Growing up as a young boy in the farmland of Michigan I am no stranger to the outdoor world. Many times have I heard the crunch of snow under my boots during the frigid winters or felt sweat stinging my eyes while baling hay beneath the hot August sun. Field corn had to be planted by Memorial Day and should be knee high by July 4th. is how the old guys put it. After the corn was put in the silos in October it was also time to Pheasant hunt. A good hunting dog to have along with you was like having a multi tool at your side.
It seemed like we always had a dog around, I guess it was ours because we fed it and it stayed with us. When you’re ten years old it really doesn’t matter what kind of dog it is,….. read the full story in our upcoming illustrated book “Jimbob and the Adventures of the City Beagles
Nashville Skyline is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on April 9, 1969. Among the songs in the album was “Lay Lady Lay”. This photo was taken on I-65 southbound just north of Goodlettsville.
A waxing moon is in the process of increasing how much of it is lit, it’s headed toward being a full moon. Waning is the opposite. A waxing moon will be lit from the left and a waning one on the right. Gus Belt founded Steak ‘n Shake in Normal, Illinois in February 1934, after serving four years in the United States Marine Corps. He converted his combination gas station and chicken restaurant that he owned by the name of Shell’s Chicken into a hamburger stand. Steak ‘n Shake’s slogan “In Sight It Must Be Right” originally referred to Belt’s practice of wheeling a barrel of T-bone, sirloin, and round steaks into the public area of his restaurant, then grinding them into burgers in front of his customers.
It’s difficult to catch the wind or to harness a butterfly, it is even more difficult to explain the Blue Rose. One thing that it is, is a collection of stories with pictures and mostly true. Other than that, the what or the possibly the who, I will leave up to you. I wish I could say the Blue Rose was the result of one of my three a.m. wakings, grabbing a notebook and pen, but it was not that dramatic. Flipping through my photographs one day I ran across the blue passionflower and rose, put two and two together and here is the outcome. Having done some non fiction writing, I wondered what sort of story I could come up by mixing the truth with some ideas where the truth was not that important. While doing some research, I discovered that there are several books out there with the title of The Blue Rose but a true Blue Rose flower remains a Gardener’s dream.
The word “dream” seems fitting as this series of stories will be a journey of a Photojournalist as he seeks the perfect “Blue Rose” Story. Come along on this trip but just remember, as Ringo Starr said”You know it don’t come easy.”
Evelyn was a tall willowy woman who could look at home either back at the farm which currently was in the hands of Elizabeth her oldest daughter or selling perfume at the downtown Macy’s department store.It was 1945 and the War sounded like it was going to over soon, but right now she was on a mission of sorts per the War Department in Washington. Evelyn also was one of those people that liked to parcel nicknames, several times she had thought of this train as “The Spy Special”. Evelyn’s husband Elmer was a soldier stationed at Fort Knox as part of the the Signal Corps, whatever that was. One thing was for certain, she had to deliver these documents to Elmer.
The Station’s overnight rooms seemed like a handy place to bed down and she was just downright weary of sitting and looking out of a dusty train window. As Evelyn crossed the tile floor of the Station proper she noticed something shiny on the floor and couldn’t resist bending over and picking it up. The object was a new 1944 dime. With some hesitation she tucked the dime into her pocketbook, “Well” she thought, which almost turned into a “Well Hell”, “With all these people walking around, if I don’t pick it up, somebody else will”. Evelyn thought that she might feel guilty by picking up somebody else s money and keeping it, but to the contrary the dime felt warm and almost tingly. When she held it up and looked at it closer against the window light she noticed a man dressed in a sharply tailored blue suit standing out front.holding a Speed Graphic camera. The photographer seemed to be on a photo shoot involving one of the new Chevrolet cars that had just been produced.The thought that he must be a Picture Man instantly crossed her mind.
The Picture Man
The Picture man decided that he would shoot the blue ’67 Camaro and the black Chevelle and then take a break. He had been at the Drag Strip for over nine hours already and had been shooting cars for the last five. Beech Bend was a great drag strip but so much burnt rubber and nitro methane is enough. Besides that, he really wanted to find himself a story to write about today.
A look at his Nikon told him he had taken 238 pictures of cars so far. He was using his old and reliable Nikon D90. Last year in 2013 the camera had turned five years old which is ancient in the digital world,it had over 84,000 shutter clicks on it but it was a faithful workhorse. Almost tripping over the untied lace of his Diesels he snugged his camera and headed back to his table where his laptop and displays were set up. “End of May and already the switch is on high heat” he thought. He would go over and see Melvin at the Old Mule Concessions first and sang a cold bottle of water and then download the images. Turning his body with his camera snugged he noticed out of the corner of his vision Jackie and Bruce in the staging lanes. Bruce was a championship driver of another Camaro, a generation 3. He and Jackie were on a scooter watching the action and waiting for Bruce’s turn on the Strip. It looked like they saw him because they did a quick couples pose for the camera.
The Picture Man unlocked the gate, turned to re lock it, turned his head and stood still for a good ten seconds. What had caught his eye was a mass of tattoos. These were not ordinary run of the mill tramp stamps, these beauties were engraved garnishes of swirls, flowers and whatevers done up in blues, greens, reds and black.
They adorned the arms and neck of a, what, girl? lady?? What do you call somebody that appears to be about twenty when you’re an old guy over sixty, a girl or a woman? At least it was obvious that she was a female.
Hesitation was not one of the traits of the Picture Man but hesitate he did. After seeing Jackie and Bruce he did a quick photo shoot with the Indie Babes and his eyes were still burning. “Screw it ” he whispered to himself “I’m taking a break”. The Picture Man wanted a real break, away from the Track hunkered down with a large cherry lime slush and a chili dog at the Sonic down the road.
He couldn’t quite get his mind of the tattoos he had seen and the story that would be behind them and had managed to speak to Miss Tattoo long enough to fine out her name was Beth with a twin sister by the name of Bethany and that her and her husband had a dragster in the races this weekend.
It was time to head to the Sonic down the road for a super size cherry limeade and possibly a chili dog. He would be driving down Louisville Road which had one of his favorite landmarks….Tobacco Road,
Jim The Picture man climbed into his blue Mustang convertible, set his camera on the passenger seat and put the car into gear. He was headed to one of his favorite watering holes for a jumbo size iced cherry limeade and a chilli dog.
He had bought the car from Betterworth Motors and within a day of having it, it seemed that the car was produced with him in mind. Speaking of mind, he better keep his mind on driving the car, the signal had turned red and he slid to a stop. He looked to his left to see what was next to him and his heart did a world class flip flop. No less than a semi tractor, navy blue in color with gold lettering was next to him and when he looked closer he saw the words Carrie Anne, an eagle and a rose on the side of the cab. It wasn’t a blue rose but doggone if it wasn’t a rose on a blue background.It didn’t seem like he could reach for his camera quick enough but he did. He leaned out the car window and fired off two quick shots.
Seeing the name Carrie Anne took him back momentarily to the summer of 1967. The Hollies put out that hit and if he tried hard enough he probably could a better job of remembering the lyrics of that song than he could his granddaughters’ birthdays. 1967 was a year of war in Vietnam, riots in the cities and last time he saw his grandmother Ethel alive. He could still picture her wearing her blue calico nightgown and slippers sitting in her rocking chair and eating cornbread and milk out of a blue Tupperware bowl. That Fall he also met his future wife and bought his second used car, a 1964 Malibu Super Sport rag top.
The green light of reality moved Carrie Anne away leaving him with the smell of diesel fuel instead of the fragrance of Ambush or Tabu.The Picture Man shifted gears and made a left turn on to Nashville Road from Dishman Lane, he had decided to take the scenic route back to the Track. US31W or Nashville Road is an odd collection of new steel and shiny glass mixed in with worn clapboard , rusty cars and vacant land.He had plenty of time to cruise good old US 31 and he wanted to see if the old Cadillac was still in front of the concrete Company. The Cadillac was a 1975 and of the same color that Country Western singer and songwriter Hank Williams had died in. He was pronounced dead on New Years day 1953 after being declared dead by the local Medical Examiner. Cause of death was a malfunction of a heart valve which is a polite way of saying too much much booze and drugs at once. Blue was not a good color for him.
US31 Runs from northern Michigan to southern Alabama. South of Montgomery, US 31 is sometimes called the “Mobile Highway”. Markers in North Alabama also identify it as the “Beeline Highway”.
On US 31
Getting closer to town now he passed the Cardinal Motel where two things caught his eye and made him do a u-turn in the old Diner across the street.
What looked like about a 1958 yellow Pontiac was item number one in his sight line,. Item number two was some Babe in a Cowboy hat. He hoped that his camera battery still had some juice and his ink pen hadn’t run dry.Things just might get interesting here, it was a long time since he had laid his eyes on a good looking 1950’s Pontiac. The lady? no way was he going to guess what would come out of here mouth, she looked like was from California and in his experiences people from California did not have a sense of humor and were so poor they didn’t have two thin dimes to rub together.
To be continued……….,
Upcoming characters in the Blue Rose Stories……………
To be continued……….,
The great blue Heron stood on his spindly legs that were now covered with old age spots and moved the better of his two golden eyeballs across the marshy pond. Trying to ignore one of his brethren cousins, a Bittern, he was hoping to spear a snack with his bill real soon to help fill his prominent belly.
He had been coming to this pond for several cycles now and he wasn’t sure how many more trips he would be able to make. His bones were creaky and he noticed on the flight up here from his winter home that he now had several white wing feathers that once had been blue.
Had he been a human and able to read a map he would find that his exact flight co-ordinates were at 36° 59′ 25″ N / 86° 26′ 37″ W, or at a place called Bowling Green in Kentucky.