Friday, August 04, 2017

Photos, Photos, Photos: Keeper Photos Capture, Tell, and Preserve Our Stories For the Long, Long, Long Term.


Let me start with a keeper photo of wife Barbara, and me in New Orleans a few years ago.   We were visiting a former neighbor, Nichole, who grew up next door to us in Worcester and was now living and working in New Orleans.

While Nicole drove us all around New Orleans and we took walks all over the city, Barbara had a non-stop smile on her face.  We will soon celebrate the 20th anniversary of our wedding. We were married at my lakefront home in Higganum, CT. Here is a photo of a recent visit to the spot we were married followed by a photo of Barbara and me in Seattle with four grandkids.

Notice all the photos with wife Barbara.  First, that's because she is the love of my life.  But also... also... well... OK, I want to live!

We are made to last for a limited amount of time, hardly a flicker in universe terms. I brag in this blog that I'm going to live to 120.  I'd be famous.  I'd be all over TV. And if I were still playing tennis,  hiking for miles, and acting like a child, hordes of reporters would be clamoring to interview me and take my picture.

OK, I know what you are thinking: Dreamer!  Grow Up!

I agree with you.

Now for a little truth. I would love to make it to 120 but only if I were strong enough and healthy enough to enjoy life to the fullest. Also, I would absolutely  HATE to be famous.  Famous people can't go anywhere without being mobbed.  They are prisoners in their gated estates. They don't know who their true friends are.

No thanks.

But when I am gone I would like to not be gone but to live on in a simple, fun, creative way: through photos. I think that a photo can tell more about a human being than  words can.  Through photos you and I can live on in memory for decades and decades after our human remains have turned into dust.

Now check out at that first photo above of me in Mass General Hospital two years ago immediately after waking up from hip replacement surgery. It is surely a keeper photo. It tells volumes about me and my life. Same for my remarkable surgeon, Dr. Denis Burke. Have you ever heard of a surgeon, at a patient's request, taking such a photo? Didn't think so. That's why, through this remarkable photo, Dr. Burke and I will both live on and on and on.

Dr. Burke, widely respected for remarkable patient outcomes, had previously replaced both of my knees. He did so in separate operations 15 years ago. He considers replacing both knees at once unnecessarily dangerous.   Today, I  run around the tennis court like a crazy man -- which I am of course --  on the titanium knees and left hip that Dr. Burke gave me.

Besides being doctor and patient,  neither Dr. Burke nor I  go by anybody else's rules but our own.  Have you ever heard of a surgeon taking a photo of a patient  immediately after performing major surgery?

No? Neither have I.

And look at me and the operating staff laughing it up immediately after I came to from  serious hip replacement surgery.  It was like a hilarious comedy routine.  Why? Because with Dr. Burke, success is a given.  Everybody knowing that, we all just had a ball.

Over the many years that I have been seeing him on my road to becoming a bionic man, Dr. Burke and I have become buddies.  You can surely tell that from the photo below of the two of us in his office during a check-up visit.


Now below are a few other photos that  I also consider keepers, of me and my four siblings.  From left to right are Ruby, Reggie (the baby)Vic, Marion, and yours truly (the oldie). Dad dying young and abandoned by a self-loving mom, we all grew up in uncaring often abusive foster homes.  But, somehow, all of us did the impossible: we built successful, happy lives.  Given our horrendous childhoods, boy do we enjoy life today!!

I'd say that's enough photos for now. Next time, more keeper photos such as from my three years teaching in Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.  My son Greg was born in Kenya. And photos of him as a kid with his African ayah and little African friends are surely keepers!

You got it. I want my kids to live forever too!
So long and keep moving.

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