A death in the family nearly always leads to discussions of the things that affect a family most. For many people, that’s funerals, cemeteries and wills.

I wrote my will after Hubby died and told the kids what’s in: I’m leaving everything I have to the both of them together, which is what they wanted. They got on the topic again the other day, after we learned the contents of my mother’s will, and I was surprised to hear them agree on one possible area of disagreement:

My pictures.

I’ve taken literally thousands of pictures over the years. Some are neatly put in scrapbooks but most of them are in boxes that we haul out on occasion.

Lately, those occasions have been after a death in the family unfortunately. At one time, they were dragged to the living room because one kid or the other needed a family photo for a church youth group project or something being done at school.

Adding the grandgirls to the mix has enhanced our enjoyment. As these now-teens find their baby pictures, they demand to know which one of them is in the photo — and their mother knows with just one glance.

Of course, along with identification comes a story. As in, “Oh, that was taken when ...”

Or “You’re too little to remember, but Grammy and Grampy were living down here ...”

Many of the photos long predate this younger generation and show my children and their closest cousins in their much younger days. A particular favorite is my boy and girl and my late sister’s boy and girl posing on a set of stairs after a wedding.

My son and my niece are smiling for the camera. My nephew looks as if he’s not sure as if he knows any of us people and my daughter is crying.

Bawling, actually, as only little girls can. Her green velvet dress and carefully-fixed hair fade away once you see the tear stains on her face and the fist rubbing her eye.

Her brother, of course,  had to post it on Facebook for the cousins to see. That started a deluge of photos, from my son at about age 8 in a cowboy hat at the county fair with his sister to my late mother, dressed in a clown suit, sitting in a bathtub.

(And no, I really don’t know why!)

Luckily, modern technology allows me to keep both kids happy. My printer also scans, so I intend to spend some time this winter scanning those photos and saving them on CD for the kids.

I’d thought of doing it this fall. What a lovely Christmas gift, I decided — all those photos saved for them and the most special ones printed out and put into a scrapbook for each.

But when the kids ran across a school picture of their mother at age 13 and burst into gales

of laughter, one of them rolling on the floor, I decided maybe those CDs should be locked up until I go to my heavenly reward.

The potential for emotional blackmail, I fear, is far too great for the family pictures to fall in my children’s hands now.

And besides, I may want to use that old picture of my son in his snowsuit at age three or so, sitting on Santa’s lap and screaming blood murder as my Facebook entry this yuletide season.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net

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