On a warm, late afternoon in a forest of the Barossa Valley, South Australia, Willow and I were unwinding after a long day of doing not a lot. It was September I think, or possibly October – you’ll have to forgive me for this afternoon was over 4 years ago.
And, as we sat on those logs I had upturned into a makeshift garden setting, the forest truly became our garden for a tea party of sorts. As we listened to the birds and the gentle sway of the pine trees above us nothing much happened. Except for one thing – I captured the moment on camera.
I posted the photo to Willow’s social media and Reddit. It sort of struck a chord.
This quiet moment spent with my best friend was now being shared all over the internet, a simple but poignant message of friendship. My ears were burning as we were featured on website after website, and there was the odd occasion I was recognised on the street.
Our 15 minutes of fame died down and life continued, but somewhere along the way I lost the narrative.
We became a meme.
A month ago my inbox blew up once again. You’re a meme, they said as they shared the links with me.
I saw our beloved photo and as I read the text above it I didn’t feel good. This isn’t really me, I thought. I have always loved cats, I’m not even a dad, and all these facebook pages are stealing my intellectual property!
Mine and Willow’s moment was no longer ours, I thought.
We had crossed over into the realm of internet culture and I realised there was nothing I could do about it. Then I thought, that was exactly it. There was nothing I could do about it. So I decided to own it.
Today, I am posting the meme on Willow’s social media. Because the notion of a hesitant Dad becoming lifelong friends with the family pet is actually quite funny, and although it’s not my personal narrative it does make people smile.
For whatever it is that that photo has now become, I can still hear those birds on that lazy afternoon back in 2017. I can hear the breeze in the trees and see the look on Willow’s face when I got her favourite treats out, and no one will be able to take that away from me!
* * *
I think I prefer this meme..
Dad: ‘Doesn’t want a cat’
family: ‘gets cat anyway’
Dad and cat: