in Cripple Creek, CO. They used to spend hours in an abandoned casino, painting realistic scenes, doors, and walls for the stage. One time I went to go visit them while they were working, and found myself surrounded by old casino bling, and the props of Dr. Jekyll's laboratory. Anyhow, their new venture was an answer to my scrapbooking angst. They offered a home to several random boxes full of our family baby and boy photos. I gave well over 100 photos to my artist friends. They took the pictures, loaded our old coffee table and music cabinet in their truck,
and got to work on the project.
"Brothers." Both pieces of furniture were painted in an aspen/leather theme, and contain all things 'brothers'. They capture the years that our sons have all lived together. And that is precious, escpecially since Andrew is now on his way out the front door, into adulthood. Our years of daily togetherness under one roof, are gone. But the furniture will stay. The furniture is full of brother quotes ... and a small history of pictures.

Some of the Brother Quotes:

  • "We few. We happy few. We band of brothers." ~ Wm. Shakespeare
  • "Let brother help brother." ~Plato
  • "Brothers, our love must not be a thing of words and fine talk. It must be a thing of action and sincerity." ~ John. The Bible.
  • "Let brothers agree, no fortress is as strong as their common life."
  • "Sons of one father."
  • "Ye are brothers! Ye are men! And we conquer but to save."
  • "The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out of his nose." ~Garrison Keilor.

I don't have cool scrapbooking albums. For good reasons, I probably never will. However, in the living room, everyday, we have the faces of small babies now grown, and sweet great-grandparents now gone. They are smiling at us; quietly reminding us of younger times. From now on, there will always be brothers on the table at my house.

Thanks, Adina & Lois.


Laura Parker said...

what a great post! LOVE the last pragraph. gave me tears in my eyes, and i am not a crier. thanks for sharing. your writing rocks. the new updates on the site look good too. may have to copy some of your links!! and, fyi, business time by FOTConchords is a alltime fav. actually, my kids run around singing the catchy phrase, "its business time" even though they don't know what it means and i would be horrified if anyone who did know what it means heard them . . . ha ha.