Category Archives: Ruins

Time and Memory

I read a quote recently from Thomas Wolfe who that is reminiscent of a recent event of some note that happened in Boone, Iowa. An event that, while it escaped the pages of the “Boone News Repbulican”, will no doubt echo through the pages of time. The quote went something like this:

“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

The event was that the boyhood home of Christopher D. Bennett was demolished. It was going to be the future site of the Christopher D. Bennett Museum, but now I suppose future generations will have to find a new location to venerate me.

I had two boyhood homes. One on West 15th Street where I lived until the 2nd Grade. It was torn down a long time ago. The only thing that remains of it is a garage that once held the Bennett Antique Store.

Between 1st Grade and 2nd Grade we moved to 415 Greene Street. This was important because it was after this move, I would meet most of the people that would matter in the shape (what there is of it) and direction (which there is even less of) of my life.

Life is far from linear, but in the story that is Christopher D. Bennett, moving to that house sent a million different things into motion. I wouldn’t be sitting where I am right now, typing what I am right now, if it wasn’t for that move.

Whether that is good or bad, you can debate behind my back ad nauseam.

I can remember having a sinking suspicion when my Mom moved out of that house that it would fall into a further state of disrepair. The house was not in bad shape, but it certainly was in need of a little love and elbow grease here and there.

I was worried that the house would fall into the possession of some notorious area slum lords, but it didn’t. It ended up being worse than that. The people who bought that were hoarders and they took a house that needed a few touches and ran it straight into the ground.

In less than a score of years, the house was condemned. Beyond reclamation. Slated for history’s ash heap.

Last Tuesday, the house was euthanized. Put out of its final misery. It was no longer a home. No longer a place of hopes and dreams. It was just a house. A collection of brick, beams, wood, pipes. It was time for it to go.

I got stuck at the computer mine a little late last Monday. I was a little behind schedule on my way home when Carla called me with the news.

I wasn’t sad to hear the news. It was actually relief. I have avoided driving down that street for years because it filled me with anger to see the state the old girl was in. After years, that rage had turned into sadness. Now it was over. I can drive down that street again.

Here are a few pictures of the house when it was a home to be remembered:



Here are pictures from the destruction of the house on 415 Greene Street:


The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

The Ruins of 415 Greene Street

I honestly thinking the house being torn down hurt my friends more than it hurt me or my sisters and Mom. It shows what it meant to so many people.

WPC – WEEK 211 – RUINS

After STREET PHOTOGRAPHY killed our double digit submissions buzz last week, RUINS brought us all the way back to the glory of double digit submissions! Woot! Woot!

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates, you came to see the submissions:


WEEK 211 - RUINS - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe

WEEK 211 - RUINS - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe

WEEK 211 - RUINS - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 211 - RUINS - CATHIE RALEY
Cathie Raley

WEEK 211 - RUINS - JODIE CUE
Jodie Cue

WEEK 211 - RUINS - MIKE VEST
Mike Vest

WEEK 211 - RUINS - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 211 - RUINS - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 211 - RUINS - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 211 - RUINS - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard

WEEK 211 - RUINS - Becky Parmelee
Becky Parmelee

WEEK 211 - RUINS - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 212 - FRAMED
FRAMED

FRAMED! What a great theme! But what is a FRAMED photo? A FRAMED photo is where the subject matter is framed by objects that aren’t the main subject of the photo. This can be done by putting your subject in a doorway or a window or through any thing that can be used as negative space. They don’t have to be FRAMED on a 4 sides. Of course, there is more than one definition of the term FRAMED.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations!

HOUSEKEEPING


A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.

OR

I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.

It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

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That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very framed Monday!

2009-02-18 – Arizona Day 4

The pictures in the folder called 2009-02-18/Arizona Day 4 are from my work/vacation to Arizona.

Jesse and I spent the night at his brother’s house. We got up in the morning and ate at a local eatery. Then we visited a National Park called the Casa Grande Ruins. I think later that day we actually had to show up for work and the vacation became work.

Here are some pictures from that day:


Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

By adding these images to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entry to it’s original glory:

Arizona Day 4

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve even more from my trip to Arizona.

Birthday Road Trip

Last year on my birthday I took a short road trip. I cruised down to Winterset to have try an award winning tenderloin. Along the way I stopped at several towns to take pictures for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT. However, I also took other pictures here and there. I reached into the backlog to publish those today:


Birthday Road Trip
I want to try this restaurant sometime soon.

Birthday Road Trip

Birthday Road Trip

Birthday Road Trip
I always get a kick out of the weird civic pride that small towns in Iowa take from the accomplishments of high school students. It is the strangest sort of immortality.

Birthday Road Trip
I’ve never heard of this Nile Kinnick fellow, but Bob Feller was a baller.

Birthday Road Trip

Birthday Road Trip

Birthday Road Trip
The more I learn about John Wayne, the more I think that he thought that he actually was the guy he played in the movies. Remember that while many leading men in Hollywood chose to serve in WWII, like Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart, Paul Newman, Kirk Douglas, Clark Gable… John Wayne got a temporary 3-A deferrment since he was a father of four, that he somehow managed to turn into a permanent deferment, even though he started having an extramarital affair with Marlene Dietrich. John Ford, the director that made John Wayne a star by casting him in STAGECOACH berated Wayne by telling him that he was growing rich as other men died. John Wayne would go on to be a right wing tool for the House Un-American Activities Committee. One of the absolute blackest of black eyes in our history. Even though Wayne was a draft dodger, he was vicious on his attacks of Vietnam Protesters. John Wayne easily slid into that world of fake patriotism. Like notorious draft dodgers Dick Cheney and Cadet Bone Spurs. They could play a patriot on television (i.e. masturbating to the flag at political rallies), but ducked out when their number was called (i.e. raising taxes on Gold Star Families). It is a strange choice for a Freedom Rock. That being said, he made some great movies.

Birthday Road Trip
“Suck it towns that don’t love their children.” – Van Meter, Iowa

Birthday Road Trip

Birthday Road Trip

Birthday Road Trip

Birthday Road Trip

My birthday this year is on a Saturday. I won’t take a birthday road trip on my birthday though. So far I have been invited to two Graduation Open Houses on that day. However, I took the Friday before my birthday off and believe I’ll probably hitting the open road that day. Not sure yet, but maybe heading up to the Decorah area.

I might be filming for my first ever (and probably last ever) vlog on that day. If you want to go, I can save you a seat in the Sir Pixalotmobile.

Who’s Afraid of Thomas Wolfe?

My Mom moved out of my boyhood home 20 years ago. I loved that house and to some degree it will always be home to me.

While one can debate whether or not the 20 years that have passed have been kind to me, there is no doubt that it has not been kind to that boyhood home. If that house were an animal, the owners would be prosecuted for neglect.

There was a time when I would even avoid driving down the street where that house sits. Just the look of it falling deeper and deeper into a decrepit state would cause waves of anger to come crashing to the surface.

Then a couple years back, I heard through the grapevine that the house had been condemned. Anger turned to sadness. While I still avoid that street, it is a different emotion that cause the boycott.

The grapevine wasn’t 100% accurate though. While the house feels like it is a good blast of wind away from falling over, it isn’t exactly condemned. It isn’t fit for living, but it isn’t condemned either. In fact, it recently was put back on the market with an asking price of $15,000.

I recently toured the house with my Aunt Linda and took a few pictures of what it has become:


Boyhood Home
The upstairs bathroom.

Boyhood Home
My old bedroom.

Boyhood Home
I would still gladly take this tub off their hands.

Boyhood Home
Carla’s old bedroom.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
The den.

Boyhood Home
The living room.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
The old darkroom.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
Basement shower.

Boyhood Home
My model railroad track used to sit there.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
Living room.

Boyhood Home
I believe Grandpa Bennett put up that thermometer.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
Garage is cleaner than the inside of the house.

Boyhood Home
No window though.

Boyhood Home
That poor owl thermometer.

Boyhood Home
I wish I could say that my old hoop was about to fall over because of my numerous thundering dunks.

Boyhood Home

Carla, Teresa, and Mom had all toured the old stomping grounds at some point, but this was my first time in the place. I was shocked to see that all the carpet and paint was the same as when Mom moved out. Okay, shocked might be overstating it.

I’m glad that the old place isn’t being torn down, but at the same time, I won’t be driving down that street anytime soon.

12December2008

Sometime in late 2008 my organizational process of my photos went all FUBAR. The result is that it appears that I have actually lost several images from late 2008 and early 2009.

None of the lost pictures are of much consequence, but it is annoying nonetheless.

Part of this breakdown in the system was that it seems that rather than breaking images into folders by date, I just dumped a ton of pictures into the December folder.

Fortunately for you, I don’t usually take a ton of pictures in December. However, this still potentially might be one long journal entry.

There are pictures from Iowa State at night, Toys for Tots, an American Legion event in Roland, Iowa State basketball, Shannon dressed nice for once, a night with the Daniels, and crayfish that took home from a Chinese buffet.

Here we go:


Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

Thelma & Louise

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Panther Candy

UNI Hat

The Great Wager

Iowa State vs. Oregon State - 2008

Iowa State vs. Oregon State - 2008

Iowa State vs. Oregon State - 2008

Iowa State vs. Oregon State - 2008

Looking at those pictures something that struck me is that I had forgotten how badly Greg McDermott had destroyed Iowa State’s basketball program. Thank you Creighton for taking him off of our hands! It is a debt that can never be repaid!

All those pictures added to the Photography 139 Gallery enabled me to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” journal entries to their original glory:

Thelma and Louise

Boone Taxi Driver

Saturday Night

Toys for Tots

Burying the Lead

Muskrat Carcass

Beavers

Plus Five

Roland, Iowa

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve hanging around the ACTORS Studio.

Throwback Boom!

As I have been trying to reorganize some old pictures, I do want to share another collection of images that pre-date the Photography 139 website.

These are pictures from before and after the Knapp and Storm dormitories were imploded in 2005.

Here are some pictures:


Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Knapp-Storm

Here is a low quality video of the buildings coming down:



I don’t know that there are any other pre-Photography 139 photo collections, but you never know.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 177 – RUINS

It would appear that the polar vortex not only crushed the temperatures, it also seems to have squashed participation for RUINS. But at least a few hearty souls got out in the weather and found something decaying to photography.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 177 - RUINS - CATHIE RALEY
Cathie Raley

WEEK 177 - RUINS - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 177 - RUINS - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 177 - RUINS - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 178 - EYE
EYE

EYE! What a great theme! But what is an EYE picture? Well an EYE picture is any picture that involves an EYE or anything that might be EYE related, like say an EYEpatch.

Of course, there is more than one definition for the word EYE. Interpret the theme as you see fit!

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HOUSEKEEPING

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date. It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

+++++++

That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very eyed Monday.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Branch Davidians

We loaded up the car and I punched the address of the Branch Davidians Compound into the GPS. I had absolutely no clue what we would find what we would find when we got to the place where 76 people died in the Waco Siege.

You see, we had stayed the night in possibly one of the worst places in the United States. If it wasn’t for Chip and Joanna Gains, Waco, Texas would have zero positive press.

When you say Waco, Texas people only think of a handful of things in no particular order:

1. Branch Davidians and their fiery end.
2. The Baylor football program and the scores of sexual assaults and rapes that they committed that were then duly covered up by the school, athletic department, and most disturbingly… the police department.
3. The 1916 lynching, torturing, burning, and mutilating of Jesse Washington. A lynching that was attended by in excess of 10,000 people.*
4. Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy being murdered by fellow Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson.
5. FIXER UPPER

I wish I would’ve thought to go see the memorial to Jesse Washington, but it was forgotten. Sorry Jesse.

But being someone with an interest in history and more than a bit of a fascination with cults, there was no way we were going through Waco, Texas and not visiting the Branch Davidians and the site of the Waco Siege.

It is not a stretch to think that it was one of the most important historical events of the 1990s. It was an event that contributed to the dangerous rise of the alt-right and was directly responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing. The deadliest domestic terrorist attack in American history. Killing 171 people. Including 19 children.

It is not overstated it to say that we would be living in a different America if the Waco Siege never happened. If you don’t know or don’t remember the Waco Siege, here is a brief synopsis from the Wiki:

The Waco siege was the siege of a compound belonging to the Branch Davidians, carried out by American federal and Texas state law enforcement, as well as the U.S. military, between February 28 and April 19, 1993. The Branch Davidians were led by David Koresh and were headquartered at Mount Carmel Center ranch in the community of Axtell, Texas, 13 miles (21 kilometers) east-northeast of Waco. Suspecting the group of stockpiling illegal weapons, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) obtained a search warrant for the compound and arrest warrants for Koresh and a select few of the group’s members.

The incident began when the ATF attempted to raid the ranch. An intense gun battle erupted, resulting in the deaths of four government agents and six Branch Davidians. Upon the ATF’s failure to raid the compound, a siege lasting 51 days was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out of the ranch. During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center. In total, 76 people died, including David Koresh.

There is too much controversy and too much backstory to really do the Waco Siege justice. If you have questions about it, I suggest you leave them in the comments and I’ll answer with what knowledge I have and what opinions I possess.

What I will state definitively is that the Waco Siege was a terrible waste of life that could have been easily avoided. It is what happens when law enforcement tries to do things for public relations, rather than for… well law enforcement. They took their mistakes at Ruby Ridge and made them exponentially worse.

I’m sure these were some of my thoughts as we pulled up to the gate of Mount Carmel. One gate was open. There was a sign that said that you could get a look around the ranch for $10.

Shortly after we pulled into the ranch a truck came speeding up towards us. Considering where we were, was a little disconcerting. The driver rolled down their window and told us that we should hurry up to the chapel. They were giving a tour up there and we could make it if we hurried.

So we bypassed the building we thought we were supposed to pay at and headed up to the chapel.

Once we got there, there was a guy there telling the story of the Waco Siege. He wasn’t a member of the Branch Davidians in 1993, but now he researched the event with David Thibodeau** (one of the few to survive the fire).

He showed us pictures of the people that perished in the fire. He showed us “trophy photos” that the FBI took after the church (they are offended by the term “compound” because of its militaristic connotation) burned completely down. If you know any hunters, you know what a trophy photo is. You can imagine what you would feel like if people took trophy photos with the remains of your friends and loved ones.

He argued that David Koresh wasn’t even doing anything illegal. It isn’t illegal to stockpile and sell firearms. While it might (you can take out the might for me) be morally reprehensible to most of us to have sex with 14 year old girls, in Texas 14 year olds can be married with parental consent. Which David Koresh did have. Yeah. Gross. Texas, Do better.

Eventually the man (I can’t remember his name) left and we were introduced to Heather***. Heather really made this a special stop.

Heather was 9 years old during the Waco Siege. She was in Mount Carmel when the siege began. She was the last person to leave, days before the final assault that ended in the deaths of almost every Branch Davidian in the building. Including her father.

If you know the timeline of the Waco Siege, Heather’s dad was the mailman that was inadvertently tipped off to the ATF’s attack by a lost member of the media. This is why the ATF didn’t have the element of surprise. This is why the raid should have been called off.

Before he died, he gave her a teddy bear and told her that the bear would watch over her until he saw her again. Then he sent her out into the “Babylonian” world.

As she told us the story she paused and then said, “I didn’t know at the time that he meant, when we see each other in heaven.”

As she walked down the driveway, she expected to be shot in the head every step she took. Finally, she reached the end of the drive and was grabbed by the police. They took the teddy bear away from her and ripped it up.

This wasn’t done (completely) out of malice though. They were checking the bear for a bomb. There wasn’t one.

Tears rolled down her face as she told us this part of the story.

Then she said, “I never got the bear back.”

You could tell with the way she said it that it still hurts that the last thing her dad gave her. The thing that was supposed to “watch over her” was taken from her, destroyed, and never returned.

She wiped the tears off her face and apologized for crying.

We told her not to apologize and thanked her for sharing such a memory to people who were basically tourists in her pain.

Then she offered to give show us the rest of the grounds.


Branch Davidians
The current chapel was built in the same place as the chapel that was burnt down.

Branch Davidians
The fire.

Branch Davidians
Trophy photos.

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Stage.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Telling the story.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Pointing out the “Trophy Photos”.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh

Branch Davidians
Heather is seated in the lower right hand corner.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh thought he was the second coming of Jesus, but this time he wasn’t sinless.

Branch Davidians
Bill Clinton was president during the Waco Siege.

Branch Davidians
Tanks crushed this bus.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
People were trapped in this storage room.

Branch Davidians
Heather’s ducks.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
They built this pool the year before the Siege. They got to use if for 1 year.

Branch Davidians
Heather was really cold. It wasn’t cold for Iowans with plenty of built in insulation.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Oklahoma City Memorial

Branch Davidians
ATF Officer Memorial

Branch Davidians
Current Chapel

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidian Memorial

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians are an offshoot of Seventh Day Adventists.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Gate.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
The road outside of Mount Carmel.

Branch Davidians
The Branch

Alamo Bowl Road Trip
Selfie with Heather.

During the tour Heather didn’t say anything positive about David Koresh. She talked about how he separated her from her dad and took over her discipline.

As a child Heather was pigeon-toed. He used to make her walk back and forth the length of Mount Carmel. He would hit her with a stick when he felt she was walking pigeon-toed.

If David Koresh would have stayed alive and remained in power, she would have become one of his wives when she turned 14.

Mount Carmel burned down when I was in high school. We watched it in class. I have seen at least 5 documentaries on it. I have seen a movie on it. Willy and I watched the WACO television show last year. The tragedy of what happened there didn’t really hit home until I was standing on the same ground where it all happened. It is something I will never forget.

We thanked Heather again for sharing and giving us a tour. I felt like a doucher, but I asked for a picture with her. She obliged willingly. She asked us to friend her on The Facebook. This made me feel like less of a doucher.

I broke my 2 month absence from Facebook long enough to become her friend on The Facebook, but I haven’t been back since. If I ever get the stomach to return, I’ll hit her up and see if she remembers us and see how she is doing.

We gave her a hug. Loaded back up in the rental and left Waco profoundly changed in a way that is hard to figure. My best guess is that it would be the way you would change if you saw the Vietnam War Memorial with a veteran of the Vietnam War or if you talked to a holocaust survivor or met somebody that was in the towers on 9/11. Something that was merely academic, was suddenly real.

We were a couple hours from San Antonio and several hours from the kickoff, but the game seemed decidedly less important than it did just an hour or so earlier.

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This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is RUINS.


WEEK 177 - RUINS
RUINS

A RUINS photo is a picture of something that is in decay.

Happy photo harvesting!

*If we ever have Youth Group again, we will briefly discuss the lynching of Jesse Washington
**David Thibodeau is the survivor that wrote the book that part of the television show WACO is based on. He was played by Rory Caulkin in the show. I can’t recommend that show highly enough.
***Heather is featured in a documentary about the Branch Davidians that aired on A&E in 2018. I have procured a digital copy of it. If you ever want to watch it, I can arrange it. But you have to ask nicely.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 176 – SURPRISE

I knew SURPRISE was a tough theme and participation took a predictable hit this week. This week’s theme is considerably easier, but you might have to go out in the -50 (wind chill) temperatures to get a picture. You don’t have to, but I know I will be! Probably. You need to be careful with electronics in cold temperatures. I know a guy who recently bought a drone and can’t fly it yet because the temperatures are just too cold.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates and temperatures. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 176 - SURPRISE - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 176 - SURPRISE - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 176 - SURPRISE - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 176 - SURPRISE - STEPHANIE KIM
Stephanie Kim

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 177 - RUINS
RUINS

RUINS! What a great theme! But what is a RUINS photo? A RUINS photo is any photo of something in decay. Not necessarily something organic, but if you feel like interpreting the theme that way, more power to you.

I can’t wait to see your interpretations!

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HOUSEKEEPING

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date. It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

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That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very ruinous Monday.