This appears to be the last picture I have of my father with his only grandson, taken on August 28, 2015. I'm not sure why I didn't get any pictures of the two of them together last Thanksgiving. Maybe the little guy was too energetic by then, crawling all over the house at speeds that made it hard for his parents to keep up with him, to say nothing of his grandparents.
It wasn't always like this, of course. When I was little, my father liked to follow my brother and me around with a camera, taking photographs or movies of our activities. Since taking movies with Super-8 film required a powerful light, most of the images of me from that time show me blinking, squinting, and tearing up. (And drooling, though that wasn't related to the strong lights.)
Years ago, he had those Super-8 films converted to VCD format, and I have been able to relive a lot of moments in my early life that he recorded. (When he used to show the movies on the movie screen for friends and relatives, he often liked to show a movie where he caught me crawling along, then suddenly spitting up on the floor. He would then impishly run the movie backwards so that the spit-up would fly up back into my mouth. He often threatened to show it to my future wife--I think he did, in fact. She still married me.)
There are other movies that he took while we were growing up, like one of me in my high chair and my brother putting shoes up on the tray and then taking them off as I looked on in drooling confusion. He filmed little plays that my brother and I put on in the backyard for my parents. Unfortunately all the films are silent, so watching them, you have to guess what we're saying. I guess this is a common experience of those of us who grew up before video cameras were available for the general public to buy.
I am grateful that he made those movies, and especially that he decided to have them converted to video about 10 years ago. Now if we can get to scanning the black & white photos he took in Japan in the '40s and digitizing the 4-track tapes he made in the '70s of our family Easter gatherings...
I intend to write more about my father at some point this summer, but for now I just wanted to post this picture of Grandpa Benda to remember him on Father's Day.