march 25, 2017

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“Make today so awesome yesterday gets jealous.” ~ Unknown

 

the fam

 

It’s been quite some time since I met up with the cousins for breakfast, so this morning’s meet-and-eat was long overdue. As always, we had a wonderful time being in communion with one another. I snorted with laughter when Renee shared a video of the aftermath of her son AJ’s wisdom tooth extraction. That kid is hilarious when he’s sober, but give him some nitrous and whatever else they had him on for pain, and he’s better than any comedian working today. I sure do love this bunch, and I’m always grateful to share some time with them.

march 7, 2017

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“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” ~ Deepak Chopra

 

old friends

 

Dad and I had a rare treat today. Mom had gotten very ill last night, so I stepped in to help. I took dad to one of his appointments with his favorite Dr. Forrester. Then, we were invited to my Aunt Charlene’s for supper with the family. Poor mom was still in bed, so unfortunately she wasn’t able to go. Dad’s BFF, Tony Adkins was there and the two assumed their normal positions. Food was delicious, the company superb. I told dad we had a good day all things considered. He replied, “Our time is always good. We go get, and take the guess out.” The Hillbilly Philosopher strikes again.

 

go get and take the guess out = live your life

january 2, 2017

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“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” ~ Henri Nouwen

 

siblings

 

Our hero continues his recovery at the VA. Sisters Lois, above, and Barbara were there when I went by. They’ve come to see him every day. I listened to the three tell some new stories (to me) of their shared childhood. The interesting thing about siblings with several years between them, and gender playing a role to a degree, is how differently their shared experiences can be. This is true for all of us of course. We’ll each recall the same event in slightly differing ways, but to hear these three recount their youth piqued my interest a great deal. No matter what stories they told, or how different the details, one thing was abundantly clear and that was just how challenging their growing up really was; for each of them but also for their mother. Their father was a miner who would sometimes be gone for weeks or months at a time. Meanwhile, their mother was a home maker trying to feed, clothe, and clean 14 children. Plus, there’s a generation between the oldest and youngest; the oldest born before WWII, and the youngest near the start of the Vietnam conflict. The first six to eight children were born in a variety of coal camps in Eastern Kentucky, and the last ones were born after the family moved back to the maternal family farm at the head of Railroad Fork in Morgan County. It is not an exaggeration to say few people can imagine such a life. While I’m very sorry they had to endure so much hardship, I appreciate the people it grew them into being. All 14 of my grandmother’s children have their own story; unique and powerful. And each one is a blessing.

 

telling stories

september 11, 2016

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“The only things you can take with you when you leave this world
are things you’ve packed inside your heart.” ~ Unknown

 

The Lykins Gang
The Lykins Gang

 

Siblings Robin Dalton and Tucker Lykins: Our families go back well before Tucker and I were born. Robin remembers my dad and some of his brothers coming to their house to play cards with her stepdad, Victor, and others from around Cannel City. Robin shared her tent with me at Pickin’ in the Park, and later in the day, we did this group picture to celebrate birthdays for Victor and one of Tucker’s grandsons (I can’t remember his name). Robin has four brothers. Tucker is the youngest, and Mike is the oldest (not pictured). Kenny, in the orange shirt, is a year older than me and Tucker. He’s holding their brother Billy’s youngest grandchild. Billy was between Kenny and Mike. In 2007, at a very young 43, Billy was taken by Kidney cancer.

 

Uncle Kenny
Uncle Kenny

 

I dated Kenny off and on through high school. We started sparking before he had his driver’s license. He would walk up Railroad Fork to my grandparent’s to see me when I was there. That was maybe two miles from his house. He must have really liked me. He turned me on to AC/DC, which is still one of my favorite bands. He was naturally an excellent football player. He always played the tough guy. That was pretty easy for him because he is a big, tough guy, but in truth, he’s a softie. Here’s a gif to prove it (he’ll want to choke me if he ever sees it).

 

silly Uncle Kenny
silly Uncle Kenny

 

I’ve always had a spot in my heart for Kenny. He’s a great guy. Always was. Always will be.

august 8, 2016

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“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ~ Mother Teresa

 

mentor
mentor

 

You first met Robin Dalton back in May 2014. We don’t get to see one another very often, but ours is the kind of friendship that doesn’t suffer because of distance. When Robin found out I was going to be at Market in the Park she made it a point to come see me. She spent hours with me, and she talked with more people looking at my work than I did. She pretty much held court with Frankie Adkins and her daughter, Amanda, below. I just love her. At one point mom (who also braved the heat to come out) turned to me and said, “Right there’s your PR (pointing at Robin). Let her do the talking. You take the pictures.” HA! Robin’s exceptional PR skills cleverly disguise her talent as a writer. Always a voracious reader, it wasn’t until much later in her life that Robin began to explore writing. She doesn’t do nearly enough of it – because she’s a work-a-holic – but she knows what she’s doing. She’s lived a dozen lives already, so I’m looking forward to her retirement when she can really put pen to paper and show the world what she’s made of. I’m going to do her PR.

 

talking to the beautiful people
talking to the beautiful people

february 25, 2016

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“Joy comes to us in ordinary moments.
We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
~ Brené Brown

 

a few of us
a few of us

 

A family photo was gathered near the end of James’ visitation. There were 53 of us still in the building. #54 was taking the photo; Nila Terry Crouch, widow of uncle Ralph Paul. Amazingly, you can almost see us all, but more than that, everyone was smiling. Our cousin Michael made a touching video montage of James that was played at his funeral the following day. It was shared among the cousins this evening, to which cousin Brian (Mr. Moonshine “Science Project”) responded, “I just want to go on record and say: We have the greatest family in the world!” I can’t top that.

 

James Trent Terry by Michael Terry on Vimeo.

june 14, 2015

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“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”
~ Unknown

 

mother and child reunion

 

You met Gunnar yesterday when he posed with the oldest living Terry, Uncle IB, with just a mere 92 years and change between them. You sort of met Gunnar last July, when he was born, yet unable to be photographed because of hospital protocol for premature babies. (you know good and well, if I could have photographed him in that incubator, I would have!) Premies, of course, have a little trouble when they’re born. Medical technology has the remarkable ability to save little guys like Gunnar; babies who otherwise might not survive. Gunnar actually did very well, all things considered, and he was home in fairly short order.

 

sweet boy
sweet boy

 

The whole family is head over heels in love with him, and like I said, yesterday was the first time most of us had gotten to meet him. I thought there was going to be a fist fight over who got to hold him. First there was my mom, then Missy, then Danny (his grandfather), then this one and that one. All Gunnar really wanted was his mommy, Brittany. Daddy Robby even tried to take him for a ride on the swing but he was having none of it (the photo is actually pretty funny if you don’t mind the fact that he looks like he’s being tortured). From the moment I saw him with all those tubes in his tiny body, I knew he was special. He is more than that, though. He is extraordinary. I’m certain I speak for the whole family when I say we’re privileged to have him join the clan. Did I mention that he’s extraordinary?

june 18, 2014

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“Accept who you are; and revel in it.” ~ Mitch Albom

Gaumer/Cardenas
Gaumer/Cardenas

A few weeks ago the planets aligned to bring photographers Sallie Powell and Crystal Heis to my office. From that conversation I was inspired to track down some old film I had never processed because I don’t have space for a darkroom in my house. I sent it to a great lab in LA called Richard Photo Lab. I thought I knew what all of the film was. Today, I scanned it. Turns out that I did not know what all the film was. For example, I had completely forgotten about this roll from 2009 of the Gaumer/Cardenas family taken the same weekend their daughter Lilia took her first steps!

 

Christmas in June
Christmas in June

 

Or this roll from Christmas 2008 when my beloved Sadie dog was still with me, mom and aunt Janet were less grey, and Mamaw was still laughing without help from oxygen and had the Christmas bow stuck to her head (a normal thing for her). Certainly not my best work – hideous, unbounced flash – but the subjects are as dear as any could be. Their presence supersedes aesthetic any day.

 

Tina in the pipes
Tina in the pipes

 

What I expected were shots from First Presbyterian Church in Lexington. Lee Bowman was still pastor, and because the pipes were still a solid color, this must have been very early 2006 just before the church’s renovation. Most of the film was exactly that, First Presbyterian. Yet, somehow I’d forgotten organist Tina Wagner climbing atop the pipes: a favorite! In any case, these treasures, each and every one, are so welcomed. There’s something to be said for hoarding film for years. It really makes for Christmas in June, and what a delightful blessing that is.

june 1, 2014

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“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
~ Julian of Norwich

 

a man and his garden
a man and his garden

 

Now that dad is older he likes to plant a vegetable or two. When he was young, the garden fed the family. When they had a garden that is. The earliest years were spent in coal camps without much food at all, let alone a garden. Dad was the second of 14 children. His brother, Phillip (below), was the forth. They both made their way out of the mountains in the army. Dad served 10 years in Special Forces. Phillip served until he retired. They’re both extraordinary men; helpers to friends and family; dedicated to God and country; and married to equally extraordinary women. Uncle Phillip and Aunt Linda stopped by the hospital while Dad and I were visiting with mom today. They’re always such a joy. I’m lucky to have such a big, compassionate family, with a dad that can grow a little garden when he wants to.

 

Phillip and Linda
Phillip and Linda

april 12, 2014

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I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.
~ J. B. Priestley

James Trent
James Trent and Mabel

This is the baby of the Terry family, James Trent, and his sister Mabel. Her twin sister, Linda, died in the mid 1990’s of cancer. James recently completed radiation treatments and is now undergoing chemo. The prognosis is not good. He’s 56.

Missy the photo bomber
Missy the photo bomber

The family gathered today in Morgan County to throw my aunt Barbara a surprise 70th birthday party. Uncle Greg and aunt Virginia’s 50 wedding anniversary was celebrated, and all of my dad’s living siblings were together for what could be the last time. James had a moment of sickness this morning, but rallied to make the trip from his home in Stanton. He hoped to stay an hour. He stayed all afternoon, even playing a few rounds of Cornhole. His faith and outlook have him outliving doctor’s expectations. We’re amazed and grateful for every day he’s with us.

a big bunch
a big bunch

None of us are promised tomorrow, so when we have the chance to be in communion with one another, and it’s obvious time is of the essence, there’s a feeling of gratitude in the air that’s indescribable. The Universe obliged in kind today. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Food and birthday cake were plentiful. The children played in the creek, hunted Easter eggs, and none of them cried. The land was dotted with wild daffodils and redbuds. I imagine heaven will smell like Kentucky in spring. Today was magic.

[siblings R-L, oldest to youngest, with deceased in {}: {Randolph d2010} Norvin (Shorty), Gregory, Phillip Ray, twins Mabel & {Linda d1995}, Barbara Ann, Lois Nell, twins Harold & Darrell, {Ralph Paul, KIA Vietnam 1969}, Charleen, Danny, James Trent]

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