Old photos are the greatest gift you can give!
I was messing around, thumbing through Facebook late one night last week when all of a sudden my phone alerted me that I had a new text message. The message came from my friend and fraternity brother Sterling who lives in Phoenix.
It was a picture of me and our brother James Scott from about 26 years ago! I cannot begin to describe the thrill and excitement I got from looking at that picture. I had no idea that picture even existed!
Looking at the photo was an emotional experience. First there was a lot of joy as I reminisced about the times we shared. And then a sadness overcame me because James lost his life to complications from multiple sclerosis several years ago.
The fond memories were more abundant. Like the time when I first met James and was expressing interest in joining the fraternity. To intimidate me, he suddenly power lifted me and my manual wheelchair up into the air to the point where my head was pressing against the ceiling! He threatened to slam me, but slowly and gently lowered me to the ground.
“Ha ha ha! That boy’s eyes got so big!”
He and the rest of the room started cracking up. Scared the hell out of me!
James was a mountain of a man. Incredible physical strength. Chiseled like Adonis. The girls all loved him. He was the shark. We were the pilot fish that tagged along.
Sterling sent me another photo. This one of my brothers Terrence Kennell, James and me. Terrence was my roommate and the photo was in our apartment, a place where we shared a lot of uncontrollable laughter.
The next day, I called Terrence, and we were on the phone for well over an hour catching up with each other. I had not heard from him in over a decade. I was excited when I discovered that his phone number still works. Terrence is now completely blind, the result of an abscess in his brain. He has had three brain surgeries and is scheduling his fourth this month. But he is happily married, and is a minister in his church. HIs warm voice and rhythmic laughter have not changed.
We were so young looking. There were no lines on our faces. We had hair!
I don’t know if Sterling realized how much of a gift those pictures were to me. If you want to make somebody you care about very happy, go through that old photo album or dig through that shoe box and find pictures of them that they did not know existed.
If you want somebody to do the same for you, forward them a link to this blog. There’s nothing like “old school” photos of yourself and close friends that you see for the first time years later. If anybody has any more pictures of me, please send them along!