hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


January 11, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: A grandson's case of mistaken identity

Next to forgetting your wife's anniversary and remembering your mother's birthday belatedly, the next worse family problem is botching a grandchild's name.

Or worse yet, his face.

It happened to me over the Christmas holiday while attending my grandson's pre-school sing-along inside an adorned sanctuary.

Like his brother before him, this was a golden moment for 3-year-old Rex, his chance to shine and bring pride to the family. For two years prior, he was an understudy to older brother Rocco, who moved on to kindergarten.

Now, it was up to Rex to uphold the tradition while his two younger sisters watched, along with a circle of grandparents, parents and others who packed their way into the church.

As the minutes turned into seconds, anxiety slowly crept in. Then finally, in marched the children like a parade of toy soldiers, dressed to the nines. But where was Rex? Did we miss him? Perhaps he got cold feet and stayed behind, hoping nobody would notice.

Hey, the kid had a pretty fair voice, especially when he clamored for a toy with his siblings or didn't get his way with the TV remote. More like a tenor, I would say.

The harder we looked, the more futile it became. Then finally ...

"Look, there he is, with the Santa cap on. How could we have missed him?" my wife rejoiced. "Get that camera ready."

I came equipped with my best. A 300mm telephoto lens was cocked and ready to shoot like a Gatling gun.

So what if we were in the rear pews. It didn't matter, not with this photo arsenal. What made it tricky was his position. Third row. Partial view. Nothing a little maneuvering wouldn't cure.

Back and forth I angled, looking to capture a facial expression. From afar, chances of getting a clean shot of the kid with his mouth open singing posed a challenge.

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