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It's Magic!
by Amy Kenneley

We stood around the wet square of film as the magic happened. Moments ago we had held our pose as my father-in-law aimed his camera. A click, and then he pulled, and out came the still-wet square. Now we hovered over it as the black and white image of us slowly appeared.

Now we didn't need to take a roll of film down to the drug store to have it developed. With a Polaroid camera we could see ourselves right away.


Great-grandma was tested every day by magic--inventions that continued to amaze her. She thought the people on the television could see her as well as she could see them. She put the "new-fangled" electric percolator on the gas stove to make coffee and almost burned down the kitchen.

So each new thing has a learning curve. For some of us, keeping up with new things leaves us a little jittery. How does it work? What happens if it breaks?

Many folks like to be on the cutting edge of whatever new comes along. They buy the latest gadget and embrace every enhancement, each evolving technology. They like new magic.

Some folks like the old magic. The romance of a Renaissance fair, the clash of reenactment battles, traveling to ancient places, studying and reimagining the past.

The Roman God Janus was depicted with two profiles, a face looking forward, and a face looking backward. He was considered the god of beginnings and passages, change and time.

Somehow it seems appropriate that January finds us doing just that. We look backward to events of the past year that changed our personal and global landscape a little or a lot. We look forward to what a new year will bring-for our families, for our country, for the world. What new magic will this year bring? We shall see.

Meanwhile, I will try to embrace the things that I find useful or convenient. I will try not to often remind our younger family members about what we had or didn't have "back in the day." Sometimes I notice a blank expression when I mention 8-track, television tubes, our old Sweetbriar telephone exchange, drugstore soda fountains, draped pants. I remind myself we are on much different memory loops.

Oh wait! Abby the cat is chasing her tail again. How cute! I'll take her photo on my cell phone and Facebook it. Magic.

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