Tip Top coffee house, Thomas, West Virginia. Colleen adores it. It is a place like so many others and unique unto itself. There’s nothing particularly notable – location, friendliness, quality, … etc. But Colleen adores it nonetheless. We have changed our route in order to stop.
Me? Sit? Still? Never.
I pulled my camera for photo ops. …dog in a doorway. Reflection in the door. We sat. I remained busy experimenting with reflections in the glass. Relax? Yes. This was relaxing to just let everything go, to forget about world events and politics, to enjoy the sun, and the company. I paused in my photo catalog this morning reflecting on how this moment of serenity makes me smile in the innocent memory of our interlude.
I don’t do them. Never have. Here I am. Front and center. We are at the 50th reunion of the class I would have graduated had my family stayed in the community. Instead I am an honorary member embraced by all the folks who knew me way back when. Notice there is no mention of the time or year? Look at all the folks who got old and grey? Ha! To be honest there were a lot of people who came and shook my hand. I would not have recognized a single one. How’d they know me? …by the nametag on my shirt, of course.
Back in the eighth grade (mine) I won the Golden Horseshoe, a prize for West Virginia state history. It’s a multiple choice exam of WV trivia and such. I remember one question on Claire Bee, a WV author. Well, there were four of us to win from each county. That would be about 250+. The black and white photo – I am there front and center next to the education secretary. Don’t ask. I had an Argus C3 brick in hand (camera). This was my first foray into photography. It was an utter dismal failure. Meanwhile the four winners from my county – me, Bill, John, and Marty – all went about our separate lives to be rejoined on this one occasion of our 50th high school reunion.
Charleston, West Virginia. Here’s a shout out to an incompetent restaurant. We stopped in. No waiting. Five of us. Oh! Did I say no waiting? We didn’t wait a moment for a table. There were plenty of tables, even out front. You choose. But, then we waited. And waited. And, finally a waitress came. She took drink orders. Our bad. She returned with water. No drinks. She forgot the order. Have you heard of a pencil? Maybe she was too dumb? She forgot again. We never got to order food. We sat next to another group of about eight. They were getting the same treatment. I finally complained to the manager. As he and I both surveyed the empty tables around us he said, “Sorry, we’re busy.” Yup, horrible. Would you take a chance on the kitchen staff to cook a meal if the front of the house is so bad?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
This was a perfect shot for wide angle. And indeed, I just pointed and shot. I stuck the camera into the cage past the chicken wire and pressed the shutter. One shot. Honest, one shot only. One and done. They weren’t gonna hang around to let me take another.
Someone I know loves green. It’s her favorite color. Isolate it. Focus. Serenity. Ah…..!
Cowlick? Babies, ducks of unusual color. Oh my!
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….
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.
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.
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.
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!
It’s an annual event in Elkins. There’s a carnival and a parade and a celebration of mountain living. I have not attended in a very long time. I remember it being very cold at that time of year. Nope. Global warming, the leaves are still all green. I don’t remember the rides much. They are $4 a ride now. And there are the ducks. They sit in the water. You turn one over and everyone wins. That was my favorite. I liked to be winner. Nope, I still don’t gamble. And, you gotta love rides that spin your brains.
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.
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.
Images are little memories. The graphic is like Le Petite Madeleine, Proust. Memories. A time past and but forgotten except for the image to call forth a memory forgotten till that moment you see the image again. Photographic memory? By my age I have so many images collected that they all seem new again. But…this image was taken in the 60’s at 15 Southgate Road. It was a brick house my mom had built. Three little pigs – remember? Not us silly….brick is stronger and lasts. The house is still there. Only two owners have lived there since mom built it. So it did last and has been cherished. The neighborhood is way different. It’s still suburban middle class. But it looks so tiny and small now. Well, the three boys grew up. I’m the oldest. John has the other bowtie. And Eric is the infant who nowadays has a ponytail. Happy birthday John. I don’t know. There are very few pictures from this time. I actually got this copy from my cousin. On the other hand I have thousands of images of my kids. They are archived and passed along to them. Better?