Year’s photos stand as a reminder of life’s richnessSeveral years ago, another newspaper reporter remarked that then-Gov. George Mickelson liked to pound stakes into the ground to measure progress. The former governor didn’t really pound stakes into the ground, but when he was looking ahead and gauging how far he had to go, he did like to look back now and then to see how far he had come.
By: Terry Woster, Republic columnist
Several years ago, another newspaper reporter remarked that then-Gov. George Mickelson liked to pound stakes into the ground to measure progress. The former governor didn’t really pound stakes into the ground, but when he was looking ahead and gauging how far he had to go, he did like to look back now and then to see how far he had come.
It occurred to me the other day that I sometimes do that with photographs. While making New Year’s resolutions might help me see how far I need to travel to make my life better, the photographs are like stakes in the ground. They measure how far I’ve come and what a good time I had on each 12-month leg of the journey.
Among those photographs is one of the family — except for granddaughter Jackie — at the Sanford bash last summer. Three of the granddaughters deal with type 1 diabetes, so they were special guests at the event. The rest of us were tag-alongs. Everyone in the family cleaned up nicely, and the smiles show what a good time we were having together.
A photo of granddaughter Sage, nearly 3 years old now, with her pow-wow regalia reminds me of a pleasant summer evening of watching dancers and listening to drum groups at Lower Brule. When she isn’t distracted by other children or cute puppies, the child truly loves to move to the beat of the drum.
An image of granddaughter Lara and me in my brother and sister-in-law’s two-seat convertible is evidence of a Woster family gathering in Custer State Park. Lara, 14, is wearing a wide-brimmed straw bonnet with a red polka-dot ribbon. I’m in a comfortable straw fedora with a hole in the crown. She seemed slightly surprised that we returned safely from a spin down the mountain road.
A snapshot of granddaughter Frankie jumping on a trampoline with her grandma and little sister is a favorite. It’s a remembrance of a simple moment for a 16-year-old making the transition from little girl to young woman. That’s a bittersweet transition, as I watch Frankie mature and grow but see the little girl gradually disappear.
The photo of the laughing young woman in a Chamberlain High School-red cap-and-gown keeps alive the memory of granddaughter Jordan’s final ceremony before finishing one stage of her education and moving to campus to start a series of new adventures. She’s so ready for each change in her life that I can’t help but smile whenever I think of moments with her.
An image of me receiving a Lake Tahoe-tagged baseball cap from granddaughter Jackie recalls the summer of 2010 when the 20-year-old spent a couple of months in that resort city to experience a different part of the country and meet new people. Sometimes you don’t realize much how much you miss someone until they come home.
The digital file contains images of me with daughter Jennifer and with her husband, Rich; images of me with son Scott and with his wife, LaRayne, and images of me with son Andy. Individually or together, those images remind me how lucky I am to have had such remarkable children and how fortunate that each of the children seems truly happy to spend time with other family members.
There are photographs of Nancy, although she prefers to be behind the camera, making sure everyone else in the family has a collection of images that chart their progress in the previous weeks and months and years. The images of Nancy are more treasured, perhaps, because they are fewer in number. Besides, I have nearly 50 years of times with her. Who needs photographs when they’ve shared all of those moments?
As 2011 arrives, I look forward, but have no clear image of where my journey leads, or when and where it ends. When I look back, though, I clearly see how rich my life has been. Even if there are no more stakes to mark further progress, it will have been more than enough.