If I sound like I’m boasting, then that is just too bad, because I have the best Mom in the world. Some of you may try to disagree since you are fond of your own mothers (but you’d be wrong). Sorry.
|One of my favorite photos of my Mom|
Mother’s Day is upon us and if you live 3 states and 10 hours away like I do, then celebrating the holiday in person can be a challenge. And let’s be honest, almost anything delivered by a stranger seems kinda impersonal.
Back in the old days, kids used to make treasures for their mothers at school. I am not sure that they do this anymore, but there’s probably “an app for that”, which will send a text to your Mom in emojis.
My Mom treasured our childhood creations beyond measure and perhaps even sanity. When we were moving my Mom into her new apartment I remember seeing a brown lump in her display case. I said “Mom, I hate to tell you this, but the cat got into your cabinet and made a #2 on shelf #3.” Apparently, it was not the cat’s creation but something that I made in kindergarten from clay. It was a dead ringer for a turd so the mistake was natural.
However, that was not the worst present that I ever made for her. At summer camp I found a twisted piece of wood and decided to carve an animal for her. After hours of whittling, my masterpiece of an elephant was complete. Years later she told me that her friends always got a chuckle from seeing the elephant that had a human phallus for a nose. I guess I put a bit too much detail into that part of the sculpture, but my Mom displayed it for years on the living room shelf. Talk about supporting the arts in the face of critics! Thanks Mom!
I think that Mother’s Day is a great invention because ungrateful children might overlook the sacrifices that their mothers made for them. I’m not even talking about basket-ball sized bellies for 9 months or the thousands of diaper changes. It goes deeper than that because raising a child through adulthood is even harder than carrying a half-baked baby.
Mothers are the defenders, caretakers, teachers, nurturers, disciplinarians, moral compasses and role models for us growing up. Without a woman’s more sensitive influence on our upbringing, we might still act like a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.
Mothers turn us into better adults, or at least they try their hardest. No teacher, coach, boss or priest cares more about a child’s happiness or success than a mother. I don’t know the science behind this, but I have a feeling that it has something to do with protecting your own. I can prove this with the example that parents are willing to try a lot harder with their own kids than someone else’s “brats”. Don’t say that out loud, but you might agree internally. Is that too honest? hmmm…..
I personally owe everything that I have to my parents. While I look like my father and have similar mannerisms, I owe just as much of my personality to my mother. I am not even sure that she knows how much she influenced me so I am going to set the record straight.
I have written over 500 blog articles for this blog, and my Watch Hunter blog and I inherited my love of the written word from my Mom. She is sharp as a tack and does not miss a beat. She can tell you a story in such great detail that you can skip the book and the movie too.
My mom brings people together always introducing people in a way that breaks down walls. Both my mother and father allowed all kinds of folks into our home at different occasions. They did not cast stones upon people who might be on hard times or had made mistakes in their lives. They did not see race or class as a barrier and interacted with everyone who visited with the same “make yourself at home” treatment. I try my hardest to follow their example.
I experienced compassion from my mother and learned what a powerful tool empathy could be. In fact, I have never met another like her who would go so far out on a limb to help. Even when that limb was cracking under the strain, she would keep pushing further out to save the other person.
A vivid memory comes to mind from my childhood. My Mom had befriended a coworker who became very ill, in fact, deathly so. For months she would visit him in the hospital when all of his friends and family had abandoned him. It was not a pleasant experience for her because this young man understandably went through all the stages of someone who is faced with his own mortality. He often took his rage, sorrow and manic energy out on her… the only person who gave a damn. It was the early 1980’s and this new thing called AIDS was killing gay men in epidemic proportions.
My mother brought us children to the hospital one day to visit Kerry in the later stages of his disease. The skeleton before us with purple bruises all over his body was terrifying and pitiful to my young eyes. I witnessed the great sadness and caring for this stranger that my mother had. By example she showed that sacrificing time, effort and love can be more powerful medicine than what comes in a bottle. She showed that compassion is the medicine for the soul.
My Mom taught me how to laugh… and boy, do we have a good time. Because my father was such a wildcard with a bigger-than-life personality, the wit and cleverness of my Mom’s funny bone was often overshadowed. I really don’t think people know how hilarious she is. Perhaps, I think this because I can tell her brutally honest observations that I call “jokes” and she gets them, and then tells me that I am a bad boy… but still laughs. We have many for-your-ears-only inside jokes that I don’t necessarily share with others… they would clog up their P.C. filters.
I think that I have just scratched the surface, but this is an article, not a book. Just take my word that my Mom, Carol Hughes, is an American original as great as blue jeans, apple pie and rock ‘n roll. So, Mom, have a happy Mother’s Day. The flowers in this article were stolen right from my own yard in Atlanta and are waiting for you to see them in person. These digital flowers will never fade and never need watering.
|Escorting my Mom at a wedding. I think I might have feinted during the ceremony…. oops.|
|Embarrassing? It was not as bad as my early 90’s mullet.|
I had to research Pokémon and here is all you need to know from the Pokémon Wiki: “Pokémon is a multi-media franchise that’s owned and developed by the major Japanese games manufacturer, Nintendo. It is second only to the company’s Mario Brothers franchise in terms of profitability — making it the world’s second most lucrative video game franchise. Pokémon gets its fan base hooked on creature collection — to complete what’s called the Pokédex — in order to achieve various goals and to improve their combat abilities. The franchise exists as several video games, a trading card game, televised anime, manga, and theatrical films.”
The location was going to be a driveway at her home and it was going to happen on Halloween day. I have shot weddings in driveways before. It can be a challenge to make it look like the wedding is not happening where you park your cars at night. Luckily, there was a valley of Fall foliage behind the chosen location, which is better than seeing neighbors’ houses.
We decided to make the group photos before the event to get them out of the way. I think this is great because it is time to party after the ceremony. I generally don’t think guests like waiting around while the wedding party is being photographed so this solves that issue immediately.
The setting was a tiny nook in the front yard. I tried to create the illusion that we were not surrounded by houses and cars. I am not showing the other groups I photographed, but there were many.
Because they were in untraditional wedding attire, I approached their portraits as character studies.
They defy explanation and I like that about them. The world needs more mystery in it and I hope people wonder “what is the story here?”
During a routine legal meeting, my wife and I had to sign documents and interact with a lawyer who was handling the paperwork. The procedure should have taken about 45 minutes to sign a stack of forms, but it took almost twice that. The reason it went over was that we were preached the most morally repulsive, racist and misogynistic “sermon of the 1%” by the man assigned to us.
I consider myself open-minded and independent when it comes to politics. To me, there are very few black and white answers in this world and no one party is completely right. Both have made favorable and terrible decisions that have affected Americans. I have no political agenda here except to relate a story of a very selfish and privileged man and his view of the world.
|The identity of Mr. Jones has been changed, but the rest is the truth.|
The lawyer, who I will call “Mr. Jones” (not his real name), seemed friendly enough at first. He was a Vietnam veteran and those guys automatically get my highest respect. Perhaps that is one reason I did not tell him where he could shove his opinions. I felt like I was jeopardizing our mortgage refinance if I got into a confrontation with him. I believe he thought this too, which is why he took advantage of the situation to push his unsolicited world view onto us.
At first “Mr. Jones” let us know his position on women’s roles, which seemed to be that women have the “right to look pretty” and “know their place as a happy little home maker or toy for men”. To him, women are “doe eyed” weak creatures meant to be protected by macho men like himself. He kept calling his wife a sweet little innocent thing, kinda like what some would say about a kitten in a bathtub. “Aww… bless her heart”. This was mysteriously said right after he learned my wife is a very successful and professional woman in with a “real” career.
With all his talk of protecting women, he had no problem crossing the line of decency in front of MY wife. Within 10 minutes he had disclosed that his female assistant and his wife deserved a spanking. I am sure that he felt qualified to administer their “punishment”. He started ramping up the nastiness of his randy talk from here. He seemed to enjoy being hateful towards women who dared to think for themselves.
No matter how we tried to deflect him back to the paperwork, he kept divulging less favorable stories about himself. He had been “embarrassed” on Facebook when he accidentally broadcasted crass sexual harassing comments to a young female law student who sincerely wanted to visit his practice on a professional basis. He was not sorry that he acted inappropriately and unprofessionally… just that he got caught by his wife and colleagues on this new “fangled social media”. There is a big difference there. He was actually chuckling about the incident. We were not.
“Mr. Jones” just kept blabbing, even bringing up his sexual escapades when he was a young man cheating on hist first wife. He almost went misty eyed at that point remembering those “good ole days”. If you thought “Mr. Jones” was going to stop there, then you are wrong. He proceeded launching nuggets of racial and societal hate speech our direction. He assumed that since we are caucasian too, we would be standing in his aisles with our hands in the air singing “Hallelujah brother! Preach that gospel!”, but he could not have been more mistaken. We were squirming and biting our lips.
As we kept signing papers, he “shock and awed” us with even more brain-numbing rhetoric of how the U.S. government is completely evil and mistreats rich people, and how the top “1% of society should have absolute preferential treatment” since they make the economy that trickles down for the rest of the peasants in the lower economic levels.
He said that poor or underprivileged people should be left to fend for themselves thus saving the resources of society for only the smartest and most deserving people (like him). He did not go into specifics on how that would work, but he gave an example of how some ancient societies threw deformed babies over a cliff, and he was “okay with that”. His inference was that parts of our society might benefit from a purge. Wow! Really? At this point, I started looking around for Nazi memorabilia and the quickest exit.
“Mr. Jones” was probably the biggest self-righteous creep that I have ever met. He thought so highly of himself and so little of everyone else that he felt compelled to tell two complete strangers how the world should be according to “The Imperial Emperor Jones”. He did not care how mean or ignorant he sounded because he loved the sound of his own voice. But the scariest realization is that this man was a trained lawyer, yet had no sense of decency or visible morality.
While I believe in free speech and that “Mr. Jones” has every right to believe whatever he wants and to voice his opinion, I also believe that his clients should not be subjected to his one man hate show. I am hoping beyond belief that the karmic toilet bowl of life flushes that turd as quickly as possible. Enough said.
|I was tasked to match these wonderful portraits from another photographer|
If you are the type of person who gets excited about home automation and advanced control of the distributed A/V, heating, lighting, security and window blind components in your house, then you should consider giving them a call. All the information you need is located at www.pavatlanta.com, which is a web site I completed for them last year.
I got a glimpse into what PAV does by taking photos of various installations in a recently renovated mansion in north Atlanta. At first, this may just look like a regular living room. The great thing about the home automation products is that they work in the background, and are accessed using television screens, iPads, iPhones and wall control panels. You may never even know that they are there, until you need them.
|Behind-the-Scenes: How the camera would see the terrace without my flashes|