Today I mailed off two photos to the Starved Rock Photo Contest. Sounds straightforward, but it was quite a production.

First, photos could not be submitted electronically. Rather, you had to submit printed copies in at least size 5×7″. That meant I had to print them at Walgreens since I don’t have that size photo paper at home. Plus I figured “professional” printing might be nicer. The benefit of that undertaking was that I logged onto my Walgreens photo account, something I apparently hadn’t done in years, only to find that there lived an online album with my photos from our trip to Prague in 2007 that I thought I had lost during a switch in laptops. These pictures meant a lot to me, especially because they are a record of visiting my grandparents’ former house with my own family (that’s its own story).

One of my recovered photos – Hradcany (Prague castle) at night

Second, an entry form had to be filled out and attached to the back of each photo. Ok, not so hard, but still, you do have to print out the entry form, cut it out, and find a glue stick to attach it.

Third, both photos had to be on a CD. That means you need to have a CD handy (I did thanks to my son), and your CD drive has to work (it does, again thanks to my son who fixed it recently). You also need a CD sleeve, which I didn’t have, but I did buy a photo mailer (again at Walgreens) yesterday, so I figured that was good enough.

Fourth, the little envelope had to be mailed, which meant weighing it at home (I do whatever I can to avoid the post office), affixing the right postage (thankfully my stamp collection is well stocked), and wandering over to the mail box before it gets (supposedly) emptied at 10:00 a.m. (because of course I am mailing this last minute).

When I heard that plop of the mailbox, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. Something tangible had been accomplished, and something intangible, too, namely the recovery of photos long lost. So thank you to this little contest that asked a lot but gave back a lot in return. Goes to show, perhaps, that you have to work to accomplish something…