Every year since 2003 my husband and I have taken posed photos for our annual Christmas card. Merry Christmas from the Chandlers! (Note: There is no apostrophe after Chandler. You’re welcome.)
The first year of our photoshoot we had two kids and three dogs in the shot. Getting seven beings to cooperate was challenging at best. Looking back at those pictures I am reminded of the Herculean effort behind getting the right photo. “No, you’re not wearing that.” Getting the photographer to get the dog’s attention without causing them to get up and move. Arguments about poses, lighting, and background – honestly, some of those smiles are fake. I continue to be grateful for the neighborhood kid who took the photo one year after the self-timer idea proved a bad one. Thank you, Kyle!
When we moved back to New Hampshire, we started that holiday with just us and the dogs as the kids stayed behind in Virginia. Over time, age and cancer took our dogs and before long it was just us and a new puppy smiling for the camera. Every year I joke that eventually, one of us will be standing alone in front of a nursing home somewhere for the annual Christmas card. Merry Christmas from the last Chandler standing! As the years go by, it’s really less of a joke.
This year, we took our now five-year-old puppy to one of my favorite places – the New England College Bridge in Henniker. Built by master bridgewright Arnold M. Graton, the Town lattice truss covered bridge spans the Contoocook River and represents the reemergence of traditional bridge building techniques in New England. It is a beautiful covered bridge.
After spending two years immersed in covered bridges, it seemed only fitting to have one of our newest family members in the photo, and, as it turns out, a cooperative one at that.