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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Monday, June 27, 2011

Campfires, Kayaks, and Candids

This weekend we went camping up on the White River with friends. Between the campfires and a couple kayak runs down the river, I put together some candid footage from the morning of Kim's wedding. My brother Dave shot the actual wedding video, but he had to work that Friday and asked if I could gather some candids during the hours he was in route. Being preoccupied during the pre-wedding hours helped keep my mind busy and less prone to the weight of symbols and sentiment around me.

The last time we were all there at that church was for Emily's wedding. Kim's Grandma Kapanka (my mom) was there, too. This time her dress was there. Kim had it remade for her special day.

Gathering the moods and dialogue from behind a camera reminded me of my old Heritage Video days, a business I had many years ago. The main difference between that "analog" era and the digital age is that I could not have done this editing in a couple hours at a campground on a laptop in the old days. I was glad to see Dave arrive (which happened right at the end of these shots).

At 1:30 minute mark, Kim asks me to "floss" her necklace. By that she meant for me to take a a few fibers pulled from a piece of dental floss and tie her necklace so it would be two inches shorter than the clasp-length--an old trick we did when she was a little girl. It was harder than it used to be--the eyes aren't what they used to be--but I finally got it tied.

It had rained the morning of the wedding so Kim had to lift the train of the satin gown everytime she went outside.

[The background song is called "Madonna Lullaby" by Danny Wright (1995).]

Friday, June 24, 2011

Two Weeks Ago Today...

Two weeks ago today was Kim and Nate's wedding. The days since then have been filled with all the things that were put on hold in the weeks before the wedding, but I did say I would post some pictures so here are some informal shots.
As Kim was getting ready to leave for the church, she called out for one last "Dad can you fix this" moment. The pearl necklace was about two inches too long, and she needed me to "reduce" it by tying the back with...what else... a fine stran of dental floss. I had done that for her with one of her first necklaces many years ago. Worked great and no one even noticed.

These are not the "real" wedding pictures. All but the first one were taken by Natalie. This first picture at the top tells the story of Kim's wedding dress. She shopped and shopped all over West Michigan for months and just didn't find the "right" dress. Then several months ago, her Aunt Kathy showed her my mother's wedding dress, worn sixty years ago in February 1951.

It had been kept neatly folded in a cedar chest up in Mom's attic all those years. Kim tried it on, saw the train, touched the satin, and felt the significance of the fact that it fit so well. With the family's blessing, she removed the sleeves and added some other details for a look more suited to June.

The last time we were in that very church just four years ago for Emily's wedding, mom was there, and I must admit that seeing Kim in her dress as the day unfolded was a gift from Kim to the entire family. When you see the video (and I'll try to post clips here in the weeks ahead), you'll see what a truly joyous and laughter-filled event it was from beginning to end. 
Nate and Kim exited from the church in a blizzard of bubbles, blown by the guests on both sides, and then stepped in to a classic Jaguar provided by some friends.
The reception was in an outdoor tent at Oak Ridge Golf Course a short drive from the church.

I saw Natalie taking this last picture at the reception. She really has an eye for interesting shots.

I may post more photos or some video clips when they become available. Last weekend, we went to Chicago to deliver wedding presents. It was great to see the newlyweds in their northside flat. A big thank you to all who made this a beautiful day and who helped "feather the nest" they are now enjoying.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I sense what really is
and what I see is not.
It happens only rarely,
barely now and then,
a fleeting sort of fumbling
feeling like stumbling
on the shadow of a cloud.
Then looking up
as all around me blurs
I catch a truer glimpse
of unseen things--
not with my eyes
but something
faint and far away
that’s looking down
on time.
© Copyright Tom Kapanka June 19, 2011

Yesterday, I was packing wedding presents in the back of our Durango to take to the newlyweds in Chicago when a strange feeling came over me and these lines came to mind. (They are rooted loosely in James 4:14, which reminds us that life is vapor. What could be more fleeting than that? Perhaps, the shadow of a vapor. While I often sense how quickly life passes, I don't often sense the faint unearthly feeling I "stumbled" on as I packed the car.) 

In the days ahead, I will post some pictures from the beautiful wedding, but for now, Julie and I are celebrating Father's Day with Kim and Nate. We are also celebrating Kim's and Natalie's birthday. (Yes, they were both born on June 19th.) Nat is in Kansas, getting ready to attend and work at Peniel Camp, but she and I skyped early this morning before church--it was fun. We're going to connect again tonight during a party they're throwing for her there.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Together Again...

This has been an eventful year in many ways, and yet I have blogged far less than any year since I began Patterns of Ink in 2004. I have been writing as much as ever (mostly work-related) but have not had much time for writing of a personal nature, which is the purpose of this little corner of cyberspace.

I did mention a couple weeks back that I would update you on our piano's return to its place against the living room wall. Its absence has become somewhat of a metaphor. This post is about  how it feels to have people and things together again, if only for a little while, but first a bit of a rabbit trail may be in order. [I know what you're thinking: "Tom? A rabbit trail? How unusual... Ha Ha]

“Form follows function” is an architecture dictum coined by Louis Sullivan (who was Frank Lloyd Wright's boss for six years). The same principle was later applied to office furniture by companies like Herman Miller, Inc. This understanding of man’s relationship with occupied space resulted in iconic buildings and artistic furnishings inside. But it is important to remember that the concept of “form preceeding function” is a part of creation itself. (I alluded to this in lines 4 and 5 of that poem about my father's hands in the previous post.)

The more form fits function the more natural things are in life. Unfortunately...the more something or someone becomes a natural part of our routine the more likely it is to be taken for granted. That is... until a change occurs, and suddenly that thing or person is not a part of our daily life. It's then we better understand what we once had. This is true of things and family pets, but more true of people in our lives...in the office or the work force, in politics, in friendships, in family ties (e.g. losing a parent or spouse). When the thing or person is gone, their function (the things they did) may be missed immediately, but when the form is missed--the physical presense itself-- the loss becomes more personal. This is the essence of  human relationship. [End of "rabbit trail" and back to the piano and more important things...]

The function of the piano was missed mostly by Natalie, but what we learned in the ten weeks of seeing that empty wall was that the form of the piano was also missed.

You see, that piano was purchased (used) by Julie's parents in the early 1960's in Greenville, SC. Julie and her sister played it as children. In 1988, it was given to us so Emily could begin taking piano lessons. (Through the years, each of our three girls took piano, but I think the older two would agree that Natalie not only took but was taken by piano.)

This mahogany console has been in our living room (in three different houses) for over twenty years. When the snow-buried roof leaked on it, replacing the piano was an option (costing twice as much as refinishing), but readers at POI probably know us well enough to know we did not want a new piano. Below are some photos of how crafstmen made a 65-year-old piano look like new again.

The Acrosonic was one of the best selling models made by Baldwin in Chicago in the mid 1940's.
When the roof leaked, the water dripped directly onto the piano, ruining the finish and causing the keys in the lowest scale to stick. The die from the red felt inside seeped through to the carpet below and could not be  removed. 
Have you ever wondered what the black keys on a piano look like when they are not in the keyboard? Wonder no more.
The white keys were also removed and refinished to look like new.
This is what the piano looked like the day before we left for Senior Trip.
The day after we returned from Senior Trip, we stopped by the refinishing shop to pay the bill the day before it was delivered. Natalie tested it out and was surprised that it was not terribly out of tune.
Two weeks before the wedding (which is June 10),  the long-awaited piano came back from the Van's Refinishing Shop in Spring Lake. That same day, Kim came home from Chicago to work on the wedding with Julie.

That night Natalie came home from her soccer game, and gave her sister Kim a hug (she had driven home and had picked up some carryout from Applebee's). Then Nat couldn't help but sit right down at the piano and start plunking away her recital piece. Emily and Nora were over and quite naturally Julie began twirling Nora around in the living room (as they love to do whenever Nat plays).

I'll admit that the video below may seem a bit corny. (I'm still learning a new camera and editing program, and this was good practice.) The moving men didn't even notice me, but later that night, when I picked up the camera again,  I was soon discovered and begged to quit. Natalie will not be happy that I posted this--because she's still in her soccer uniform--but it was such a moment that I couldn't resist:

The piano was home (not yet re-tuned but playable); Nat was happy; Kim was happy to be home; Emily was smiling as she watched her daughter in her mother's arms; and Julie was happy to be a grandma. Keith (Em's husband) was working at the church, and Nate (Kim's husband-to-be) was working in Chicago. As I glanced around the room, I realized that I was surrounded by the five most precious ladies in my life. It was great to be together again.

So here is our little piano coming home in a huge truck. (Seriously, this is how the insurance refinishers recommended it be returned.) But more importantly, my family is all together again as we anticipate adding one more member.

That was two weeks ago. This week, my daughter Kim came home again very early Tuesday morning (for the wedding week). Julie's parents got in from Kansas late last night. Nate's parents also arrived yesterday. Nate and half the groomsmen came over tonight for a cookout at the fire pit. Tomorrow the entire bridal party arrives for rehearsal and celebration afterwards... and then Friday is the big day!

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