91st Birthday Season Kicks Off

After my preview presentation of Ordinary People in Altenburg Tuesday night, the staff of the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum surprised Mother with a cake, flowers and balloon, kicking off the start of her 91st Birthday Season. Several of Wife Lila’s Class of ’66 showed up, including Terry Hopkins, who came all the way from Florida.

Friend Shari and her mother attended. It’s not often that someone can say that his first high school girlfriend and his last high school girlfriend are attending an event. Brother Mark came down from St. Louis.

A very receptive group of 37 (if I heard correctly) watched my photos and videos and listened to my war stories. They were actually TOO receptive. My goal was to figure out how to cut about 30 minutes from a presentation I did this summer. Riding Partner Anne warned me that if I played off my audience’s reaction, I was going to go long, not short. That’s exactly what happened. Now I have 46 minutes to cut. I needed someone to yawn or check their watch to clue me in that the listeners were getting restless.

Thanks to Carla Jordan and her staff for doing a great job hanging my photos, offering hat-stretching compliments and recognizing Mother’s Birthday Season. I would go into more detail, but my brain is fried. I don’t see how teachers do this kind of thing every day.

No Tomatoes Were Thrown

Perry County is experiencing a bumper crop of tomatoes this summer, so I was a little uneasy about facing an audience at the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in Altenburg. Folks up in the ridges aren’t shy about expressing their opinions, and I was hoping not to come home dripping rotten tomato juice.

The purpose of my visit was to have the audience help narrow down some print selections for an exhibit this fall and for me to gauge response to to my talk about regional photography.

I didn’t do a head count, but museum director Carla Jordan said about 40 people attended, about twice what we had anticipated. It was a good group. I went longer than planned, but I didn’t hear any snoring and I didn’t hear any boards creaking that would have given away anyone who tried to sneak out early.

Brother Mark and his friend Robin Hirsch came down from St. Louis. Robin was kind enough to shoot a couple of these photos.

Last resident of Wittenburg

Joanne Holley, in the front row, left, is the last resident of Wittenberg. Her husband, Dave Holley, storyteller extraordinaire, died April 11, 2012. Two of the videos featured him and one was dedicated to him. Her daughter, Kristie, and her grandson are also in the row.

Talking photo technique

Cape photographer Tom Neumeyer stopped by to talk technique and share shooting war stories. Central High School Class of ’66 classmate Dick McLard reminded me that Thursday is the monthly brunch, but I have other commitments that day. Wife Lila would certainly be there if she was in town.

Carla’s introduction was so flattering that I wondered if  she had grabbed my eulogy by mistake. Warren Schmidt was equally kind at the end of the evening. Gerard Fiehler humped stuff out of my car and helped get the speakers working.

Sick cat excuse

Mother is an old hand at the museum, but this was Friend Shari’s mother’s first visit. LaFern Stiver admitted that she didn’t know how she was going to occupy herself in what she thought was going to be a tiny, small-town museum since I had to go a couple hours early to set up. She was pleasantly surprised to see what a great job Carla and her staff do in pulling together the exhibits.

If you’re in LaFern’s bridge club, don’t be surprised to find yourself being hauled up to Altenburg one of these days. (Shari couldn’t make it down from St. Louis. She said something about a sick cat. That sounds vaguely familiar. I think she may have used that same excuse when we were in high school.)