Mom's holding her hair out of her eyes, squinting behind ray-bans and glaring up at him and that damn pentax he got for Christmas. Mistake, she thought, turning back to the campfire to stab at the steaks.
Her mood and the wind came up at the same time. She'd begged him to leave it at home, that camera. She'd had some dentistry. The partial wasn't ready. She didn't want her gapped-tooth smile immortalized and she sure isn't smiling in this photo. But you can see that dark space anyway as her mouth is open a little saying, "Oh for God's sake Dave."
He took her picture all day like he always did. Our weekend and holiday camping trips and picnics were elaborately documented. If there'd been an internet then, my father would have facebooked, geo-cached and tweeted every one of our trips. As it was, he left multiple trunks of 35mm slides, rolls of super-8, shoe boxes of 3x5 prints, and a small library of photoalbums.
In the pictures from this day the wind is like an unwelcome family member, a crazy Aunt who visits for extended periods every spring and spends the afternoons screaming and crying at you for something that isn't your fault.
Our family's Welsh terrier Rhodi is on the far right seated and gazing lovingly at Mom. Or the steak. He seems oblivious to the dust and campfire smoke that nearly obscures him from the picture. He came on all our trips, riding unhappily in the far back of the station wagon where he got carsick frequently. One trip to the mountains we forgot him at the picnic grounds. We just packed up and left and only noticed he wasn't with us when we didn't smell vomit in the car. He was very happy to see us, poor thing. He stayed closer after that. And one time Dad left his camera in an outhouse. Mom didn't want to go back for it at all.
She forgot her scarf and was mad about that too. He'd rushed them out the door in his hurry to get an early start on fishing. I had even forgotten my shoes in the turmoil and was confined to the WPA era poured concrete picnic table where I made a fort with blankets before the wind lifted them up and deposited them into the campfire.
He said the weather would be fine and now sand was collecting on the tin plates and Mom was in a mood. We ate our steaks cool and gritty. Mom gave hers to the dog.