Sue and I went to Hermann’s annual Kristkindl Markt—basically a citywide Christmas sale, with craft, antique, and Christmas-doodad vendors at the usual local feste spaces (Hermannhof Festehall, etc.).
While there, we also stopped at one of Hermann’s antique stores, poked around . . . and found each other’s Christmas presents! I found an antique springerle roller—you know, the kind made out of real wood, and carved with actual pretty pictures of recognizable things! (More on this subject soon.)
This one even has a picture of a bug on it! How cool is that!? (Yeah, I think it must be a bee or wasp or some other kind of hymenopteran . . .)
Sue saw it first and showed it to me. She knew I’d been wanting an old springerle roller. Wow, it was kind of pricey, but then it was marked as being circa 1900. (Who knows.) But it’s in good shape, and it’s something I’ll use for years hence.
She got it for me as my Christmas present!
. . . Meanwhile, something had caught Sue’s eye, too: a Voigtländer Vitessa camera, from the 1950s. It was inside a locked display case, so Sue had to get one of the clerks to let her see it. It had the original box and all the original paperwork and instructions and stuff with it. It passed muster—and so that became my gift to Sue!
I don’t generally tell you too much about Sue—because I’m not sure how much she wants you to know about her doin’s. In recent years, her photography skills (which were already excellent) have increased dramatically. She’s always been interested in cameras and photography, and because of her work, she’s become an expert with Photoshop and Lightroom. But her knowledge of photography has been growing in leaps and bounds. I mean, for fun, she reads NAPP publications, Ansel Adams’s books, and all kinds of photography manuals.
Most recently she’s become more interested in film photography. I didn’t realize it, but there’s a bunch of people in the world who are seriously pursuing film photography. I guess, like a lot of other ways of doing things (typing with a typewriter, printing with a letterpress, etc.), now that it’s an obsolete technology, it’s become an art form.
So Sue’s acquired a small collection of old cameras, including twin-lens reflex (like Vivian Maier used), some 35mm cameras, etc. Sue can easily and cheaply develop black-and-white film herself; then, she can scan it, digitally turn it into a positive image, and do miscellaneous corrections with Lightroom and Photoshop.
She’s also been having fun with Lomographic film. So this nifty-cool 1950s German Voigtländer camera will provide her with loads of fun!
I think this camera is especially cool because the lens folds down into the camera body and is protected by two doors that close around it. Pretty nifty, huh?
Truth be told, “gifts” aren’t really my thing. Honestly, my least favorite part of Christmas is the unwrapping of gifts, of things, particularly of store-bought things. I’m pretty bad at picking out gifts for people, and I feel awkward receiving them, especially when there are lots and lots. I guess it’s because I feel like a pretty awful gift-giver, and I feel like I should reciprocate better.
My thing—in case you couldn’t tell—is doing stuff for people. Entertaining, fixing dinners, baking and giving away cookies, and so on. Some people say “I love you,” directly, verbally tell you it and speak it in so many ways; other people give gifts to say it, so giving and receiving gifts is something they understand; some show love by spending quality time with the people who matter to them; some show it through physical touch in all its forms; and others do things, they serve, to express their love.* . . . I guess, at this point in my life at least, the last is my style.
But last weekend, I was more like Santa Claus, and Sue was, too. Fun presents!
Okay, now, back to the cooking . . .
* By the way, these ideas about how people express love aren't my own--they come from Dr. Gary Chapman's bestselling book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. Perhaps this would be good reading for you over the holidays.