Ought to be in pictures
Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham
Pictures can sure take you back, can’t they?
I’m looking at one on my desk right now of me and a little girl named Emilee who is holding my hand in the picture, a smile on her face.
I’m a lot skinnier in this photo, incidentally, than I am now. I was a buck-eighty back in the day – now I’m pushing 235.
The important thing about this pic is that it came on a day when I was writing a story about how the local YMCA where Emilee was enrolled in preschool was trying to raise money for a special computer and keyboard that Emilee, who is legally blind, could use while in preschool.
The day that the story appeared in the paper, a person left an envelope at the front desk with $500 in cash to go toward the computer and keyboard – and donations poured in before the end of the day to more than pay for the equipment for little Emilee to use to try to keep up with her classmates.
I hadn’t thought of that in years.
Another picture – on a wall opposite my desk – has me interviewing George Allen. One of us looks very much out of place – Allen, then the governor of Virginia, was in a suit and tie, and I was in shorts and a News Virginian T-shirt.
I remember the day well. I had been asked by the paper to “volunteer” to work a booth at the local Daylily Festival – and for that they gave me the ill-fitting T-shirt that I had to wear when I happened upon the governor.
By the way, I weighed around 230 in this picture – taken a couple of years before the one with me and Emilee.
Above that one is a shot of me from a local weekly paper that ran a full-page story and photo package on me (I was going to say little ol’ me, but this one was taken a couple of years ago, and I was back up around 240 at the time) after we started The Augusta Free Press.
I remember this day as vividly as the others. I was on my way to a UVa. football game, and I met the photographer in Charlottesville before the game for the photo shoot – which consisted of us going to a park bench near her office and her snapping away until she had what she wanted.
Another photo near my office door is of another UVa. football game – circa 2003, I believe. My wife bought it at a local art show – it features a wide-angle-lens image of Scott Stadium as viewed from The Hill.
I have threatened to get out a magnifying glass to hold up to the pic to find me and the missus sitting in the upper deck – visible in the shot’s upper-right-hand corner.
But I haven’t done that yet.
And then there’s the photo on my desk of me and the missus – before she was the missus.
It was from the day that we had our engagement photos taken – the day that Crystal learned just how scared of heights I am.
The photog had designs on getting us to pose in front of an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway – and I reluctantly agreed, until we started heading down the parkway toward the overlook in question and I had a panic attack.
We ended up taking the picture on top of Afton Mountain in an area that looks quite picturesque in the shot, but is not at all heart-thumping to those of us in the world with severe agoraphobia.
By the way, I was 180 in that pic – and Crystal, breathtakingly gorgeous, was holding the same hand that little Emilee did when I’d met her a few months earlier.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.