Ought to be in pictures

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

312_stopthepresses.jpgPictures 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.
I digress.
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.


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