Okay. Part 2. 

October's highlight was when my sister got to come home. During her visit we went to the apple orchard and it's noted in memory for corn-stalk sword fights in the corn maze and the sense that we might never have made it out if not for *covertly* following the clever veteran who marked his trail with grim precision as he led his little family through. He seemed to have an umbrella policy of "No man left behind", since I'm pretty sure at one point he slowed down to wait for us when we had slipped from view, and I'm pretty sure there were people following us, following him, as well. I was grateful to him for his leadership in the maze and in much larger part for his service to us all. 

My memory is of apple trees which hung like willows under the weight of their rich harvest and a horde of bees who relentlessly kamikaze'd our biscuits and apple butter. The Pièce de résistance  of the whole affair, though, were these faces. 

For me, these are the saddest images of this last year. All the time that I spent with dad is summed up here. In the memoir I'm working on, I wrote a little about those damned, disgusting convenience store fruit pies. I wrote about them one day and on the very next day, I saw one at the grocery store. So, indulging the irony, I grabbed it to take pictures of for my post. The even greater irony turned out to be that while I was buying and photographing that wretched pie, Dad was making his final escape. Well, the final escape before the final escape. And during that outing, having access to all the foods and things which he had been denied for so many months, he was also buying, of all things, a wretched pie. 

It's not funny. But a little bit, it is. Sometime, I'll tell the story of how he broke out of the nursing home the day before he died. Anyway, when I got to his room after I got the call that he'd left the world, the first thing...the only thing I saw was that pie, unopened, uneaten and lying in all it's wretched glory on his nightstand. Leave it to my father to somehow, cosmically reinforce that either 1. we are connected or 2. this pie is now the irrevocable icon of our relationship. Or both.

I also think of him with that fuzzy sunrise picture, which I took one morning after taking him to his 5 a.m. dialysis. That picture - that morning - was a balm in a time of desperation, to find something so beautiful waiting for me despite the circumstances. It was a reminder that what is hard is not without it's gifts.

And lastly, picture of dad is one I took at Rosie's in Noblesville, where we had breakfast every week before he got really sick. This picture, out of any that I have of him seems most like him to me. A little bit sad, but on the verge of some two-dime pun. Maybe only I see this, but here he is the child and the old man all at once.

Last, but not least, last year I began a partnership with a local personality who is both talented and lovely, doing food photography of her nutritious and stunning recipes. All of these except the last six, are some of the shots which I most love from that body of work. The final six are shots I did for a different project, but really loved nonetheless. 

There are plenty of other significant parts of my year not represented, but looking at only these I can't help but be grateful and glad. What reminds you of how grateful and glad you are for your life? 

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