Long ride


Very nice ride on the Goldwing. Looped through western Colorado and eastern Utah. Temps were moderate this early. I’m the kind of rider who wants to keep going, so stopping to take photos was difficult. But I got a few in when I needed to stretch. It was a beautiful day and the bike ran great. This is the first time I’ve posted from my iPhone. Pretty easy. I’ll do it more often. 

Enthusiasms


 

 

img_5344From the movie-The Untouchables-1987…
Capone: A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms, enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.
Hoods: Team!
[Capone beats one of the men to death with a baseball bat]

I owned my first watch when I was a schoolboy back in the late 60s. It was an inexpensive wristwatch. It barely fit my thin wrist and hung loosely when I wore it. I remember it being a battery watch, but I do not remember anything else about it. Fast forward a decade or so and it is my high school graduation. My father gives me a really nice skeleton watch. One with glass and front and back so you can see the works from both sides. It still means the world to me. It has no intrinsic value other than the memories of my father.

img_5341

And I still collect watches. My mentor was the great Mancil Page of Page-Parsons Jewelry. (No relation) A tall elegant man with piercing eyes and a keen intellect. He started me on Wyler watch. Im not really sure how it started, but here I am. I have close to 2 dozen pocket watches stored, most of them Wylers. None of them are worth very much on their own, but collectively? Who knows. In another few decades, when all the cool collectables are gone, they may be worth more. The watch at the top of this post is my only wristwatch. It, like most of the others, was built in the late 50s-early 60s. It has a classic look and still functions perfectly. Not a battery to be seen. In my current work I am based in Prudhoe Bay Alaska. We wear a lot of clothing there. And because of that I am not always able to get to my pants pocket or a vest, because of all the clothing. So a wristwatch is the easiest to reference.

We live in a digital world. I use computers at work and at home. My iPhone becomes more important to my work life and home life all the time. My wife’s car is a marvel of imbedded computers. The Computers are all around us. And yet I own a manual shift truck from the late 80s. And I choose to wear manual watches. I like the thought of manual. I enjoy the collecting of these things from another era. It feels right to me, these old things. Pulling a watch from my pocket to check the time instead of looking at my phone. Turning my wrist to look at a device built by hand. Still working well and looking good. And as I get older I am appreciating these things more and more. I am quite nostalgic and these things give me peace. A small connection to another time and place. An enthusiasm for a man getting older and looking back more often. An enthusiasm.

Voices


 

London Graveyard

 

She’s not convinced the day is right, it seems too much like yesterday.

The suns the same-the room’s the same-but the echo of the kids seems astray.

She tries to move slowly and truly see what is wrong.

She listens closely to every sound and waits to hear a children’s song.

But the void is real, and it seems, that the children she misses have gone away.

 

She wakes again-yet another day- and the voices again are not around.

The room she is in is small and grey. A tiny prison she is bound.

The memories come slowly now. A terrible thing has passed.

It’s hazy now, these memories, as if in the distant past.

But she moves throughout her day, trying to keep herself aground.

 

People come and people go, she barely notices them any more.

Some give her meds, and some just talk, and she finds it such a chore,

To concentrate on who is there, when her mind is somewhere else.

She can hear them now, the children come, but only to herself.

As time passes the visitors wane, she finds them easy to ignore.

 

Twenty years have come and twenty have gone since that horrible day.

When bad things happened to her children that took them both away.

She sits in her rocker now, and reaches out to passerby.

When old eyes meet she quietly asks the person, “Why?”

Forty years ago was when her children last left to play.

 

The police searched and hunted on, no suspects did appear.

No answers gleaned from years of search, motives were unclear.

The children seemed to disappear from the playground unseen.

A few leads, some questions asked, but the act it was obscene.

Two children gone from the park, never to reappear.

 

When by chance a clue alights and points to a person of interest.

A lady not addressed at first, talks of a man she witnessed.

He walked into the park and led the kids away hand-in-hand.

It seemed so innocent, a father taking his kids for a ride in his van.

But later she finds the story is wrong, and in the police she confides.

 

The man, it seems, is not the father at all, but a man from up the street.

The kids were duped, lied to, and walked away not knowing deceit.

The acts were unspeakable. The children held on as best as they could.

The man, when finished with them, buried them in the wood.

Now forty years and the man has passed, and to the women the police go to meet.

 

The day is new and the room is the same, the ward itself never changes.

Its comfortable for the patients you see, and helps promote exchanges.

They tried to explain, to tell her the truth. But she didn’t seem to hear.

That the puzzle was solved and the bodies were found. She didn’t shed a tear.

For it seems that in her mind the children have been with her all this time as angels.

 

She is gone now, laid next to them. Forever will they be together.

They play again, in the park, and all they will have is pleasure.

For all the time that passed on earth is now but a wink.

And all they time that they have before them now seems to interlink,

With eternity now stretched before them, now that they are all together.

I See Ghosts


13 Photo Front Desk
13 Photo Front Desk

 

The obituaries are becoming one of the first things I look for in our paper. As a man ‘of a certain age’ I look for them now to see if I knew anyone in there. And increasingly I am seeing former customers. For awhile now I have kept a list of past customers and company reps who worked with me. (I’ll post it at the end of this entry.) Most of the time I recognize the person from the obituary photo. Sometimes I recognize the name, or think I do. Sometimes I have to be reminded from another long-time friend that I may have missed someones passing. But every time I feel a twang. Sometimes it is deep remorse. Someone passed who I will miss. Sometimes its just a small sad remembrance. But each one pulls a small thread. The small thread that connects all of us. Threads that go back through time to my early days at Taylors. Maybe it was some connection to Gunnison and my father. Or maybe it was someone whom I should have known better. Should have spent more time with. Its hard to say anymore. As I age and memories come fast and furious, often I mix up times and people. I will almost certainly see people give me a long look as we pass on the street. They obviously know me, but I may not recognize them anymore. Too many years away from retail and the life in front of people. Too much time in the oil field away from real society. Sometimes a person I recognize will recognize me also. We may nod and smile. Or actually greet and shake hands. Rarely will I know their name, unless they tell me. Jenny will ask who that was, and I’ll say CFTS. Code for ‘customer from the store’. She knows what it means. The threads are getting more tenuous and thinner by the year.

 

 

 

Photographers Remembered – Some are passed-some are not. I may have missed obits if they have passed.

Guy Stephens owned Stephens Sporting Goods on Main Street, downtown Grand Junction. He employed LeRoy Wyler as his photo salesman. Classic guy. Unkempt, brash. He was a packrat. The counters were cluttered and unorganized, But he knew where everything was!

Al Ligrani was a local pro photographer. He was the first pro photographer to come in to GT and assist me with knowledge. Mid 80’s.

Wes Edfast. Owner of a local mortuary. A very serious customer. Later in life came in after he had a stroke. Could barely speak but I could feel he really wanted to have another photo conversation.

Gene Bruce. One of my mentors. Was manager right before I took over in ‘85. Thin and wiry. Very energetic. We had a mercurial relationship. After he quit GT he started a home business developing E6 and BW.

Frank Bietz. Another classic old timer. I worked with Frank for decades. Another unkempt, brash salesman, like Wyler. Occasionally would upset customers with his direct delivery. Was one of Genes first hires in the late 60s. Midwest Camera Supply. Passed Oct 2013.

Hans Kunz. German to the core. Tons of knowledge. A leader of one of the local photo clubs.

Gil Wenger. Great customer. Would walk in and greet us at the counter with a yodel. Later also had a stroke. Never made it out of the hospital.

Bob Bishop. Local pro. Had a very successful postcard and poster business during the 70’s and 80’s. Digital cameras killed his business in the 90’s. Now has Alzheimer’s. (2009)

Bob Grant. Longtime head photographer for Daily Sentinel. Tried to get Mt. Garfield in every one of his shots. One of my earliest customers

Dr. Morales. Local dr. big time enthusiast. Would be constantly looking for the next best camera body. Gear head. Lots of fun.

Rich Martineau. Mr. and Mrs. Photo. Short time in GJ. Cancer took him quickly.

Doc Ross. Avid photographer and very good. Incorporated his photography into his Veterans assistance. Won some awards too. Passed November 2012.

Herb Saunders. PVC Communications. Local commercial photographer and developer. Especially Cibachromes.

Dillard Jenkins. Commercial photographer. Was City Markets in-house ad photographer until they sold out to Kroger.

Dave Canady. Studio 119. Classic, big guy. Enthusiastic and genuine.  Was very sharing with information.

Matt Chambers. Ran a small photo business/portrait studio for years. Always happy and fun to be around. Very involved with Scouts. Just an all-around nice guy. Passed July 2010.

Cotton Balls


I pull the cotton balls from the container and pull them apart a bit. Not all the way, but just enough to give them a new look. I then toss them on the floor. When I have enough I imagine being in an airplane and am looking down on them.

IMG_5028There are many different layers of these cotton balls between the Deadhorse airport and the Anchorage airport. Sometimes so thick you cannot see the earth, and other times very sparse. But they seem to be omni-present. There is hardly a completely clear 24 hour period in Prudhoe bay. It is at times completely covered by a layer of clouds. The sun is rare this close to the arctic ocean.

IMG_5030And there is water everywhere. Puddles turn into ponds, which keep growing until they reach the ocean. You can see them meandering their way towards something bigger. Slowly making giant S’s across the valley floor. Working from one side to the other. Sometimes the S’s meet in the middle making a shorter path to bigger things. And instantly making a small island of the cut-off section.

IMG_5029The many undulations of this river talk to me. They ask about some of my life choices. Why I didn’t just head straight in, but chose to meander from side to side a bit. Why have I so many layers surrounding me and only a few know whats beneath them. The answer is ahead, I guess. When I reach the ocean. The last place we visit on our journey. Perhaps it is not the last. Perhaps we turn into a vapor and rise again. Turning into another layer of cotton balls. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Meandering just a little bit more.

Wyler Watch



Sometimes technology is too much. I love this computer age and all my gadgets, but there are times when it seems to be in the way. I wear pocket watches usually to tell time. In my new job in Prudhoe Bay it is difficult to get to my pocket at times. So I purchased a wristwatch. I haven’t worn a wristwatch in over 35 years and it is taking me a little time to get used to it. My father bought me a pocket watch for my high school graduation. And I have purchased and saved numerous pocket watches over the years. Kind of a haphazard collection. 

Mancil Page was the owner of Page-Parsons Jewelry (no relation) and he started me on Wyler watches. Wyler started around the turn of the century, the one before this one, and lasted until the early 70s. The name was sold recently and they now make garish, expensive watches. But the Wylers of old were practical and simple and elegant. They don’t have an expensive brand and are not very pricey on eBay or through shops. Mancil collected them and kept me in the loop whenever he got a new one, and I returned the favor. And I now own a dozen or so pockets. The collection may never be worth anything as far as selling them, but I get a nice sense of satisfaction from them. A reminder of simpler times. It’s nice to have a watch in my pocket or on my wrist that does just one thing. And it looks good doing it! My new ( to me) watch was built in the early 1960s, like me. It is a very clean watch with very little scratching or fading. And it tells time accurately. 

I write this on my iPhone. A device that does many things very well. And it can be a watch in a sense also. But it will eventually be replaced with a newer shinier model. And no one will be using this iPhone model in 50 years. But my Wylers will still work. And that is a a small satisfaction that makes me smile.