“To complete a project.”
This was his answer when I asked “What makes you happy?” Is it any wonder, then, that I’ve got this underlying uneasiness knowing I haven’t yet finished my Intimate Portrait series?
I must come by it naturally.
“Tell me about your father.” He described a story in which his father had told them ‘he could do anything his kids could do, until he turned 50 years old.’ At first, it sounded a little like a competitive thing. Then as I thought more about it, perhaps it was meant to serve as motivation or a challenge to the kids?
Growing up, I remember stopping by the telephone office in town, then racing him the two or three blocks to the house. Also, of occasional games of one on one basketball against him in the driveway after work. Was that competitive? Or motivation?
This is Bill. Fifth in the birth order of seven children. My Dad.
He’s both a competitor and a motivator. And prideful, and smart.
As I got older, taller, and better at basketball games, he quit playing against me.
I asked him to look back on his life, if there was anything he wished he could do over? “Useless exercise” was the reply. He’s also extremely practical.
Look again at the picture above. Do you see what I do? The slight smile? The twinkle in his eye? My dad also has a tremendous sense of humor, a strong playful streak. It was hinted at when I interviewed my other subjects. One said, “Your dad was a little wild, you know.” Unfortunately, that interview ended before I could get some background or details on that comment.
Even in this picture, there’s a mischievous hint of a smirk.
Or maybe he’s just happy that he’s been married to Sandy, my Mom, for 54 years?
“What’s the key to marriage” I ask. “Many” she says. “Be willing to forgive.””Always kiss goodnight.” Really? Always? “Well, sometimes you don’t want to.”
I feel like my mom glows. She seems genuinely happy.
What are you most proud of? “My family.” I kept pushing. “The person I’ve become.” It’s true. I’ve witnessed her become more confident the past several years. I feel like she’s comfortable in her own skin.
My mom and dad. Beautiful people. Awesome parents. Tremendous role models, as are each of the subjects I’ve profiled.
What started out simply as a photography project has turned into something so much more meaningful. I got to spend quality time with fascinating people; to hear tiny tidbits of their lives; to weave together a little background of their childhoods and understand more about who they are, as well as who I am. I am grateful for their openness and willingness to share with me, and with you, the reader of this blog.
My project is complete. I am happy.