It was very enjoyable listening to all the stories on Christmas day. As we talked with one another about our memories over the holiday, it was said many times, "That should go in The Family from Yosemite." I'm very much looking forward to next Christmas, wondering what everyone will write.
The following was my 2008 Christmas contribution:
"Maybe We're Just an Ugly Family"
By Martha Reynders Blair
Submitted to The Family from Yosemite
December 25, 2008
In 1997 Rick was preparing to leave on his mission. We knew our family would never be the same with the launching of our first child so of course, we wanted to have a family picture taken. It wouldn’t be just any family picture, but a professional photograph etching a moment in time of our family’s history.
Digital photography really hadn’t come into play in most of the private sector. The studio we filed into was definitely of the old school. We really wanted to look our best, but our dress and where we selected to have our photo taken were telltale signs of where we were financially.
Our children knew full well the importance of this photo. They
too wanted to look their best. We went into a room and were strategically placed by a photographer that unfortunately did not build our confidence. You could tell he was nervous with our big group. There were eight of us, Sam wasn't born yet. We steadily went through the ritually of snapping photo after photo. Again, we were all so hopeful in spite of the circumstances. Surely there would be at least one good picture of our family.
Weeks later we got the happy call, our proofs were ready!
I anxiously perused through all our samples, but was disappointed to see nothing to my liking. As anyone well knows, I can be incredibly picky and a perfectionist to the extreme. I try not to be, so as I walked out of the studio with proofs in hand, I told myself that maybe it was just me. Surely everyone else in the
family will see a picture we can be content with.
Hugh looked through the pictures with a similar reaction, nothing looked good. The children took turns too, eyeing each photo, but no one was impressed. Finally Billy came home. He approached the table filled with our display of pictures. His mannerism showed confidence, certainly he would find the photo of our family that we could display proudly.
He picked up one proof at a time and with disbelieving disgust set each picture aside in a pile, even so, he showed a hope that there would still be a few pictures to pick from in order to select the final photo. He went through everyone and then back to the reject pile. He looked and looked and shook his head with a sigh of disillusionment, and then with calculated dismay stated his unfortunate conclusion, “You know, maybe we’re just an ugly family.”
To this day when we look at photos, you’ll hear family members comment:
“Oh, that’s my favorite!”
“This picture is hilarious!”
“Oh, that’s a good one.”
“I’ve always thought that was a great photo.”
“I remember when that happened.”
And always there is the infamous line,
“Maybe we’re just an ugly family.”
The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst.