Prism of the Past

farr family portrait

Only Joyce and I are still alive

Every year about this time my wife gets weepy over “family,” those distant ones in Iowa (now Minnesota), Georgia, or wherever. Location doesn’t matter except that we aren’t there and weren’t expected anyway, distance being what it is. She remembers Thanksgivings in Ottumwa, Des Moines, or Muscatine with piles of food, the special china, journeys, relatives, and shelter from the storm. I remember murky gatherings like the one above at Granny’s house in Maryland, which may have been Thanksgiving or another time, before my father hauled us off to Germany for four long years.

The only people sort of smiling in that photo are my cousin Joyce and me and Aunt Mary the nurse (!), gazing down at Bill—she didn’t marry until age 56 and could safely dote on other people’s kids. Just look at that ensemble. I wonder where Teresa is? She would have been just three, too young to take the picture, or maybe that’s why I’m amused. Granddad lost his other leg a few months later, by the way. Aunt Mary was there that Christmas, as were we, when he opened his present from her and a pair of hand-knit socks fell out. She’d forgotten about the amputations, a perfect plot twist for the Farrs.

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John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. His latest projects are both named GODDAMN BUFFALO: purchase NFTs at OpenSea and read new writing at Substack! See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • JudyinBoston December 2, 2019, 1:31 PM

    That photo could have been my mom’s family in Kansas.

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