Use it or lose it

In response to The Daily Post’s daily prompt, Write about anything you’d like, but make sure the post includes this sentence: “I thought we’d never come back from that one.”

We thought we’d never come back from that one.

It was the summer of 1978, and my family was on a three-week trip to the western United States. We were at Yellowstone National Park, and had just visited the Mammoth Hot Springs. My father loves photography, and whipped out his camera whenever possible, which was a lot on this trip. In fact, sometimes we groaned at the prospect of a family photo. In 1978, we had no digital shots – you had to insert the 35mm film, make sure the film attached itself to the cog (see picture, below), close the back, and advance the film to the first photo.

35mm film

35mm film

We were having a wonderful picnic next to a stream. It was very green and beautiful, when suddenly a curse broke out by the picnic table. It was my dad, and he had just discovered that his film hadn’t advanced. You see, with the old-fashioned cameras, if the film didn’t advance to the first picture frame, then even if you pressed the picture-taking button, no images had actually imprinted onto the film.

This was a major family catastrophe. After we finished eating, we were all bundled into the car, with my mom giving us strict instructions to be quiet and NOT to act up. Believe me, we all realized that our dad was pissed. Back we went to Mammoth Hot Springs. We even posed AGAIN for some of the photos. The rest of us were rolling our eyes as Dad quickly snapped pictures of the surroundings, which were beautiful.

Now we look back on it and laugh. What could have been a disaster actually wasn’t and has entered the realm of “great family stories.” The funny thing is that my dad later admitted that those are some of the best pictures he ever took.