Somehow our wedding album survived, found in the burn pile four weeks after the fire. The clean up crew called me Friday to say they found it in the front yard as they were filling up dumpster number four, with a mass of undifferentiated black muck. Said they left it for us on the wood pile.
It had been in the living room with the worst of the blaze. Soaked with fire hoses and foam, then shoveled out into the snow, where it got rained on over Christmas and New Years.
The soggy album came apart in my hands. One edge of the book was melted together. But because it contained real photographs, black and white RC silver prints, the images survived. I peeled them from the pages with a blade and laid them out to dry.
Many in the pictures are no longer with us. A true memento mori. And yet so many are still close friends. And family. All older now.
Thanks, John Strader, for taking such wonderful photos that sweltering summer day. And thanks for taking them the old fashion way.