Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com


Home of Jenny the Pirate



This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.


We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.


 Nice is different than good.


Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962



Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors


I am a Blue Star Mother




Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =



The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were






Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.


Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson



When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks



 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.


Keep To The Code








You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts




Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move



Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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One Word, Luv: Curiosity


It's Christmas. Season.

Dagny is old enough this year to have figured out that Christmas involves receiving toys. She has lobbied relentlessly for a doll house to whomever would stand still long enough to listen.

This from a child who prefers playing with stuffed animals to actual dolls.

We shall see what develops.

And we won't have long to wait, since Christmas is but two weeks away.

On the day after Thanksgiving I grabbed my granddaughter, squeezed her, and said: Merry Christmas!

I wish you could have seen her face and heard her reaction: It's CHRISTmas?

Her voice went way up high on the end, the result of total incredulity.

Turns out that while she "gets" the idea of Christmas (mostly), she doesn't yet understand that technically, Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie a memory, it was the Christmas season that had begun.

Meaning, there is a whole time frame culminating in real-deal Christmas Day.

TG was out and about a few days later and spotted a metal Countdown to Christmas hang-on-the-wall thing, complete with magnet that you move through the days until the genuine longed-for day.

He consulted with me about whether we should buy it for Dagny and Audrey, and even took me to see it before making the purchase.

We gave it to them on December first and each day, they've been advancing the magnet towards the twenty-fifth of December.

Since traditionally they travel the five miles from their house to ours and spend the night for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day too, they'll have to bring it with them to move the candy-cane magnet one final time.

This will be an entertaining tradition for them, we hope, long after Dagny is able to distinguish the Christmas season from the day we open presents and eat like pigs.

Meanwhile, until recently our weather was springlike. We were sitting outside one day basking in the sun, when Dagny decided to crouch at the edge of the pool and drag a stick around in the water.

I removed my phone from my pocket to take a picture of this cuteness, but of course I was too late on the draw and by the time I clicked, she was getting up.

Resulting in a shot that I call Dagny Hangs Ten.

Little surfer girl, riding a Christmas wave. Little drummer boy, welcoming The King of kings. It's all good.

And that is all for now.


Happy Monday :: Merry Christmas Season


Destination: Asheville. Reason: Romance.

Oh dear.

The wave of gratefulness-celebrating has momentarily receded on the shore of my life -- leaving behind cranberry stains and pie crumbs -- but yet another juggernaut is gathering steam and coming at me like a runaway freight train.

This one will bring a tear to my eye. That will be from the piece of glitter I can't get out. Even for one who loves lives to pawty, it's a bit much.

So before that next frothy thundering excess of energetic celebrating -- of the ultra-Christmasy variety, no less -- hits the beach, let us pause to reflect.

I speak of Brittandrew's engagement shoot, which took place on November eighteenth in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Of which I promised to tell you. Not of the mountains; of the shoot.

It was a gorgeous day in Asheville -- a/k/a New Age Mecca, San Francisco of the East, Best Vegetarian-Friendly Small City, Happiest City (likely due to inhaling), or my personal made-up name for it, simply Hippie Town in the Pines -- cool, breezy, with a dramatic peek-a-boo sunny sky that turned silvery gray as the afternoon waned.

The seat of Buncombe County, in addition to being endlessly visually interesting, offers as many backdrops for fun, romantic shots as your shutter finger and your willing subjects have the time for.

Andrew and his Brittany were an enthusiastic, and engaging, engaged posing team. I love it when people truly enjoy having their picture taken and although these two (or at least one of them, and it wasn't Brittany) confessed to feeling a mite awkward, I couldn't tell and it doesn't show in the finished product.

First we walked in and around the Grove Arcade, a quaint shopping mall (almost everything handmade without violating mother earth, organic, sustainable, antibiotic-free, biodiverse, fair trade, and locally sourced, of course) situated in a historic building. I liked the outside better than the inside.

You've got to love winged lions perched on stone parapets. 

Speaking of pets, Rambo was along for the event. Ever-patient TG kept an eye on him while we worked.

We walked eight blocks from Grove Arcade to Pack Square. Both en route and while there, the kids endured enjoyed my instructions to kiss, hug, and the more generic instruction suggestion: stand there and interact.

Afterwards, and before proceeding to our next location, we went for a late lunch at Tupelo Honey. Their biscuits are really good and yep, there's honey, honey.

The golden hour -- which was actually in this case more like silver but no less ideal for picture-taking -- found us at the exact location where Brittandrew will become Mr. and Mrs. Andrew and Brittany Weber next March.

It's a wild and untamed stretch of land on the banks of the French Broad River, with railroad tracks nearby and a pavilion for the reception, and a long narrow island where there's a circle for wedding guest seating, before an arch of branches.

It is under this arch that they will exchange their vows.

A Norfolk Southern locomotive, 250-candela headlamps blazing, lumbered loudly through just as we ran out of light. 

The last picture we took is my favorite. Make sure you click to embiggen these landscape-oriented ones:

If you'd like to see a slide show of the entire romantic-scenic gallery, go here. Click on the white triangle at the top right to view full-screen. Prepare to sigh repeatedly at the wonder which is young hopeful love.

Good times, with even more to come.

And that is all for now.


Happy Monday


Me neither


Happy Friday :: Merry Christmas

Thankful for love

It's Thanksgiving week for me and I'm pretty sure, for you too.

That means we are all busy shopping and cleaning and planning and cooking -- and looking. 

Looking for the arrival of loved guests in mere hours that we've already begun counting down. Looking forward to sharing loved traditions, festivities, and foods.

So here, because I don't have time to finish their gallery and provide a link, and because I don't have time to tell the whole story, and because I know you wouldn't have time to read it even if I did, I provide only a teaser.

You know what it's about: Andrew and Brittany's engagement shoot.

It took place last Saturday, in Asheville, North Carolina, where they plan to be married on March 10, 2018.

Until I can do the subject justice, let me say hooray for love, and for marriage, and for sweet times with lovely beloved young people.

See you next week, when it will be Christmas -- talk about love -- and I will both show and tell you about Brittandrew's special shoot.

And that is all for now except to wish the happiest of Thanksgiving holidays to you and yours.

Oh, okay ... just one more. Click to embiggen:


Happy Monday :: Happy Thanksgiving


Love among the ruins

On Monday, Chad, Erica, and I set out for tiny, rural Yemassee, South Carolina. Specifically, we were bound for the Old Sheldon Church Ruins, in Beaufort County. The low country.

The ruins is a mystical place. Built in 1757, the church was burned by British troops in 1779, during the Revolutionary War.

It was rebuilt in 1826 from what remained, then burned again in 1865 by General Sherman's troops near the end of the War Between the States. No rebuilding would follow.

The church's ruins are so majestic, I've never seen a photo that did them justice.

But we still try. Click to embiggen:

The kids and I chose this location for their engagement shoot not only becuase of its beauty, but due to their love of history. Particularly they love South Carolina history.

The weather was perfect as only autumn in South Carolina can be: sunny and just warm enough, just cool enough, for comfort and enjoyment of the outdoors.

It was a wonderful experience, and one I will never forget.

We traipsed respectfully in and around the ruins before and after a lunch at Waffle House.

Now there's a recipe for a perfect day: Early afternoon at the ruins, take some pictures. A pecan waffle with ham-studded hashbrowns and black coffee at Waffle House. Late afternoon at the ruins, take more pictures.

Shoot until the light is gone. Drive home in the dark, tired but so happy.


i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

= e.e. cummings =


It's a privilege to be around Christian young people who are deeply in love, and who have resolutely not followed the world's example in their courtship, but rather have kept it clean and decent.

How sad that this sort of behavior is considered freakish by most people today. Young men and women need to respect themselves and one another once more, enough to honor the concept of sacred marriage.

Between one man and one woman, for life. It's a narrow path, and a happy one.

Well I guess that's enough preaching for today, except to say, TG and I -- together with Chad's parents, Greg and Jane -- are grateful to God for our children's testimony of faith.

We are overjoyed and to whatever extent you rejoice with us, we are happier still. We look forward with keen anticipation to April 27, 2018 when, God willing and the creek don't rise, Chad and Erica become man and wife.

If you'd like to see Cherica's complete engagement gallery, click here.


Happy Thursday


What goes up

Andrew was away in Knoxville for drill weekend recently, in his role as a boom operator for the 151st Air Refueling Squadron, a unit of the 134th Air Refueling Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard.

He sometimes sends his dad and me pictures and videos of his adventures as he lies on his belly in the boom pod at the rear of a KC-135 Stratotanker.

The view is spectacular and the work is pretty special too. Here's a twelve-second clip of the son and heir finishing up the refueling of an F-16. I love the hand signal of esprit de corps as the fighter pilot breaks away into the vast blue:

The photo at the top of this post is of Andrew refueling an F-22 during the same mission, last weekend.

Andrew texted me one morning to say he'd be flying directly over Columbia and Lake Murray, which is a five-minute drive from where we live.

The green X marks where TG and I live; the red X marks where Andrew lives. Now when I write that we went across the dam to see Andrew, you'll know what I mean. Those two white lines just below the X where we live, is the divided road that goes over the Dreher Shoals Dam.

Click to embiggen:

How thrilling.

Meanwhile, last Sunday, on the ground here in Columbia, we were at church. After Sunday School and until they're released to attend Children's Church classes, Dagny and her contemporaries are in the main service with us.

Dagny had been given a toy in Sunday School -- a pink-sequin-masked stuffed Chihuahua, as far as I can tell -- and she was determined to make a bed of her legs and a blanket of her skirt for the animal's comfort. Notice the dimples on her hands:

I always say, when the dimples on the hands are gone, you don't have a baby any more. We're safe for now.

After church, we were talking in the parking lot before all going our separate ways to home and lunch, as we always do.

Dagny was in some landscaping, shaking a crape myrtle to see its tiny red leaves shower down. We told her to stop manhandling the tree, and simply stand under it. She complied and I was trying to get her to talk about that toy dog she got in Sunday School.

But she was fixated on the sucker. Dagny's more or less obsessed with suckers. You should see her concentration when she's at the end of one and is biting every last sweet sticky crumb from the white stick.

So much leaves everywhere! And even more, since then. They must come down. We are inundated. It's the middle of the end.

And in two weeks, Thanksgiving dinner a memory, full-on Christmas season. And the decorations must go up.

I can't wait. I just can't. But I will. It's exciting.

And that is all for now.


Happy Friday :: Happy Veterans Day :: God Bless America


The union of time and timelessness

Last Saturday afternoon, TG and I set out for the tiny town of Union, about an hour's drive northwest of Columbia.

Union is the map dot infamous for being the birthplace and hometown of Susan Smith, who drowned her two sons, aged three and fourteen months, by sending them, strapped into their car seats in the family vehicle, into nearby John D. Long Lake.

Mrs. Smith accused a nonexistent black man of car jacking and kidnap, but the police were onto her from the beginning.

That was in October, 1994. Susan is currently incarcerated. The little boys are buried in nearby Jonesville, South Carolina.

We didn't visit the graves; there wasn't time this trip. After taking advantage of the gorgeous weather we've been enjoying to indulge in a mini photo shoot last week to Ridge Spring, South Carolina (tale to be told later), I was inspired to see and photograph Union.

I almost went on Friday, alone. I'm glad I didn't. Union is many miles off Interstate 26 and when you've used all of the light to take your pictures, that leaves the dark to drive home in, much of the way on a winding two-lane.

 My TG is happy to drive me, and I'm thrilled to ride shotgun. I regrouped, working smarter instead of harder.

So it was that the mid-to-late afternoon of fall-back Saturday, which was warm but blustery with spates of light rain here and there, found us riding the Raven north-northwest on US Route 176, enjoying finally-here autumn color and silvery light with a mist on the windshield, with no particular schedule.

Basically, perfection. 

Click on this one:

We weren't to Union yet when I saw it. On our left -- an abandoned small farmhouse, weathered gray and still standing, but with more stubbornness than substance. It stood alone in a field studded with round hay bales.

Whoa, I said as we passed a photographer's dream of a country scene. Go back go back go back.

TG -- who if you haven't yet guessed, is a prince of a man -- obediently found the first available turnaround spot, and went back. We parked in what used to be a sort of short driveway.

There was nothing and no one for miles, unless you count country dwellings spaced acres apart, and the occasional car or truck on 176. It was the kind of quiet you don't get within city limits. 

I got out of the car, wearing my camera. Holding my breath lest the dreamy beauty of the whole thing simply dissolve if I blinked, I crept gingerly on unmown grass and uneven ground, toward the house.

I began taking its picture, moving slowly around it, going in close, moving back out, pausing to look around and identify leading lines and frame up better compositions, then taking a few more.

 I even took a handful of shots with my phone. Don't ask me why; I don't know. Considering my recent record, it's like cheap insurance, I guess.

Fifteen minutes or so had elapsed when I noticed an SUV slowing to a stop on State Route 176 in front of the falling-down house. My intuition told me exactly what was about to happen.

Because as you know, I also have a record of being asked or told to cease and desist, when taking pictures out in public. 

It happens to me with frightening regularity.

 A minute or so later, I noticed that the SUV's driver (a middle-aged woman) had pulled up in the long grass in front of the house. TG went to chat with her, buying me extra time. I kept shooting.

After a brief convo with TG, the woman pulled her SUV around to the side of the house where I was standing.

TG said: We've got to go.

I looked at the lady. It's just a hobby, I said. Therapeutic.

She nodded in sympathy and mumbled something about the owners, but her meaning was clear: Clear out.

Here's where I, two days later, am struck with a powerful case of what the French call esprit de l'escalier -- or staircase wit. It's when you think of the pertinent rejoinder, too late to deliver it.

Why didn't I say (politely): Are you the owner?

The answer would have been no; she had already alluded to the owner, so it couldn't be her.

Then why didn't I say: Are you the legal representative of the owner?

I'm pretty sure the answer would have been no to that as well.

(I think she was merely a nosy neighbor with more time than she knew what to do with. If she'd been a family member, she would have said so.)

At which time I would have politely affirmed my intention to leave as soon as I was good and ready.

After all, as TG pointed out: There was not one single no trespassing sign posted anywhere on the property.

The unposted, unwritten message was clear, however: City slickers from down in Columbia are not welcome to traipse around our neighbor's abandoned and crumbling ancestral home.

We tooled into Union, where I spent the golden hour walking and taking pictures of rooflines and street perspectives and scarred spaces between buildings, strung with fairy lights -- and anything else that caught my fancy.

The sky had turned gorgeous as sunset approached. There was nobody to tell me to stop.

A fantastic surprise was a mural by Columbia artist Blue Sky, whose work I've talked about and shown you before. 

I was walking down a side street toward some interesting black-and-white stripes painted at one end of the side of a building. As I rounded the corner, I saw the spectacular mural, an homage to Union Cotton Mills.

Click to embiggen:

On the way out of town, the light all but gone, I spotted something I look for as much as I do for angels' wings in cemeteries: vintage signage -- neon, all the better.

This particular one, a battered beacon for defunct Heart's Family Restaurant, was never neon but once had little bulbs outlining its snazzy inviting shape. Alas all that's left are holes in the metal, where the lights once twinkled into humid southern nights.

The sign loomed over a series of parking spaces complete with menus and talkie-boxes to place your burger and malt order, back in the Heart's heyday. The whole thing was covered by a corrugated metal zig-zag roof that once protected drive-in diners from rain.

It was a spectacular find. I live for times when I have the time -- and am there at the right time -- to see and capture images of a South and an America that has all but vanished. It's all there; you only have to go looking for it.

Everything is all about time. And with a camera in your hand, you're always in your prime. Age and infirmity, even failures and triumphs, mean nothing. 

Wandering back roads with no pressing time limit and the only objective to find and capture something that evokes a truth with no explanation necessary -- that is, for me, a profoundly satisfying experience.

We journey toward a destination. We don't know how far we'll go, how long it will take, or what we'll find. We arrive at a place which seems pleasant to sojourn. There we linger, trying to understand and even memorialize in some way, so as to make a contribution.

One that we hope will be lasting.

Then the light fades to deepening dusk, and we go home.


To see the entire Union gallery in a slideshow, click here.


Happy Monday :: Happy New Week


Novembering :: Happy Good

I asked Audrey if Dagny could come hang out with me on Thursday this week. She sweetly acquiesced and they showed up at around one o'clock.

Audrey told me that Dagny and Erica had collected pine cones while on a walk recently, and piled them into a basket which they placed on the porch, beside their front door.

Subsequently, Dagny pointedly explained to her mother that those were decorations.

So I decided that I would enlist Dag's help in putting away my few only-slightly-scary, mostly graveyard-oriented, October lay-abouts (mainly from the dining table) and replacing them with full-on Thanksgiving decorations.

When I told her what we'd be doing, she displayed the amount of enthusiasm one might expect if a promise to play at the park had been mentioned, followed by visits to the ice cream parlor, donut shop, and candy store all on the same day.

After Dagny's midday refreshment (she asked for one of Papaw's yogrits, that being the blended yogurts TG likes to keep on hand for snacking), we traipsed upstairs and opened the bin that contains the autumnal decor.

I have a few baskets and various other things which we placed in the family room. Then we cleaned the table and prepared to decorate it.

But first, we went outside to complete the display I'd installed on Wednesday, around the green bench in front.

I'd stopped at Creech's roadside stand in Lexington on the way home from a photo shoot that day, because the mums and pumpkins are dramatically on clearance, the space needed for Christmas trees in only a few days.

All mums were two dollars (although mainly only yellow ones were left) apiece, with pumpkins and gourds going two for five. I got three mums and one pumpkin and I guess that tall one is a gourd.

If you buy pumpkins in October in South Carolina and arrange them outside, they promptly rot in the heat. It's not pleasant. I don't even try that any more.

After I fixed up the pumpkin with the wooden head and feathers to make him into a turkey, it was Dagny's turn to place the Happy Thanksgiving sign around his scrawny neck.

I don't know why she looks so miserable at the beginning of this video; trust me when I say, she wasn't. I think she was concentrating on her role in the drama and perhaps rehearsing mentally what she would say.

The word Thanksgiving is obviously new to her. She does much better with Christmas and is already talking about it regularly.

Then we went back inside and worked on our tablescape. We lit the candles and admired our handiwork.

First though, I remembered that for a long time, we've needed to update the pictures under the glass on our table.

We have new pictures of all the grandchildren, and within the next few months I will have a beautiful daughter-in-law and a second handsome son-in-law.

Dagny agreed it's more than time to shake things up, citing the fact that she was in the hospital at one time, and had been born. The whole scheme was a good idea, she confirmed.

Within the next few weeks we'll do the two couples' engagement shoots. I am hopeful that before Christmas, I'll find the wherewithal to update the table. It's a project. Stay tuned.

So here we are, less than three weeks from Thanksgiving. I am busy planning menus. It's still warm here, with highs in the low eighties predicted for the next several days.

I'll be grateful if it's cool and crisp and autumnal throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, and downright frosty after that, as we prepare for Christmas.

I think I'll get Dagny's help with those decorations too. It should be a spectacle. But first, this weekend we will Fall Back. That's always interesting.

Once, years ago, TG and I with all four of our small kids, arrived at church for Sunday School an hour early. It's never happened again but if it does, we'll do what we did that day: Locate, purchase, and consume donuts.

In other words, use the time wisely.

It's how we roll.

And that is all for now.


Happy Friday :: Happy Good Weekend