As a present for graduating college, KLR was given her dream trip. She excitedly chose to visit Austria, as it was the site to The Sound of Music, her favorite movie (or musical. Or show. Or all of the above. I’m not sure, I actually have never seen it. I’m surprised she’s still friends with me). And she chose for her mama to accompany her. Her bookshelf now bears pictures of her and her mother acting out favorite scenes as the main characters. Knowing how the story ended for her mother just a few short years later, I’m sure these memories hold an indescribable place in her memory.

But this is just the backdrop to the story.

KLR mentioned that every time they sat down to a meal, which nearly always included wine, her mother would take a picture of the platter before taking a bite. She wanted to savor the memory later. Not of landscape or of hotel rooms where they stayed, but of the gastronomic nature of the trip. I never met the woman, but I think I would secretly try to emulate these types of endeavors.

After moving to Upper, I only met Debbie through story. She was an art and TAG (“tall and gangly” was a favorite McCallisterism) teacher who had an appreciation for the obscure. She could look at a barn door and see a coffee table. She created stained glass projects in her basement. She brought turkeys to school in the back of obscenely small vehicles (a ACG favorite tale). And instead of seeing food as a means to satisfy the tummy, she knew it could satiate the soul.

I’ve never had much of an artistic eye. I’m notoriously utilitarian. A tree is a means to apples or annoying nuts in the yard to mow over or rake. Color is a method of describing “which one”. So hearing that something like a sandwich can be captured on film in a way that evokes emotions and not just saliva baffles and intrigues me at the same time.

Lately there’s been an uprising of semi-to-pseudo professional photographers. Many of them are very, very good (I’m FB friends with several). A few might just have nice cameras and great ambition, but they all have something I envy: an eye that sees the world with brighter color. With the right light and shade and angle, you see something beyond.

I can appreciate that people like Debbie – and those places where her presence continues to shine through, like KLR – can challenge me to look at things, even food, in new ways. It’s not simply there to be consumed, but enjoyed – and in the case of photography, we can enjoy it over and over again. 

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