Dearest Rachel –
I know you remember the digital camcorder we used to have, that we splurged on before the folks took us on that second cruise. You know the one – it was when we visited Dad’s grandfather’s home in Gamla Stan, in Stockholm. We must have used it for about a decade of trips before, somehow, the camcorder, just… disappeared. All these tiny digital tapes, just waiting to be played, and, since I retired to work on a possible YouTube channel, converted to digital format (well, I guess they were in digital format already, according to the tapes themselves, but of course they couldn’t be played on a computer, so it was something of a moot point). You would tell me that “oh, it’s in the house somewhere, it’ll turn up when we clean things up around here someday,” and I would tease you about when “someday” would come.
Well, it seems that both of us were right, weren’t we?
Somewhere, in picking up after your many pairs of shoes (not that I begrudge that; what woman doesn’t have dozens of shoes for every occasion and outfit?), I found it. A little dusty, and badly in need of a charge, but it seemed to be in good working order. And I had recently ordered an item from Wish.com (yeah, yeah, I know… we’ll see how well that holds up) that could convert VCR A/V into digital data files to be loaded onto a computer, so I can finally go through these tapes before time works any more of its awful magic on them.
But, of course, I can’t show you any of these things anymore. And I so wish I could.
Although, it seems to be working pretty well, based on the first tape I’ve put in here. I mean, I think it needs to be rewound and fast-forwarded a couple of times to tighten it up, because the first couple of minutes skip a bit, but once it’s running, it seems to be coming through pretty well. Looks like this one is from our trip to Disney World back in 2002 – just the three of us, and Ellen brought along to help us with Daniel, and to show her around the place we spent our honeymoon ten years previously.
But one thing is wrong with what I’m seeing at the moment. It’s understandable, but it’s a serious mistake on my part. The whole time, I’m filming the performances, the animals, the sights…
…and I’m missing us. No signs of us enjoying ourselves, just the occasional voice-over from one or the other of us. Sure, there was so much to see, and I admit, I don’t remember the specifics of what we saw without this video evidence…
…but was that at all important, really?
It used to be a roundly-mocked stereotype of the Japanese tourist constantly taking pictures of himself and his friends and/or family in front of all of the various sights they would visit on their vacations. As far as I could tell, they were getting in the way of the actual sights.
But now, I get it. All the sights of the world could be found on Google Earth these days (okay, not back then, but still); what matters is that we were there, enjoying it all. Why did I point that camera everywhere but at us?
I know this is only the first tape. There’s so much more to go through, and I know I was doing a lot of filming around the dinner tables on some of the cruises, so maybe I’ll see and hear from you as I go through all of this, but oh dear, I regret not spending enough time on us.
And I really regret that you’ll not be able to see any of this.
Maybe you’re unstuck in time, like Billy Pilgrim, experiencing these days personally. Daniel told me that, in the dream in which you appeared to him, you told him that time works differently where you are. Which makes sense, I suppose – the Lord exists out of time, after all, and if you’re with Him, that would apply to you, too, wouldn’t it? So, maybe.
And if you are, take a moment to rest your hand on my shoulder, and squeeze it tightly, just for old times’ sake.