Converting Home Videos – From Basement to YouTube: The Cheapest Invaluable Gift You’ll Ever Give

Two questions guaranteed to get you the polite Umm..okay… instead of the actual Hell No!… Would you like to see the videos from our two-week trip? Want to hear about a dream I had last night? Unless you’re bed-ridden or Sigmund Freud, you could well be stuck for at least an hour getting far too much information on what should have been a five minute conversation under the category, “You really should have been there.” But with the magic of a $35 do-dad, YouTube and Facebook, I’ve managed to release my captives. In all of our basements and attics, there are boxes of videotapes, photographs, slides and 8mm movies.  I’ve lived in constant fear of losing those treasures to fire, flooding, mold or accidental bouts of cleaning.  I’ve written earlier about my attempts to tackle the hundred pounds of snapshots, but now what to do with all the video (and… Read More…

Father’s Day Legacy: Jim’s Love of “Now”

I was doing some vital, long-forgotten yard-work in 1995 when my neighbor Beth yelled across the street, “Happy Father’s Day!” It took me a minute to realize she was talking to me.  Aidan was already a day or two over-due, so officially the greeting was premature.  But I smiled and realized that she was right.  I was in the club.  And someday, if I did things right, my kids would dread that holiday, as much as I did.  Jim Walsh was impossible to buy for and it didn’t help that his birthday fell on June 28th, so we needed to double our futile efforts as soon as school got out. I have taxing memories of Saturday odysseys through the sporting goods and office-supply aisles of  K-Mart trying to find something, anything, for my dad.  And when I  was wrapping up the golf-score clicker, the “World’s Greatest Dad” trophy,  the back-scratcher,… Read More…

Card Games, Grandkids and Priorities

We sat behind a young family in church today–three young kids and two exhausted parents. They had more courage than we ever did at their age, sitting there following the proceedings while two young girls drew and the toddler boy looked over his mother’s shoulder and multi-tasked beautifully–his thumb in his mouth and a finger in each nostril. The younger girl was dutifully filling out the donation envelopes. In large capitals, over the neatly typed areas for “Name” and “Amount” she wrote, “I AM A CAT.” I was a little disappointed all five didn’t go into the collection basket; it would have given the parish secretary a chuckle. The dad was yawning and the mom ended up with the little boy dozing over her shoulder for the last thirty minutes. But they still smiled at one another and at the two conscious ones left. Thirteen years ago we were trying… Read More…

My Dad’s Tribute Video: Someday I’ll watch this and not lose it…

It had taken me five years to gather the courage to put this thing together.  I lied to myself and thought I was ready.  I’d converted the wedding video, hauled thirty VHS tapes to school and scanned through all of the footage.  I’d loaded up each segment of my father’s life into pretty little categories:  Dad, Grandpa, Family, Friends.  Each with its own neat chapter on the DVD menu partitioning his life. Jim Walsh died suddenly in 1997 at the age of 57.  And I’d “been the soldier,” to quote my dad’s Uncle Jerry when I called him with the news.  After a year, I could say the sentence, “My dad died” without that vice-grip on my esophagus.  I remember at the funeral home, my sister saying, “I’m looking forward to it being a year after.”  It’s true, you go through those little anniversaries:  “Six months ago, Dad was up… Read More…