Monday, December 11, 2006
The Best Picture Show ---copyright 2006
I don't want anyone to steal my idea, except maybe my daughter and her camera. This brainstorm blew in when I heard a cow moo at the mall Saturday morning, and it wasn't Bill Adams' friend Davis, the bull. I don't know how mini cattle's moos compare to big cow moos, but it could be if Davis was there, I may not have noticed his mini beller.
I do know how big cow moos compare to people moos, though, cuz I've practiced mooing a lot of times in my life. I had some good models to follow. Growing up on a Hereford farm you hear a lot of suggestive mooing in the barnyard when some good-lookin' heifer walks by the bull pen or frantic mooing out in the pasture when Mama Cow is looking for her wandering child. In short, your ears get tuned into those cow utterances, so when I heard one in the mall Saturday, I stopped talking in mid-sentence and turned toward the sound.
It was coming directly from the mouth of a tall, bespeckled photographer with a big voice. This Bonner Mall onomatopoeia was aimed at an unsuspecting little human tyke sitting on Santa's lap. The photographer's object was to get the little guy to smile for the camera. He did. I heard the moo several times throughout the weekend, and I'm happy to say that not too many babies broke out in tears. It worked most of the time, even on my grand nieces and nephew---the triplets.
Now, for my idea. That photographer and his assistant Mary Ann from Wonderland were raking in some good bucks every time a child would sit on Santa's lap. In our case, three sat on his lap and a great-grandmother stood beside him. I haven't yet asked Mother if she heard the moos, but she smiled at the right time, as did Jacob, Justine and Grace.
I believe an enterprising photographer could pay a Santa photographer a little commission to stand in the background and snap pictures-----not of Santa, not of the kiddies---but of the kiddies' parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and all adoring fans who show up for this big moment. No kiddie expression on Santa's lap could ever match the spontaneous adoration from the gallery that I witnessed over the weekend every time the photographer let out another moo.
Nothing is so natural, so unrehearsed or so beautiful as the pride and love exuding from the entourage accompanying darling little girls dressed in velvet dresses with poofy skirts, tights and shiny patent shoes or mini macho men wearing mini Carhart bib overalls with long-sleeved Western shirts. As moms and pops deposit their loved ones on Santa's lap and step back to let the photographer direct the action, the moment turns magical within the sleigh and outside the perimeter of the festive photographic setting.
Yes, there's definitely work involved in knowing the exact moment to click as each little person puts on his or her best grin for the camera. The photographer demands complete focus from his subject and works in wonderous ways with moos, shrieks and gentle instructions to "look at me." In the meantime, "they" watch from the audience, beaming. "They" make the best photography exhibit.
I'm sure that few moments in a young child's life match this annual mall setting when so much effort has been invested into outfitting little Johnny or Miss Sarah for this brief visit with Santa and the photographer. It's definitely a Kodak moment, and any enterprising photographer ought to take advantage of the best picture show ever as faces light up and faces love what God and they have created.
Trust me. Next time you're feeling a little down and you hear that pictures will be taken with Santa, go watch. You'll walk away with a fulfilled feeling in your heart that there's still a lot of love to be seen and to be preserved in this world.