i was rummaging through some old photos in a shoebox before christmas and ran across an old photo-developing envelope with dozens of negatives inside. i held them up to the light and discovered images i’d never seen before. i was very excited at seeing young shadows of cousins, grandparents, siblings…but when i saw this image in its brownish-red transparency, i almost stopped breathing.
the men in it were my childhood. they were my entrance into serious writing and being published. they were my Parlor Cowboys; live and in color! well, almost live. they’re all gone now, up to that big bandstand in the sky. but, while they were here on earth, making music at weddings, new year’s eve parties and fraternal organizations they practiced in my living room where i soaked in every note and every smile.
when i discovered this negative, i called my husband over to show him. after wiping a tear or two away i set it aside while i looked at other shadows of my past in the glow of my grandmother’s lamp. i had a nice pile to take down to get developed and put them all back into their envelope, including the cowboys, and set them on my desk. the holiday came and went and the images stayed put.
yesterday ter took a call on his cell that sounded very suspicious. “Oh! Yeah! Okay. I forgot all about it. I’ll be right down.” i asked him who it was. “Nobody.” hmmm… that Reba McIntire song came to mind and i was ready to knock him out. he grabbed his keys and left. when he came back he handed me a large cardboard envelope with an 8×10 picture of the Parlor Cowboys in living color.
he gave me the best gift ever. a wonderful memory of my childhood.