Tag Archives: Family

Relax and wait for the photo to cook – Tybee Island

It was a great morning, predawn with a chance to relax and wait for the photo to cook.  At least that’s what it feels like – baking an image.  Use the recipe .  Wait for the clock.  I had been planning this shot for weeks.  Tybee Island, Georgia’s North Beach is the perfect place; tranquil, cool, quiet, and a great jetty for creating wispy, foggy waves in long-exposure images.  Over the exposure the waves “stack” and create the illusion of fog, ice, or in some cases, glass.  The sea looks as if a fog machine has pumped its haze across the surface leaving stationary items like rocks, poles, sharp.  Everything is peaceful as I push the shutter button.  Small waves split as they reached the rocks. The occasional large swell crashes into the granite quay sending salt-water sheets into the air… but only a few inches or feet.  The calming scent of salt and sea water drifts by.

Pelican and Shrimp Boat at Sunrise

The Beckster’s Pelican and Shrimp Boat at Sunrise photo. I’m jealous, still.

The ocean is relatively calm on this edge of the Atlantic. Seabirds fly over.  Some land and peck the sand searching for a sea-washed breakfast morsel.  Others fly on toward Hilton Head Island across the sound.  A pelican roosts on a marker pole several-dozen yards out in the water.  At low tide the wooden perch stands high and dry.  At all times of the tide it welcomes winged visitors, usually pelicans and maybe this same bird.  It’s worth a photograph, but The Beckster beat me to the best one several years earlier.  She, Kate and Tare, our granddaughters, play in the sand a few yards away.  She gets shots when I’m not looking.  She did back then too.

While shooting a small wedding at sunrise I noticed she was missing.  She had spotted the photo unrelated to the bride and groom, ditched us and went for it.  I’ve been jealous ever since that time.  The sun had lifted from the edge of a cloud bank just above the water and was directly behind the bird.  In the distance a shrimp boat headed to deeper water, in just the right compositional place.  It’s a great shot and I give her the best compliment that any photographer can give another, “I wish I had taken that one.”  Leaving the wedding, however?  She can get away with it.  She’s The Beckster.

 

Jetty and Pelican Before Sunrise

The test shot of the jetty and pelican before sunrise. 60 second exposure at f11. I like it so I kept it.

This morning the old bird sits in the same spot, in the same position.  But that’s not why I’m here.  I’m here for long exposures and I haven’t made one in years… thirty-five years.  Back then I had a Toyo 4×5″ view camera that I carried to the bottom of a canyon to capture the North Fork of the Tuolumne River near Twain Harte, California.

Jim taking photos by Bec

A photo of me by The Beckster as I shoot the pre-dawn test images. She’s sneaky, but then, she’s The Beckster.

Long black and white exposures were not a problem in the shadow of the surrounding mountains.  The extended shutter opening captured the flowing stream as if it were ribbons of glass.  One second, two, three, four, I counted off the time.  Around four shots and I’m finished.  Sheet film isn’t cheap.  It wasn’t then either.  Afterward I developed and printed my favorite image and painstakingly oil tinted two.  One went to my Uncle Roy in Savannah.  It was a Christmas present.  The other I kept.  Over the years mine was destroyed while in storage.  Then later, sadly, my friend and uncle died.  The photo stayed with aunt Dot, his wife, until her death.  Now I have it back.  I cherish the copy and the memories that it represents.

Tuolumne River, 1982

This is the image I made in 1982. It took a bit more effort and I love it. But, boy, do I love digital!

Those cameras take more thought and preparation.  But today I still go down the checklist.  Tripod?  Check.  Filters?  Check.  Correct lenses?  Check.  Oh, yeah.  Camera?  Check.  Now, find the exposure and wait for the sun.  I have the filters that cut light, ND16 and ND8 stacked in front of the lens.  Boy, I love digital.  Good black and white images can’t be beaten.  But I do love the ease of computer aided photography.

Jetty And Pelican with Sun

The jetty and pelican as the sun breaks above the horizon, the color version.

I compose the image.  What’s the exposure?  It’s time.  The sun should be coming up, but I need a test.  I take one shot.  It’s overexposed so I stop the lens down to a smaller aperture to cut down the light.  Snap again.  One-minute exposure at f11.  Got it.

The first one is perfect.  All of the images made are perfect.  Did I say I love digital?

Not bad for thirty-five years in  long-exposure hibernation.

Now the dilemma.  Which one… and…  color or black and white?

Leave a note below or email me and tell me your think.

– Jim

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Tuesday, then occasional photos/photo tips on Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

© J.D. Byous 2018, All rights reserved.

 

 

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Two Curmudgeon Boomers at Babyland General – Impressive

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

Babyland General

The Cabbage Patch Kids, Babyland General Hospital looks like a plantation house out of Gone with the Wind.

Two Curmudgeons Boomers at Babyland General – Impressive

Jim Byous

 

“Have you ever been to Babyland?” Roger asks as we drive along highway 11 near Cleveland, Georgia.  The question seems a bit odd coming from a seventy-something, white-haired, former special forces, Green-Beret warrior.  He is a relative and a friend.  A man’s-man.  He and John Wayne would get along fine.  He is the kind of guy that Evil Knievel would hang out with…  and did.

Roger and the "Kids."

Roger and the “Kids.”

“No,” I reply, a puzzled look on my face.  My mind quizzes myself, “Do I look like the kind of guy that would find appeal in a doll factory?”  I leave the question to my mental ethersphere.  I don’t want to hear the answer.   I remember that my two daughters had Cabbage Patch dolls when they were small.  Now that they are grown with kids of their own, they still have them tucked away in a drawer or on a closet shelf.

A Kid in a cabbage.

A Kid in a cabbage.

“You want to go?  It’s right up ahead.”  He says.

“Do you want to go?” I come back.

“Why not?”  he says.

“Why not?’ I say.

Roger turns the huge, white, Chevy Silverado onto Hulsey Road.  A brief time later the sign directs us to N.O.K. Drive where we drop over a hill and there it is, the faux-kinder-delivery site.

Racks of accessories for Cabbage Patch Kids.

Racks of accessories for Cabbage Patch Kids.

A large signs hawks, “Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland General Hospital, Cleveland GA.”  Around it are acres of green, manicured lawn boardered by forest growth.

It looks like the plantation house of Tara from Gone with the Wind.  It literally shines on the hillside.  I don’t see Scarlet and I don’t see the Tarleton boys, but this is impressive.

An entryway case displays vintage Cabbage Patch dolls while display cases reflect in the glass.

An entryway case displays vintage Cabbage Patch dolls while display cases reflect in the glass.

My curiosity peaks.  This may be worth the visit… even for an old guy.  Out front of the columned porch and colonnade a gaggle of Canadian Geese feed on the front lawn.  “Why do they call it a ‘gaggle’?” I ask myself.  “Do they gag?”  Why not just a ‘flock’… I digress…  The geese scurry uphill as we stop for photos.  Roger continues then turns in to the drive.  The geese migrate back down after we pass.

Canadian Geese on the lawn of Babyland General.

Canadian Geese on the lawn of Babyland General.

In front of the building are large, white, plaster casts of garden vegetables with baby head insets.  They stare blankly into the sky with their machine-washer-like eyes.  It’s cute, but eerie at the same time. The sky is dark, it is starting to sprinkle.  The smell of moist, freshly-cut grass and asphalt greets us when we open the pickup doors and fast-walk to the cover of the building’s long, wrap-around porch.  A few people sit on the park-bench-style seats and countryesque rocking chairs along the walls.

A plaster cabbage and kid in front of Babyland.

A plaster cabbage and kid in front of Babyland.

Inside the door dozens of eight by ten photographs cover the walls telling of celebrities who have visited the facility; Burt Reynolds, George Lucas, Tom Selleck, Michael Jackson, Luciano Pavarotti… Wait… Luciano Pavarotti?  How cool is that?… (However, Michael Jackson oddly fits into the theme of this venue.)  Just beyond the gallery is a large, building-wide reception area with couches and chairs.

Celebs at Babyland
Celebrity portraits line the entryway.

Glassed shelves display vintage and special Cabbage Patch Kids from the past.  American flags accent the floral arrangements on pedestals along the wall leading down to photo-opportunity spots on the end wall.  I need to get a picture.  This place is looking interesting.

Nurse Debbie is attending to a new Kid while a mom and dad follow their daughter from bassinet to crib, searching for a potential addition to the family.  It’s not busy.  Today is Monday and a holiday.  I estimate there are around fifty people here.

Kids waiting for kids to decide which will go home with them.
Kids waiting for kids to decide which will go home with them.

Another person dressed in scrubs tells me that on the previous two days, there was standing room only.  She tells me that the place was a mass of newly adopted mothers and grandparents. Today, however, it appears most folks are driving home, just as on most holiday weekends.

Several rooms packed with dolls await a new owner… or… parent… that is.  Boy dolls, girl dolls, black-skinned dolls, light-skinned dolls, and those with tones between.

Through a nursery window, a nurse attends a newly cultivated cabbage kid.

Through a nursery window, a Nurse Debbie attends a newly cultivated cabbage kid.

They sit in boxes, cabinets, cases and cribs.  Accessories for the new foster-child-parents hang on racks and include shoes, socks shirts, skirts and about anything else needed for a new addition to a family.

A quick portrait

A quick selfie in front of the sign. I am sitting in a plush, cabbage leafed sofa. Perhaps I am ready for harvest.

I am impressed.  I can tell that Roger, a competent businessman, is too.  We are both calculating prices of products and the customer flow that is swirling through the faux-hospital and its inventory.  On one wall is a large plastic tree.  Below it are rows of cabbages that have doll-head centers.

Fathers and Grandfathers waiting area

The fathers’ and grandfathers’ waiting area. At scheduled times it is also the delivery area for the entertainment of eager onlookers.

I am told this is the delivery area where a forceps-wielding nurse attends an expecting cabbage and delivers a doll, delighting a crowd of admiring onlookers, kids and supporting adults.

Two men sit silently, working the buttons on their cell phones.  No doubt their wives, girlfriends or significant others are wandering the floor with a child or grandchild in search of the perfect adoptee.

Prospective parents and Kids.

Prospective parents and Kids.

“Is this the father’s waiting room?” I ask.  One smiles and nods, then continues to click the virtual keys on the phone.  The other does not break his concentration to respond.

“This is kind of cool,” I say to the first man.

He looks up, smiles again, and gives a one-word response, “Quite!”  His eyes drop back to the phone.  His look mimics the expression of a trapped animal, yearning for freedom.

Roger walks up.  We both know it is time to go, enough time has passed here… for two old curmudgeons.  “This is some operation,” Roger says as we walk toward the door.  “Impressive.”

One of the many cribs-full of Kids awaiting adoption.

One of the many cribs-full of Kids awaiting adoption.

He’s right.  It was a lot more than I expected.  This will be a venue for my youngest granddaughter.  Impressive? Quite!

As we drive away from the Babyland General I glance back over my shoulder.

Kids and more Kids.  These are smaller-than-normal Kids at a lower price.

Kids and more Kids. These are smaller-than-normal Kids at a lower price.

The geese waddle up the hill from away the road as we pass.  What’s that?  I swear I hear a medley combining the themes from Gone with the Wind and Babes in Toyland.

Impressive.

– – The Cabbage Patch Kids’ Babyland General Hospital is located at 300 N.O.K. Drive • Cleveland, Georgia 30528 in Cleveland, Georgia.


Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

 

© J.D. Byous 2018, All rights reserved.

 

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Doc Holliday Trail and Annie’s Tree – a story of darkness and light

Doc Holliday’s Trail and Annie’s Tree – a story of darkness and light.

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

By Jim Byous

At 6,000 feet above sea level I am gasping for air.  I am also, as my father used to say, “getting old and soft.”  Now I’m only two-hundred feet up in my relatively easy three-hundred-foot climb on the Doc Holliday Trail to Glenwood Springs’ historic Pioneer Cemetery.  It sits on a lower ridge-bump of 8,095-foot-high Lookout Mountain that stands above and the Colorado city of around ten-thousand people.  My flatlander-endurance is poor in the thin air as I trudge onward.  The view is refreshing as I pause to take in the scope of the city below… okay… I stop to get my breath.  But, I gotta keep going, The Beckster is getting ahead of me on our upward trek to see the West’s version of outlaw/lawman, John Henry “Doc” Holliday’s grave site.  He was born in 1851 in Griffin, Georgia but died in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  But where is he now?

Looking across the city of Glenwood Springs from the Doc Holliday Trail.

Looking across the city of Glenwood Springs from the Doc Holliday Trail.

What awaits us at the end of short journey is a controversy, but I want to see it.  Even though I am huffing and puffing I continue, The Beckster is tough, so must I be.  The view to the right is beautiful as I stop again to choke down a bit of thin air.  Clouds hang below the surrounding peaks as the occasional drop of rain pops onto my face.  The smell of sage and pine and moist air waft past at intervals as we walk the hard-packed, red-dirt and narrow rocky road.  A couple of walkers pass on the trail.  I assume they are local… don’t know.  Maybe they’re tourists too.  Locals often walk here.  Ahead is the evidence.  On a gnarled pinon pine hugging the upper bank of the cut, hundreds of colorful streamers twist and bob on the light breeze.

On the way down the hill, a walker passes Annie's Wishing Tree, a prominent landmark in Glenwood Springs that is becoming famous around the world.

On the way down the hill, a walker passes Annie’s Wishing Tree, a prominent landmark in Glenwood Springs that is becoming famous around the world.

They are striking as they dance on a background of cloudy-grey sky and remind me of the prayer ribbons and flags you see in photos of Nepal along the route up Mount Everest.   These are wish ribbons.  Most were placed there by Annie Zancanella who lives just down the slope. In her two battles with cancer she found solace in tying ribbons to the tree on which she played as a child.  “I spent my childhood playing on the mountain and walking with my father on his evening stroll up there,” she told me.  “Now that my family has all passed I still like to walk that trail daily and think of them and my happy childhood.”

She started putting ribbons on the tree, using them to represent her own wishes, dreams and prayers in her fight against cancer.  After participating in a successful, non-traditional treatment program at Northwestern University in Chicago, she traveled to cancer centers in the USA to share her success story with university hospital students.  Collecting ribbons from young patients at those hospitals she brought them home and tied them to the tree.

“It was just pretty much my ribbons from my heart being put on it,” she says, “And then I realized that I needed to spread this happiness…”  She started taking bags of ribbons to the children’s hospital where she volunteered each month.  The kids would write their own wishes, dreams and prayers for her to take back to the tree and tie for them. She would then take photos and show them to the kids.  Their words were on display for the world to see.  The project grew.

Annie's Wishing Tree is a landmark along the trail to the Pioneer Cemetery.

Annie’s Wishing Tree is a landmark along the trail to the Pioneer Cemetery.

Now others follow her lead by leaving wish ribbons, prayer streamers and mementos for others who are challenged by health issues.  Since that time she has continued to fight.  “I have had some more recent struggles with cancer but I’ve been able to keep a smile on my face and motivation in my heart.”

Ribbons were added by unknown hikers after Annie created the Wishing Tree.

Ribbons were added by unknown hikers after Annie created the Wishing Tree.

I came to the hill looking for the story of death, of disease and of legend.  Now I’ve arrived to unexpectedly find a story of life, of adversity and of hope.  In my mind I am attempting to blend the two narratives into one.  Annie is my daughter’s age.  Her story strikes a father’s heart.

The record of the tree is strikingly symbolic to the history and name of the route, The Doc Holliday Trail.  It’s antithetical to Annie’s story.  Holliday is said to have traveled to Glenwood Springs for the purported healing benefits in the springs of the area.  His sickness was then called consumption, now we know it as tuberculosis.  It was the reason he left his home and dental practice  in Atlanta to start wandering the west in hope of a climate that would help or cure him.  His travels between Georgia and Colorado would be captured in legend; card games, gun fights, the OK Corral with Wyatt Earp, his death in a hotel room in Glenwood Springs.

The current marker replaced an earlier stone placed in the 1950s that had incorrect information.  Cards, whisky and tokens are often found at the site, left by admirers.

The current marker replaced an earlier stone placed in the 1950s that had incorrect information. Cards, whisky and tokens are often found at the site, left by admirers.

After a life of hell raising, gambling and fighting he would not “die with his boots on.” They say his last words, while looking at his bare feet, would describe the irony in dying in bed at the age of 36 years, “Now, that’s funny.”  He was destined to die a more gentlemanly death, shoeless, and in bed in 1887.  His burial in the Pioneer Cemetery on top of the ridge is a matter of opinion.  Others say he was interred in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Griffin, Georgia after his father had him shipped home to a family plot.  In any event he left plenty of legend for both.

The marker in Glenwood Springs is referred to as a memorial since Doc’s exact location in the cemetery has been lost to history.  He may or may not be here, but still the site and its view across the Colorado skyline is worth the hike as is a stroll through the rest of the burial

Holliday's memorial stands at the point of the cemetery.
Holliday’s memorial stands at the overlook point of the cemetery.

 ground.  The area is a carpet of rocky, iron-red dirt, highlighted with short pinyon pines, cedars, sage brush and white marker stones.  A smattering of lawn covers a central square of memorials and graves suggesting families still visit and care for those interred here.  If the cemetery were a ship, Doc’s grave would be the wheelhouse at the point of the ridge with the balance of the site stepping up the slope toward the top of Lookout Mountain.

Harvey Logan cThere, up the hill from Doc’s spot, stands another marker for a well-known character of western lore, also the adverse of the symbolic tree.   Harvey A. Logan, 1867-1904, is known to most folks know as Kid Curry, an associate of Robert L. Parker, aka Butch Cassidy, and his partner in crime, Harry A. Longabaugh, the Sundance Kid.  Logan rode with Cassidy’s Wild Bunch at the turn of the 20th century.  One account of Logan’s death says he shot himself in the head after being trapped by a posse in Parachute, a town forty miles to the west,

Up the hill from Holliday's marker is the pauper's section of the cemetery where Kid Curry's stone is found.

Up the hill from Holliday’s marker is the pauper’s section of the cemetery where Kid Curry’s stone is found.  If he is really there is disputed.

and was buried there.  Others say he was traveling through Glenwood Springs, became ill and died.  Either way, he died… somewhere in Colorado.  And, now there’s a marker for him in the paupers’ section of Pioneer Cemetery.

Time passes quickly as we survey the grounds.  The sky is looking more threatening.  I am tired and still slightly out of breath, it’s starting to rain.  The view is exemplary and the rain isn’t hard, but it’s time to go.  We need to say goodbye to Doc.  Local ghost stories tell how folks leaving whiskey or cards or tokens for Doc receive a “Thank you,” as they stand and listen quietly.  I have no whiskey, nor do I have a deck of cards nor trinkets.  Perhaps a compliment will work.

Harvey "Kid Curry" Logan, part of Butch Cassidy's gang, has a marker in the paupers section of the cemetery.

Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, part of Butch Cassidy’s gang, has a marker in the paupers section of the cemetery.

“He Doc!  You have a great moustache!”

I listen quietly as rain drops increase… nothing… not a peep.

“Wait,” I say…  I lean over the iron picketed fence, “That IS you, right Doc?”

Looking at The Beckster I say, “Doc’s not talking.  Didn’t work.  Well, back to the car.  I’ll try the same trick in Griffin, Georgia when we get home.”

She stares at me in mock disgust and turns to the trail to walk back down.  She has a knack for ignoring my jokes.

“But he really did have a great moustache,” I affirm, following her along the path.

She pays no attention to my explanation and continues on.  The lady has class.

 Looking down on the neighborhood rooftops I imagine driving a horse-drawn hearse up this route.  It would be a tight squeeze, but possible.  Was this the main route back in the day?  I don’t know but I do know that another route from Cemetery Creek and our start point is driveable by car, complete with parking spaces… but it’s blocked by a gate.  And, this walk is good, we need the exercise… no… really.

Older marker for cemetery

An carved stone plaque describes the residents of the necropolis including multi-racial immigrants and freed slaves.

We pass Annie’s Wish Tree again.  A long, magenta streamer catches my attention.  It reads, “1 Year Cancer Free * Annie 4/18/14 – 4/18/15.”    The young lady is an inspiration.  Now she is planning a volunteer trip to to impoverished areas in Africa to help children in Tanzania.  When she comes home she will carry more ribbons that will blow in the mountain breezes – waving and asserting hope – 130 feet directly down the slope from Doc’s marker.  Doc Holliday’s Trail and Annie’s Tree are a story of darkness and light.

I hope Annie is doing well.  Her story now lives on with the others who are linked with the trail and the cemetery and the hill.  Her story gleams brightly among them as she illustrates as she says, “It’s an absolute goal of mine to continue to inspire others and for my wishing tree to bring happiness to all who stumble across it!”

I’m glad I did… stumbled here.  For me, I think of my daughters and grandchildren and pray that they will have a measure of Annie’s determination and drive.

Doc Holliday’s story is dark and deadly.

Annie’s story shines with hope.

Annie has grit.


Here are other things to do and study in Glenwood Springs.

Our thanks to Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association for photos and to Annie Zancanella for background in this story.  We were not compensated for coverage of the location and attractions.  – JB

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My father never stopped

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

By Jim Byous

My father never stopped at the Grand Canyon.  My father would not stop.  Never.  Ever.  Never-ever… unless of course he had to use the bathroom and then it was a Whiting Brothers gas station to fill up and find relief.  Cruising down Route 66 twice each year I would drool, yearn and whine that we might turn on Route 64 from Williams, Arizona to see the hole in the ground that I’d been told about in school, read about, and wished to visit.  Didn’t happen.  Not once.  The 120-mile round trip would add almost ten percent to our drive to Eastern Oklahoma and the visit with family.  His last trip through was to move there, the destination of all of our trips.  He died a few years later.

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As the sun rolls past the colors change, just like they are advertised to do.  Fabulous.

Well…, not really never-ever.  I do remember one side trip.  We did stop at Meteor Crater after I had hounded for several hours.  I wore them down, I guess.  That’s another story, however… That was when my mom made a statement that would place a bookmark on my eighth year of life… “It’s nothing but a big hole in the ground.”  She actually used an expletive somewhere in the sentence.  However, you think about it, she’s right.  But, oh, what a hole in the ground.  I was hooked on large, naturally excavated terrain with that viewing.

But I digress.

 

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Meteor Crater, just a big… hole that I find fascinating.  More to come in another blog.

Fast forward fifty-plus years… Okay, make that almost sixty-plus years.  But, I am finally here.  As always, time is short, and to make it worse the Beckster and I have some kind of bug.  I do not feel like touring, I’d prefer to lay in the motel and whine.  But, the road calls.  Time dictates and demands, “See it now ‘cause you may not be back for a while… or ever.”  So we go.

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An odd, pockmarked rock on the south rim.

We leave Sedona in the morning heading out on route 89a and up its famous switchbacks that I dubbed, The Hairpins.  The road reminds me of a shoe string.  It twists and turns and loops, so crooked that, as my father used to say, “You can see your tail lights as you round the bend.”  This road is definitely bendy and loopy, not for the faint of stomach.  The Hairpins climb from the junction of Pumphouse Creek and Sterling Canyon then past 6,639-foot, Mexican Pocket Mountain then dumps you onto the long plateau that leads to Interstate 17 and Flagstaff.  At Flagstaff we follow US 180 to Arizona 64 and we are here – two and one-half hours later.

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Mather Point Overlook.  Nice  folks, but one must look beyond the spilled drinks and crowds because the beauty is there.  It’s worth it.  One look and you forget your immediate surroundings.

We are here.  Yes, we are.  Along with what appears to be half the population of the Western Hemisphere.  At Mather Point we park at the Visitors Center lot.  A short walk and we on the overlook.  People are scrambling everywhere… I mean, everywhere.  Hanging off of the rails to pose for pictures, on outcrops of rocks to our left… posing for pictures, off of the overlook a few hundred yards to the west… posing for pictures.

Selfie sticks flash in the sunlight looking like a rerun of the battle scene on Braveheart.  And, children running everywhere, climbing on rocks, climbing on rails.  My inner-parental-self stands, stunned and silent.  Coffee, or some other brown runny substance rolls from a coffee cup on the concrete path ahead.  The aroma of coffee wafts up, affirming the contents.  I hope that the Beckster doesn’t get a whiff.  We’ll be searching for a McDonalds, because, as you know, they make the best coffee.  It’s a Beckster thing.

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Looking north from Mather Point Overlook.  A man in a red shirt hangs near the edge for a prank photo.  It HAD to be a guy in red.

Then it hits me.  Blamm!  The view.  It’s 10 a.m. and past the “sweet” light of morning and it’s beautiful.  No, bad example, exquisite.  No, not enough, still.  Wow!  That works, just, wow!  Clouds cover the Northern Rim.  Rain falls from the patches of blue and white fluff.  The red-orange banding along the mass of mesas, cliffs and side canyons are like a light show in rock.  Grab a camera.  I alternate between DSLR and smartphone.  It’s hard to get a bad shot.  I am impressed.  I am really impressed.  I wish my parents were here.  They should see this.  They would have liked this big hole.

We no longer feel ill.  Somehow the bad has been erased so we point our pickup east along the rim drive.  As the sun climbs and the clouds move the scene changes.  I had read how the colors change with the day.  Oh, my God, what have you done here?  This is beyond words.  Each turnout and overlook has its own phenomenal view.  At one stop, a raven poses for me, then squawks a rebuke when I’ve overstayed my welcome.  We move on.   If I were shooting film we would have burned through several hundred dollars in emulsion and processing fees.  Man, I love digital.

Navajo Jewelry shop Navajo Reservation

Navajo Jewelry shop Navajo Reservation

Before we know, we arrive at the Desert View Visitor Center, the end of the line.  The views and the images are still great.  Just one more picture and we need to head back.  We’ve burned through the entire day.   Down the road we make one more stop, a Navajo jewelry stand.  Here a Viet Nam veteran and his wife offer beaded jewelry, dream catchers and pottery.  As the sun drops low it is cold so we keep moving, but after buying gifts for the kids and grandkids and earrings for the Beckster.  Oh, and something for me, a stone circle pendant.  I like it.  It’s made by nice people, or at least sold by them.  I wish we had time to stay and talk but the road calls.

Mary Colter's Desert View Watchtower

Mary Colter’s Desert View Watchtower marks the end of the view sites on the South Rim Drive.

It is a great day.  I am ready for a nap but we still have to drive the Hairpins after dark.  The Grand Canyon?  I will be back.

Too bad Dad couldn’t be here.

 

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A Rewrite for Progeny

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By Jim Byous

This is for my children and grandchildren.  My old friend, A.T. Dowd, has written the following.  It is a rewrite of a guest blog from 2015.  It includes a few more thoughts while re-emphasizing the main points.  So, youngsters, as well as others who may be reading, please study and use as applicable.  I will do the same.

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The Beckster, me and the second-generation progeny.  From left” Papa, Kate, D.P. Debra, Morgan, Eli, Daniel, Tara Rose, Becky (aka; Mammaw, Crammaw, Prammaw, and Hammaw depending upon the child).

 

Never Look Back: A Reflection on What “They” Say

They – whoever they may be – say to never look back.  That statement is unwise and illogical.  “They” say it’s better to regret something that you do than something that you didn’t do.  That’s complete and utter bull crap.

Always check behind you — that is your vulnerable and blind spot — but, don’t do it continually, you’ll run into something that you aren’t expecting.  Analyze what you have done, the good points and the bad.  Build on the past rather live in it.  Learn from it.  Always look back and analyze what you’ve done.  If the experience is bad, throw it out and refuse to repeat it.

Always regret the things that you did wrong, but only to a point.  Deal with it and move on.  The correct term is, “Don’t dwell on the past.”  If you didn’t do something, it’s done… as in, “it’s gone.”  If it was good, there will be another opportunity.  If it wasn’t then there is no loss.  “They” also like to say, “don’t live in the past.”  This is partially true…  partially.  However, learn to live ON the past, not IN the past.  You, your character and your view on life is joined to comprise what and who you are.  And, what you are is made up of what you have experienced, what you have gleaned from that experience and how you apply it to your life.

You were born at the perfect and correct time.  There is a purpose and a reason for your existence.  Don’t squander what you have been given.  And remember, if you are lucky you will live to an old age.  “Old age” is a gift that many will not and do not experience.  Cherish getting older.  It is interesting that that time in life where you start figuring out what it’s about, it’s time to leave… like a movie or a book.  You can’t quite get the entirety until the last page is finished or the last credit rolls into the black.  Wisdom and understanding come with age.  Respect it.

So, live for today with an eye on the future; the next fork in the road, the next hill or mountain, the next opportunity.  However, occasionally look back to see what has and can hurt you down the road.  And, don’t whine and complain about the path that you are on.  If you get discouraged, sit down and have a private moment of complaint and examination… quickly get out of your system.  It has been my practice to limit those episodes to about five to ten minutes.  My wife has experienced may occasions where I say, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.  I’m going to have a quick pity party and start over.”  An old friend, Walter Grubb, the president of Harrison Chilhowee and The King’s Academy in Tennessee once told me on the slopes of Mount Whitney, “You can climb the mountain, you can kick the mountain, you can cuss the mountain.  The mountain doesn’t care.”  So, deal with it and get on with it.

As far as teamwork.  An adage that is loosely attributed to General George Patton says, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.”  I’ve always said, “Cut your own path; to hell with the parade.”  Cooperate with “leaders,” respect authority and strive in a co-equal goal.  But, remember that people are flawed.  Work together but follow no individual.  Follow God alone.  If you don’t know how to do that, talk to me.  I’ll tell you my experience.

Here are a few more adages to consider:

  1. If you think your opponent is stupid, but your opponent has consistently beaten you, it is time reassess your position in the equation. (See next)
  2. On sizing up opposition: If you pay attention, President Donald Trump has been constantly underestimated.  For good or bad, that is a mistake by his opposition.  Here’s a quote from his book, The Art of the Deal.  It says, “I fight when I feel I’m getting screwed, even if it’s costly and difficult and highly risky.”  I re-emphasize the topic… His resolve is constantly underestimated.  Never under or over-estimate the opposition.  (See above)
  3. Study the opposition.  To understand Donald Trump I read his book.  A famous line from the biographical movie Patton he is shown at the end of his tank-battle victory over Germany’s great General Rommel.  Patton says, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!”  If your opposition has written a book… read the book.
  4. Another saying that I have experienced is this – “Sometimes it takes courage to just show up.”  So,… SHOW UP.

You get but one ride on the carousel called life.  Make it a good ride. – A.T. Dowd

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