Present for Meiling

DEAR MEILING_23-12-2015 10-31-33 PM



Colin has told me the great news and I am overjoyed and want to give you a big hug and a very warm welcome to our family. Colin has asked that I send him a selfie. I believe he wants to send this selfie image to you so that you may see your new relatives.

Unfortunately, I do not have a selfie. But I do have something even better and I wanted to present it as a humble gift and token of greeting to you.

The above image of me was made back in the days before selfies, in the ancient times before smart-phones, back in the days when you needed a camera to create a photograph and each image was recorded on a small roll of plastic coated with silver. No one had yet invented the selfie. No one knew what it was. But the non-selfie that you see above is even better than a selfie. The person who took the picture was your fiancée. To use the correct terminology, I guess you could say that the above image is not truly a selfie. It is most definitely a Colfie. Colin made the focus, Colin framed the image. Colin pushed the button. Therefore Colfie.

There is a story to go with the picture. Colin and I had gone camping in the Canadian wilderness and the picture was taken at the very start of the route. Before we got into the “real wilderness” there was a sort of a nature trail with bridges and ladders and steps. We decided to hike this short nature trail as a warm-up before we began our big adventure in the back of beyond wilderness.

Colin was leading the way. He had gone ahead and climbed down a steep stairway. I was lagging behind and was still at the top of the stairs. I had the camera. It was the old kind of camera. It did not play music. It didn’t do movies. Or games. Or puzzles. It wouldn’t connect to your home computer or send email, instant messages, or tweets. It was pretty lame actually. You couldn’t even make a phone call with it!


I saw Colin from the top of the stairs and I snapped the above picture. Colin heard the sound of the shutter and he turned around (old time camera’s were very noisy things. When you took a picture there was this loud KA-BOOM and the camera whirred and banged and parts slammed around as it went about capturing photons and sticking them on the film to create an image).

Once Colin saw me holding the camera, he said he wanted to take a picture. I went halfway down the stairs to give him the camera and then he told me to go back up the steps to the position from where I had taken my picture. Colin went back to his prior spot and took the picture that is at the top of this post. So what we have here is a sort of Colfie twosie, two pictures taken seconds apart that show each of the photographers at the exact position they were in at the moment they had taken a photograph. Try and do that trick with a modern smart-phone!!!!

The entire concept was Colin’s invention so I think you will find yourself with a very intelligent husband. I don’t know if we share the same opinion on his precise choice of hiking clothes 🙂

Colin at camp

This next image was taken after a long day’s hike to the first camp site. As you can see from the smoke we had a camp fire going but most of the cooking was done using the camp stove that is on the bench just in front of Colin. Looking at this picture, I just now realized that he is wearing my clothes. I recognize both the jacket and the shorts. Still have the red shorts but the jacket gave up the ghost several years ago. I am not sure exactly what year these photographs were taken. I think they are at least 24 years old.

Colin leads on the trail
This next image shows Colin leading the way up a fairly steep pitch on the trail. This is what Canada looks like once you get outside the major cities and away from the major farming areas. Lots of rocks. Lots of trees. Lots of hills.

This next picture is one of Colin poised at one end of a bridge on the trail. He is wearing the hoodie as we encountered a lot of mosquitoes on this day and despite slathering ourselves with mosquito repellent the little critters went for any area of exposed skin. Colin decided to wear this hooded jacket to keep the mosquitoes away.

Post_331_G_IMG_0008_Colin_2015-09-20_Q10_700x202This last picture shows us as we make one last attempt to escape from the mosquitoes. The insects got so bad that we had to flee by boat, charging down one of the many great rivers that criss-cross Canada. Unfortunately, this boat had no engine so everyone was forced to row for their lives while we were dive bombed by mosquitoes. The picture is a little blurry as a mosquito had grabbed the camera and I was fighting with the massive insect when the shutter went off. Little did we know that we were headed directly toward a series of steep waterfalls and rapids. Luckily we all survived this adventure.

I hope you enjoyed this set of pictures. It is sort of my Christmas present to you. I have a great many other photographs I would be glad to share with you. At the moment I am a little bogged down with having to write legal briefs. I was rear-ended when stopped at a light several years ago and have been in a fight with the insurance company ever since. Because of the injury, I am very slow and all the documents take a great deal of time. Once the court case is finished (likely in the spring) I will try and post more photographs.

I wanted to send you a picture of a Chinese chest that my father obtained when he was in China. He had a nice house outside Shanghai. One day the Kuomintang army showed up and told my Dad he had to abandon his house as they needed his property to create a military position to defend against the approach of Mao Zedong’s troops. He had less than 30 minutes to get out. Then the Kuomintang bulldozed his house and everything in it.

Dad waited nearby for the expected attack. Once Mao Zedong’s troops showed up the Kuomintang army just ran away. There was no battle at all. Dad’s house had been destroyed for nothing. He tried to salvage what he could. The chest was one item, together with a hand carved round table and a set of matched hand carved stools. The chest is very beautiful as it has figures inlaid in it with Chinese jade and ivory. I do not know its exact age but I am pretty sure that it was an antique when Dad first purchased it. The chest, and the table, and matching stools, will be my wedding present to you and Colin. I think it most appropriate that we have the opportunity to bring two histories and two cultures and two families together.

All the best to you and Colin at this festive season, and for all the years to come.