I located this photograph today and since it happens to be one of my all time favorites, I thought I'd post it here for all the world to see.
The two little girls here are my cousin Ruth Ann and me. It was taken waaayyy back when she was three and I was two and was done on "Picture Day" at the old school in her home town. Our aunt taught there and somehow managed to get my Mom to bring me up and have pictures taken of the two of us. There was this one of us together plus separate photos of her and of me.
The thing that always gets to me about this particular photograph is that Ruth Ann's smile then and her smile today are exactly the same! And, if I could find a photograph of her dad - my Uncle Arch - to post alongside of this picture, you'd be able to see exactly where her smile came from too.
Growing up and now as adults, there are other things about her that have never changed either. She's a red-head - sometimes even has a bit of the temper to accompany that hair color too - and still has lots and lots of freckles as well. But that's just the outer appearance there. Inside, the way she operates, she's still pretty much the same bubbly person she always was when we were kids.
One thing I noticed when looking over this photo today is how we're seated, holding hands and how sober or scared - not quite sure there - I am, with her all smiles but look at the hands. Mine is on the bottom, then hers and then mine on top of hers and it could maybe be said she was trying to send me a message that there was nothing for me to fear, cause she's there, holding my hand, giving aid and comfort. And, mine on top of hers is - as always - accepting that but sending a signal that it's so good to know you're here with me.
And that is something we still have today.
We're miles and miles apart, geographically. She's down in Alabama and I'm still here in Pennsylvania but we e-mail frequently. We exchange photographs frequently of our grandchildren especially. And we try to keep each other abreast of how members of our family are doing these days too. Her mother - age 97 now - lives near her in a senior citizen center but it is one that has assisted care too which helps to lessen the worries Ruth Ann has about her Mom's day-to-day care. And I live about 22 miles away from the nursing home where our surviving aunt from our Dad's family now lives with her daughter. I don't get over there near as often as our Aunt would want, expects too for that matter, but circumstances dictate that particular issue. I can't always get out sometimes due to weather, other times because I am watching my grandchildren and I can't handle taking the two of them anyplace by myself.
But my daughters and I try to keep tabs on how things are going for our mutual aunt and if there is anything we can do to help her, to keep her a little content from time to time.
So when I look at this picture now, seeing our hands together, it keeps reminding me that is still the ongoing feature of our relationship. We reach out to each other now across the miles through words typed into computers and with a click of the "send" button, our hands entwine again.
A great way to keep both of us moving on, knowing the other is still there, reaching, touching, patting, comforting and still saying the same thing -"I'm still here for you."
Love ya, Red!