That handsome young fellow in the middle is my great grandfather. The not-so handsome elder gent there is my great, great grandfather. Legend has it that he is part Cherokee, which suggests that I should run for a Senate seat in Massachusetts. David Calvin, the young fellow, is about 18 in this photo from 1896. He looks like he could be a freshman in one of my classes. It’s the hair. He’d have great hair for all his life, as evident in later photos. The powerful thing about old family photos is that they give you the ability to time travel. In the moment it takes to move your eyes to the lower photo, young DC has lived 50 years. He married Ida Mae, had several children, buried two on the prairie, and came to Texas in a covered wagon. One of his little girls was my grandmother. She would later bury him in the mid 1950′s. And so it goes. So it has always gone.
These two photos mark the beginning and ending of a life.So much happened in between that we aren’t privy to, but I’m sure D.C.’s story isn’t unlike the story of people who came before him, and will come after. We all share this common human experience. One day, someone will look over our life’s photos and pick some from the beginning and some from the end, lay them out on a table, and invite friends and well-wishers to glance over them. In a few second, they’ll survey a whole life. The only thing that matters for us is what we make of those few seconds inbetween photographs. It’s all we have.