It’s as simple as that

I should have been taking pictures of Memorial Day happenings when I snapped the “scenic” atop the Opinions page in Friday’s issue of the Democrat.
I was. Technically.
The parade over and the official commemoration well under way, I’d wandered back into the crowd at the cemetery in Roscoe.
And then I spotted it.
There, on the edge of the grass, a little girl in a bright blue Cal Ripken League uniform was sitting with her head bent over in concentration.
Her flaxen hair covered her face, but it was obvious this little girl had a mission.
In her hands was a single blade of grass, something she’d no doubt picked to while away the time until her parent said, “OK, the adult stuff is over. Let’s go.”
Seconds later, her brother, who I’d watched bring his mother a large handful of dirt (while I stifled a giggle), plopped down next to her.
The perfect gentleman, he didn’t say a word to disturb the crowd.
But the scrunched up nose, the furrowed brow, said it for him.
“Whatcha doin’?” he wanted to know.
I’ve been to hundreds of these ceremonies, but this scene was rare.

Much more common is the little girl hanging from her father’s hand, whining, “I wanna go to the mooooovies. You prooooomisssed.” or an 8-year-old boy demanding Mom dig his Playstation Portable from the bottom of her purse.
But the Ackerly kids were wrapped up in their own adventures that morning in Roscoe, not a techno gadget in sight.
I snuck over to their Mom after snapping a photo and got both names and ages.
The girl was 5, the boy, 2.
I wasn’t surprised.
The younger they are, the easier they amuse themselves.
It’s not until they are handed talking dolls and remote controlled cars that they start losing that imagination.
As I was once told – kids are normal, until adults mess them up.
Climbing down off my high horse, I’ll admit Jillian has a room full of toys that’s encroaching on my home office.
But I caught one of my favorite shots of her just the other day – running bare hiney across our yard with two brushes she’d stolen from Jonathan’s car washing detail.
It will go up on the wall beside the shot of her standing in my grandmother’s kitchen putting a plastic strainer on her great-great-aunt’s head.
None of those pictures show the elements of a “good” photograph.
Caught on the fly, the lighting isn’t perfect, and the angles could have been better.
If I’d had the room in the crowd, I’d have dropped down low to get a shot of Madison Ackerly’s face in the middle of all that hair.
And if I’d thought of it, I’d have climbed on my grandmother’s table to get a more interesting shot of Jillian with Aunt Eleanor.
Or maybe the simple approach was right.
A simple photograph of a simple moment – simply perfect.

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