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My wide-angle adventure...Day 2

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BourbonCowboy, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. I found myself back at work today with nothing interesting to do, so I decided to try to get a few more shots of the dam (from my previous post). When I arrived at the dam, I found one lone truck parked there, but there was no one in sight. I decided to sit at one of the picnic tables for a few minutes - just to relax and enjoy the solitude. After a few minutes of sitting, this elderly gent climbed up from the rocks below and sat down beside me.

    We began chatting, as he had an old Bell & Howell 35mm camera. He told me that he was taking shots of the dam to send to his youngest son in Iraq. As we talked, he began to tell me his life story. As it turns out, Shawn was a genuine treasure.

    Shawn told me that he was 81 years old, and had been in Normandy as a 17-year-old kid during World War II. He mentioned that his 18th birthday was spent on that beach in France. He then went on to tell me of how he got out of the military a few years after the end of the war and returned to enroll in college. While he was in college, the Korean War began and ended - without his participation. A couple years later, Shawn re-inlisted in the military, only to find himself destined for Vietnam. He spent his last year in the military there in 1968...that was during Tet, folks. Some of the stories he told me were horrifying/astounding/miraculous....pick your adjective.

    When he returned to the US, he found his wife immersed in drugs and alcohol. He basically had to raise their two children alone. After an ensuing divorce, he never thought he'd remarry. However, he soon found the love of his life. They married, and had four children together. I thought that he was kidding when he told me that they had two arguments in twelve years together (That's got to be some kind of record.). He also told me of the time she wanted to learn to waltz. After teaching her the dance, they were walking home when she told him, "Hold on to me. I think I'm going to faint." She was dead before she hit the ground. A massive heart attack took his last love from him. Shawn endured several tough years after this. But he continued to try to remain up-beat.

    Toward the end of our conversation, he mentioned that he was glad that he's old...because he's tired. Tired of seeing all his friends die. Tired of being without his wife. He said he's looking forward to seeing his wife "on the other side" and being with her again. He said that the first thing he would do when he sees her will be to "shake her" for leaving him alone for so many years.

    I could've talked to Shawn all day, but I had to get back to work. I asked him if I could take a photo of him, and he offered me his camera. I told him that I had a camera, and I went back to the truck to get it. When he saw my D200, he laughed and asked if someone would need a Ph.D. in engineering to use it. I laughed back, and told him "No...but it helps." I was a bit upset with myself, having only my 12-24 with me, but I decided to try to take a decent portrait anyway. I promised to make a print for him to send to his son (yep, it's sitting on my desk as I type), and then I pressed the shutter. Tomorrow, I'll present Shawn with my work. I hope he enjoys it as much as I enjoyed talking with him.

    Just a note to the older crowd here - share your experiences with the young. You are our (uhhhh....their) only link to the past. It might seem to you that they're not listening, but the memories you share will always be with them.

    And to the younger crowd. Take the time to talk to your parents and grandparents. Listen to what they tell you. Consider them as a narrator in a movie if it helps you understand. They can give you insight that your peers can't, and they can shed light on a time that you will never know.

    As for me...I really enjoyed my time with Shawn. I hope to get to spend more time with him this summer in the parks.

    Oh, and BTW...the 12-24 can deliver really good portraits as well as landscapes. To prove it, let me introduce Shawn...

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  2. Wonderful story and an encouraging message as I age.

    Thank you!
  3. interesting and well done Mark
  4. Excellenet story. I think there is a greater reason that you 2 came into each others lives. He has a story to tell and has found someone to tell them to. You will both be richer for it.
  5. Leigh


    Feb 19, 2005
    Very touching story, Mark. I'm with you...I enjoy the stories of the older generations. Thanks for sharing your day with us (and Shawn's story).
  6. You had a stellar day Mark. I enjoyed reading every word about it, WOW!
    Great image of Shawn also, you did well with the WA.
  7. good pic and great story.

    Now, drag him into the digital age, he is not too old to learn and may make a great friend.
  8. Cougar8045


    May 25, 2007
    That's a wonderful story. Shawn is a remarkable man.
  9. I agree with that! My Grandfather decided to learn about computers at the age of 80. That was 12 years ago. It's never to late to learn.

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