Word and Image

West Virginia

Gilbert Microscope

Would you believe that Colleen and I both had a Gilbert Microscope set as kids? Ditomaceous earth, it was stuff they gave you that appeared iridescent under the microscope. Of course, I had a much better medical microscope years later. Unfortunately there is no glowing report or any story that this whetted my desire to become a physician. Colleen and I both exclaimed when we saw the set for sale. She had a great time looking at all manner of things. Somehow I knew this plastic thing was too juvenile for my eventual adult pursuits in medicine.


149 Guy

We moved to West Virginia and lived in this rental house. I don’t know its status at this time. It has a nice paint job. It is entirely smaller as I view it as an adult. I remember Dr. Roberts would come around on house calls when I was ill. It was always evening and I got a painful shot (of antibiotics) in the butt. Imagine being sick in the bed all day long and waiting for the doctor and his needle.


Poor choice

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It’s a poor choice of name unless you are in this neighborhood? Am I overreacting? Or perhaps the lettering is reminiscent of Russia? Wasn’t there a movie: The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming.  – the lettering was backwards in the title. Wasn’t’ there a time when communism was the enemy. I think we fought the Vietnam war against communism? Maybe the name was here before our fearless leader was elected. Maybe they will be there, still, when he is gone.


Flag

Is that a flag on your hat? You need it to be patriotic? Or, are you more a patriot than the rest of us? Somehow, Bud goes with it too. Somehow, I think you might be Republican too. Too trite? Too much of a caricature? I realize it’s not fair to judge a book by its cover. But am I wrong?


Once a school

When we moved to Elkins, I attended two elementary schools. They are now apartment buildings. Don’t ask. I don’t know why. One, Central, looks to be a low budget, pretty hideous renovation. First Ward was done up nice and pretty. It’s invitingly lit up and I am sure curious to see the inside. I have not pulled the trigger yet. Ummm … bad way to put it.


A Cappers

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I have mentioned the A Cappers? It was a folk dance group we participated in during our lunch hours from 4th to 6th grade. Mrs. Cappadoni (get it? A Cappers?) was the advisor/teacher. This is the group. There is a lot of history here. Smart kids. Girls are here who have played a major part of my life. Anne my next door neighbor, she was gone into the wind, moved to Ohio, and lost after she was married. I tracked her down many decades later to be crushed by her lack of interest in connecting again. Beverly was my partner. Funny, in three years as partners, I do not recall a single conversation of substance between us. Colleen, she had her mom contact my mom and we had a “playdate” at eight years old. There’s forward thinking, before the term was invented. Yup, history played out in a very funny way. I haven’t been back to really see anyone since I left in 8th grade. Maybe someday… well, except!!


Golden Horseshoe

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Speaking of the Golden Horseshoe, I won the award. It is given out for the four highest scores on an exam per county in West Virginia. The exam is on all things WV. Chip Hilton – Claire Bee books. Yup, I read them, so I got the question right. I had a clue I had done well on the test while walking home with and being questioned by Anne. I had gotten a lot of trivia/trivial questions right.

I remember reading a red book to learn about all things good and wonderful about the state. It must have stuck. I was a winner. And the prize? A golden horseshoe pin and a trip to Charleston, the capital. Here I am the token minority standing next to the secretary of education. It always stuck with me that I was hustled to the front to stand with him. It wasn’t an honor. It was a photo op and political. Years later I get that. It’s no big deal. But on some level even and eighth grader gets it. I just didn’t process the event till much later. At least we were not dependent upon an Argus C3 to capture the moment.


Trees

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Have you ever wondered… how the trees are the same height? Or, why they don’t stick straight out of the hill? I mean like a kid would draw… straight out of the hill. You know? I swear I saw trees sticking straight out…somewhere, but not here. And they grow at the same height. Is it because the wind blows? Who knows? Maybe they have an agreement with the Cat in the Hat to grow at the same height.


Okay, this is cool

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We were in a shop – of course… we are always in a shop, somewhere. But this was cool! Really! The dish was made from black walnut. The actual tree had been beside or at the local jail (Beverly, West Virginia). And this was among the last pieces of wood from that tree. There! That/this is the stump of it. I think that is just cool!… from origin to end product.


Passing through

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Hanging rock. Till it’s not. Some of it once fell and crushed a mail truck – just the truck, the driver was not in it. Lucky! It’s rural W Va. Okay! It’s like Maine or anywhere quaint. It was a wet day. It seems all spring it’s been wet and cold and rainy. Oh! We made it past hanging rock without any falling rock – on our heads.

Wild turkeys – ain’t seen none since I lived in Maine. The mailbox reminds me of Haiti. The American flag? It’s W VA and patriotic. Republican? Hmmm… hard to say.


Green

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Someone I know loves green. It’s her favorite color. Isolate it. Focus. Serenity. Ah…..!


Duckies

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Cowlick? Babies, ducks of unusual color. Oh my!


Fog and Rain

Cool stuff. It’s hard to photograph. Harder, yet, if you are in a moving car. We had a “white knuckle” ride. At the last service check the tech told us the tires were due to be changed. The passenger in the “shotgun” seat had it in her head that we were riding on “slicks.” I was told to get off at each and every exit and get tires, “Right now!” The rain stopped. We got tires two days later. All is at peace with the world again. It was the wind blowing and causing us to “fishtail” down the road. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it!

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Yeah, I coolly shot out the windshield between the drops whilst driving down the road. Don’t say nothin’!!


Where were you when Kennedy was shot

When John F Kennedy was elected, he was JFK. Later it was LBJ. No one else is really known by their initials. I was in a salvage shop and on the counter, was a stack of my hometown newspapers. Yellowed dog eared, there sat a stack of three on top. Stunned, I looked at each. The third one down carried the fateful headline that rocked my childhood. Yup! The woman at the counter was a kid. For her it was 9/11. We all have our moment. I had just gotten done with track practice. The ‘chief executive’ was dead. Denial. They didn’t say ‘President.” Maybe it was not so. It was one of the few times I ever saw my mother cry, as she watched the funeral on our Philco black and white TV. Years later, from a fellow neurosurgeon, I heard the tale of that day in Parkland Hospital ER. JFK was brought in by ambulance. It did not take the neurosurgeon more than a moment to glance over and pronounce him a “goner.” He related that he was next looking at a .45 pistol as the Secret Service told him divert his attention back and to attend the case “now.” It was only then he realized who the gunshot victim was. Gunshot injuries to the head never cease to make the ER staff breathlessly call you. But the secret is that the bullet settled the argument on the street. You arrive in the ER dead or alive. The role of neurosurgery is limited.

I will quickly recall a phone call I received at 3AM when I was chief resident at Bellevue. “We’re getting a gunshot to the head from Columbia.” my junior resident related. At 3AM it’s a rule. Make sure I am speaking in sentences before you give me information. Columbia? The South American country.

No! Columbia University – Neurological Institute of New York, the pre-eminent “Ivory Tower” uptown. Why? “…because they are not taking gunshots tonight.”

It turned out that my counterpart chief resident at Columbia was too lazy to get his ass out of bed in the middle of the night so he turned the case down and sloughed it off downtown.

Happy ending! The bullet was lodged under the scalp and had never penetrated the skull. My junior resident removed the bullet at the bedside in the ER slot and in an act of cheekiness sent the bullet fragment with our complements to Columbia. Our respective departmental chairmen had some choice words to share in the morning. Life goes on in the big city….

That reminds me of when the orthopedic surgery resident put a patient in traction by driving a Steinman pin through and through the skull….


Mistake

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The thing about this image is that I had every opportunity to make it right. Ooops! The right side is way over exposed. I know that. I knew that. I should know that. I should have known that. Did I miss any tenses? Missed! Darn! There probably won’t be a next time. Getting the falls in the winter with the ice is an image I’ll likely not have a chance to do again. The important thing – did I learn from this mistake? Oh bother… another regret.


Blackwater Fall

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A long long time ago… I saw this image in a travel brochure. It was a winter view of the falls with ice and snow and … oh my! It has been on my bucket list of images. Remember I’m a photo opportunist at heart. So it was not OCD enough for me to make a special trip. I was just keeping the image on my list. The point is to shoot the image yourself. Otherwise the internet will provide you with far better shots than I got. I did not hike down to the ideal location to capture the image. My OCD does not extend forever. I could have done better. I wonder why I did not go further. Time was limited. It was slippery. But, I was there, And, this is my shot. Done.


Blackwater Falls

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I visited Blackwater Falls again. I’m lazy. I did not bring a tripod for a long exposure to get the water falling in a blur. It’s a nice effect. I shot two images bracing my camera for a long exposure. It wasn’t long enough. But I got motion blur. Then I used Photoshop and cloned the blur onto my sharply focused image. That is about as much patience as I have. As I said, I’m fairly lazy. I like to get it in one shot and I do not care to do a lot of post processing. Hey, it’s natural.


Carnival Lights

I love the bright lights of the carnival at night. Before digital photography these were very hard shots to get. Now it’s pretty easy. And even for moving objects, you have sufficient speed to stop the action. Ferris wheels are fun. They are assembled on site. I like getting the view.


Comedy – Not!

Each night during Forest Festival they staged a free show at 7PM. Have you ever been to a show where the comedian was laughing at his own jokes? The audience wasn’t – laughing. He wasn’t cursing. He was an ex-cop. And just as you’d expect, cops don’t have much sense of humor. Ever get a ticket(“traffic” – it would have been a crime to buy one for this show)? And he made fun of everything and everyone including his wife. Hey! Move on over Donald. Yes, he was lame. I kept waiting for the second act. The announcer never made a move with the hook. Too bad. Nope. He was it. We walked out. I’m not sorry, except that we stayed too long. Sometimes you are just not that funny. Tag, you’re it!

 


Praying Mantis

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It’s a bit scary and intimidating. I don’t care for bugs much at all. This one was sitting on the car. It moved up the window and perched on the roof. Well, why not? I got a great shot. The technique comes from my time with underwater macro photography. No big housing needed, I got a riveting shot. I like fish better. But what it is is what it is. Can you believe this?


Fish Hatchery

Bowden Fish Hatchery. I haven’t been here in a long time. Yes, it’s been decades. I’m surprised it’s still going. They raise trout for release into local streams to stock and replenish. It’s a nice program. People follow the trucks with fishing poles to catch the fish as they are released. I guess trout are good eating too. They grow the fish in large runways filled with juvenile fish. The fish grow until quite large.

As an aside I am the worst fisherman ever. I could drop my hook next to a fish (I have) and fail to catch it. It’s neat to see that some things have not changed from my childhood.


Blackwater Falls

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This is the fulfillment of a childhood desire. Once, I almost visited Niagara Falls too. We were only 40 miles away during a rugby tournament with Jules. She refused to go. It was too far. We were headed back to Hamilton College in the other direction. Oh well, at least half my dream has come true. I had seen pictures as a kid. I had always wanted to visit. And until now my travels did not bring me here. Amazingly a day after Thanksgiving the parking lot was full of cars from many states away – as far as Michigan and beyond. I find it fascinating to imagine that one would find themselves in the middle of West Virginia at this time. Tech: to get an image where the water is silky smooth, use a long shutter exposure. I’m lazy and don’t travel with a tripod. Handheld I still managed a decent image, good enough to post even if it’s not exhibition quality. The image I remember seeing is in winter with bright blue sky and the ice formed and partially covering the falls. I am an opportunist and will not wait until the snow and ice form. So, for now this is my trophy memory. I’ve now been there and another wish fulfilled.


Tygart River Bridge

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It doesn’t look forlorn. Maybe it’s been rebuilt. I played here as a kid. On the right there was cliff to climb. I almost inadvertently touched a diamondback rattle snake there. The bridge seemed higher then. There were rocks below and we once found a dead dog. My brother John fished for blue gill and spent many an afternoon alone here.

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To the left was a cornfield. The houses are new. And along the bank was a rope swing that hung out over the water. I was a kid. We were forbidden to swim in the river. But that rope swing was so tempting. So I was the first of my cohort to grab that rope and have a swing. I landed back on the shore. I remember I was the brave bold one to try it first. We spent a lot of time and never got wet. The houses look like they have been there forever now. Water view, everyone wants one.


House On The Hill

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It’s been here forever. Well, at least it’s been around since I was a kid many many decades ago. If you look closely there’s a fourteen year old mowing the lawn. I don’t know how old she is but fourteen was the number that popped in my head when I shot this image. No one lives here? It is an event venue. So you can have your next party. I like the house but an event does not appeal.