We were so happy and proud of our new acquisition. No, I’m not talking about our new baby (though we were even more proud of him), but the brand-new video camera we brought from the U.S. We saw this as a necessary item since all 4 grandparents were so far from their adorable grandson. We needed a way to document his progress for them. This was going to be fun.
This machine was not like the cute little handheld video cameras of today. This one looked like it belonged to the studio of a major news network – you know the kind of camera with NBC or something like that blazoned on the side. It had this bulky box you had to carry around (which contained the full-sized video cassette of the old days), while balancing this huge camera on your shoulder. The only thing missing was the big mics with the fuzzy covers you see on the news network cameras. It was a real commitment (not to mention a workout) to film anything with The Monster.
Josh was about 18 months old when we got this brilliant idea of filming Breakfast with The Kingsbury’s. I mean, who would not be dying to see such a documentary gem? So, after the necessary preparations and setting our photogenic son in his highchair and breakfast on the table, we turned the machine on (thankfully The Monster came with a full-sized tripod). We were ready to roll!
We proceeded to have a normal family meal with the usual discussions of weather, what we’d been doing lately, our plans for the day, and most of all cute little dialogues with our son, laughing when he coined new words like babiba (mushrooms – don’t ask how he came up with that one…we don’t know. He doesn’t either.) or mixed English, Kikuyu and Swahili words. He had this appealing way of making his voice rise like a question when he said “tinka tinka”? (Swahili for tractor – a word he used for any kind of vehicle with wheels). Oh, this video was going to be so much fun for our parents! It was going to be so entertaining for everyone to see! And, yes folks, we filmed the entire breakfast!
We had also brought a waterbed from the States. We thought it would be very informative and entertaining to film the filling of this huge bladder too, so we did. Naturally, we had to include our star performer on the mattress as it was filling. What fun, jumping on the waterbed mattress, trying to walk on it like a drunken sailor, rolling around and giggling. Yes, we knew everyone would appreciate this masterpiece too!
Not all our adventures in film were domestic events. We had fun recording our ministry work too. We went to a church building dedication once right after having bought the camera. Oh, this would be really cool on film. So, we lugged The Monster around filming brief conversations with various people and the dedication service. Only thing was that we were still learning how to use the camera and weren’t always sure whether it was recording or not. We have this fascinating documentary of knees and feet with muffled conversations going on in the background, which was at least a full 10 minutes long, or more (Chip thought the camera was off and he was just carrying it around by his side). I always thought it might win some sort of award for an Avant Garde media art exhibition. We could have called it Podiatric Conversations or Foot Talk or something like that.
It was actually several years later before we realized what we had done. We had committed the crime that all new parents do (especially new parents with a new video camera). By this time all 3 of our kids had grown up and we were going through all the video cassettes we had dutifully mailed to both set of grandparents, with the thought of perhaps preserving them on CDs. Naturally, we thought it would be fun to see them all first. Wow…I was amazed at how tedious it was watching long, boring Breakfasts with The Kingsburys’, the Waterbed Escapade, and seemingly limitless family holidays and inane events, which at the time we were sure to be big hits! Sure, there were some entertaining moments (such as accidentally capturing our year-old daughter peeing on the beach or the Great Escape from the group of irate mama elephants in the Aberdare Mountains) but we discovered that those Kodak moments needed to be short…much shorter than we had filmed! We looked with pity upon our parents. What had we done to them? Will they ever forgive us?
However, now that I, myself am a grandparent, I am sure they have, because now we have brilliant and entertaining grandchildren that we are sure everyone is dying to see photos and videos of! I guess we never really learn. Well, perhaps our adventures in media may not have been so entertaining after all, but they were fun…and I still want to enter Podiatric Conversations into a media art show…