Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Morning Thanks--ye old photographs

My father-in-law came heir to this old, cracked photograph not long ago.  He's featured, in fact--the little boy farthest to the right on the bottom row.  Third grade maybe?--I don't know.

This guy--

My father-in-law is 93 today, and this old picture is the student body at Ireton Christian School, late-Twenties, I'd guess.  It's a delight, isn't it?

Look at this close-up.

What can I say?  Every one of those kids has an untold story.  The vast majority must be gone today, I'm sure.  But look at the innocence on their faces, save the kid in the last row beside the teacher--he must have been headache.  I remember my mother talking about naughty boys in the one-room school close to the lakeshore in Wisconsin, where she taught.  She told me once how she let one of her rowdies, a kid nearly her age, drive her car.  But then, really, what do we know about that big kid?  He may well have become a preacher.  Much, much stranger things have happened.

They look remarkably eager, don't they--these kids?  But then, it's pre-Depression, pre-World War II (many of the boys, a decade and a half later, must have gone). A bunch of these kids might well have been immigrants, yust off da boat, ya.  What did they know about war or horror in this brand new country?  Good night, they were kids. Apples were sweet, June days were beautiful, horses were great, the cows had to be milked, and dirt was dirt--big deal.  Life was good.  Look at those faces. Look at the sailor in the front row.  You could enter him in some cute kid contest today and he'd win, hands down.

Moving forces us to open cupboards and closets and albums we hadn't for years, makes us dig out pictures that hadn't seen the light of day for far too long.  You keep some, but then some you just have to toss.

But they make me smile.  Life was good at Ireton Christian in 1929, and somehow it's a blessing to know that it was. Look at those faces.  

For them--the kids and their almost cherubic smiles--this morning, I'm thankful. 

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