Mom took tens of thousands of pictures, as anyone who knew her for more than five minutes knew. However, they were all of other people–usually her children.
Because she was always the one holding the camera, pictures of her are rare. There are beautiful pictures of her marrying Dad, silhouetted in the silence of the church under her veil, but not so many candids. However, there are two that, for me, capture some of the essence of Mom.
One is of her standing on our driveway, next to her station wagon, seeing someone off, as she did after every visit any of us made to her house. She’s barefoot, of course, and has that impish grin on her face.
In the other picture, she has a much broader grin, and you can’t see her feet, but she’s got a baseball cap spun around backward on her head, which is sticking out the window of a speeding train. You can see that she’s holding her camera, watching for the next shot, seeing the world roll by, listening to the chuffing engine, loving the moment.
This weekend, when I was walking through the woods with my daughter, she stole my hat, spun it around and screwed it down tight onto her noggin, then resumed sucking her pacifier, watching for the next curiosity, seeing the woods slide by, listening to the birds and frogs chirp and croak, loving the moment.
In her face, in her blue eyes, in her curly hair, I could suddenly see Mom again on that train as I stood behind her at that window. I could hear her voice and her laugh. I could hear her tell me to look out and give her spot up to me. I thought of my daughter, who cries out “coo coo” every time she hears a choo choo whistle blow.
And my tears, they fell like rain.