Old Guy Photography

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Diner Lunch …


Photograph By Sandra Murphy 2014

Anticipation … it can be a driving force that focuses your attention on your desires or passions … and heaven help those who impede your quest. A donut or two may be a pipe dream floating lifeless in the wind, but a semi-sinful noonday meal at the diner is altogether another proposition. It was finally time and with each short step I breathed in the excitement.

I was comfortable … I was home with a smile on my face.

I love diner lunches. Today at Dowell’s Diner in Burnside, Kentucky, I had the Blue Plate Special which was the fulfillment of all of this weeks food related daydreams, fantasies, and great expectations. The fast food feelings of want and deprivation passed into the background of my memory. I was comfortable … I was home with a smile on my face.


Whew …

The special consisted of a nice golden brown grilled pork chop with mashed potatoes formed to have a deep well of dark brown gravy accompanied by green beans seasoned with diced ham. It was just wonderful. And … the plate of delights was consumed with great gusto with only a few pauses in order to maintain a sense of decorum and the aura of being a semi-civilized gentleman.

A relaxed atmosphere brings smiles all around and the comfortable-as-an-old-shoe feeling grabs you by the throat.

It is almost mandatory that you have to visit with fellow diners and new friends. It is often surprising to find out the “Who, What, Where and When” of those sitting across or at the adjoining table. And … time seems to slow down without noticeable effort to accommodate another cup of coffee, or glass of iced tea.

Another Glass Is Accompanied By A Smile ...

Another Glass Is Accompanied By A Smile …

Important things and places seem to spawn a new perspective and sense of order. Many of the problems of the state, county and the Country are solved after a lively debate. Many of a fishing tale is told and if you believe half of what you hear within the walls of the diner you are going to have no small amount of trouble with life down the road.

I love diner meals especially lunch. In this day of fast food homogenization, a diner such as Dowell’s Diner is a treasure without question. When I grow old and retire to my rocking chair, I will speak in grand terms of the diner and the meals that often make me smile knowingly.

Condiments ... As Required ...

Condiments … As Required …




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Oh … At Times I Wept When Thinking Of Them …

I have tried to do the calculations, but do not yet have the confidence to actually put my semi-educated estimates into practice …. yet. My perplexing dilemma is trying to accurately calculate how much additional insulin would be required to afford JEMDSC_2227-1me the luxury of consuming without mercy “A” or possibly “Two” glazed yeast donuts. Since the turn of the century my Diabetic condition has barred me from such delights.

There are times when the golden brown heavily glazed pastries haunt my dreams including my daydreams. Oh … at times I wept when thinking of them. So, my obsession can be somewhat understood by those inclined by a merciful heart to be sympathetic with my plight.

Years ago when I lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia, I ate Saturday breakfast at a local diner I called ‘the Spoon”. At six in the morning my rear-end would be parked at the counter ordering up the morning Blue Plate Special. But moments before that, I had turned into the parking lot of the local donut shop, and rolled down all four windows of the car. At five miles an hour … I breathed in an aromatic cloud of fresh donut smells.

The smells were so euphoric I should have been ashamed of myself for indulging in such selfishness … but I wasn’t. 

Close to the end of the parking lot I would roll up all the windows to trap in the wonderful smell. The morning heat of the Spring and Summertime worked best to trap each and every molecule of smell into the very fabric of myself and the car. The smells were so euphoric I should have been ashamed of myself for indulging in such selfishness … but I wasn’t. Wintertime played by its own rules and it was nice to have the windows rolled back up because the severe cold dampened the usually intense donut smells.

I was and still am thankful a city police patrol car never observed my behavior of passing through the parking lot of the donut shop at five miles an hour with all the windows rolled down. It could have proved to be very embarrassing.

So, I embrace my dilemma. I know insulin and meal combinations and their corresponding blood sugar readings. A donut or two will create a large blood sugar spike which I am sure I can handle. It is the aftermath rapid blood sugar drop afterwards that is troublesome. Low blood sugar readings are dangerous. Walking into walls, falling down and the dizziness are just the start of a blood sugar drop. Low sugar also causes intense panic feelings and if left unattended death.

By my calculated estimate, I should eat my morning gruel with accompanying pork sausages, cinnamon and butter. Shortly before the midday meal, I will shoot say … 20 additional units of insulin, Next, I will ingest my delicious, hidden and shameful passion with great relish and gusto. You know a individual and their pastries can be a very personal and private matter best left to the imagination of others should they be inclined to speculate.

Next comes the waiting. If calculated correctly … nothing of interest or note should happen. Well, except maybe a lingering aftertaste of a magnificent obsession. If I am wrong … a whole other set of horrors await me. At this time … I am still estimating the pros and cons of this temptation. That’s probably not a good thing considering my weaknesses involving desserts, pork and wonderful pastries.

Next Week … Something Interesting or something current …

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From The Back Porch …


Being Inconspicuous On The Back Porch …

I am sitting on the back porch and instead of focusing the morning on small bird photographs, I am trying out my Acme Photographic Scenic And Wildlife Back Porch Photography Kit #31 With Hide In The Background Or Bushes Green Adirondack Chair And Genuine Imitation Cloth Covered Foot Stool With Attached Accessory Bag. Hard Wood Cane, Handmade Chinese Dollar Store Pottery Coffee Cup And Small Black Dog With Tennis Ball Are Optional Accessories Purchased Separately.

When I see over the top of my coffee cup a movement to my right.

There on the back road was Red Fox walking slowly down the road. It was hunting the cleared space between the asphalt and the woods. The shadowy creature was a good distance from where I was sitting inconspicuously and paid no attention to myself or the Gretchen dog who was completely absorbed in playing with her tennis ball. I was, for the moment, at the height of being inconspicuous to man or beast.


Morning Visitor … Unmindful Of Being Watched

I reached over to my green table/chair, which was not part of the Acme Kit #31, and picked up my camera. With a slow deliberate movement designed not to run off wild photographic subjects, I turned it on and squeezed off a few shots before the Red Fox disappeared. Unfortunately, the woodland creature didn’t return for a second photographic session in better light.

Being in the right place at the right time helped get the low light image of the Red Fox. Of course, being remarkably inconspicuous in the background was a major contributor to the successful frame. On this shoot everything went my way. But that is not always the case.

Many times shooting subjects are random opportunities affording little to no options concerning where, when and degree of motion. With my limited mobility I have become a semi-master at shooting out a rolled down vehicle window. Turning the car around and pulling over to an advantageous spot where I can get the frame has almost become standard shooting procedure when I am out and about.

A "dropped off and picked back up" photograph

A “dropped off and picked back up” photograph

Not too long ago, my wife would drop me off on the side of the road when there was no pullover spots to shoot from. She would circle around the countryside and come back a while later. The system worked wonderfully as long as I gave her no reason not to pick me up.

Standing out in  the middle of nowhere is a great inducement to practice good, if not exceptional, marital behavior.

Shooting opportunities have a habit of showing up silently, but often quickly. I try to place myself in  a position to take advantage of opportunities often by simply waiting with diligence and patience. And yes, a great deal of visual information and imagery passes in front of the back porch or out the car window. Yeah … I am fortunate that way.

I also go few places without a camera. That simple fact is important. How would it look if a majestic occurrence appeared in front of my car or aliens from a distant planet landed in the back forty and I was without a way to document the momentous occasion.  That would be bad to say the least.

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It’s Dialysis Day …


My Sweetheart And Gretchen

Up early and dragging a bit. The target time is nine forty-five in the morning and then on the road. Rain, shine, snow, or freezing temperatures, it doesn’t matter, the routine is unyielding and demanding. Five-thirty in the morning and getting into and starting up the car after an ice storm… no problem. Hot water poured on frozen door seams will get the door open despite how much they resist or protest. Five-thirty in the morning and eighty smothery degrees that take your breath away … no problem. Just crank that air conditioner up and put an extra gallon of gasoline in the tank.

Thirty-eight miles down the road lies Somerset, Kentucky and the dialysis center. When she is called back and gets weighed, I help by placing her purse, drink, lunch and seat cushion in the proper place on or next to her reclining chair. It is only a moment before she is ready for me to cover her with a treasured quilt. At that point, I have to leave. I am also left to my own devices for the next four hours.

I cannot imagine being plugged up to a machine and having to sit still for four very long hours. I have to admire her courage and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Without obedience to the rules regarding kidney failure, diet and dialysis treatments, this life and all its wonderful attributes would be forfeited. Dialysis is an unrelenting taskmaster. The treatment regime for my Sweetheart is four hours a day three times a week.

It has been nearly a year since my Sweetheart started dialysis. The treatments are hard on her and at times she can barely walk to the car and suffers with a thirty minute memory. This loss of memory seems the to be the hardest hardest factor to accept. It can be heartbreaking to witness my Sweetheart disappearing before my eyes. Her memory loss combined with her Meniere’s Disease make her daily life difficult and frustrates her to no end. Her driving days like many other daily tasks taken for granted ended with the Meniere’s diagnosis. So … there are good days and bad days.

I have been well schooled on how laundry is folded correctly.

Since my Sweetheart can no longer climb or go down stairs, I go to the basement and do all the laundry. My laundry education included the proper use and application of wire hangers and how to fold, but not wrinkle non-hanger clothes. Yep, I have been well schooled on how laundry is folded correctly. I also cook her breakfast most days so she has time with her morning getting ready to travel routine. She tires out with a little physical exertion and that is frustrating for her. So saving her minutes here and there add up quickly.

On off days she has started sitting out with me on the front or rear porch. There we throw peanuts to the Blue Jays. We are able on most of those mornings to relax, drink our coffee and play with the Gretchen dog without interruption. That is a good and welcomed thing to experience. Finding out place on the normal scale has been difficult at times. But we do what has to be done and then go on from  there. All in all, we are blessed and fortunate to have each other and share our lives with determination, perseverance, love and faith.


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