Huddle Brothers; Ivanhoe, Virginia; Circa 1963

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Huddle Brothers; Ivanhoe, Virginia; Circa 1963

by David Huddle
Southern Cultures, Vol. 13, No. 2: Photography

". . . someone picks up a snapshot and says, just before tossing it to oblivion, 'My god, who are these quaint people?'"

Stiffly posed before the forsythia bush, they wear
coats, ties, and bemused faces, as if their mother’s
just called them from the porch, “You boys
hold your shoulders back and stand up straight.”

Here is where they played three thousand
croquet games, some that lasted well beyond
twilight and on into such summer darkness
as arouses a yard full of lightning bugs.

No mallets or wickets are visible here—
this day looks to be a solemn occasion.
These young men are becoming acquainted
with time’s optical illusion: we think

we stand in the vivid color of here and now
and view the past as drab black and white,
whereas the truth is—it’s our future
that’s the off-center, badly-focused grayscale,

the day coming when someone picks up
a snapshot and says, just before
tossing it to oblivion, “My god,
who are these quaint people?”

Charles Richard Huddle, III, named
for his father and grandfather;
William Royal Huddle, named
for Uncle Bill from California;

and David Ross Huddle, named
for great-grandmother Katherine Ross
whose face he never saw. These names I write
on a morning of blowing snow in Vermont.