“Note to self: Let things go.” ~ Unknown
I started processing photos from cousin Richard’s wedding. The ceremony was held on a island in the middle of a beautiful pond in southern Ohio. The island is accessible only by a swinging bridge. I don’t like swinging bridges, mostly because of Richard. Oh, how I love the irony of life sometimes. You see, before Highway 80 cut through our ancestral holler in Perry County, known as Ball Creek, we took a trip for one last visit. It was around 1970. Back then, you drove up the creek, literally, as far as you could. Then, you got out and walked a trail to the old home place. There was a pile of us Terry’s on that trip. We were walking the trail when we passed an old swinging bridge. I’ve always had a fear of heights. That was especially true as a child. I saw the bridge and felt the need to overcome that fear. Why I wanted to do it then I have long since forgotten. I was half way across the bridge when it began to swing wildly. I looked behind to find Richard on the other end jumping up and down causing the bridge to sway, laughing his head off. Naturally, I started screaming bloody murder, crying, the whole meltdown. I don’t remember anything else about the trip after that moment. Yesterday, as folks headed back to the mainland across bridge, my Uncle Greg, Richard’s dad, did much the same to my aunt Virginia, Richard’s mom; rocking the bridge back and forth, and laughing. Virginia handled it better than I did, but in that moment it was clear that this apple named Richard didn’t fall far from the tree. The bride and groom and I stayed behind for a few newlywed shots, then it was our turn to cross over. I was about to step onto the bridge when I saw Richard was now the one in the middle of the bridge. I smiled. He sacred me to death 45 years ago, and I never loved him more than I did yesterday watching him walk across that bridge. He helped toughen me up. He helped teach me about forgiveness, and how to laugh off whatever happens. I’m indebted to him for those things, and I’m honored to be his family.