Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black and White and Beautiful All Over

"Lord! Lord! My grandma taught me how to cook chicken, rest her soul! Now I cook up that chicken for all my friends. Do you know my Jesus?"

That was Mr. D as he came out singing to us as we enjoyed his wonderful fried chicken at the "Old Country Store" in Lorman, MS

Last weekend was an awesome day for a photo adventure! Rain clouds loomed over us, so I decided to shoot black and white all day. The clouds and gray skies provided the perfect backdrop. Here are some shots from up and down Highway 61 South, starting at Windsor ruins and ending up back in Vicksburg! Hope you enjoy

This old Bordon milk truck is off the side of Hwy 61 South about half way between Vicksburg and Port Gibson.

Church Hill, MS - This church dated from the late 1700's - There were graves in the back as late as 1773.

Photos of Windsor Ruins - Click here to learn more about Windsor Ruins

More photos of the day

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day After Thanksgiving - Road Trip!

As I took off this morning, I went around a curve and saw the above cross through the woods. Such an appropriate sign to start my day.

What a wonderful day of Thanksgiving I had with family yesterday. So many things to be thankful for! I saw a church sign one time that said, "Richness is not measured by how much you have, but by how little you need". Well if that is the measurement, then I am rich beyond imagination. I have a God that saved me, a wonderful healthy family, a job I love, a beautiful wife that loves and takes care of me. So with all that in mind, I woke up this morning belly still fat and full from a day of Thanksgiving food and decided to go meet with God and take some pictures of His glory.

This old barn was so lonely sitting in the middle of this huge field.

An old truck with a bucket on the front was once a powerful tool for some farmer back in the day. Now it's just rusting away in this field.

I turned off of Hwy 3 down this side road. After a few miles, I went around the corner right after sunrise and saw the sun blasting through this Spanish moss. Slammed on brakes, jumped out and took the shot.

First shot of the morning. The fog rolling off the Yazoo River. Had to climb through a patch of woods up a hill to get a clear shot. Was in a hurry, the sun was rising and hadn't yet reached this patch of cold fog. I knew once it reached it, it would be gone. After I got back in the car I thought to myself, "Walking through the woods during hunting season. Probably not good"

Well thank you again Lord for all you do for me and my family. To all my fellow bloggers and readers, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'll read your blogs to catch up with how it went for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Southern Character of the Mississippi Delta - Meet "Slim"

I was driving around the Delta a few weeks ago and stopped at this old country store somewhere around Leland, Mississippi. According to my friends that were with us, the old country store is called Fratesi's, owned by Mr. Charlie Fratesi, and has been out on VFW Road forever. My wife was with me and went inside the store, while I stayed outside intrigued by the old gas pumps. As I was walking around the outside, suddenly my wife almost burst out the door and said, "You've got to some inside, now." She knows that I love to meet people of the South and talk to them, especially "characters" or Southern folks that define southern. Well folks meet my new friend. The man pictured is mostly referred to as "Slim" he said he used to play hockey back in the day. After I asked if I could take his picture, the other guys started laughing and telling him the "Show him your teeth!" It was a day I'll never forget.

Update! 4/26/2012 - Ends up this gentlemans name is Clifton Tarpley. Here is a statement from his nephew - "To say he is a simple man but a good man would be an understatement.  I have fond memories of him taking me on my very first hunting trip out in the woods behind his old home there in Leland. I haven't seen him since I was a child."

Here is a statement from his niece - "He lives in a dream world and is full of a lot of tall tales. I bet you guys had a good laugh after meeting him. He is a great person and would do any thing he could for you. Did you know that there is a chicken farm right up the road from that store. Its owned by the Carvers. Slim has worked gathering, cleaning and packing eggs for these people for years. He lives in 1 of the Carvers shotgun houses between the store and chicken farm. Has no inside running water or toilet. He still lives like it was the 1940s and loves it. His life is so simple and full of dreams."

Update 7/2015 - Got this note from Mr. Tarpley's family today - "It is with deep regret that that i am letting you know, our uncle Clifton Tarpley passed away .Clifton Lee Tarpley (02 Feb 1931 - 27 Jul 2015) Your photos captured him in all his glory. Thanks for sharing them with the rest of the world. He will be missed."

His niece Debra Colburn wrote me to say - "The World lost a big Dreamer and one of the best Story tellers on Earth.....Rest in Peace Uncle Clifton and go tell the other Angels your great Adventures. Earths lost and Heavens gain !!! I love and miss dearly.  - Your niece Debra Colburn Kinney."

Obituary of Clifton Tarpley

Clifton Lee "Slim" Tarpley, age 84, of Leland, fell asleep in the Lord on July 27th at Delta Regional Medical Center, Greenville, after a brief illness. Mr. Tarpley was born February 2, 1931, near Charleston, Missouri; son of the late Emmett Etheridge Tarpley, Sr., and the late Janie "Jennie" (Williamson) Tarpley. In the late 1940's the family moved from Missouri to the Mississippi Delta near Skene and Boyle. In the 1950s they returned to Missouri, and after the death of his father, Mr. Tarpley, his brother Hershel, and mother moved to Washington County, Mississippi. In the 1960's, they moved to VFW Road south of Leland, where Mr. Tarpley farmed and worked on Carver's Farm until retirement.

Besides his parents, Mr. Tarpley was preceded in death by three brothers: William Henry Tarpley, Emmett Etheridge Tarpley, Jr., and Hershel Randolph Tarpley; and by two sisters: Ella Marie (Tarpley) Sledge and Annie Belle (Tarpley) Colburn. He is survived by one brother, Leo Daniel Tarpley, Sr., of Indianola; five nieces, three nephews, and several grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Mr. Tarpley, or "Slim" as he was known by his friends, was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was one of the last of his generation, a carefree, loving soul who lived life to the fullest in his simple, carefree way, spinning his yarns to any who would pause and lend an ear. The Rev'd Father J. David Colburn, Mr. Tarpley's nephew and pastor of St. Mary's Orthodox Church, Dayton, Tennessee, will celebrate a Requiem Liturgy for family and friends on Saturday, August 1st, at St. Mary's. Private interment will be in the Leland-Stoneville Cemetery. Well done, good and faithful servant, rest in peace in the arms of a loving Savior.

It wasn't by chance that I happened to come into the store that day. I figure the Lord wanted me to grab Slims photo for the world to see. What made it even better was Mr. Tarpley's family reconnecting to him through my photos. For full resolution photos of Mr. Tarpley goto and put "slim" in the search box

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall is here - Vicksburg, Mississippi

From green to orange to brown, the colors of Fall are upon us! I travel around Vicksburg with my friend Marty Kittrell and he has pinpoint precision of where just about every tree is that is changing colors in a photographic spot. The Military park, Cherry Street, and other prime locations. Photos are ripe for the picking. There is only about a two week window to grab that perfect frame. The trick is going by there every day until it's just right! Marty is teaching me the tricks.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Photography has a way of capturing a moment in time. A moment frozen that never was and never will be again. Time stops for nothing. No man, no woman, nothing. These photos are proof of that. I call them "New Growth" and they are stark reminders that through all the moments in time we experience in our life, that time stops for no one. Once flourishing buildings that were full of

life will soon fade into the landscape. Graves that mark the end of our journey will be taken over by the vines and new growth. Time stops for no one. I think that is God's plan for many aspects of our life. He tells us not to get all wrapped up in things of this world because they are temporary, but He is forever. He also tells us to personally throw off our old selves and allow new growth to take over. Growth that is centered around Him and not our old ways. In photography I love the old growth they make nice pictures, but in my life I thank God everyday for the new growth. Here is a link to all the New Growth Photos.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The year was 1943, and I was part of a bombing squadron that had already lost over 60 bombers in World War II. With 10 crew members per bomber, that is over 600 airmen lost. This day I went up in my bomber and sometime during the mission we collided in mid-air with another plane, knocking the tail section off of our plane. The collision caused our plane to turn upside down and start barrel rolling toward the ground. I was in the back and I had to pull a string to release the flight suit and allow me to move. I pulled once and it didn't release, I pulled twice nothing and I began to feel like that was it, I was a goner for sure. Then I pulled a third time and the flight suit released and I was free. With my parachute I dove toward the large hole in the back of the plane where to this day I don't know how I missed all the scrap metal that was sticking out. I parachuted safely to the ground. I lost a leg that day, but my crew mates lost much much more. I was the only survivor. I am a WWII veteran.

That was the first story I heard as I walked around the Veteran's day celebration of 2009. I was there to take pictures, but I left with many stories from the Veteran's that were lining the grass with their wheelchairs watching the celebration. The picture to the left is a picture of the Veteran that shared this story with me. Here are a few more pictures from the day's events.

To see all the pictures of the day - click here