Two days before Christmas a friend has died. Eight months ago he had a stroke and was hospitalized for almost the entire time.
Mac and I worked together for 30 years – photo shoots, food styling, cooking, eating, sampling wine and laughing, as I always waited on him to fuss at my ‘funky’ electric outlets. He would always bring me carne guisada breakfast tacos because he knew how much I loved them. And he would make special trips to find the homemade pralines that we would share after a 'shoot'. I called him the ‘home wrecker’ because of all the lights, cameras, furniture displaced, floors covered with food, Christmas glitter, and Easter grass. He patiently worked and walked around my dogs sleeping underfoot on the kitchen floor.
We were a team. The newspaper loved our work. We each complimented the other. I respected him and visa versa. He photographed my Penny for the cover of Penny's From Heaven Stories of Healing and covers for books yet to be written.
Together, shivering in the cold, we shot summer picnics in the backyard, and in August we built a blazing fire in the fireplace for Christmas photographs. He was patient, kind and a great father to his step children. He loved old comedians, Jimmy Durante, Fibber Magee and Molly, and Louis Armstrong, fine wine and good food.
Everything I learned about photography I learned from him. He helped me pick out a new camera. I would email Mac, my teacher, my photographs and without question he always said my photographs were as good as his and that I needed no more lessons. “You have the eye.” He especially loved the photo of the dog I had taken under the patio table in the shadows and sunlight. He would mention this photo each time I visited with him in the hospital.
Mac’s work was exemplary. Through the camera lens he was able to capture moments, moods and life. He taught me about all three.
He was extraordinary, when in the prime of his life he was struck, paralyzed, and slowly gave up. He was only 57.
Kelsie and I, and another therapy dog team of Karen and Chase, visited him frequently in the hospital. He would always smile at the dogs and call them from across the room. He always would smile, no matter the pain, with a twinkle in his eye. He always said he was doing ‘fine’ whenever I asked. But I knew he wasn’t.
Once he asked me to bring him a ‘double meat, double cheese, no mustard, and lots of jalapenos burger and a chocolate malt from What a Burger. He ate three bites.
My friend is gone. I will miss him.
Today my memories are suspended.
Rest well my friend. How I wish you were unloading your camera equipment and walking in my back door with carne guisada tacos to once again 'trash' my kitchen. You will live on in my heart and my work and my photographs. You were a great teacher, photographer, and human being.