Approaching 66, Nov 3, Sharon Duckman has taken up pinball at a bar called Tilt in South Burlington. She will not be beaten or berated. Starting from scratch when your reflexes ain’t what they used to be is a difficult task, but with a glass of wine in her hand and a few tokens, she’s got game.
So, some people need wood to stay warm. Hard to get logs in Burlington. Only business in town. Seasonal work! Could call it an incubator?
Last great day, maybe; maybe not.
Jim O’Donnell, hobo with a car. Traveling through Burlington. Knows the street and its people. On his way to Maine. Has bags in his car where he sleeps.
Cheryl’s still on the steet with Ryan. Had her baby. Says she’s homeless and hungry.
Sam said he came from Maryland. Carried his bike on the train. Who knows? He slept on a picnic table.
A knock at the door Saturday brought bad news. Kit Stone, who lives above us wanted to know where Ann lived. Only four units on a floor in Westlake Residences. Hardly see neighbors, except when dumping garbage. Margaret Brown, Ann’s friend and exercise buddy had died from a fall in her condo. ME said she hit her head, fell and suffocated, according the Kit. Sad way to go, for sure. Before her time was consumed by loss of memory, organ eating bacteria, embolisms or gravy like blood. I’d mourn more, but I didn’t know her, except for a few hellos and good-byes. She never wanted to have a portrait. So, I don’t remember what she looked like. And I lived in the same building with her.
So, they tell you how folksy VT is, just a little community of like people living the dream. A way of life, special, they call it. I cannot tell you much about Margaret or about many people. Saw her recycling. Know she had a red Accura. Heard she was a doctor. This State can be impersonal. Lots of wide open spaces, canopied walks and only a few roads. People spend a lot of time commuting and attending meetings. Then they hunt, ski or ride their snow mobiles, if they hadn’t had licenses revoked. Kid’s sports dominate the fall. Festivals dominate the summer. Everyone rushing to go do something, somewhere. Never enough time.
Worry. Right now, I have my health and time. But it could change. I could fall. Need to be careful.
Nice place to do a crossword, eh?
One of my original guys. He’s back. So am I.
Not his real name, for sure. Had a following. Always a wise statement. Kind. Gentle. Smart.
When I walked the Lake Champlain Boardwalk, on one of our best days of the year, I saw him sitting in the same swing I shot him when we first met, all alone. I remember the guys with him. Three of them; one dead, two alive. And, I know where they are.
He appeared in my first show. Wants to see the photo. I had given him a print; who knows what happened to that? As to the future, who knows about that, either?
So, they say if you want to get a picture, find a place and sit there. Someone will come on the set to make it perfect. Photographers need patience and prayer. The camera has to be ready as does the confidence. Creativity on the run. Don’t regret not shooting. Always something happening. Keep seeing. Keep being creative. Sometimes, just the camera and the environment. Sometimes, angels from another planet.
I’m just siting around at North Beach this chilly April morning, with not enough clothes, seeing if I can shoot a selfie in not-so-good light. No one on the beach. No one on the swings. No one around. And then these women arrive. A photographer’s dream, I thought, a penguin and a zebra. Two beautiful babes on a beach in April, not drinking shots, rolling in mud or being ogled by post pubescent boys. Fellini. He would have understood. The light accompanied them, brightening up the sky, though not the temperature. Ancient aliens sans chariot. I pinched myself to make sure I hadn’t frozen to death. Life. There was life.
They were there on some kind of dare with a political flavor. Some guys challenged them to jump into the Lake, forgetting these are not the girls who went to college in the 50’s, and have every bit the courage, strength and wherewithal to do anything. And, there was something about nominating someone for something. They brought along a videographer, the type that carries a cell phone to document the action. They posed, nominated whomever for whatever and then ran into the water.
Water temperature had to be in the 40’s, maybe colder.
Not much time for or interest in a swim.
And then they were gone.
So, Spring beckons. Cars encrusted with muck and mud. Bad chemicals eat away at the underbelly.
Oh, the decisions. Should I soak or spray. No smell please. Do it yourself or let the robots at it? Do I shut my engine off? Lorin Duckman dies of CO poisoning while washing his car!
Pull up to the line. Read the signs. Stop at the correct spot. Wrrrr. Splat. Hissssss. Harumph. Creak. Creak.
Blower. Drive slowly. It’s like coming out of another dimension. For a few seconds, you don’t know where you are. Then, the sun shines and the car sparkles.