Sunday, May 22, 2016

The kindness of cousins

Mom and dad's photo albums contain many pictures of them with my cousin Les and his wife Shelagh. Shelagh has always been an avid photographer, and most visits with her include a little photo session; she likes to record the event and often sends copies to her subjects. But I've always thought her photos of my parents stand for so much more than just a record of their times together. There is the very fact of those visits -- couples from different generations exchanging visits as if they were contemporaries. It's one thing to visit your own parents; it's another for younger working people with their own social lives to exchange regular visits with an aunt and uncle. They did it seriously; back and forth every so many months, for years. Later, after dad died and mom could no longer get out to West Vancouver to visit them, Les and Shelagh would go to Surrey to see my mother, often taking her to lunch at a favourite restaurant in White Rock. Two years ago, when mom was dying, Les and Shelagh made a final visit to her bedside to say goodbye. John and I had the great good fortune to "inherit" Les and Shelagh from mom and dad, and now we are the ones who exchange regular visits. Now I know first-hand what mom used to tell me about Shelagh's wonderful cooking, their beautiful view home and their gracious hosting. We probably talk about different things -- less family and more art, photography and books. But Shelagh and Les have always had cats, cars and gardens, and I suspect many of our conversations on those topics echo earlier ones. I haven't seen Shelagh's photos from our visit to them on Sunday, but here are two good ones taken by John and one of Shelagh from me:

Shelagh with Les in their garden on Sunday.

Les at home in West Vancouver.
Shelagh with Munchkin the cuddly cat.

1 comment:

  1., it looks like having your blog will allow John to take plebeian people photos!