My camera addiction and memories of Aunty Henna

My Dad and me
Our family took photos wherever we went as well. When we used to go on tour with my dad, we would take tons of photos of every conceivable scene. Every time we stopped to eat, we  would snap away. Many photos showed the same food and the coke and you could only distinguish the difference because of the changing roadside benches or the different angle of the red Corona in the picture.

At one point, my dad just growled that we must stop this nonsense of taking pictures whenever he stops to "vriet" ( eat). That word signalled his irritation and we would then slink away with camera, giggling behind a tree or crouch behind the car, mock -coughing at the reprimand. Clowning was the name of the game. Of course, all the private pictures we took of us smoking or doing something weird, were hastily removed from the pack of pictures before giving them for parent scrutiny.
Snapshots of memories made lovingly

I am glad for this picture-taking tradition. Creating picture stories helps you to preserve your history, your heritage. Photos enhance or trigger our recollection when our memories store them too deeply for us to reach, especially in this fast -paced world of ours. They help us to soothe our spirits and our souls when we need a sense of belonging, or reassurance, or just a revitalization. Photos are especially useful when we need a tangible something to help us connect during times of yearning or during times of loss.

As I write, my heart is full, aching really. There is a deep sense of loss of the end of an era in our family. I have just received news that Aunty Henna, our last remaining paternal aunt, has gone on to her parents and her siblings. Just this afternoon, I spent some time drinking in the photos of our family, all blended in one of those photo montages I have made. I do this often when my mind drifts to Mom, Dad and Glenda, especially during the Christmas season.

 And today, I wanted to revisit those pictures with Aunty Henna too, especially since she has been on my mind since I last saw her on Sunday. There I was, on my wedding day and there on another, on my 21st, posing with Aunty Henna and Aunty Lenie. Even Uncle Andrew, our crazy uncle who had those stinky socks, smiled down at me, cigarette dangling from the lips and shirt hanging out. Yep, that was Uncle Andrew.

Shoo... Life is a hard taskmaster. And, that is why we need family. Family is the bedrock of community. Family is family, regardless of how many feuds take place and how we often wished we could sever ties when we are angry with one another. Family gives us our identity, our heritage and our roots. We are morally obliged to nurture our family bonds and preserve the community ties; else our society will degenerate into a wilderness.

So on this sad note that signals the final chapter of the Sauls ancestors, we say: Farewell, Aunty Henna. Thank you for being our Elder for the last few years and for being central to our having our historic Sauls Family Reunion where you were our star member and our voice to keep our eyes focused on our Lord. How powerful ! I will cherish our time together, our last few nose kisses and love you's and jealously guard my special plant with its yellow flowers. I can just imagine the jubilation in heaven...


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