You just can’t dismiss the written word

Who needs a camera when your can write in a journal

WHATEVER the occasion, we all seek to document it even if we can’t find our record afterward. But some snap-happy ‘photographers’ can be so bent on catching every twitch, they actually miss the event as it occurs and may go so far as to spoil it for others.

Two cases come to mind:

In an episode of the reality TV series, Sister Wives, about Kody Brown’s four-wife Mormon family who fled to Las Vegas to avoid possible prosecution under Utah’s anti polygamy laws, Mary’s oldest son, age 16, was about to graduate high school, the first of their 17 kids to do so.

The venue auditorium seated hundreds. Proud parents and grandparents filled the seats. Kody’s  family were all in attendance.

Still searching for an unimpeded sight line as her son’s turn came to approach center stage Mary neither saw nor photographed her firstborn as he accepted his diploma from the principal.

While everyone else went home with fond memories of the lad’s triumph, Mary kicked herself for not being ‘present’.

In a second incident, even more public and annoying, a widow attending her husband’s funeral at Arlington cemetery in Virginia hired a photographer to video record the ceremony for her including the moment when she would be presented with the folded Star and Stripes.

But a paparazzi-type attendee – incidentally a longtime friend of the widow — pushed in front of her blocking not only her view of the graveside proceedings but that of her contracted videographer as well.

So endeth their friendship.

Camera buffs in my family don’t block each others’ views but they do line up elbow to elbow like a firing squad in front of each family grouping.

Each branch of my family tree harbours at least one shutterbug, often more. At any family reunion you can bet on the photographer-parent appearing as a shadow on the grass. Without a professional photographer atop a ladder, we’d never corral all 75 or more of them in one view.

Two of us depend upon pen and paper rather than a camera. One brother carries a 3×5 notebook in his shirt pocket. At quiet moments he whips it out like a spy, to jot facts or observations. Later he twists his notes into limericks that memorialize the mood of the moment and provoke a chuckle.

I, too, prefer pen and paper to Pentax. Before my day can really start, I must pen a note on anything from the day before that could possibly be worth remembering ten years later, at least by me.

Although I enjoy sharing others’ photos, I seldom take any. Once I returned from a week long four-city visit to kin with one lone photo, of my husband leaning against a bear proof garbage bin along the Jasper highway, a tranquil lake and snowcapped mountain peaks as backdrop.

Yet I had dozens of journal pages recording names, places, activities, funny incidents, and other mundane details that even today stir clear memories of that 2005 trip.

Shot in my pre-digital, pre-computer days my Jasper photo was taken on a $7 throwaway Fuji camera. Equal in dimensions and weight to a pack of Players, the Fuji nonetheless took excellent photos on a par with others’ Canons and Nikons with lenses the size of muzzles on World War I field pieces.

I made prints of my Fuji photos and to this day can dig them out of a file in no time. Other peoples’ digitals received by email  as well as my own taken on an inexpensive Olympus I promptly download to iPhoto where I never see them again.

On the other hand my journal entries are easily retrieved. All I need is a month, day and year.

Claudette keeps pen and paper handy in Thornhill, BC