The photograph stands on a shelf unnoticed amongst some books. They are looking at the camera out of paper that has gone a bit grey. The frame has some tape holding a corner together. They were posing for some event nearly a hundred years ago. Maybe they had become engaged, or it was a birthday, or it was one together before he went away to war ? They were still, she on a chair in her black dress and buttoned shoes, he stood behind her, a hand resting on the the chair back, elegant in stiff collar tie and moustache. He is a mature man hiding his youth and inexperience from the lens.
As they looked in their proud solemn stillness, could they possibly have imagined they were also looking into the future, seeing my eyes quietly looking back?
Would they know that once a year on an autumn evening they are brought down and stand in a place of honour at our table ?
We talk about them vaguely, knowing only that they are family. We are here. The family still lives.
As long as they join us each year and we talk about them, giving them new lives perhaps and adventures they never had, they still live. The spirit that was so still within them, we welcome and treat as friend at our table. We thank them for giving us our DNA and our lives. Tomorrow they return to the shelf to stare at the books for another year.