Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Thanksgiving Morning

My parents are here for Thanksgiving. We celebrated the holiday with them and other relatives at their place in Maryland back in 1999. Skylar was a very adorable one-year-old. That dinner was on Friday, however, so technically I haven't been with them for Thanksgiving since 1985. Twenty years of phone calls in lieu of presence. I care more about Christmas, so it's not a tragedy or anything. But I'm thankful to have them here, thankful as well to have them here at a time when our work schedules make things less stressful for me and Kim, and most thankful of all to actually have them here on the big day itself. Of course, this joy is tinged with regret that we can't be with my sister, her husband, and their baby boy, whom I have yet to see in person. It has been a very stressful month for them, what with my sister going back to work, making the long commute into NYC from their new home in central New Jersey, and other recent developments. I wish we could do something to send the extraordinarily mellow vibe here their way.

What I can do is document the proceedings. Here you see my parents in their accustomed spots at the table turning to watch Aladdin, which the cold-ridden Bean was watching from the sofa.

Those of you who have been reading me for a while may remember that I'm particularly fond of everyday-life shots where A) there's something going on in the background that complements the foreground; B) strong diagonal lines enhance the picture's visual interest; C) the gazes of the people -- or animals -- in the photo direct viewers outside the frame, making "off-screen" space powerfully felt; D) and a preponderance of sharply resolved details provide the raw material for a sociological interpretation of the image. This isn't a great photograph, but it's one that pleases me a good deal for the way it matches my realist aesthetic.

Here you see my parents engaged in their typical morning pursuits. My dad is thinking about his New York Times crossword puzzle. My mom is thinking, perhaps about the book she's reading on the Johnstown Flood of 1889.

Believe it or not, my dad has been wearing that same shirt since I was Skylar's age. Even longer. When I saw him emerge from our bedroom this morning I was plunged into nostalgia for our rustic life in Pennsylvania. The topic of my mother's book and the fact that we're supposed to see their friends from that era over the weekend -- they now live in Phoenix -- adds to the pang. Yet it's a good pang, one I welcome with the season. I just wish I could step outside to feel the charp chill of a November blue sky and smell the sweet decay of the damp leaves at my feet. Tucson is entering its most user-friendly phase of the year, but I do miss the classic fall days of the Eastern Seaboard.
Tags: family, memory, photography

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