Friday, August 10, 2007

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, A Back-to-School Essay

August 9, 2007

I wish I were the kind of person who had an eye for composition, stood in the right spot, AND had a camera available for capturing and chronicling the Buenger Life. Unfortunately, the easily distracted me often becomes so involved in the happenings of the moment that the perfect photo opportunity passes before I notice that I could have snapped a shot worth keeping. The rest of the time, I might (emphasis added) recognize a prime photo moment, but have no camera at hand.

So, I'm left with a spotty photo album--blurry photos captured of people and objects too close or too far away. Thumbing through the collection reveals multiple shots over the years showing the candles already blown out and small, uniformed athletes on various playing fields who may or may not be one of my children (they are too far away or there's too much glare to really tell), and of course, multiple copies of those ubiquitous shots of Christmas morning, Easter baskets, and vacation landmarks--all the same; all boring. Until I got a camera that embedded to correct date on each print, I spent hours staring at those vastly similar shots taken in different years, trying to recall if Davis got that red bike for Christmas in first or second grade or if Erin wore the same Easter dress two or three years in a row (Erin did help me out a little as she got older by losing her hair to chemo when she was five and later when she was eight, making it much easier to retroactively identify which year I had snapped the shot).

All this rambling, by way of introduction, explains the vacation photos I am about to post. Out of eighty plus photos taken over two weeks, few are what anyone would consider stellar, and fewer still capture the highlights of what we did.

They include the obligatory girl shot of my side of the family (three generations of Luquette women). I'm sure Emma (on the far right) will learn that full-tooth Ultra-Brite smile soon enough. She has already managed "lovin' the camera" with her eyes staring directly at the lens like the other model-wanna-be's in the picture.

Unfortunately, I failed to take any pictures of my nephew and (new) niece's wedding celebration which was a gross oversight on my part since they planned it all themselves, including the stylish five-story wedding cake with bold fuchsia and mango icing with bold geometric patterns to replace the traditional white. Since everyone associated with the wedding were as stylish and happening as rock stars, it's a shame I failed to capture any of it for memory.

Not only did I miss photo ops at the wedding, I left Dallas with only three pictures of anyone from the wedding or the follow-up cousins reception the next day. All of them were of my still-single oldest nephew, Matthew. Although he is quite handsome and photogenic, my imagination went flat setting these up.

We moved on to New Mexico to continue the vacation. There I captured Davis and Erin's shadowed and distracted faces in front of a vacation landmark, in this case the remains of a kiva near Los Alamos in Bandelier National Monument park.

Here's also one of Erin looking as bleached out as the cliff walls filling the entrance to a cave dwelling nearby.

This one of Erin and Carla and Larry's rescued dog, Scarlett, actually turned out pretty well (at least you can tell what it's supposed to be), but people tire fairly quickly of cute kid/pet pics and we have tens, if not hundreds with a similar theme. The rest of the photos from the Santa Fe/Bandelier area failed to make the cut to prime time blogosphere.

I've already mentioned that I failed to capture the most exciting moment on the trip (see the Report for details). I did snap Erin and Jackson and Ruidoso Downs, waiting for the next thunder of ponies to sweep by in front of them. (Are you locals wondering how Erin's school buddy ended up in "Rui" as he calls it? No, we didn't fold him into Erin's duffle, as tempting as it would have been to have someone Erin's age along to keep her entertained. As chance had it, Jackson was visiting with relatives out in the mountains the same week we were there and his Aunt and Uncle were gracious enough to share him with us for the afternoon.)

And finally, here's one called "Waiting for Erin" where Walter captured a whole stable of race horses waiting their turn for Erin to go down the row and give each a nose pet.

So what did I really do on vacation? Besides my usual dark chocolate chip and pecan cookie with my coffee every morning (what could be more indulgent than melting chocolate with the heat from coffee?), for me the highlight of the trip (don't laugh) was reading the seventh Harry Potter book out loud as a family. As you might imagine, this feat took most of our drive time and a non-trivial portion of our mornings and evenings in New Mexico. I found the book most satisfying, not just because of the excellently gripping story J.K. Rowling crafted, but because our family has grown up with Harry. Davis was nine when the first volume came out, but eschewed reading it a full year or more before diving in. Erin fell in love with the books at age five when she had so many long days and nights in the hospital. When we resumed vacations after her initial treatments, we took Harry and company along on the highway with us. We have read all of the books out loud and listened to them on CD. . .more than once. Given that this may be the final real family vacation (Davis had originally signaled this summer was a no go for him, but relented in the end), bringing Harry's story to a finish all together, page by page, was both poignant and memorable. We really didn't care that our friends and family thought it strange that we discussed the possibilities and quandries facing Harry, Ron, and Hermione over dinner or cocktails, or that we each wanted to spin our personal theories about what would happen next. Strange, huh? And it doesn't make a very good photo, either.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I somehow posted my comment to "Silence" a few entries back!
    I'll just copy it in here too and quit for the night!
    "I loved all the photos! Erin with the pooch is very cute. Scenes of Bandelier felt like I was right there! It's great to hear how keen your family is on Harry Potter! We used to have friendly debates over the merits of Harry Potter compared to The Lord of the Rings. Laura used to staunchly take the side of Harry Potter (while I am inveterate LOTR fan since I was in 8th grade.)"
    Mara Stiles
    mother of angel Laura
    Boonton Twp., NJ