Well, this past week was mostly a failure. There was a lot going on with deadlines and services and ubiquitous children. (I thought there were only two, but how can they be everywhere?)
Nonetheless, I did work on a project that I hadn't started, but meant to, for several years: looking at the 8mm tapes with my father's video camera. The unlabeled tapes, which might or might not have footage of our wedding. There were several things in the duffle bag besides the camera and the five 8mm tapes: a wedding favor and program, a sock, camera stuff, three tapes that don't go with this camera (smaller than 8mm: one is an Irish session and the others haven't been opened yet).
One of the tapes was labeled, and has my grandmother talking about some genealogy and family stories.
One of the tapes has some Houston rodeo footage.
One of the tapes has footage of my father going through the house to catalogue things like books and music ... and lots of boxes. There's even proof of the "great deal" on a cello he bought (broken, and nobody we knew knew how to play).
One of the tapes has my nephew in an elementary-school concert involving recorders.
And one of the tapes has the last part of my wedding reception, the part where my godbrother walked around asking for "advice for the bride and groom." Some people refused to give advice. Some people gave advice: "He's always wrong" or "She's always right" (funny, because it's really "He's always right, but it's still his fault" in our house). Some people gave advice: "Don't take any wooden nickles."
And then my best friend from childhood (now in Niger) walked up to the cameraman and told him to just get footage of people, of the guestbook, of the children running around happily. After she'd collected her thoughts, she told him she was ready to say something to the camera, and gave a beautiful discourse on how love in marriage should be based on forgiveness.
So even though I didn't get much more done than keeping the bathroom and laundry room mostly clean and attempting to stay on top of the laundry, I did manage to unearth a seven-and-a-half-year-old treasure.
My mother says she probably threw out all the other unlabeled 8mm tapes, and the man who had professionally videotaped our wedding (for free; nephew of the priest) hadn't given us more than a now-broken link to the first half. What I wish is that I had my father's speech at the beginning of the reception, the one that made me cry so much I couldn't hear most of what he was saying.
I'm trying to let go of these might-have-beens. I know what he was saying. I know what his fingers said on his deathbed: I love you. I just have to remember that I don't need all this junk to tell me that.