Erin enjoying the holiday

Erin enjoying the holiday

There was enough going on with present opening that I was able to sneak around with the camera and get plenty of candid shots of my granddaughter Erin who tends to be a little camera shy. Either she poses (no good) or sticks her tongue out (cute but grandma doesn’t like it).

You know something, family photojournalism is hard. The politics alone could kill you.

David’s bells

David's bells

My wife Anne’s ex husband is David Darling who is a world-renowned cellist and improvisationalist. He’s also a great guy and over the years Anne and I have been together, David and I have become friends.

When their younger daughter Bonnie (Erin’s mom) was in high school and David, Anne and I went to see her in a play, invariably David and I would sit and talk computers and maybe even walk out together at intermission. The small town we all lived in then wasn’t sure just what to think about all of this (ex husbands are enemies, to be banished to Siberia, and they are not allowed to be friends with the new husband, etc.).

Anyway, over the years it has become tradition in our extended family for all of us to be together during holidays and lately we’ve been having Thanksgiving at David’s house.

David has a collection of beautiful, small bells and the tradition is to place a bell in front of each person at dinner. After we hold hands and give thanks we commence ringing bells and play around with the different tones these bells make. It’s a lot of fun and of course Erin, who is four has now experienced it four times and looks forward to it.

I’m thankful that my wife decided that the best thing for her two daughters, for David, and for me was to move forward with her new family (me) in a way that kept the best parts of her old family alive.

Bells are just objects; it’s the people who hold them who are important.

Erin Ringing Bell

Erin Ringing Bell

We were having dinner at David Darling’s house the other evening and lately David has been putting a small bell from his collection at each place setting. These are no ordinary bells, they each have a distinct and wonderful shape, look, and sound and together, like voices or different drums make a wonderful and playful harmony.

Well, David’s granddaughter Erin (my step granddaughter) ran around the table sampling each person’s bell, not wanting to be left with the least interesting. In fact, she had been given (randomly) one of the most interesting and when she finally settled back down to it and rang it on its own she was awed by its sound.

When you pay attention to this stuff (a kid discovering the clarity of a sound) it’s simply amazing to behold.