“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” ~ Hans Selye
Weeks ago at Shakertown, the rentals and I took a brief hay ride. With Kelly and Cassie engaged in conversation, Pam and I had our own talk. She and I had a few of these talks that weekend. They are treasured moments for sure.
“Be polite. Be blind to the shortsightedness of others. Walking away is not necessarily weakness; sometimes it’s real strength. Very few confrontations are worthy of a line in the sand. Don’t seek to rule others and don’t live as if you’re being ruled. Live a life that’s honest to yourself. Love isn’t what you feel. It’s what you do.” ~ Steven Roth
The Rental Sisters and I were not alone in Augusta our first day and night. Rental Nieces Cassie and Lisa joined us for a rare young mother’s day away from their toddlers. Along the way we caught wind of George Clooney’s side business. We kept seeing signs for Casamigos Tequila throughout town, and eventually learned that this was George’s side business. (Get your minds out of the gutter!) The local pub featured Casamigos straight up and in a variety of cocktails. After a long day that ended with a nice dinner at Moyer Winery, we retired to our respective rooms. The nieces waited for us old gals to go to bed, as we learned the next morning, and then high-tailed it to the pub to try some of George’s side business. The thing I love about these two is how easily they fit in with the old crowd and still want to go out on their own. I’m so glad they came with us. Time spent with them is never time wasted.
“May you be at peace.
May your heart remain open.
May you awaken to the light of your own true nature.
May you be healed.
May you be a source of healing for all beings.”
Staying with the Clooney theme from yesterday, the Rental Sisters and I made our way to a wonderful riverfront house in Augusta, the former home of Rosemary Clooney. She is one of Kentucky’s finest exports. Until George came along she was the most famous of the Clooney Clan and rightfully so. Her voice was simply transcendent. Still is, actually. She lived in Beverly Hills of course, but she eventually returned to her home town of Augusta. As the adorable tour guide below told us, Rosemary called her brother Nick and asked for help in finding the right home to buy. This house was flagged for demolition when Rosemary swooped in and saved it. It’s so close to the river that it has flooded several times (you can see it in the last photo from Friday’s post), but they always do a good job putting it back together. Today, it’s owned by former Miss America, another Augusta native, Heather French Henry (also the wife of former Lt. Governor Steve Henry). The house is filled with memorabilia from Rosemary’s career – from the hit songs to the hit movies. Naturally, one room is devoted to White Christmas. One of the fans from the Sisters routine may have been a highlight for me. Bing and his baby blues in pseudo-drag waving that fan just tickles me every time. The tour starts in what used to be the dining room and it’s here that they display a really interesting Clooney family tree – an incredibly talented family – and some George memorabilia as well (note the football uniform behind Pam). It was a delightful tour and I was really pleased to see how nice they’ve kept it. Augusta sure has a lot to be proud of.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” ~ Audrey Hepburn
The Rental Sisters knew a lot more about Augusta than I did. We walked into an adorable antique shop on Main Street, of which there are many, to be immediately greeted by a delightful woman and her tiny shop dog named Nate (I think that was his name). Apparently, Nate had had a long day by the time we arrived. Ordinarily, so we were told, he’s at your feet as soon as you come through the door. He greeted us with a yawn from his basket behind the counter. We fawned over him just the same and continued our perusal of the Donny Osmond vinyl, vintage books and toys, and assorted celebrity photos and magazines. I was eyeing a mural-size canvas photo of a young Nick Clooney and colleagues behind an early 70’s-era CBS news desk when Stacy leaned in and whispered, “This is Nina’s store.” “Oh,” I said, as if I knew who Nina was. Stacy, who knows me all-too-well, was quick to recognize that I had no clue who Nina was. “Nina Clooney,” she whispered again, “George’s mom. Nick’s wife. That’s her at the front desk.” “Oh!” I replied, now understanding who Nina was. By the time we left Nina’s shop we’d been treated to smiles and kindness and sweet conversation. Nina was beyond adorable! We assumed that would be the end of Clooney connection for the weekend. Sunday morning, while I was taking pictures of river fog, the sisters had gotten a table at the General Store for breakfast. The first person I saw when I walked in was none other than Nick Clooney. He raised his fork to me with a smile and nod as if he’d been expecting me. And maybe he was. I found the sisters at the table next to he and Nina and two others. (What an opportune time to photograph the sisters, I thought) When The Clooney’s left the General Store, waves and goodbyes were exchanged because, of course, they and the sisters had been chatting with each other before I showed up. Nick, like Nina, was as honestly warm as could be. The Clooney’s are sweet down home Kentuckians that you can tell are pleased as punch to live in their tiny river hometown and show kindness to everyone that visits. It was an honor to be in their company.
“Be who you want to be. Be who God has created you to be.” ~ Tayvis “Tayvho” Akpan
In all the birthdayness and busy of this week I’ve not had time to even look at what I shot in Augusta last weekend. That is, until this evening. There are some okay shots, but the photo above of Pam Bick photographing the sunset stood out to me. The river is peaceful. Pam is peaceful. The sky, the sunset, beautiful. Beautiful like Pam. She’s a special person to so many. I don’t think her sisters could love her any more than they do. They adore her. And I’m very lucky she adopted me. What an honor.
“We do not have to improve ourselves; we just have to let go of what blocks our heart.” ~ Jack Kornfield
While the newlyweds were off being photographed by the professionals, a much shorter and younger couple was being photographed by everyone else. Remember I said Lucy loved everyone? She may have loved her cousin Jackson Bick a little more than the others during the wedding reception, Gigi notwithstanding. It was the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen. She wrapped her little arms around him and they seemed to dance a slow waltz without music. “The look on his face is like he’s not sure if this is okay,” giggled Jackson’s proud dad, Brett.
Everywhere Lucy went, she had hold of Jackson’s hand and took him along. Not too reluctantly, he followed. And when she stopped to get Gigi for a walk (last night’s opening photo), Jackson grabbed his Gigi, Pam, too. The four of them walking down the hallway was just about as beautiful a thing as I’d ever seen (photo below). Pictures couldn’t do it justice, mine certainly don’t. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful thing to see adults and children engaged in soul-level bonding, and it should not be overlooked that most of my favorite men also have/had important grandmothers in their lives. It’s not a girl thing. It’s a grandma thing.
I gotta say that photographing tiny people is hard when you’re not a tiny person yourself. They’re really tiny and I’m really not. But, boy, what fun!
“Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.” ~ Joyce Meyer
Lucy Barnes-Gilbert loves her grandmother Kelly “Gigi” something fierce. She loves everyone else, too, but she really, really loves Kelly and hardly leaves her side when they’re together. I think this bodes well for Lucy as an adult. Virtually every woman I know had a strong grandmother in her life. Someone who could dispense nothing but love with all the sugar and spice and everything nice a little girl can handle. Someone she loved like Lucy loves Kelly. It’s adorable. There will be more on Lucy in the coming days, but for now, just let the light of this little girl brighten your day and remind us all to not sit on the cactus.
“Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.” ~ Tony Robbins
Even though there was plenty of daylight during the ceremony, the church was dark at last weekend’s wedding. Jackson Bick, Stacy’s oldest great-nephew, son of Brett and Lisa, grandson of Pam and Joe, was in the row in front of me. He’s always been joyful with the camera, but this time he pretended to be camera shy. But not really. He just wanted to play, and so we made a game of it. He won, of course. I didn’t come away with anything fabulous, but he’s so stinkin’ cute that even my bad photographs didn’t dull his shine. Jackson might be the best behaved, most generous hearted little boy I’ve ever met. He has a smile for everyone he meets. But, then, his parents are brilliant human beings, so it would be hard for them to have anything but a sweet, loving child. He’s going to grow up to do great things.
“What’s past is past, nothing can change that. But the future can be different if we choose to make it so. We have to cultivate a vision of a happier, more peaceful future and make the effort now to bring it about.” ~ Dalai Lama
I’m not even sure what to say about these three. They’re always a joy to be with of course. Every once in a while, they get these little silly notions, and the next thing you know, the camera comes out and shenanigans are caught. I’ll tell you the truth, the Yelton sisters have enriched my life beyond measure. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I’m sure glad I did.