Every once in a while, especially when it is rainy outside, I like to just sit down on the floor with a box of old pictures I keep in my room.
I like to do this even if I’m not searching for a story idea. I believe pictures are like little time capsules that hold memories, waiting to be released, whenever we look at them. A person can relive a portion of their life for just a moment as they look at a picture. A picture allows us to mentally step into the past and briefly relive something that was important enough at the time to capture on film. My wife and I do have picture albums that hold most of the same pictures the box holds, but I prefer digging through the box. An album is usually neat and in chronological order, and after I go through it a couple of times I know what is coming next. The box however is random, and can surprise me from time to time. Like when a picture of me follows one of my late father, that shows the same look in my eyes, the picture of him shows in his.
A picture that shows me as that skinny kid I was back then reminds me of those days when I could run all the way around the block, and still have enough energy to climb the old hollow tree beside our house on east Fifth Street. A picture of my wife and I in our courting days that shows the same look in her eyes I see today, reminds me of why I was smiling as I stood beside her back then. A picture of my late mother and sister in their younger days makes me feel all warm inside, as I recall the love both of them gave me as a child. It is for those feeling that I go through the box of pictures now and then. There are also pictures in the box of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and old friends that I thought would live forever as a kid. Some now live only in my box of memories and I think how much more I would miss them if I were not able to look at their pictures now and then.
The box that I have the pleasure of going through today is really a credit to my wife, who has saved the memories contained in it all these years. As it is in most households, it was left up to her to make sure things were saved that I can be grateful for these all these years later.
As I hold some of the older pictures I can see they are fading and will someday be gone, in the same way a memory fades from our minds, and finally disappears. Fortunately pictures can be saved from that fate today, which means so can the memories.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I believe that is so but I also think a picture is worth a thousand memories, at least those are that are kept in the box in my room.
— Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column will run in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.