Baby Pictures

January 27th, 2018

Hans called us yesterday afternoon. Mostly, he talked about work. He works for a concrete firm down in Texas, and he is going to operate the company’s 56-meter boom truck. The truck has pipes and hoses to pump concrete from cement mixers to wherever the job site is. He pumps the concrete, and then a crew of finishers smooth it out. In theory, the boom truck can pump concrete up to fifty-six meters away. That’s more than half a football field. It’s a big truck, and it is a big responsibility. Hans loves machines. He has always been good with them. He sees this chance to operate the boom truck as an opportunity to challenge himself and to make some more money. He went on and on about this truck, with its six sets of wheels and all of its odd quirks. After a while, Hans acquires a feel for the machines under his care. He learns to know them by how they sound and how they move. His understanding becomes intuitive.

We also got a call (actually, two calls) from the girl we love. She called from jail. She was having a bad day. Well, every day in jail is a bad day, but some are worse than others. The young woman sounded very anxious. She was sobbing on the phone.

Karin wasn’t at home when the first call came. The girl we love initially wanted to talk to Karin, but I was the only person available.  The young woman is sick of all the uncertainty concerning her future. She just wants to get it all over with. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Nothing can be resolved in her court case until the DA gets the results of her blood tests. For reasons beyond my understanding, it takes months for the court to get these results. The DA seems believes that the results will be there before this girl has her next court appearance in March. The one we love is not so convinced. She had been trying without success to contact her lawyer to find out about getting a speedy trail, whatever that is.

I told our loved one that I could email the lawyer for her. She might answer my email. The loved one told me that would help, and she seemed to calm down just a little bit.

I am not good at soothing people. This partly due to the fact that I don’t lie well. The girl told me that she was scared and worried. She was at a loss as to what to do. I told her,

“I’m not you and I’m not in there. I don’t know.”

I’ve been in jail before, but not for an extended period. I don’t know what this girl is feeling. I can’t fix this situation.

I also said, “We love you. We are trying to help. We will be there with you on Sunday.”

That’s all the game I got.

The young woman called again later to tell us that she finally got hold of her lawyer. The speedy trial thing is not a good move, per her public defender. The girl will have to ride it out. I gave the phone to Karin. Karin spoke with the loved one. Karin’s style is very different than mine. She speaks in soft tones and offers soft solutions to hard problems. Sometimes that works better than my cold and heartless manner. Karin told the loved one to concentrate on her breathing and to try and relax a bit. The loved one pushed back on that suggestion, but she didn’t totally refuse to try it. Men and women work differently. Maybe it is better so.

During the call from Hans, Karin mentioned to him that his fiancee, Gabi, wanted to see some baby pictures from him. That’s usually a red flag. Hans reluctantly agreed that Karin could send some photos to Gabi. Karin was thrilled by that answer and proceeded to dig through old photo albums to find the cutest pictures of the infant Hans.

This is not the first time that somebody has asked to see baby pictures. Stefan’s long time girlfriend, July, has asked us to look at pictures of Stefan from when he was little. Stefan balked at this suggestion.

“I look fat in those pictures!”

We replied, “No, you look healthy.”

“I look chubby in those photos!”

“The pediatrician told us that you were healthy and happy.”

July looked at the pictures, smiled, and said, “Awwww.”

Stefan sighed and shook his head.

The fact is that it is nearly impossible for a guy to look macho in a baby photo. Stefan looked cute. Totally cuddly. I think girlfriends want to see baby pictures to somehow get some idea of the man’s genetic background. If the guy was just adorable as a little kid, then there is hope for the future.

It was nearly impossible for Karin to find pictures of Hans that excluded his siblings and others. Karin found a picture of Hans with the girl we love. Karin laughed and said to me,

“See! We had fun back then!”

Yeah, we did. Unfortunately, my memories are partially covered with the patina of current events. Even things that seemed innocent and joyful years ago have a slightly darker tone to them.

Karin will scan some pictures for Gabi. I am sure that Gabi will like them. Hans really was a happy and playful child. He was a joy to us.

I don’t often look at old pictures. It hurts me to do so. I try to be in the present, a place where I might make a difference. The past is gone, and so are all the people in those faded photos.  It doesn’t matter if the people in the pictures are living or dead. None of them exist any more.





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