A man on his riding mower holding his dog. A simple enough picture. I took it 3 years ago in May 2013 while I was attempting to photograph my dogs. Of course the dogs didn’t cooperate, but up the hill came my father in law Ray on his mower and holding his best friend Rudy. It wasn’t an unusual scene to see Rudy getting a ride while Ray worked around the yard. But this time I had my camera and snapped off a photograph. Nothing posed, planned or staged. Just a snapshot. You can even see that he is pulling a trailer with his yard tools in it.
I’m reminded of all of this because we lost Ray three years ago this week. Little did we know this simple snapshot would become a treasure. Ray passed away just 2 months after this pictures was taken. There was no illness or indication that something was wrong. One night we were having family dinner together, the next day he was gone. It was a very difficult day for my wife and I, Ray lived with us and was a central part of our little family. But we drudged through and proceeded with making all the arrangements loved ones must do after a passing.
As the photographer in the family, I set about scanning old photos and putting together a slideshow for the memorial service. I was also asked to provide a picture for the memorial program. Of course their could be but one photograph worthy of that honor. The Old Man (as I always called him) and His Dog. It is also the photograph I ended the slideshow with.
Sure, we have many more photos of him. But that ONE just summed up his character more than any other. And it is the last known picture taken of him. I hope when I pass there is a picture as great as this for people to remember me by, one that sums up my character.