One of the most famous scenes in the AMC show Mad Men comes near the end of season one. Kodak has asked the advertising firm to create a campaign around a new slide projector that has a circular tray. Don Draper presents the Carousel and gives a nostalgia-steeped presentation that use his personal photographs to move both the Kodak execs and the viewers at home, who know that these semi-focused pictures will soon be all that left of his disintegrating family.
No falling apart family for me, but I find myself already feeling nostalgic for a family vacation to Disney World that doesn’t start for another six days. I’ve recently been looking through our Flickr archive of past trips (four for me) and realize that they are our Carousel. The start with my fiancée taking a cynical me on my first trip. Later visits bring kids to the photographic lineup: newly-found legs to run, the joys of messy ice cream, the scare of not-very-scary rides and the big eyes of parades all run through the sets.
In less than a week we’ll start a new set. There will be two new children in this one. “The babies” are both walking and toddling and are at their peak of baby photogenic cuteness. The older two are real kids now and the eldest is starting to show early glimpses of teenage-hood: eye-rolling, exhalation of air (“uh!”) to show disapproval of inconvenient parental instructions.
Iconic family pictures will happen. Since our last visit five years ago, my wife’s lost her father to cancer and my mother’s been slipping into the forgetfulness of Alzheimer’s. As the wheel of life turns it somehow becomes more possible to see ourselves as part of the turning Carousel. Some decades from now I can imagine myself going through these pictures surrounded by indulging children and antsy grandchildren, exclaiming “look how young everyone looks!”
I really should blog here more. I really should. I spend a lot of my time these days sharing other people\‘s ideas. Most recently, on Friends Journal you can see my interview with Jon Watts (co-conducted with Megan Kietzman-Nicklin). The three of us talked on and on for quite some time; it was only an inflexible train schedule that ended my participation.
The favorite part of talking with Jon is his enthusiasm and his talent for keeping his sights set on the long picture (my favorite question was asking why he started with a Quaker figure so obscure even I had to look him up). It\‘s easy to get caught up in the bustle of deadlines and to-do lists and to start to forget why we\‘re doing this work as professional Quakers. There is a reality behind the word counts. As Friends, we are sharing the good news of 350+ years of spiritual adventuring: observations, struggles, and imperfect-but-genuine attempts to follow Inward Light of the Gospels.
My nine year old son Theo is blogging as a class assignment. I think they\‘ve been supposed to be writing there for awhile but he\‘s really only gotten the bug in the last few weeks. It\‘s a full-on WordPress site, but with certain restrictions (most notably, posts only become public after the classroom teacher has had a chance to review and vet them). It\‘s certain ironic to see one of my kids blogging more than me!
Enough blogging for today. Time to put the rest of the awake kids to bed. I\‘m going to try to have more regular small posts so as to get back into the blogging habit. In the meantime, I\‘m always active on my Tumblr site (which shows up as the sidebar to the right). It\‘s the bucket for my internet curations – videos and links I find interesting, and my own pictures and miscellanea.
Since 2000, the number of young people involved in scouting has fallen by close to 19 percent, according to the Boy Scouts of America’s most recent figures, from 2011. The number of boys in the youngest cohort of membership, the Cub Scouts, was down more than 25 percent, marking an even more alarming portent for the future.
Our kids are in cub scouts but it’s been really hard to find a stable den in our area. Locally, I see any evidence that the instability has come about because of the LGBTQ ban. The decline seems more the result of disorganization and inability to compete effectively against other available youth programming like soccer and softball leagues.
More pics over on the Flickr account. The afternoon ritual is to run off to an outdoor adventure when Francis wakes up from his nap. Favorite spot: the lake park. Here are the boys on top of the lifeguard stand.
Francis and I had a nice 22 mi. bike ride on Saturday. Lots of back
roads through blueberry fields, and a good off-road jaunt past
carnivorous plants, orchid-filled bogs and mosquitoes galore. Full set of Flickr pictures here. (Julie & Theo were busy hanging out with the bishop instead),