Since I was born with a Nikon attached to my hand I have recorded nearly every moment, as you can tell by the look on my grandpapa’s face. I miss him. He died in 1996 while I was living, broke, in Athens, and couldn’t even make it the three hours South to his funeral.
In retrospect I cannot believe I missed that – although I know he forgave me. I remember once, when we were hanging out, and I was getting old enough (probably early 20s) to think I knew something about something, and I knew he was getting old (at the time probably over 90). I said, “So, what’s it like…I mean….is it like you’re ready? Like, you’ve got your bags packed, waiting to leave?”
And without a moment’s pause he responded emphatically – for a man who rarely uttered a word and rarely raised his voice above just-right, never revealing emotion (a true and tried stoic) – and said, “No. I want to start all over again. I don’t want to go.”
And that was one of those moments when I could literally feel my physical, mental, psychological, spiritual, every growable part of me, stretch and pop and grow. It changed me forever, how I saw life, people, and my perspective on older generations. I realized in that moment he was the same 19-year-old handsome young man I’d always stare at in the old photo in the sterling silver frame I still have, right over there. He still had the same feelings, the same dreams, even – it was just his skin, his body, his energy…
Wake up call.