Pictures & Their 1,000 Words

I love when I walk in the door after an otherwise standard Saturday, January 4, and my Universe is there to reach out and offer me a fist bump.

In this case, the fist bump was in the form of a package on the table that Griff had brought inside. I saw the return address was that of a homeboy who has been by my side since 1980, so I knew it was going to be good.

I opened it, unfurled it …


The backstory? I went on a rather epic father-son trip throughout Oregon this past fall, celebrating Griff’s college graduation and forthcoming departure for the Navy SEALs by renting a VW camper van and taking off, covering about 1,000 miles of my homeland in six days — the Willamette Valley, the Oregon Coast, Crater Lake, Multnomah Falls … and *this*, right here in the photo: Smith Rock State Park.

If you haven’t seen it, don’t look for me to have any skills describing it. Just go, see it for yourself.

But the best part of this backstory is that Homeboy’s father was an amazing photographer. Honestly, hold his stuff up next to Ansel Adams and I certainly couldn’t tell the difference.

And Homeboy’s father was always one of those cool dads when we were in high school. Step through the front door and you’d find him listening to jazz on this unbelievable stereo system in the living room, sitting in his chair — ribbing us and winking about “Drive-in movie, eh? What’s playing?” as we stammered and stumbled through random guesses as the beer chilled on ice in my car trunk. 😬

Homeboy’s father passed last year, and we’d chatted at one point about all the photos his father had left behind. I’d said, “Yeah? Hey, when it’s convenient, I’d love to have one. Any one. I’m not picky. Just send me what you’d think I’d like.”

My recollection of this conversation is now slowly forming a lump in my throat as I hold this poster in my hands.


I immediately pick up my phone to text Homeboy.


Me: “Dude. Your old man take this picture of Smith Rock?”

Homeboy: “Yeah, sorry, I meant to call you and warn you it was on the way. I was cleaning up some stuff and came across it. Thought you might like it …”

Like it? Sure.


Homeboy: “Appropriate for today. He passed a year ago today.”

Love it? Definitely.


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