“Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it.” – Bernard Meltzer
Friday…er…belated Monday Edition” (due to illness) combines a quote with a favorite photo. I tailor these to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme which, this week, is “Kiss”.
I normally would go out and shoot a photo to match the challenge. And many times, the photos I shot within the past few days lend themselves almost miraculously to the challenge for the week. However, I ask your indulgence as I break the rules this week and use a photo from my archives to present to you for this particular challenge.
In my family, I am one of four kids–my oldest brother Roy, my sister Sylvia, my brother Alan, and myself. In a busy, energetic and LOUD family, Roy has always been the quieter one; he spent 20 years on nuclear submarines in a listening position (Sonar), so it makes a certain amount of sense. You can’t do well as a Sonar Tech on a nuclear sub if you’re the overly loud, excitable type!
That said, Roy has a wicked and clever sense of humor that never fails to make me laugh. One of his favorites is that, if you ever try to give him a kiss, he jumps and yells, “UGH! DOG GERMS!” (Right, Roy, we know you love it!)
In fact, it’s such a tradition that, sometimes when I’m about to hang up on a phone call with my Dad, I ask him to “give Roy a kiss if you can catch him!” That never fails to make my dad laugh!
Roy and I are 16 years apart in age, but in some ways I think we’re the most alike of any of us “kids”. I love visiting with him, and have always enjoyed many of the same pursuits he does–photography, movies, digital imagery, new technology, travel, and cooking, to name a few.
Roy enlisted when I was two years old, so I have rarely been able to spend much time in his company, except for 1977-1982 when we spent a lot of time together in Hawaii. Over the years during our various visits together, he has taught me photography and darkroom processing, signed me up to get certified with his favorite SCUBA instructor (where he also served as an assistant), and then took me on dives. When I turned 16, he guided me through how to pass the driver’s ed test after I failed it the first time–and thanks to him, I actually passed on the second one. Then he let me drive his bright yellow Mercury Cougar (what a neat car).
In the mid-1990s, after we moved to Maine, he taught me HTML so I could create a family webpage to keep the family up-to-date on what was going on with us. Over the years, he’s taken me on too many photo shoots to count, starting with Hawaii (when he gave me my first 35mm camera), and continuing on to everywhere from San Francisco to Santa Barbara to Maine. We even shot photos around his home town in Northern California one evening near Christmas in 2004, so that I could learn how to properly use my then-brand-new Canon 10D. After that, he taught me the basics of Photoshop so that I could clean up my images as well.
Additionally, his past as a runner helped me to understand that if he and my Dad could both be runners, maybe I could do it, too.
He has been a fantastic brother, a great teacher, and a good friend all these years. And he never fails to give his support and guidance any time I need it.
In 2010, after a 2-year attempt to live in California to be near the family (during which Roy took me on a photo shoot of formerly-underwater bridges that were exposed due to drought in the Shasta Dam area), my husband and I decided that, as teachers, we were way better off in Maine. California is just not a teacher-friendly place these days. Their budgets are in too horrifying a shape. So back to Maine we went.
Coincidentally, it had been 15 years almost to the day that we first moved to Maine, back in 1995. Just like the first time, my dad and Roy volunteered to help us get there by driving the moving van.
It was an epic 6-day drive, with them in the largest Budget rental truck the company rented, and the rest of my little family in a “chase car” (our trusty Honda Accord). We had a great system of walkie-talkies, GPS, AAA Trip Tiks, Maps, Guide books, and cell phones (to call Alan back in Sacramento to ask him to look stuff up online, since this was before we had an iPad or iPhone to do so for ourselves). And, as always, we had cameras.
On one of our stops somewhere in Kentucky (I think), we did our usual “chase car” job of leaping a few miles ahead to scout out the most easily accessible place to get diesel for the rental truck. We found a spot that had easy drive-in, drive-out options and a snack bar for something to eat, then radioed back to Roy and Dad to follow us in.
What Roy didn’t know, however, was that we’d been chatting with Sylvia via cell. She had asked my oldest daughter to be sure to “give Uncle Roy a kiss”. As soon as she did that, I KNEW I had to be ready with the cameras!
After fueling up, when we were about to step into the mini mart to grab some snacks, my oldest went over to Uncle Roy to bestow her kiss. And I got ready with my camera.
Roy did not disappoint!
This remains one of my favorite photos of my brother, simply because it captures such a typical “Roy moment” that I can’t help but smile every single time I see it. It’s a great reminder a fantastic brother.
I miss you, Roy!