i cannot imagine celebrating 86 years, but that is what my grandfather did today. this poster my grandmother made for him for his 80th birthday celebration hangs in his office. tonight i passed him taking the trash out to burn as i was walking up the path and said, "hey, birthday boy". he gets up every morning and feeds six stray cats that have taken up residence here. they adore him, i see them waiting for him on the porch in the morning and they run after him across the driveway. he never gave up trying to catch them and had them all fixed and given their shots so they could stay. after that he comes down and takes my dog for a morning walk. most days you will find him out on the mower or on the tractor in the back lot. when he has something to do he starts it now and doesn't stop until it is done. i wish i had that kind of initiative. he's a rigid republican. he almost always wears brown. he has a nice collection of hats and wears them often. he's survived heart conditions and cancer. he was a military man and an electrician. he's been married to my grandmother for over sixty years, they married against her parents wishes. that is them halfway down the left side of the photo. amazing gorgeous couple. all they have seen, all they have done. they raised five children with less than i am raising two with now. i don't feel some days i should ever complain. when you meet someone and mention them, the person always has kind words about them, a stranger said to me, "you don't get any better than Pup and Ann". there are eight grandchildren and ten great-children. two of these great-grandchildren can be found traipsing around after him in the yard, or sitting next to him on the porch swing, or on his lap in his favorite chair. this granddaughter is amazed to see all these photos of him. i always remember him as the man behind the camera. i spent a lot of time with them growing up. he followed me around with that camera and there were so many photos, photos he developed in the utility room that doubled as a dark room. it was a place of mystery to me then, but now i understand. my grandmother is the great storyteller of photos, she has made collections of them for all of us. i can't help but really loving this one though. it shows me what life is about and it reminds me of why i keep picking up my camera. documenting. life. so at 86 years there will be this lifetime of memories. i love these two people with a feeling there are absolutely not enough words for. they fill my days with happiness. they teach me every day what life is really about.