I was going to post Mrs. Johnson's fried chicken recipe today, as promised. But after Steve Jobs' passing this week, I have another story to tell.
Upon hearing the sad news, I started thinking about the impact Jobs and the Apple products he oversaw have had on my life. My mind immediately went to digital video.
A year later, I used the video camera to record my mother, Ruth, in her home, talking about her antiques and her crazy collections, which include tractor seats, potato mashers, pie birds, clocks, old potato chip cans, Mrs. Butterworth bottles, and over 100 Raggedy Ann dolls. Five years later, my mother was suffering from Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia (it's hard to be sure which). The video I shot is a record of Ruth before her dementia began, and of the house we grew up in, as it was when she lived there. (Later, my sisters and I had to move her into an Alzheimer's facility and sell her house.)
Along with shooting video, I also became proficient at editing video. My father, a photographer, had taken many home movies over the years, and I had a number of them digitized. From that footage, I created several 'greatest hits' video productions and gave copies to my family at Christmas.
During a recent visit with Ruth, she asked me many times to show her pictures of her husband, because she can't remember what he looked like. Having anticipated this, I had loaded one of my home movie productions on my iPad. I sat next to Ruth while she watched footage of the farm where she grew up, of her parents during the 1940s, of my father and her in the 1950s, of their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, of her kids during the 60s and beyond.
After the video was over, my mother turned to me, happier than I'd seen her in a long time. "Thank you so much for showing me those movies!," she said.
And thank you, Steve Jobs, for the technology that made it all possible.