Celebrating What Remains
Sitting next to me on the desk as I write this is a light blue tin the size of two packs of playing cards placed side-by-side. In a previous incarnation it contained Players Navy Cut Cigarettes “Mild.”
It was lent to me several days ago by local pianist Ken Kaneda and contains a collection of small black and white photos. Most of the photos date back to 1950 and show Harry Aoki on his skis performing a variety of manuevers. Many of the photographs having scratchy writing on the back (and some on the front as well) indicating various pieces of arcane information.
One is marked:
Dec. 25, 1949 on Brewster (?) Rock
(2-star rating) recorded Dec 22
Before “Cliff” on Angel Run
Condition – 4” powder with wind shakes
Snow very fast
Another, very blurry photo, says simply:
Feb 1950, Notch Hill
“Flyin Home” (2-star)
Condition – 2” powder.
I was offered the tin in response to a request for early photos of Harry to accompany this special issue of The Bulletin. Frustratingly small and often difficult to make out, they offer a tantalising glimpse into a side of a man many of us only knew in his later years. They are also a reminder of the ephemeral nature of life—that when we pass on we essentially leave behind what amounts to memories collected in a cigarette tin.
A less tangible reminder of who we were are the memories stored in the minds and hearts of those left behind.
And If the material reminders of Harry’s life are meager, the memories are far richer and multi-faceted. In these pages we capture some of those memories, shared with us by a few of those that Harry touched in his long and rich time on this earth.
Nest month we wil return to our regular programming, but for now we’ll take one last 2-star run with Harry Aoki, knee-deep in fresh powder.