Monday, July 03, 2006
The Weekend in Pictures
I take a camera everywhere I go. Last Friday afternoon, on my way to our weekly basketball game, it sat with me in the biggest traffic jam I’ve ever encountered. St. Louis’ I-270 came to a screeching halt and, like the other unlucky mid-day commuters who sat idling with me for nearly an hour, I cursed whatever accident lay ahead as I imagined yet another tailgating semi-truck spread in bits and pieces across the four lane highway.

When traffic began to slowly creep forward, it was obvious the entire freeway had been shut down. A police car blocked every onramp and, as I crept over the first rise in the highway, I saw a thousand swirling red and blue lights ahead. Whatever ugly scene I was about to encounter, I thought, was going to be god-awful disturbing.

But over the next rise, something totally unexpected came into view: A white hearse followed by 50 flag bearing Patriot Guard Riders, followed by miles of mourners. The freeway had been shut down in honor of a 22-year-old fallen Marine.
"The mourners formed a seven-mile funeral procession and drove 21 miles through empty highways, all ramps shut down out of respect for Cpl. Riley Baker, who was killed last week in Iraq."
Suddenly, where I needed to go, and how quickly I needed to get there became entirely unimportant.

I stopped by the National Cemetery on the way home from our game. The crowd of mourners was heading home and the Patriot Guard Riders were stowing away their flags.

I sat in my car, in the distance, shooting photos of the flag at half-mast and lost in thought, until startled by a frantic tap on my window. Thinking I was about to be asked to leave, I hesitantly greeted the tapping woman.

“Do you want a really neat photo?” she asked. And then, she led me down the road a bit, to a section of WWII soldiers’ graves amongst which a fawn had taken residence. Somehow, the resulting photos said more about the circle of life than those I’d intended to capture:

Saturday evening, my daughter and I trekked down the road to our town's firework show . . .

Happy Fourth, everyone and Happy Birthday to my son who turns 16 today.
I love you, kiddo.

Rhonda Ruminated at 7:06 PM | Permalink |

20 Ruminations:

  • At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Charlie

    Do the fireworks remind you at all of the birthing process? I mean, in a Freudian sort of way?

    Happy birthday, B.

  • At 4:15 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    CHARLIE: I call him my firecracker baby because he made me see fireworks. [Shudder] It wasn't a whole lot of fun.

  • At 6:00 PM, Blogger St Jude

    Happy birthday to your son. 16yrs old, my goodness I feel old.

  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger 34quinn

    Happy 4th of July to you !!! and a very happy happy birthday to your son too!!!!

  • At 8:20 AM, Blogger Nikki

    Happy belated Birthday and 4th to you.

    16! Dun, dun dun duuuuunnn!

  • At 9:22 AM, Blogger Mia

    Hi Rhonda!

    These photos are amazing. I wonder if you could find the Modzelewski family and send them a copy. I bet they would find very special meaning in this photo.

  • At 12:57 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    JUDE: I feel old, too! I cannot believe I have a sixteen year old. I'll pass along the birthday wishes, thanks!

    QUINN: Thanks, I hope you enjoyed the holiday.

    NIKKI: 16! Dun, dun dun duuuuunnn!

    Oh god, I know. This kid has already used up my last nerve, so 16 had better be a very good year.

    MIA: I'm glad you're back, you were missed. Ya know, I hadn't even thought of looking the family up until you mentioned it. There is only one listing in the entire state . . . looks like I have a phone call to make.

  • At 4:29 AM, Anonymous sume

    Rhonda, you take amazing photos. The one with the fawn is an absolute gem.

    Belated happy birthday to your son!

  • At 8:27 PM, Blogger kim

    I really love your blog :) Those pictures are fantastic too ... I think your son is very lucky I hope he had a happy birthday

  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    SUME: I don't know what to say. I've seen your gorgeous photography and artwork and you are the MASTER, so coming from you, that is high praise. Thanks!

    KIM: Hi and welcome. Grab a cup of coffee and stick around :)

  • At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Hi Rhonda!

    I'm Willow-esque. I'm also a bastard (LOL)!! It's always neat to run into others who are also adoptees.

  • At 2:56 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    WILLOW: I thought I responded to you yesterday, but I guess Blogger decided to eat my comment.

    Welcome to my world. The more bastards, the merrier.

    If you have a blog, I'd love to see it.

  • At 3:56 PM, Blogger Pendullum

    Great shots and happy birthday to you son who is sweet sixteen...

  • At 4:36 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    PENDULLUM: I'm not so sure about the "sweet", but I'll pass along the birthday wished :)

  • At 5:06 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Uh, the above should read birthday wishes . . .

  • At 9:58 AM, Blogger Kevin Charnas

    The traffic, the fallen soldier and the pic of the fawn amongst the tomb stones...and your son's many different realities going on at the sametime, life...and the cycle of it. *big sigh*

  • At 12:20 AM, Blogger Rhonda

    Kevin: Thanks for dropping in! And you are right, it was definitely a weekend of realities.

  • At 12:49 AM, Blogger Prue

    Hi Rhonda:

    I have two, actually:

    Just wasn't signed in when I was here before!

  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Hi Rhonda:

    I have two, actually:

    Thanks, Willow. I took a peek last night and will do some more exploring today.

  • At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    My name is Modzelewski, i live in Poland.