Monthly Archives: February 2013

Friday derailment and a fish that got away, with the pole.

With the boys on vacation from school,  I planned to sleep in Friday morning.  I set my alarm for 7:30, but before it went off, I got a call from my boss, Judy Meyer, about a train derailment in Leeds.  I have been to numerous derailment’s over the course of my career, with very few being the dramatic scenes that you often see on the news where the cars are on their side or look like an accordion.   When she told me that it was on Route 219, I knew exactly where and what it would be, I had been there before and figured the photos would be nothing spectacular.Train derailment in Leeds I brushed my teeth, stopped at DD for a cup of Joe, and didn’t bother to speed getting there as I knew it would be an all day affair.  The cars simply jumped the tracks, and looking at it from far away, you would not notice anything amiss until you got closer.

happyRRworkersAbout the only thing that surprised me was that I could get close to the scene and the usually grumpy workers didn’t seem to care that I was there taking photos, and in fact, two mugged it up for a photo.  That was the best part of that assignment.  I worked it for a while until I got a decent enough photo, then headed back to the office to upload it to our website.

Train derailment in LeedsIt was only 9:00 when I finished and it was turning out to be a spectacular day.  On our events calendar was a note about a fishing derby in Monmouth.  I decided to check it out.  I was not disappointed.  I got a great photo that would turn out to be the lead photo in the next day’s paper:Fourth annual Jack Traps Youth Ice Fishing Derby on Cochnewagon

I had to park up the street and walk a half mile just to get to the lake, so I contemplated just bringing my still camera and bag.  However, the allure of video, and the potential for getting great video was there, so I opted to bring the whole shebang.  When I closed my trunk, I had an epiphany.  Last week when Ryan and I were packing for his departure, we came across a bag of paracord that had been in his backpack that he had emptied.  He would not be bringing it with him and offered it to me.  It was in my car trunk now and I had an idea.  I cut off about 20 feet of it and stuffed it in my bag, grabbed my extension pole and started hoofing it.  About half way down the road, the local photographer from our competing newspaper drove past me on his way to the parking lot that was already full, but he obviously knew the guy at the entrance and was sure he told him he was just going to shoot and scoot, which he did.  He commented to me that the day before, the lake was covered in water and he wasn’t going to venture out.  It was that much more of a challenge to get a better photo and a bonus video.  He shot a few photos and jumped back in his car.  I never did see any photos in their paper from it.  I have my suspicions.  Anyhoo, I had shot a bunch of overalls and zoomed in on some of the fun that was going on and then focused on this family that I shot a bunch of stills.  There was no story to go along with the photo, so I only needed one.  I shot the photo above and knew I was all set with stills, so I began to shoot only video.  Make note of the blue handle of the fishing pole he is holding.  If you take the time to watch my video, CLICK HERE TO SEE IT, you will understand the significance in the blue handle at the end, and understand why I included the part about the paracord.

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Praise be to me

Former arena owner (Central Maine Youth, Civic  now Colisee) Roger Theriault called me today to ask about getting a photo of his granddaughter.   He made my morning as he gushed about how great a photo it was.  It made me feel good about my work.

Lewiston Rec Gymnastics

Tonight I just received an email from a longtime sports editor that made me feel good about my parenting,  and it made me feel unbeliveable.  I asked his permission to share.  He knows that my wife Ann is as much, if not more, responsible for Ryan.

Russ,

I usually don’t offer words of comfort to just anyone simply because a majority of the time people just aren’t worthy of it. To be honest with you, I don’t let people get that close because few are genuine or to be less profound –

 I know you are a compassionate, loving dad who would stand in front of a tank for his children. You are a rare breed, my friend. We stand alone when it comes to loving our children. There are so few parents who keep a vigil for their children because they are selfish bastards. That’s why I don’t judge parents by the size of their wallet.

You do that and more for your kids, and that’s why Ryan’s leaving has sent your heart into a nosedive. I am just two years away from Anthony going out on his own, and like you, the globe will stop spinning when Master Anthony ventures out into a cruel world without me being by his side.

Ryan is a fine young man, but he didn’t become a gentleman overnight. You and your wife had a lot do with him becoming this wonderful human being,  and your love will undoubtedly get him through basic training because he knows he has a dad who gives a damn about him and the things in life that really fu%$# matter. Ryan is moving on, but he will never leave your heart. You have established an unbreakable bond between father and son. You guys are solid and that is so damn cool.

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Goodbye to my best friend

Today was a long ways away.

RYANgoodbyeTen years ago I had a good idea my son Ryan would  some day join the military.  armyRY

Four years ago when he signed up for JROTC, I was pretty sure it would be the Air Force.  Ryan00143

He joined both JROTC and Army Cadets.           The physical nature of the Army and another chance to bond with those with similar aspirations was what drove him, but it was the tug of the Air Force that was his calling.  When he heard the food was better in the Air Force, I think that sealed the deal.  Plus, his Poppo was in the Air Force, and a man of tradition,  there was no question where he would end up.  An In Flight Refueling Specialist he is slated to become.  “I’ll be passing gas at 30,000 feet” was what he joked.  Basic training will be difficult and nearly an additional  year of specialized training will put the finishing touches on a young man I could not be more proud of.

Ryan00000The goose bumps on me jumped out of my skin like never before as I watched him being sworn in before jumping on a plane and flying off into the wild blue yonder today, February 19, 2013.  I was torn between the sadness of losing my little buddy and the knowledge that a young man will soon realize his potential.  I made the mistake of coming home, walking into his room and laying on his bed to smell his pillow.  I can’t tell you how torn I was with emotions, but in the end, I stopped feeling sorry for my loss and became elated that he was off to bigger and better things.    If you want to see a couple hundred photos of Ryan from now to when he was born, click here.

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