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On Wednesday afternoon, I went to Sesser to shoot a funeral procession for a fireman who had been killed the preceding Friday. He had been called out to help extinguish a fire in a semi alongside the interstate. After the fire was out and the firefighters were putting away their gear, a Greyhound bus apparently slammed into one of the firetrucks, which in turn hit and killed the fireman.

Coincidentally, the funeral took place the same day I found out Patti’s mother had died. I didn’t know the fireman, but I most certainly knew Betty Carberry, so I thought of her, some, while I was in Sesser. (Patti and I went to Sesser one time when she came to visit me. We played miniature golf at the Custard Stand — which, unfortunately, no longer has a putt-putt course.)

I was hoping to get a “John-John salute”-type picture during the procession, but I didn’t, really. I did get this one, though …

Waving

… and it reminded me of these lines from a Mary Chapin Carpenter song called “Stones in the Road,” from the CD with the same name (there are 4 or 5 songs on that album that I really love, and this is one of them):

When I was 10, my father held me on his shoulders above the crowd
To see a train draped in mourning p
ass slowly through our town.
His widow kneeled with all their children at the sacred burial ground,
And the TV glowed that long, hot summer with all the cities burning down.

And the stones in the road flew out beneath our bicycle tires
Worlds removed from all those fires as we raced each other home.

Fireman's Gear

American Flag

I love the colors of the flag against the blue and clouds in the sky. I thought about posting another shot that had no clouds and only a hint of the power lines on the right, which I could have Photoshopped out altogether — although that brings up another point that was made today at a presentation on photographing hummingbirds (more on that later): “Photoshop is a noun, not a verb.”

I think, too, that we had the whole Power Lines in Photo Debate one time in The Orchard, and I believe it was prompted by one of Jane’s photos. Which we all agreed we really really liked, but we were divided on the issue of the power lines. Which I decided, in most cases, I actually like seeing because of a statement made by a young man here in town who had returned from Iraq: He was talking about how glad he was to be back in the United States, and how happy he was to see so many familiar sights … even the power lines.

And the stones in the road leave a mark from whence they came
A thousand points of light or shame … baby, I don’t know.

I knew I’d be spending a portion of my morning at a funeral in West Stinkfort*, a town 6 miles south of here. And, although 6 miles isn’t exactly a long haul, in my mind, it still qualified as a minor road trip. (Had I known I’d actually be going to West Frankfart** twice today — once by virtue of deciding to take a “new” road — I would’ve deemed it a fair-to-middlin’ road trip … even though, thankfully, I’ve never actually used the term “fair-to-middlin'” in a real conversation.)

Anyhoo, knowing about the first trip, I grabbed a couple of CDs for the drive there and back: Version 2.0 by Garbage (primarily for the song “Special”) and the Cold Mountain Soundtrack … mostly because, during this “Hallmark Hall of Fame” tearjerker that I just HAD to watch last night, a song kept playing that reminded me of one in Cold Mountain — a movie that I really, really like, by the way. Keep in mind that I also knew I already had the Beatles’ Abbey Road and One CDs in the car, along with the 1984 Soundtrack by the Eurythmics.

Sometimes, I wonder: What do my musical choices/tastes say about me?

(Remember, also, that I intended to take Yaz’s You and Me Both with me, primarily for the song, “And On,” which I can’t seem to get out of my head these past few days, but I can’t seem to find the CD anywhere. [It’s probably worth noting, too, that at any given time, there are at least 2 CDs I have misplaced; bear in mind that I rarely lend my CDs to anyone, so it’s basically all on me.])

And On

Your mother was crying
Your father passed her a handkerchief
Their tear-stained faces
Looked to mine for a sign of grief
A thousand raincoats
Always stand around too long
I stayed to talk with you
After they had gone

The flowers I brought you
Were beginning to fade under the heavy rain
Your name on the card had run
So I tried in vain to write it again
They didn’t understand you, no
They didn’t even try
I’m so glad that you left us now
Before you had the chance to die

I sat there for a long time,
Expecting to turn and see you there
I ran my fingers through the long grass
Willing it to turn into your hair
And oh, I’m gonna miss you, dear
But I don’t have to cry
I’m so glad that you left us now
Before you had the chance to die

And oh, I’m going to miss you, dear
But I’m not going to cry
I’m so glad that your life stopped now
Before it had the chance to die

— Yaz

* — Not the town’s actual name.

** — Also not the town’s actual name.

My favorite Over the Rhine song — in fact, one of my favorite songs ever — is called “Latter Days.”

And not just because it was introduced to me by someone who has never led me astray, musically, nor because it eventually led me to the OtR message board, where friendships have been formed, connections made, that have opened up my world more than I could have ever imagined.

Mostly it’s because “Latter Days” is about heartache and loss, and understanding and acceptance, and growth, and conflict, and disappointment, and moving on. That’s what it’s about, to me, anyway, and sometimes when I hear it, it’s one of the saddest, most devastating songs ever … and sometimes, it seems so uplifting and reassuring and reaffirming, in spite of everything that’s gone on/gone wrong:

I really think I’ll be OK.

At the moment, I have “Latter Days” on my MySpace space. I like to change songs every few days, though — sometimes more frequently, sometimes less so — and I had actually forgotten which song I had on there. And so, after reading an e-mail from someone with whom I have been friends since … wow, what seems like forever (we did not attend the same grade school but went to the same Sunday school class, starting in first or second or third grade, I don’t remember which) … who is going through an extra-tough time right now, I surfed over to my space and heard the first few lines of “Latter Days,” and … wow.

Once again, it proves to be the perfect song for the moment, the context.

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