(It'd help if you sang that title to the tune of "Photographs and Memories" by Jim Croce from which it was so embarrassingly cribbed.)
The words here won't matter, I think, someday in the future as the boys, perhaps grown men by then, surf the pages of this long love-letter I have been crafting for them. Just as a letter drops the pictures out of the envelope, spilling them on the table, the pictures here will be seen first, letting the words wait, as words are patient enough to do.
That's the reason I have been so determined to include images - sometimes, perhaps too many - in this peculiar digital journey. It seemed clear, at the start of all this, that I needed to save the small stuff, the offcasts, the easily forgotten misfits - the heartbreakingly adorable litter that falls from childhood's high chairs, tables and steps.
I suppose I should explain what's going on here. Maybe I don't have to, you probably figured it out. While I was away in Athens, Marci and the boys made these shirts. They found drawings I'd scanned to use around here - there's, like six-hundred of them - and Marci transferred them onto t-shirts, a process that involves the computer, the printer/scanner thingee, and an iron... and magic, I'm pretty sure some magical paper is involved, Diadem Alley has it. To further muck the story up, this all started because Kirby (not his real name, unless it is) wanted an "ihopeiwinatoaster" shirt and, she asked the boys if they wanted to make something for themselves when she made one for not-named-Kirby..
Not wanting to be left out, Marci made me the white one in the foreground there, a "handburger" Zack drew which was used in this post, cleverly called "Handburger."
Marci made the top left one for herself. It began life as a Valentine if memory serves. Now I'm curious, hold on a sec...
Sorry, that took a bit. It was originally in a post called - these titles are not so good - "The Valentine's Day Post." It's pretty good, really. That's what took me so long, I felt I had to read it after I found the image. Wait, I may have just got back to my original point... I'll be damned.
Nick chose a scan that I can't find anywhere else, in fact I don't know where they found it. I remember the piece of paper, all it said was "Kids ______0______ parins ______2__________" He thinks it is hilarious. So do I.
The eight-legged-big-mouthed-antennaed-insect-thing in the center is on Nick's other shirt.. I never used it in a post but, man, it looks good on a shirt.
Up in the right corner is the "Pick Me" dude. He is an amalgamation of images from two posts. The "pick me" is from a piece of paper I found which said those words on both sides, I mention it in "Guarding Innocence," the little prince with a dagger is from the post "A Cast of Several and a Set Piece." He's somehow creepy and cute.
Finally, on the orange shirt, is the little "hi" guy. Marci place the image, at Z's request, down on the bottom right edge of the shirt, which is really nice because you don't see it at first and then you do and he says 'hi' to you, well, it's funny. It is from a post called "Narrative Imperative."
I am not a logo shirt sort of guy. If Nike wants to pay me a couple thousand dollars a year, I'll wear their shirts a few times a week, that'd be cool. But, for me to pay way too much for a sweatshirt or sporty-spice-shirt and advertise their multi-billion corporation for free... no, thanks.
We aren't into Star Wars and we have not received the decoder rings that explain the over-complicated super hero movie machine (actually I canceled that order and the truth is the boys don't care to see them) so no Captain Marvel or Batboy shirts for us.
We do wear Reds shirts around here and the requisite school district gear, I am alright with that. But that's about it. I have a few Life is Good shirts but, don't tell everyone, I don't really like them - they are soft though.
So, the boys wear mostly plain shirts, gray is a favorite, N looks great in blue and Z fancies green and, of course, orange - one of the local school colors.
And, they wear the shirts Mom made 'em. In fact they love them and wear them at least once a week. Which, believe it or not, gets me to the point I want to make. They love them because they made them. Because they drew the pictures, the placed them on the transfers and helped manipulate the images and print them. They own them.
Let's see, uh, I started this before Zack got his stitches on Wednesday, so...
What? Sorry, didn't I tell you about that?
I'll go with the short version, I've already told some long stories about injuries to both Zack and Nick. Zack's forehead encountered a rock.
We went home. I cleaned the wound. Marci texted a picture of it to pediatrician's office. Off to Children's Hospital Urgent Care (always, always, always take your kid to The Children's Hospital if you can).
Let's see, um, right - check in, numbing gel, anxiety, vending machine, nice nurse, capable but busy doctor, heightened anxiety, tears, two stitches, sign papers, into the car and...
"Dad?" It is a whisper of a voice. The tone implores me to listen, my answer, I know will be important and everlasting. I turn down the fan on the AC.
"What is it, Zack?" I ask gently.
"Will you be able to get the blood outta my "hi" shirt?"
"Yep, it's already soaking in cold water in the sink." And it was, and we did get the stain out. And, when he asked about it, I understood that he was saying was really: Everything's gonna be alright, isn't it?
Home to the other boy who never said he was worried but kept commenting to Mom that we'd been gone a long time. The boy who was so very upset after the meeting of forehead and rock. The boy who later said he was so sorry through tears and a sob or two.
"Nick, I know it wasn't your fault. It was a freak accident, everything's forgotten, forgiven..."
"No, not that Dad, I ruined his favorite shirt, ohhh..." eyes welling up again.
"I'll get it out, don't worry about it, it'll be fine, good as new."
With that he wiped his face on his eight-legged-big-mouthed-antennaed-insect-thingee shirt and trotted off to practice. But I know what he meant.
Everything's gonna be alright, isn't it?
I can't guarantee it boys, I really can't...
I appreciate you coming around again, fewer and fewer folks are so it's not been so crowded. I'm glad you did.
I mean that.
From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."
(sung a la Frozen)
"Do you wanna build a death ray?"
Listen, if there is one thing I want you to take away from this, well, it is not listen under the words, it is not make your own shirts, it is not that images make memories better than words often can, it is not even embrace the silly nor is it remember the stories. No, it is simply this:
Always, always, always take your kid to The Children's Hospital if you can, they are the best for your kid, I promise.
I got to wondering what I might choose to put on a shirt. I decided on this from "Post Father's Day Post":
Peace to you, whenever you might be...