Mike has come a long way since I gave him his first digital camera soon after Connor was born on May 1, 2005.
Here is an example of some of his experiments with HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. I find them both artistic and pleasing, worthy to me of being made into a coffee table book with absolutely no fatherly bias having entered into this judgment whatsoever!
I believe that for best effect you should watch the video in full screen mode by clicking the icon of the arrows pointing to the four corners of the screen that appears in the lower right corner of the player once you click the PLAY arrow to start the slideshow. (Escape leaves that mode.)
Mike has his own website called Shape Shifter Images and is available for portrait and other photographic work.
I ain’t washing tomorrow. Oh, I’ll take a shower, but I mean I’m not washing clothes. Nope. I’m getting that done today.
Not that I really believe that old legend commonly thought true (audio version by yours truly) by those adults in my world when I was growing up that if you wash on New Year’s day, it’s bad luck and someone in your family will die during that year. Not that I believe that, but at my age, I’m really hoping that none of my relatives feel an urgent need to start the new year out right by cleaning up all their dirty laundry.
It can wait one more day folks. Give it a rest, please!
And maybe you and I both will celebrate next New Year’s Eve.
The visitors have gone. Recycling to do. Stockings no longer hung. Crumpled wrapping paper in plastic bags everywhere. Managed to enjoy ourselves amidst and despite the stresses of the season wrapped as they were in a whirlwind schedule nobody could control. Ate, drank, sang, laughed, talked together. Exchanged gifts as seen on TV. Played with toys. Wasted almost no time on sleep. Wallowed in the pleasures of having visitors whom I love in my home.
Not unexpectedly, acquired three almost-certain-new clients for my tech support help who were no doubt sent by Life to help me learn even more patience.
Thanks All for giving me the gift of your visit to my home.
Something about the simplicity of this video really appeals to me.
It does a good job of simulating how daughters and sons learn to cook from watching their fathers and mothers. Learning to cook is more about trying things than it is about following a recipe. As I typed the first sentence of this paragraph, I was aware that not just daughters, but also sons, learn not just from their mothers, but also from their fathers, how to cook. It serves to remind me that as time goes on, roles and families evolve.
For instance, my son Mike who lived with me from his 14th birthday forward learned to cook by participating with me in preparing our meals. Today he is the primary chef in his home and he enjoys the role. A funny aside from Morgan the other day was the one in which she asked, “Mom what did we eat before Mike was here?”
He has said he’d like to run a restaurant but I’ve always heard that is a terribly demanding occupation. Maybe Mike is channeling my uncle Pat Ross who ran Pat’s Place there on Main Street in Stone Mountain from my earliest youth until he passed away. Uncle Pat was almost always at the restaurant. I never knew of him going to a baseball game, or to a dance, or to church or going hunting or fishing with my dad; in other words, I don’t think Uncle Pat had a hobby outside of his restaurant. I suppose that is why it had better be a labor of love if one chooses to open a restaurant.
Mike posted this milestone moment on his Flickr photostream, and as a proud grandpa, I almost felt entitled to snap it up and post it here too without asking, but I did the right thing and called Mike and got his permission to post it. I’m sure you’ll find it one of those “Awwww, moments.”
Note: Please leave a comment if for any reason this video does not play for you. It is designated as “Friends and Family only” on Flickr, so I’m unsure whether everyone will be able to play it here on my site. So let me know, please. Thanks.
Looking out my office window, I can’t help drifting off into the memory that Carole and I were married on August 25, 1962, a mere 47 years ago today, at the Decatur (GA) First Christian Church. Dr. Charles Schwab performed the ceremony during which, in a move similar to that of Chief Justice John Roberts who muffed the oath of office to President Obama last January 20th, he asked me “do you Nelson Perry … etc.” But despite that glitch the sun shone brightly on our wedding day.
We left the church in the car that had been “decorated” by our friends but we switched cars a mile or so away from the church before leaving for our honeymoon in Gatlinburg, TN. And there we stayed for a few days at, where else?, the Ogle Cabins.
Our first night together , however, was spent at the Riviera Motel on Peachtree at I-85 in Atlanta. I failed to take note of the room number, I’m now sorry to recall. It’s funny to me that details such as that are interesting this far removed from the event. The remaining details of our first night together were buried with Carole on June 10th and my memory grows dimmer by the moment. Yes, I know, but I ain’t tellin’.
So today I’m going to celebrate the anniversary of my wedding day by painting my ceiling. I’m a Romantic, don’t you think?
Put on your recording of John Mellencamp’s “Ain’t that America” and read on.
The story behind this picture is that Sandy Gillis, my son’s wife’s mother, was buried yesterday in one of the most unusual funerals I have ever attended. It was solemn and appropriately spiritual, but it was unique. Sandy was a biker chick of a sort who always had a Budweiser in her hand. Her funeral procession consisted of more motorcycles than cars. The minister was the pastor of the local biker’s church, and he delivered a beautiful and down to earth message of comfort to the family. He acknowledged that Sandy didn’t crowd the pews very often at his church, but he also knew her from their working together where she had an unbelievable work ethic to the point of being thought of as a workaholic and a reputation as one who would give you anything she had if you needed it. One of her male coworkers sang “Pass me not oh gentle Savior” a capella and did a great job of it. Very moving.
Cheryl asked me to read something she had written, which I was, of course, glad to do. She gave me good material with several laugh lines, something we performers always appreciate. One of the paragraphs from that eulogy received a laugh of acknowledgment from everyone that Cheryl had nailed the image of her mom when she said,
She loved so many people it would make me mad from time to time. She would let anybody that needed a place to stay, stay in the basement. She would let you eat any of the food and drink in the house even when we did not have enough to eat (as long as you did not drink her last Budweiser in the refrigerator door) and if that happened, you caught Hell!
Mike commented that he thought Sandy “would be happy with her service.” I couldn’t agree more. It was sad to have to assemble to say goodbye, but it was a perfect celebration and acknowledgment of who Sandy was, and her spirit pervaded the crowd and the entire event.
It was nice to see people comfortable being themselves and celebrating Sandy’s life in a way that she would not only have approved of but would have happily participated in. And just as Sandy would have wanted, when the service concluded, someone wheeled a cooler filled with ice cold Budweiser up to the graveside and the scene was set for Mike to take the photo. There are others here.
Even though this was a family event and therefore normally something you don’t share with the world, I thought you might appreciate hearing about this little slice of American uniqueness. I hope it brings a smile to your face, as it does to mine.
Over the weekend, I went to Carole’s house in Lula to spend the Fourth of July with my sons and their families. On Saturday they worked pretty hard in trying to get things cleaned out at Carole’s house and then late in the afternoon Mike and Connor went for a ride on Jeff’s Artic Cat. Here is the video I shot with my new iPhone of that event. And yes, it will shoot in landscape mode, but because this was my first real attempt at a video, I didn’t think to turn it that way. As I become more accustomed to it, I’ll get better. Everybody has a first time.
Here’s an email I just sent to my son, Jeff. I ultimately addressed it to both Jeff and Mike, but once I had written it, I wanted to share it with any of the rest of you who might care to read it.
You said this, “I apologize for my lack of contact as I have been having a problem dealing with Mama’s death. This is something I will work through in my own time I am sure.”
It is precisely because you are (or I had thought you may be) having problems with your mother’s death that I wanted to make contact with you. That’s not the kind of thing you should (or should have to) work through by yourself. It is when you are dealing with such an emotional issue that you need to reach out to those you know love you and who share your sorrow and pain. I qualify on both counts.
Since I’m sitting here at the computer late at night and you’ve just written me, I’m guessing you are also sitting there at your computer late at night. I’d be happy to share a late night conversation with you by phone if you want to call me. But if you choose not to, then let’s talk tomorrow about a time when we can talk about what you are thinking and how you are feeling about your mother’s death.
One reason we share each other’s sorrows is to make our own burdens lighter. It isn’t just that I want to support you; it’s also that I believe if I can hold onto you to give you strength, it will give me strength too. I love you, but now I have to love you twice as much to compensate for your mother’s absence. Your supply of “knowing that you are loved” (didn’t even know you had a supply of that, did you?) is sort of like gas in a car. You need it refilled regularly and often, because if you go for long periods without stopping by a “filling station,” you could run out. When you know you are loved, you can endure more, you can accomplish more and you can relax more and quit doing things to get others to prove to you that they really do love you.
We’ve all been under considerable stress with your mom’s illness. We need to consciously acknowledge how that stress manifests itself in our lives. We must be aware that when we feel the need to have that extra drink in an evening or when the need to commit some sexual indiscretion shows up or when we can only see the faults in everyone around us because we are under stress, we can recognize that for what it is — our plea to be comforted and an expression of our need for stress relief!
Life is full of learning experiences. Carole’s death gives us a chance to learn to deal with loss. You’ll have several such opportunities during your lifetime; it’s just the nature of things that you will. Strive to get better each time you cross that bridge; it’s not a one-time event.
Some day you’ll get to deal with my death. There is no escaping that. Please resolve to learn from Carole’s death the lessons it has for you in how to deal with the loss of a loved one, and resolve to make sure that when you get to practice what you learned this time around the next time you have to go through this experience, you will use what you have learned to lessen the pain you experience and the pain you cause others because of how much you are hurting.
There is certainly no one right way to grieve. But grief is a part of every life. In many ways, it is also a beautiful thing, and though only God could possibly have the wisdom to understand this, a necessary thing. One would never choose to experience it, but there is an honesty in the pain you feel when someone you love is gone that is purer than almost any other emotion you’ll ever experience.
Remember, sometimes when you allow yourself to accept another’s attempt to help you, you are also helping that other person deal with his or her own feelings about the loss that both of you share.
Be honest about the pain you are experiencing and permit those who love you to try to help. You’ll be doing them a world of good. Suffering in silence only perpetuates the pain and causes pain to others because of your own unhappiness.
Damn! Aren’t you glad you were born to such a wise father?
PS Because I need to say these same things to your brother, I’m going to copy him on this message. I’m sure you’ll understand. I love you both with all my heart!