Tag: family

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A Maine Reflection

The weekend trip to Aroostook County, Maine, ended Feb. 19, 2024, when my sister and I joined a full flight of passengers flying from Presque Isle. Scheduled for 6:15 a.m. EST, the jet took off late due to deicing of the wings. Travel to Maine had been sudden, and unplanned; the ravages of old age accelerate, and we can’t know how long Dad will last.

As the aircraft lifted off the ground, I wondered about the abnormally low amount of snowfall; chuckled thinking about my father’s absolutely adorable and friendly Shih Tzu dogs; and longed to see more wildlife outside the Solarium windows.

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They Come to Eat

On the second—and last—day visiting Dad, he asked my sister to take out scraps for the birds. She put them beside the building just below the big windows looking out onto the backyard. She calls the room, where his little dogs like to sun, the Solarium.

During the course of the afternoon, I observed birds and several red squirrels come by for grab-and-go snacks. The glass was clean enough that I could shoot through the window, using Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. The Featured Image sets the mood for the set. Look sharp for the red squirrel. Vitals: f/3.4, ISO 32, 1/900 sec, (synthetic) 230mm (digital and optical zoom); 1:58 p.m. EST, Feb. 18, 2024.

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Dad’s Dogs

The first morning in Aroostook County, my sister and I left our Aunt’s house to be greeted by a balmy air temperature of -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit). The next day: -17 C (1 F). Brrr. By the way, -40 is where the two scales of measurement meet—and, yes, Northern Maine absolutely does get so cold.

Dad’s dogs are the cutest ever. The Shih Tzu littermates are about three years old, and they are litter pan trained. Think about it. Would you want to take out two little dogs to do their business when it’s so cold outside. Wind blows constantly at the family farm, so think colder.

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That’s Not a Lot of Snow

My hometown of Caribou, Maine averages about 279 cm (110 inches) of snow per season, which typically spans from mid-November to late April. But October isn’t too early or May too late for a dusting or meaningful accumulation. Depending on your measure of cold and snow, winter is as long as six months.

But 2023-24 is anything but typical. Snowfall is significantly below normal. According to outdoor enthusiast site Snoflo: “Snowpack levels across the state are currently 35 percent of normal. The deepest snowpack in Maine was last observed at Caribou Wfo [Weather Forecast office] with a snowpack depth of 7 inches [17.8 cm], about 35 percent of normal when compared to it’s 20 inches [51 cm] average depth for this time of year”.

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I Could Have Saved Nine Dollars

Posting resumes, following an unplanned hiatus. Dad is in a state of physical decline, and concern grows about how long he will be with us. One of my sisters asked me to join her—she from Florida, me from California—for a Presidents’ Day holiday weekend trip home, which is Aroostook County, Maine. I logged 2,950 air miles each way.

My trip started in San Diego and first stopped in Los Angeles, following a 22-minute flight with connection to Newark and onward to final destination Presque Isle. Hungry, I grabbed a burger while at LAX. I shot the Featured Image, using Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, while waiting for my $20.25 beef patty.

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When We Wed

Thirty-five years ago, today, Annie and I joined 1,274 other couples in our blessed marriage ceremony. We drank holy wine, signifying change of lineage; marched in procession for sprinkling of holy water; and acknowledged our wedding vows.

As explained in the three previous installments, between Jan. 9-12, 1989, we were matched by the True Parent, became acquainted, and got to know one another—all in Yongin, Korea.

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Where We Posed

The third of four installments for our 35th blessed marriage anniversary is a bit out of sequence. Annie wears a ring in the Featured Image, so the ceremony already had taken place. The official wedding photo, she in her gown, comes tomorrow.

We were matched, became acquainted, and were wed in Yongin, Korea, which is about 43 km (26 miles) south of Seoul. I don’t much remember the locale.

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When We Were Acquainted

Annie smiles for the camera in a portrait probably taken by me. You do remember when film shooting was the only option—not the nostalgia thing that it is today, yes?

We were a newly matched couple in Yongin, Korea. My guess on the date for the Featured Image: Jan. 10, 1989, maybe the 11th. We would be blessed in marriage with 1,274 other couples on January 12. I will share more about that event, and our 35th wedding anniversary, in two days.

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When We Met

Today, Annie and I celebrate 35 years since our matching during a religious gathering in Yongin, Korea. We were no more than a few hours together when someone shot the Featured Image for us.

The companion capture is a day or two later, possible Jan. 10, 1989 or the 11th. We each hold a bottle of McCol, a carbonated barley drink that, honestly, I disliked. The photographer is unknown for both pictures, although he and/or she used one of our film cameras (no digital shooters back then).

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Autumn Annie

Where does the time go? I opened Google Photos to “22 years since…” and a portrait of my wife from November 2001! She looks great, but—my gosh—two decades doesn’t seem long ago by my memory when in reality it’s a third of a lifetime passed. Yikes!

The Featured Image is presented as captured. The companion is not, and I will get to that in the next paragraphs. Canon PowerShot S20 was my go-to digicam during that era. The compact was among the first over-3-megapixel pocket-size shooters. Vitals, incomplete: f/5.6, 1/125 sec, 6.55mm; 12:34 p.m. EST, November 4.

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Three of Us

I take the hint—just need to follow-through. Tonight, my cousin Dan emailed another photo, taken by my uncle, circa 1970, with closing “call any time”. I will. I will. We Wilcox men must stick together.

Meanwhile, the Featured Image, later edited by me, is what he sent. I only share with you because everyone benefits from humbling moments of public humiliation. Eleven-year-old me looks like the prince of dweebs. I am aghast, honestly. Someone should have left that little twerp in the woods.

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Cousins

Dan Wilcox emailed a couple of photos today of us as youngsters. The Featured Image, dated 1970, would put our ages at about 16 and 11, respectively. Cuz was always taller (and better looking), even in adulthood. Ah, to look on my fine, blonde hair and remember having it.

The film SLR belonged to Dad. If I rightly recall, he used a Kowa, probably the seT R2. Like Leica Q2 (my primary camera), the Kowa utilized a leaf shutter, which I believe was located in the lens, rather than the body. The design made for nearly silent shooting—an appealing feature for wildlife photography.