A Family Photo Travels 150 Miles…

Orders disappointedly and quickly becoming back orders. A current frustration around gift giving in 2021. Just one more interruption to our already precarious lives. Shopping local is always a preferred option for me but there are occasions when orders need to be placed. 

Perceived supply chain interferences have been in the news for weeks even months. Warning us to buy now to avoid any inconvenience or holiday disappointments.  What? Late Christmas presents? Is February the new December?

We are buying “things.” Items that comfort. Must haves. An activity that has often felt like a saving pandemic grace. Something to do when we couldn’t do many of our favorite social activities. We haven’t been able to control much else in recent history so why not surround ourselves with “things” we want. We are deserving, right? But for how long does that “feel good” feeling truly last? 

We have gotten comfortable from the comfort of our homes to shop, order groceries, restaurant meals etc.…Heck I can order a decadent and calorie laden ice cream sundae from my daughter’s home outside of Boston and be eating that first sugar filled spoonful within minutes. Do I “need” it? Of course not. A comfort of sorts. Restaurants have cleverly contracted with ride sharing services to aid with deliveries. A wellspring of ingenuity has been pandemically created. Phone apps and laptops allow for fingertip shopping. Manicures are not required as we can shop round the clock from the privacy of our homes. 

The weight of consumerism has plagued me quite a bit lately. The lure of a Black Friday or Cyber Monday discount feels just too good to pass up in a quest to find that perfect “thing” for a friend or loved one. For what feels like years now the few vehicles that have occasioned up our long windy driveway have been the odd parcel delivery. Amazon, FedEx, and DHL Express. USPS. Cars. Vans…

Employees at the Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory in Mayfield, Ky were working additional shifts to meet the supply demands of consumers.  The holiday demand for product. Mothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, husbands, fathers, boyfriends, and brothers. A community within a community. All relationships that make-up a family were working this past devastatingly tragic Saturday. I am certain when the wind made its terrorizing presence known and the darkness closed in no one was saying “damn I can’t believe my gift for Kim won’t be delivered by Christmas.”

Nature knows no boundaries. No borders either. Her voice was certainly heard over a 250-mile path of destruction that stretched through northeast Arkansas, southeast Missouri, northwest Tennessee, and western Kentucky. The global images of lives shredded and destroyed are heartbreakingly heart wrenching. Deaths in numbers far too high.

An old family photograph found its way to a woman’s home 150 miles away in Indiana. Ripped from its stored location and once home.  The photograph violently traveled a similar distance from North Pomfret, VT to Warwick, RI plus a mile. Astounding. One would imagine that shoes, blankets, dishes etc. had made similar flights but it is the photograph that makes us take notice. That record and reminder of who we are. The human connection grabs our attention and our heartstrings when we see the tangible images of a family. Tragedy and the human toll blanketed the debris of “things.”

                   We are in this together so why aren’t we taking better care of one another?

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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