It's Sunday evening, and the family is crowded around the TV. We've been stuck in front of this thing since returning home from Church. This is not a bad thing.
The other day, one of the Woodyettes (I think the younger one) had requested one of our "family" tapes. This is a series of tapes onto which I have transferred our camcorder stuff until such time that I can afford a good DVD burner. Anyway, the girls both love to watch "their" tapes. The older one had the camcorder to herself right up until her sister was born. That's one tape. The next tape has her sister's birth through first year or so. She requests this one a lot.
Unfortunately, the girls have also reached that stage where they're not shy about pushing buttons on their VCR. You might have guessed that they quite recently pushed "Record" on a tape that I had failed to relieve of it's lock tab.
This meant that Daddy had to set up the camcorder, load up the original tapes, and re-record everything onto VHS. It was a wonderful treat.
This is one of the essences of family history. Just like going through old scrapbooks, watching old family films was a major treat for me when I was growing up. Grandma and Grandpa had a super-8 camera and lots of time on their hands. Every visit to grandchildren, relatives, or the boat was fodder for Grandma De Laurentiis. We all mugged for the camera, knowing that we would be able to have Grandma have us do our wacky stunts in slow motion or backwards, time after time after time on request.
Can't quite do that anymore with our basic VCRs, but it's still fun to watch just how much the girls have grown in the last seven or so years. We always remark about the hair. "Look at that hair!" we say. "She was bald, for pete's sake!" "Yes," points out Mrs. Woody. "She had her Daddy's hair." (For the record, I must point out that I am not bald, but I have a hairline that has receded to the high tide line, if you catch my drift.)
We remember things like Woodyette Number One's "Zen Hum." All kids do something like this, but they usually don't vocalize it to the point my daughter did. Most kids may mutter under their breath, or just stick their tongue between their teeth. The Zen Hum started shortly after she became mobile, if I remember correctly. It was her way of concentrating on a given task. Once she was into something, she would begin a very intense single-note hum. Sort of like the "One Note Samba," but without any rhythm. My own Dad loved it. He was intrigued enough to realize that she hummed on exactly the same pitch every single time. One day he sat at the piano and pegged her at F-sharp (we think she'll be an alto). Toward the end of her humming days it moved up a half step, and by age 5 or 6 it had disappeared for good. Except on tape. Even now, having written this paragraph I realize that words do the Zen Hum absolutely no justice. You have to hear it to understand it.
We've actually been doing this since Saturday afternoon. We have re-transferred something like 9 hours of tape since we had to replace not one but two VHS cassettes. Life around us has pretty much come to a complete standstill. It has taken me two days to clean the girls' room instead of one because I keep coming out to watch "just a bit" of the tapes. We have missed every one of our evening TV programs (we actually stopped in time to catch the replay of "Iron Chef America," which I enjoy), but we have not regretted it one bit.
We've been having far too much fun remembering.
UPDATE: Great. Now I can't get "One Note Samba" out of my head! Help!