—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

775 393-9529

Day 234, Dustin and Kevin.

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Here are our friends Dustin and Kevin, who surprised us out on our bridge this Christmas Eve Morning.

It was snowing when we got up and I shoveled the driveway before we left, cuz I’ve learned if I drive over and pack down the snow, before we go downtown, it turns to ice before we get back and our wheels slip and slid and I wind up parking in the street.

So even though it was snowing, I shoveled anyway.

“You know what would really be neat?” Vesta said as we backed down the driveway.

“What?”

“If there was somebody waiting for us, so we could take the picture quick and get back to our toasty warm house.” She sighed. “Because it’s Christmas Eve and I just don’t think there are going to be many people out and about this early.”

And her wish was answered, cuz when we got to the bridge, there was a car parked on it and we pulled up right behind. And Dustin and Kevin got out.

“Oh boy!” Vesta was excited. She got outta the car, went over and hugged them.

“We wanted to be your Christmas Eve photo.” Dustin handing me a clear package of gingerbread men and some banana bread. “This might bust your diet.”

And it busted it the second we got home. Thanks, Dustin.

I made the photograph. We talked for a few minutes. And then we went home.

“That was really special that they came out,” Vesta said. “It made my day.”

Day 233, Megan and Kyle.

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Here are Megan and Kyle, who Vesta and I caught on their way to the gym at 7:15 this morning. We got to our bridge at 7:00. Said hello to Don, who came by and who we photographed way back on Day Seven. Then that same lady who always says no came by and she said no again.

And then there was nobody but me and Vesta, so we started toward the Reno Sign, but we only got about half a block from the bridge, when along came smiling and happy Megan and Kyle, who didn’t ask why, they just smiled and waited for me to snap the shutter.

But I told them anyway.

Then we went back to our car, only to find Gary, who we photographed on Day Fifty, getting his fishing gear out of his trunk. He was parked right in front of us, so we talked for a bit and he wanted to know could we photograph him again and I laughed as I told him one to a customer.

“Of course I did her a couple times.” I pointed my thumb at Vesta.

“I understand that,” Jerry said. “She’s special.”

I laughed and stepped backward, into the street, cuz I was gonna get in the car.

“Stop!” Jerry and Vesta screamed in unison.

And I stopped, cuz, well they were shouting at me.

And a bus roared by, missing me by about a foot, maybe less. If they wouldn’t’ve shouted, I’d’a been toast.

“You almost ruined my day,” Jerry said. “I’d’a had to spend my morning cleaning your splatter of my car instead of fishing.”

“You big dummy.” Vesta smacked me. “How many times have I told you to look before you step into the street.”

“A lot,” I said.

Back in the car, Vesta said, “Megan and Kyle, I think they’re the happiest people we’ve photographed out here.”

“They seemed pretty gosh darned happy.”

“Young love,” Vesta said.

“How do you know?”

“It’s what I wanna think.” Then she punched me in the arm. “You know what else I think?”

“I’m afraid to ask.”

“I think you should look before you step in the street.” She punched me again.

Day 232, Michael.

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This is Michael at 7:03 this morning. We caught him as he was on his way to work.

It didn’t seem that cold when we pulled out of the garage at five till. And we didn’t turn the heater on in the car. But when we got out of the car at our bridge, it was freezing to beat the band, cuz the wind was blowing stink. Twenty-five knots easy, maybe more.

It was cold.

We were barely out of the car when Michael came zooming down the street on his bike.

“Stop!” I shouted.

“Wait!” Vesta shouted even louder than me.

He flew by, turned to look at the crazy shouters, who were now waving their arms, and he hit his brakes, spun his bike around and came back.

I told him about our project and asked if we could make his photograph and said yes.

Then he was off to work and we were off to home. He bikes to work at the speed of sound everyday, Michael does. That’s a good way to stay in shape, but I might be afraid to peddle a bike as fast as he does, cuz if you fall, OUCH.

Day 231, Francisca and Valenti.

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Here are Valenti and Francisca who we met earlier this morning on our bridge. They were pleased to let us take their photo after Vesta told them about our project. And when she asked why there were out so early, Valenti said they had to go to court to pay a ticket.

And then I told them I didn’t envy them, cuz Vesta got a speeding ticket and what a hassle that was.S was roaring down Sierra at thirty-seven miles an hour when the sign was clearly marked twenty-five. Devon thought it was over the top funny, cuz she was going so slow.

She’d just made the left turn from 55mph McCarran, where San Rafael Park is, and the sign was right there. She shoulda slammed on the brakes, laid rubber all over the road, smoked those tires. That way the two motorcycle cops, who like to sit at the bottom of the hill, might not have written her up.

Now, she’s marked for life.

Day 230, Harry.

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This is Harry. Vesta and I have seen him riding his bike on our bridge before, but we’ve never stopped him, cuz it seems kinda rude, you know, to stop a bike rider or a jogger out getting their exercise.

But it was COLD.

So when he came riding toward us, I held up my hand, palm toward him, making the international hand sign for “Stop!”

And he stopped.

And I told him about our project and he said I could make his photograph, so I did.

And as usual, Vesta asked him what he was doing out, though we knew he was bike riding for exercise and he confirmed it.

“I ride every morning,” he said.

“Are you going to church this morning? Vesta said. There was just something about him. Maybe his soft spoken voice or the way he carried himself, that made you know he held God close.

“I’m thinking about starting again,” he said, “but for now, on Sunday, I feed the ducks.”

And you know what? For a guy with God in his heart, as far as church on Sunday goes, feeding the ducks is good enough. No, it’s way better than good enough.

Day 229, Cason.

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Meet Cason, we met him at the entrance to the Virginia Street Bridge project. I asked could I take his photo and he said yes straightaway. Well, straightaway after I told him about our project. But just before I snapped the shutter, he pulled off his hardhat, which is why his hair is in, according to Vesta, such a heart throbbing mess.

It was kinda cold when we got to our bridge, I hate to think I’m getting used to it, cuz who wants to be out in the cold so much it seems normal. But it looked like and smelled like it was gonna start raining any second and it’s Saturday, so no one was out, hustling and bustling to get to work. In fact, like weekends in the past, the only others on our bridge were ghosts and they don’t photograph well.

So that’s why we headed straight to the new bridge project and Cason was at his truck, getting ready to go to work.

He’s a grade setter and grade setters make sure stuff is level, you know, the concrete on a construction site for example. Cason said he writes stuff on little flags he puts in the ground and I’m guessing that others read what he writes and set or pour the concrete accordingly. If I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me in the comments.

I processed Cason in Black and White, cuz I love black and white and a lot of my faces are rendered without color. But, you know who, wanted this guy in color, because she says, he’s so bloody good looking.

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So, for her, here he is in living color.

I’d write more, but I’m thinking it’s time I directed Vesta to a cold shower.

Day 228, Del.

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This is Del, on our bridge in the Dawn’s Early Light. Del is a Star Wars fan. And who isn’t. Oh yeah, Anicia isn’t and I don’t know why. She should be. Anyway, we caught Del by the Theater and since he had a Star Wars shirt on, I asked was he going to see the movie today and he said he was.

Then I took his photograph as Luis was taking mine. Okay, he wasn’t actually taking mine, he was filming (do they still say filming? Shooting maybe) me and Vesta for Landon, who is on the morning program, which airs on Channel 2 KTVN in Reno. The one with me and Vesta will air on Monday. I don’t know the exact time. But Landon said he’s gonna let me know.

I was a bit gun shy about saying anything, cuz when I was interviewed for that Bob Dylan documentary, I told the whole world. I spent three hours behind the camera and I was cut from the film. Every little bit of the footage with me in it, not used. Boy did I feel dumb.

So I wasn’t gonna mention this, until it was actually live on air. But Landon assured me, that unless some major calamity affects the United States or the whole wide world, this was gonna be on the TV and on the Internet too, so everybody reading this will be able so see just how awkward I am on their screens at home. Fortunately, Vesta was with me and hopefully everybody will be watching her and not me.

As for Star Wars today. Vesta and I have been at the opening day showing for every one of them, except the first one and that was because we didn’t know what it was all about. However, we did see in on the second day.

I remember standing in line in Trinidad for the one with stoopid kid Anakin and the even stupider Jar Jar Binks character. That was an experience, cuz everybody waiting to get inside, and we’re talking a heck of a lot of people, was smoking you know what. And when we did get in, the theater quickly filled up with a ganja cloud almost too think to see thru.

Fortunately for the people who own the Globe theater in downtown Port of Spain, the patrons were all too stoned to ask for their money back, so they only registered their displeasure with the movie by booing. And yeah, Vesta and I were booing too, just like when we were kids at the Nubel movie theater in downtown Bellflower, California on a bad Matinee Saturday. It’s a good thing George Lucas wasn’t there, cuz he’d’a seen just what people really thought of that movie.

The next two weren’t anywhere near as bad, but let’s face it, the prequels didn’t live up to what they were prequeling.

Vesta and I gotta lotta hope for this one. We can’t wait. But sadly, we’ve booked ourselves outta being able to go till next week. Bad Vesta didn’t pencil just about the most important day in history to date, into her calendar.

I wanted to cancel what we gotta do, but nooooo, we got a business to run. We can’t just back out on our clients for a MOVIE. You know what? I’m thinking maybe she doesn’t like Star Wars quite as much as me.

Although we could go at night. But someone says the theater will be too crowded and it’ll be too cold to wait in line and they don’t let you drink wine in line. You know, maybe she really doesn’t like Star War as much as me.

But Del does. And HE”S GOING TODAY. Maybe I shoulda gone with him.

Day 227, Christian and Matt.

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Here are Christian and Matt, out on our bridge this morning. We caught them right after we drove up. This time, not like the last time, Vesta jumped outta the car and asked could we take their picture.

I think she was so aggressive, cuz it was so cold and she wanted to get back in the car and get home.

Christian asked Matt if he minded and the handsome young man said he didn’t.” We talked afterward for only thirty seconds or so, cuz she was walking Matt to his bus stop and from there, she walks to work.

It’s kinda neat that his bus stop is near her work.

Anyway, we got home in record time.

And as for the cold, it was a whole heck of a lot warmer when we started this project. We’ve talked about continuing on for a second year, but to subject us to this inhuman cold is just, well inhuman.

So, I think, we’re gonna photograph someone every evening for our next yearlong project and I’ll post the photos in the morning. The advantage of this is, if we have to work, I can use one of the photos from the session. And we won’t be freezing at Dawn’s Early Light.

And people won’t be in such a hurry, so we’ll be able to get them to talk a bit about themselves.

I’d really like to get people’s hopes and dreams in these stories.

Also, I’ve been going over the photographs we’ve made over the past year and even though we’re not with these people very long, somehow, someway—whether they’re homeless, or a cop, or on their way to work, or a hooker, or a bridge worker, or on they’re way to school, whatever—they always manage to put their best face forward.

They all have dignity and worth and they all manage to show it just as the shutter clicks. I don’t know how, but it’s the most amazing and wonderful thing to me.

Day 226, Aaron.

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Here is Aaron, sitting in his truck, in the Dawn’s Early Light, waiting to get into the Virginia Street Bridge Project.

He works for Titan Electric and they’re putting up the original lights from the old bridge, onto the new one. So, there’s gonna be a touch of the old retro one with the new one. Kinda neat.

I asked Aaron about the wires that are currently on temporary poles, going over the river, the ones that ruin every photo I make of the bridge.

“There already in the concrete,” he said.

“In concrete?” what happens if something goes wrong with one of ‘em. Do the have to tear the whole bridge down to fix it?”

“They’re in conduits.”

“Ah,” I said.

On the way back to the car, Vesta said. “Did you really think they were gonna just pour cement over all the wires?”

“I’m not a bridge guy. What do I know?”

“Not very much apparently.”

Day 225, Dwayne.

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This is Dwayne, out on our bridge at 7:15 this morning. He was walking to work when we caught him. He was the first person we asked, but not the first person I wanted to get.

When it’s below freezing—you know freezing, that’s like when you leave water outside in a glass it turns to ice—I like to park, get outta the car, take someone's picture, get back in t he car and go home, where we got a heater that keeps us toasty warm.

So as we pulled up to the bridge, I saw this woman and little girl, halfway across, walking south.

“Quick, jump outta the car and ask, can we take their picture.” I parked and Vesta got out of the car and I rushed around to the curb, only to see them walking away. “Didn’t you ask them?”

“You were serious?”

“Well yeah.”

“You wanted me to jump out of the car?”

“Not while it was still moving.”

“Ask her?” Vesta pointed to this woman just starting to cross the bridge.

“She never says yes.”

“Can’t hurt to ask again.”

The woman got closer, smiled at me and said, “Maybe tomorrow.”

“You always say that,” I said.

“And I mean it every time, maybe.” She laughed and kept going.

Then along came Dwayne.

I asked and he said yes without asking why, but I told him anyway.

“Why are you out so early?” Vesta asked.

“Going to work,” Dwayne said.

“And where’s that?”

“Reno Cycles and Gear.”

Crap, that’s a long way, I thought, but I didn’t say anything.

“Do you walk everyday?” Vesta said.

“Just lately,” he went on to say that his wife got a new job and needed the truck to go to work, cuz it was in Sun Valley.

We talked for a couple minutes more, than said goodbye.

“He looks like he’s in great shape,” Vesta said after we got back in the car.

“You would be too, if you walked that far to work.” I started the car. “Let’s give him a ride.”

“Good idea.”

We caught up with him a couple blocks down the street, but he politely declined and I gotta admit I was impressed. It’s one thing to enjoy walking four miles to work, but it was awful darned cold outside.

“Maybe we should start walking to the bridge again,” Vesta said.

It’s two miles, half the distance Dwayne was walking to work, but then again, Dwayne’s half my age. Still, I enjoy the walk and we’ll start going on foot again, just as soon as it warms up a bit. And that’s what I told Vesta.

“Sissy,” was all she said back.

Day 224, Kay.

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This is Kay, on our bridge at 7:30 this morning. Vesta and I caught her on her way to work and once we told her about our project, she was happy to let us take her photo.

Under ordinary circumstances, we’d’ve talked to her for a few minutes, but our neighborhood was covered in snow when we pulled out of the garage and the streets were slippy slidy icy and when we got to our bridge at 7:00, there was NOBODY there.

So we started toward the Reno Sign, but walking was a chore, cuz the sidewalks were icy too and keeping from falling on our faces was quite a challenge. We got halfway to the Sign and all of my appendeges, ALL OF THEM were colder than they had any right to be. I was afraid if we stayed out too much longer I’d be facing multipule amputations.

So we started back to the bridge and because of our snail slow pace, the short trip took almost a half hour. Yeah, we’re chicken walkers when the sidewalks are covered in ice.

Fortunately, right after we got back, Kay walked onto our bridge and we took her photo and were finally able to go home.

But when we got there, I had to shovel the driveway all by myself, cuz Vesta REFUSED to help. She said it was gonna get warm soon and old Mr. Sun would melt it away.

“Warm soon?” I said, relieved to hear that. “When?”

“Oh, I don’t know. July.”

“I’m not waiting till then.” I got the snow shovel while she watched. And I shoveled the snow while she watched. And I put the shovel away while she watched.

“Good job,” she said, after I finished.

“I’m not three.”

“Well then come inside and I’ll fix you a big boy breakfast.”

And she made oatmeal, cuz she said it was good for me and it’s part of this really, really stupid diet she’s got me on.

And I’m gonna tell you a little secret that apparently after all this time, Vesta still doesn’t know. I DON’T REALLY LIKE OATMEAL VERY MUCH.

Day 223, Chuck.

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Here is Chuck out on our bridge at a little after 7:00 this morning.

He was happy to have his photograph made and after I took it he told us he was a downtown ambassador. Curious, Vesta asked him what that entailed and he went on to explain that actually he supervised five downtown ambassadors. They’re a small group of people who are challenged in one way or another, who spend their workday, working to keep Downtown Reno clean and beautiful.

And today was going to be a little harder than ordinary, Chuck told us, because last night was the Santa Crawl, so downtown was a mess. They were going to have a lot of cleaning up to do.

We spent about ten minutes talking to Chuck, who was interesting as all get out. He’s doing good work.

Day 222, Todd.

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Here is Todd, who is about to go skiing with Christian, who we photographed a short while back. Christian was day two hundred and fifteen. Remember, he was the German kid, who was gonna travel America cross country skiing?

Well today, he and Todd are skiing in Nevada.

When Vesta and I got to our bridge, it was cold enough to freeze the band and their guitars and drums too.

“Crap it’s cold,” I said as we got out of the car.

“It’s only thirty-one, it was sixteen when we did Christian.”

“Hey, I’m gonna get him, so we can go home.” I spied a guy, just north of the bridge, on Sierra. He was putting skis in his car. So, I hustled over and asked could I take his picture.

“Yes,” he said, without asking why.

And as it was, he didn’t have to, cuz coming from the car, this guy said, “Remember me?”

I looked in the car and sitting in the passenger seat was Christian. “Yeah, I do.”

And cuz it was cold, cold, I thanked Todd and told him we could go home now, which is exactly what I told Christian back on day 215.

“Small world,” Vesta said as they pulled away.

“Biggest little city in the world,” I answered back.

“Let’s go home and take a nap,” Vesta said.

“That’s got my vote.”

Day 221, David.

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Here is David, on Sierra and First Street at 7:05 on a brisk Reno morning.

When we left our house, the streets were covered in snow and we actually slid out of the garage. Kinda fun, like a kid on a trash can lid going down a hill. You know, completely outta control. Still, we only had to slide about two feet and we got traction.

Turns out our little Toyota Yaris is not a snow car, cuz it couldn’t make it back up our not very steep driveway when we got home, so we parked in the street.

When we got to our bridge, the sidewalks on it were covered in ice, so we decided to head straight downtown, but we only got a block, when we ran into David.

“Where are you off to?” Vesta asked him after I made his photograph.

“My favorite casino.” He was wearing a mile wide smile.

“Let me guess,” Vesta said, “Cal Neva?”

“You got it straight outta the gate,” he said.

“We eat there a lot,” I said, “cuz the food is about half what it is in most of the others and it’s twice as good.”

“Eat, heck.” His smiled wider, as if that were humanly possible. “I go there do drink.” He laughed.

“Really?” I said.

“Yep and I gotta go, cuz I got a beer waiting with my name on it.”

“Breakfast of champions,” Vesta said.

“Say, you’re one smart lady,” David said and we shook hands and headed back to our car as he quick walked on his way to that beer.

“Breakfast of champions?” I said. “ That’s Wheeties.”

“Not anymore,” Vesta said. “Don’t you know anything?

Day 220, Carl.

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This is Carl at exactly 7:00 on our bridge and about fifteen minutes before the rain. Okay, it wasn’t real rain, more like a passing cloud leaking a bit of water, a mere sprinkle, but about a half hour later, we got real rain, but not the high winds the forecasters predicted.

However it seems they’re coming, more rain, more wind. But at least it’s not snow, not on the valley floor, thank goodness, cuz I hate the snow.

Snow, for someone from Southern California, like Vesta and me, is something you drive a couple hours to, visit for an hour and then go home. And sometimes, maybe you rent a cabin for a day, then you go home, where it never snows.

Anyway, back to Carl. He’s just outta the hospital. He suffered some kind of seizure and they held him for a couple days. And while they were doing that, he was robbed, cuz he wasn’t home.

“Kind of a bummer,” Vesta said after he told us.

“At least I’m healthy and alive,” he said.

“Way better than dead,” I said.

“That’s so,” Carl said. “I can always replace what I lost.”

“So the seizure,” Vesta said. “Was it a stroke?”

“They don’t think so. They said I’m fine.”

“You got epilepsy?” I said.

“I didn’t used to.”

“You expecting more seizures.”

“God, I hope not.” He smiled. “Cuz I might get robbed again and that would be bad.”

“True that,” I said. Then we shook hands and went our separate ways.

Day 219, Colie.

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This is Colie out on our bridge at 7:00 this morning. She got there about ten seconds after we did, so we didn’t have to wait long at all. However, it wasn’t very chilly this morning and the wind was almost nonexistent, so waiting for someone woulda been alright and kinda fun.

Colie was just leaving work. She teaches bootcamp at the gym downtown. I asked Vesta what that was and she said she thinks it’s like aerobics, but harder.

Crap, back when we lived in Long Beach, I thought about doing aerobics, but I went and watched a class and knew that it would be the death of me. So, wanting to stay alive, I passed.

I can’t imagine anything harder than that aerobic class I watched, so I’m guessing those bootcamp exercising people must be in some kinda great shape and their instructors, like Colie gotta be like super people.

Jeez.

Day 218, Alex.

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Here is Alex, out on Reno’s famous Virginia Street in the Dawn’s Early Light.

“Let’s get him.” Vesta seemed excited.

“Why?”

“His Indiana Jones hat.” In another life Vesta’s married to Harrison Ford and she has two lovely daughters, named Madonna and Miley.

So I asked Mr. Indiana Jones Hat who turned out to be Alex and he was glad to comply and I took the photo. He’s a handsome man, but maybe not Harrison Ford handsome. He was out enjoying the morning air with a friend, so we thanked him and headed home.

We coulda stayed out, cuz it wasn’t that cold.

Could winter be almost over? Oh jeez, wouldn’t that be great?

Oh yeah, not to get off the track, but that new Harrison Ford movie is coming out in less that two weeks. You know, the one with those droids and lightsaber wielding good guys. We’re gonna see, soon as we can.

I mean, after all, Mr. Ford is you know who’s secret hubby.

Day 217, Glenn.

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Here is Glenn, out in front of Harrah’s Casino, where he works. Vesta and I met him as he was leaving work and we asked could we make his photo. He seemed a bit skeptical at first, but when we told him about our project, he was fine with it.

And it was kind of cool, cuz he knows the other people who we’ve photographed who work there. He’s worked there for a very long time, so Vesta asked him if he knew Bill and he said no, he’d never met him.

Of course, Bill sold out years ago, but they still know about him and it seems he was very well liked.

Vesta told Glenn that we’d photographed a couple events at Rancharrah, which was Bill Harrah’s home in Reno.

“Bet is was a nice house,” Glenn said.

“Oh yeah,” I said. “When it 3:00 in the bedroom, it’s 4:00 in the kitchen.”

“That’s big.”

“It’s a nice house,” Vesta said.

“Yeah, the rich live better,” I said.

“Isn’t that the truth?” Glenn said and then we said goodbye and headed home.

“You got that right,” Vesta said, “the rich really do live better.”

“True that,” I said.

“Why don’t we get rich?” she said.

“From your mouth to God’s ears.”

“I’m serious, let’s get rich.”

“Okay, we’ll start working on that straightaway.”

“Good.”

Day 216, Father William.

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Meet Father William of the Trinity Episcopal Church, who was crossing our bridge right after we got out of the car. When I asked could I take his photo, he wanted to pose with his church in the background and that’s it, just to the left of his head.

It’s a pretty good church as churches go. The people are friendly and they don’t make you scared of God, so that’s pretty cool.

On another note, this was a pretty good Sunday for us at our bridge, cuz we arrived alive.

We almost didn’t.

We were almost there when I spied three girls in their early twenties jogging north on Sierra, by Second Street. There was this black girl leading the pack and God as my judge and witness too, she was a fourteen out of a ten.

“We should pull over and get them.”

“Stop!” Vesta shouted, loud enough to wake Lucifer from a sound sleep and I slammed on the brakes, just as a U-Haul Rental Truck came blowing by right in front of us. Had I not stomped on those brakes, I’d’a gone through that red light and we’d’a a been toast.

“Whew!” that was close.

“You need to keep your eyes on the road.”

“Yeah.” If sheep could grin, I musta had a look just like that.

“Those girls coulda been the last thing you ever saw.”

“On the upside, that one in front was probably worth dying for.”

“On the downside, you’ll be having a hard boiled egg for breakfast and you’ll be peeling it yourself.”

Anyway, she shouted, I stopped, we didn’t die. So maybe it’s time we started going to church, you know, maybe to give thanks. If we do, we’ll be going to Trinity Episcopal.

Father William is the Rector there and he said he thought that might make him the head honcho and I’m guessing it probably does. Vesta and I have met Father Rick from there and he’s a nice guy and we’ve been several times to hear the pipe organ.

It was 46°F this morning and I never, never ever thought I’d think that wasn’t too cold to go out, but compared to the 16°F we suffered through last week, we’ll it wasn’t that bad. Not beach going weather. Not tee shirt weather either, but not ear and nose freezing off weather, that’s for sure.

Father William came to Reno and Trinity Episcopal just four months ago, from Palm Beach, you know, that wonderful city in Florida where it never snows, never freezes and you can go to the beach all year round. Well, unless there’s a hurricane coming, but other that that, Palm Beach rocks.

But Father William doesn’t miss it. He told us he’s falling in love with Reno and we know what that’s like. We came for a year and six years later, we’re still here.

Day 215, Christian.

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Here is Christian, standing next to the Sierra Street Bridge at 7:00 on this really cold Reno Morning. Yes, I’ve said it before and I’m gonna say it again, sometimes it can get pretty gosh darned cold out in the Dawn’s Early Light.

Christian was straightaway happy to have his photograph made. He’s from a small town in Germany, which I can’t remember or pronounce if I could. But it’s near the Swiss border.

And he’s here for four months, studying at UNR and after he’s finished, which is soon, he’s gonna go across America and cross country ski.

“So,” Vesta said, after he told us that, “You’re probably not very cold right now?”

“Not really, no.”

We talked for a few more minutes, then we shook hands and said goodbye, cuz Chris was waiting for a friend who he’s gonna go skiing with today.

“Think it’s cold here,” I said Vesta, “but I bet it’s gonna be a lot colder where he’s going.”

“Actually, when you’re skiing, you don’t get cold. You’ve got the right clothes on. You’re excited and you work up a sweat. Usually you get kinda warm, sometimes even hot.”

“Liar.”

“You don’t know everything,” she said.

And I guess she’s right. She used to go skiing with our kids, but I always, always, always, stayed home, cuz I’ve heard up in the mountains, where there’s snow, it’s cold.

And I double darned hate the cold. Give me Jimmy Buffet, a Margarita and a warm beach in the middle of summer every time.

Still, I did go skiing with her once in Colorado and it really wasn’t that bad, except that you get going real fast and it’s hard to stop and when you fall down on your face in the snow, it’s cold. And did I say, I hate the cold.

Day 214, Lindsay.

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Here is Lindsay in front of the Whitney Peak Hotel on Virginia Street. The Whitney Peak is right next to the Reno Sign, where Vesta and I often go when we can’t get a photograph on our bridge, like this morning.

When we got there, we said hello to Don, who we photographed way back when we started this project. He walks every morning and it’s painfully obvious that every step is painful for him and he must do a couple three mile everyday, hot or cold, rain or shine, he’s out there.

He doesn’t hear so good, so we have to shout his name when we see him and he always gives us a smile and a wave back. But other than Don, all we saw in the cold Early Morning Light this morning were homeless men and we’ve done a lotta guys who live on the streets and though we believe they should be a part of our project, they shouldn’t dominate it and they shouldn’t be the easy way out for us on a cold day, cuz they’re always willing to have their photographs made.

So we headed toward the Sign.

We stopped on the way and talked to Cathy, who we photographed yesterday. And then we moved and as soon as we got to the Sign we ran into Lindsay, who said she was in a hurry, cuz she had a meeting to go to.

“You work here?” Vesta pointed to the Whitney Peak.”

“Yeah.” She smiled. “I’m in a hurry, remember?”

“Okay, look at me.” She did and I made the photograph and here it is.

Day 213, Kathy.

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Here is Kathy out in Reno’s Early Morning Light. She’s guarding the gate to the new Virginia Street Bridge project, cuz it would be a bad thing if a car went through, with its driver thinking he could go over it, cuz he couldn’t, he’d fall into the river and that would be bad.

Kathy’s been working construction sites for seventeen years. Also, if you see those tall orange cone type thingys on the freeway, telling you a lane is closed ahead, she very well coulda been the person who put it there.

Also, this morning, I wanted to take some photos of Vesta in the middle of the street, with the Virginia Street Christmas lights in the background and the Reno sign off in the distance.

“Would you like me to stop the traffic for you?” Kathy said.

“That would be nice,” Vesta said.

“Okay.” And Kathy used her big stop sign to do just that.”

How cool was that? Way cool, that’s how cool it was.

Day 212.

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This gentleman’s boss saw this photo and story that went with it and wanted it taken down, becasue he didn’t want his company mentioned on the web. So I deleted his name and his company’s name as well. Ah well, you can’t win them all.

Day 211, Austin.

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This is Austin out in Reno’s Early Morning Light. Vesta and I met him the second we got to our bridge and that was a very good thing, cuz again it was cold enough to freeze your face off if you stayed out too long.

Austin was on his way home from work, so he wasn’t in the hurry those rushing to their jobs are, but we were, cuz my toes were as cold as Santa’s nose on a chilly North Pole December day. So we made his photograph, shook hands and said goodbye.

Day 210, Wes.

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Here is Wes, who Vesta and I met on our bridge at exactly 7:00, when it was a brisk 16°F outside. That’s cold, cold and we wanted to go home as soon as we got there, so thank all that’s holy that Wes came by at our appointed hour.

“Can we make your photograph?” Vesta said.

“How long will it take?”

“Just a couple seconds.”

“Then, okay, I’m late for work.”

“There’s a lotta that going around,” Vesta said as I made the picture.

The whole time, Wes hand his hands in his pockets, cuz he was as cold as we were, but he started to take out his right hand to shake.

“That’s okay,” Vesta said. “Stay warm.”

“Thanks,” he said and he was off.

Day 209, Molly.

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This is Molly, who Vesta and I met at exactly Seven O’Clock on our bridge this morning. We were there for only a few seconds when Molly and her master Nigel came walking along. I asked Nigel, could I take his photo.

And he said sure.

And I took it.

Vesta asked what he was doing out and about on such a cold day and he said he was walking his dog.

“Duh.” She smiled. “Are you from Australia?” He had an accent.

“New Zealand,” he said and we talked for a few minutes, cuz Vesta and I lived there for a year.

And as we were talking, Molly nuzzled up to me, friendly as I’ve ever seen a dog be. If we didn’t move around a lot and I could have a dog, one like Molly would be the kind I’d want. She looks frightening as all get out, but she’s eager as all heck to make friends.

There is not a scary bone in this doggies body.

So if you’re reading this Nigel, I’m sorry, Molly is my face for today, however, I’ll put a photo of you below.

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And here is Nigel from New Zealand, who was almost our face for the day.


Day 208, Jesus.

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This is Jesus out in Reno’s Dawn’s Early Light. It’s 16°F outside and that is cold, cold. Not quite the 40° below Johnny Horton sang about in his ‘When it’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below)’ song, but it was pretty gosh darned cold, nonetheless.

Vesta and I left our bridge at a minute after seven (we don’t wait very long when it’s cold enough to freeze off your fingers) and headed downtown, where we caught Jesus right by the Reno Sign.

I asked could I make his photograph and he stopped in his tracks and smiled, like he’d heard of us.

“Okay,” he said and I made the picture.

Vesta asked his name and he told her. “Now I have to go. I’m late for work.” And he left in a hustle straight for Harrah’s, so I’m guessing he works there. We’ve done five or seven folks who work at Harrah’s, so maybe he did know what we were about.

Anyway, on the way back, Vesta said, “This is Sam McGee weather sure enough.”

“Sure ‘nuff,” I said back to her and we started walking faster.

That’s a great poem, ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee,’ by Robert Service.

One cold morning, not so long ago, when Vesta and I were like twenty-five, we were speeding through Kansas on a December morning, in an XKE convertible. We had the top up, cuz it was colder than you wanna know, but the heater was garbage and that top did little to keep the biting cold out of the car. But the radio worked a treat.

We were bundled up in our jackets as we speed through miles and miles of flatland. It was a Sunday and some guy was on the radio and he read that poem and when he was finished people called in and talked about it and the cold and church and stuff people in Kansas talked about on the radio on Sundays.

Then this guy calls up with a Sam McGee story about when he was a kid. He said his family were friends with the Kennedys and that Jack was just back from the war and wanted to go sailing, but nobody wanted to go, so he went with his little brother. The boys were something like eleven and twelve.

They were far from shore, when they got caught in a winter squall. The wind was blowing hard, the boat was keeled over almost to the rail and the boys were terrified.

Jack tied off the wheel and reefed in the sails, while the boys hung on and huddled with fear.

And then, to calm them down, as he steered the boat threw weather they could not see through, Jack recited Service’s poem. He spoke loud, so the boys could hear above the roar of the wind. He talked slow, with feeling, making the story come alive and when he got toward the end, when Sam McGee is sitting alive in that warm furnace, they broke out of the squall and though the wind was still fierce, Jack Kennedy sailed them safely home.

Is the story true? I like to to think so. After all, We heard it on a Kansas radio station on a Sunday morning, so it must be true.

PS. Just incase you’ve never read or heard the story of Sam McGee, you can find it on youtube, being read by Johnny Cash.

Day 207, Dan.

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This is Dan, who I wanna call Sailor Dan. We stopped him at 7:10 in front of a cigarette/tobacco selling store on Virginia.

He was happy to have his photo taken and like a lot of people, he didn’t care why. He just smiled, kinda, for the camera and I made the photograph.

When Vesta asked him what he was doing out on such a cold Black Friday morning, he said he was just out walking, jonesing for a smoke.

“I know how you feel,” I said. “I quit years ago, but my hand still goes to my front pocket every time I get in a car.” I put my hand to my chest, mimicking grabbing for a pack.

“I don’t think you ever stop wanting ‘em,” he said. Then I noticed he was wearing a West Marine jacket. That’s an outfit I’m very familiar with, cuz I’ve given ‘em more money than I can count. That’s what happens when you own a sailboat.

If I had all the cash I spent on that boat, I could maybe buy Belgium and Costa Rica and maybe even have enough left over for Rhode Island. Just think, two countries and a state all my own, how cool would that be? Yeah, you guessed it. If maybe you’re thinking about buying a sailboat, you might wanna think twice.

Though we did live a decade in the Caribbean on it, so I guess it was worth all the loot the boat looted from us.

So, cuz of the jacket, I asked, “Are you a sailor?”

“Not anymore. Now I’m just a guy out for a walk.” He turned to look into the store and smiled. “Now I gotta go and get a cigar.”

“I thought you quit?” Vesta said.

“Cigarettes.” He laughed. “I find it’s a lot easier quitting, if you smoke a cigar every now and then.”

“Do you inhale?” I wanted to know.

“Not often.” He laughed again and we said goodbye. Then he went into the store for his stogie and we started back to the car.

“That’s not a bad idea,” I said, “switching to cigars. I could do that, smoke a cigar on occasion.”

“Yeah, after you’ve been doing that awhile, why don’t you call me and let me no how your new wife deals with the smell.”

“Or maybe a pipe. I’d look sophisticated.”

“You better call me yourself, because my guess is you’ll be living alone.”

“Sometimes you’re just no fun.”

“But I do make you breakfast every morning.”

“There is that.”

Day 206, Dave.

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Here is Dave, out bright and early on this Thanksgiving Holiday. He’s a tourist from I don’t know where, cuz Vesta and I forgot to ask him. We caught him enjoying an early morning walk, away from his hotel room, where his family, we assume, were warmly enjoying their vacation still snug in bed with their eyes closed.

But some people, like Dave apparently, aren’t affect by the cold. Me, I’m not one of those. Neither is Vesta. We were both bundled up with more clothes than you can imagine, but still the cold gets in.

Still, I suppose if I hadn’t had a vacation in four years and I was only in Reno for four days, I’d be out and about as much as humanly possible, soaking up all of the Reno ambiance that I could, before I had to go back to the grindstone, too.

We were only with Dave for a minute or two, as we had to get home, cuz Vesta had Thanksgiving stuff in the oven and she wanted to be warm at home with all those nice smells wafting through the house.

And I gotta admit, I think the anticipation is the best part of Thanksgiving. Just sitting around smelling the turkey as it cooks away, while listening to music or reading a book or even watching TV. Just so you’re not working.

Dinner’s good too, but I always eat too much. Ah well, it’s a holiday, you’re supposed to eat too much. I think so anyway.

Anyway, before I sign off and shut my computer down till tomorrow, I just wanna say, “Happy Thanksgiving everyone, from me and Vesta.”

Day 205, Brian.

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This is Brian the Guitar Man. Vesta and I met him on Virginia Street at 7:10 this snowy morning. He’s been all over, playing his guitar. He’s played in Denver and Dallas, Bakersfield and Boston, Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City Missouri and a whole lotta other places in these United States.

He’s a guitar man, Brian is and he calls himself a traveler, though others, he concedes, may call him a bum.

He’s been in Reno for three days. His last stop was Sacramento, where somebody stole his guitar. So he was bummed when he got here.

But he met a dame in a bar and bought her a drink. She took him home a few hours later, took him to bed and made him breakfast in the morning.

And she gave him a new, never been played before guitar. She’d bought it for her son, who never touched it.

“Oh, jeez, I can’t think you enough,” Brian told her. “How can I repay you.”

“You already have,” she told him back.

And that’s how Brian the Guitar Man got his new guitar.

Day 204, James.

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This is James at exactly 7:00 out on the Sierra Street Bridge in Downtown Reno, Nevada. Vesta and I had just arrived when James came bouncing toward us.

“Good morning,” Vesta said.

“Good morning to you,” he said back.

“You’re awful happy this morning,” she said.

“It’s the only way to be,” he said.

Then I asked could I make his photograph and he didn’t even ask why. He just said yes. But I told him anyway.

“How come you’re out so early?” Vesta said.

“Looking for work.” He smiled. “One thing’s for sure, it won’t find you, you have to look for it and the earlier you start, the better chance you have of finding it.”

“I can’t argue with that?” Vesta said and we shook hands and said goodbye. He headed south on Sierra, toward where a lot of restaurants that serve breakfast are. I don’t know if he was looking for a job in one of ‘em or not. But if he was, I hope he got one.

Day 203, Sheila.

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Here is Sheila, out in Reno’s Dawn’s Early Light at a little after 7:00 this morning. Vesta and I spied her as she was unlocking her bike, which was chained to a pole on Virginia Street and I fell in love with her hat straightaway.

We got to our bridge at the appointed hour, but there was nobody there and my foot was hurting to beat the band.

I don’t know if I’ve talked about this here or not, so I’m gonna talk about it again and if you’ve read about my foot already, just skip the next few paragraphs please.

About twenty-something years ago, Vesta and I had a head on collision with a drunk driver in Wellington and we were very damaged. Vesta had broken ribs and her lung had been punctured. All the bones in my right foot were broken and I had a fractured femur.

“Are you okay?” I asked Vesta as soon as the car stopped spinning.

“No. Can’t breathe.”

“My name is Clair.” There was a young woman at my window. “I’m a nurse.” She assessed the situation as some Kiwi guys ran over to help.

“I smell gas,” someone said.

“Can’t get the door open,” one of the guys said.

“Rip it off,” I said and that’s how I learned two strapping Kiwi guys can rip the door off a Nissan Sentra. But they couldn’t get us out. My foot was married to the clutch and the right side of the car had collapsed around Vesta (They drive on the opposite side of the road in New Zealand).

“We got the jaws of life.” a firemen appeared outta nowhere and they cut the top off the car in nothing flat and I know they did it fast, cuz pain, like I’d never felt before, was slamming up my leg from foot. It hurt so bad, it killed the pain from my broken leg.

They took Vesta away first, cuz her injuries were life threatening. Then they go me out.

“You have the kind of injury we have to take care of straightaway,” one of the firemen said after they laid me on the pavement.

“Okay,” I said.

“I can authorize morphine, if you have it,” Clare said to the firemen-slash-EMT guys.

“We have it,” one of them said.

And in a flash he was back and Clare gave me the shot. “It’ll be bit before it works,” she said. “It won’t help for this.”

And the firemen set my leg and it hurt so much I passed out.

I woke in the ambulance and they rushed me right into surgery, where Dave, the Canadian doctor who was gonna operate on me asked, “Do you know your name?”

“Yeah,” and I told him.

“Do you know who the President of the United States is?”

“Bill Clinton.”

“So we’re good to go,” Dave said. Then he showed me my X-rays and I saw that all my toes were sticking out of the right side of my right foot at a forty-five degree angle. “It looks pretty bad, but I’m gonna nail your leg (which I learned later meant that he put a titanium rod in it) and I’ll fix your foot. You’ll be good to go in no time.”

But no time turned out to be three more months in New Zealand, with a painful recovery, but that’s another story. I started this one about my foot. Just after Dave removed the pins six weeks after the surgery, he told me my foot had been an awful mess and that he did the best he could, but I might wanna have it looked at when I got back home.

And I did that, but not for about six or seven months after we got back, cuz we spent some time in New Orleans first and then we had to go to the Virgin Islands to see a guy about a boat.

I went to a sports guy in Seal Beach, California and he told me Dave had done an extraordinary job, considering the circumstances, but now that it was healed and not a great big mishmash, he needed to go in a fix it.

“What’s that mean?” I said.

“I have to break all your toes and reset ‘em,” he said.

“But they’re fine. I can walk and run and they don’t hurt.” I sighed. “Sure the foot looks different than it used to, but it’s working great.”

“If we don’t do the surgery, I’ll hurt like heck in the cold twenty years from now.”

“Who cares about twenty years from now. You’re not breaking my toes.” And I left.

But now it’s twenty-years later and my right foot hurts like heck in the cold and that’s why my foot hurt so bad on the Sierra Street Bridge this morning.

So we left the bridge and went walking on Virginia and that’s where we spotted Sheila with the great hat, unlocking her bike.

After I made her photograph, Vesta asked her why she was out and she said she couldn’t sleep, so she went for a bike ride and a walk. She’d been out for a couple hours and it was invigorating.

“But aren’t you cold?” I said.

“Once you start peddling, you don’t feel the cold,” she said.

“But now you’re walking?”

“Yeah, I’m winding down, before I go home.”

“But aren’t you cold now?” I was and my foot was screaming.

“No.” She smiled and we said goodbye and she biked away.

“Okay,” Vesta said, when she was gone. “Let’s go home and you can rest your foot on the heater.”

“But the heater vents are in the ceiling?”

“We got a ladder.” She laughed.

“It’s a good thing I don’t have a gun.”

“Well, if you shot me, you wouldn’t get breakfast.”

-------

PS. As horrible as the accident was, we were very lucky. Clare was driving the car behind us. The firemen-slash-EMT guys were in a firetruck a couple cars behind her. They were just coming back from a fire. And we were only a couple blocks from Wellington Hospital. So, if we were gonna get clobbered by a drunk in a car, it couldn’t have happened in a better spot or a better time.

Day 202, John.

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Here is John out on our bridge at 7:00 this morning. When we got there, we saw him staring into the river, almost as if he was in prayer.

“I’m gonna go ask him,” I said.

“No,” Vesta said, “not till he’s done.”

But a good five minutes later he was still staring, still lost in thought.

“I’m going,” I said.

“No.”

But I went anyway, cuz it was cold and besides, I had to pee, so I really wanted to get home.

And he said yes. And when Vesta asked him why he was out on such a cold Sunday morning, he said he was going to church.

“Which church?” she said.

“Trinity Episcopal.” He pointed, cuz it was about a thirty second walk away.

“I like that church,” Vesta said. “We used to go to the Pipes on the River” concerts on Fridays all the time.”

“I haven’t been.”

“You should go, especially now that it’s getting into Christmas season.”

“How come you stopped going?” John said.

“We don’t live downtown anymore, but now that you asked, I think we’ll start up again.” She smiled, turned to me. “We do have a car, after all.”

So Friday next, at 12:00 noon, we’ll be at the organ concert at Trinity Episcopal, listening to the music. You should go too, if you can. You’d like it. I know you would.

Day 201, Jan.

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This is Jan, who is touring off in Reno. He’s from the Bay Area and when I asked could I make his photograph, he wanted to know why and that’s not unusual, but as usual, when I told him about our 365 Days of Faces project, he let us photograph him.

After I took the photo, again as usual, Vesta asked him his first name and wanted to know what he was doing out and about so early on a Saturday and when he told us his name, I asked him if he was originally from Sweden and he said, “Yes, Stockholm.”

He was out for a walk and he pointed south down Sierra and wanted to know what was that way and Vesta told him, “Midtown.” Then she told him about the trendy restaurants and shops there and he decided to walk on down and check ‘em out.

And we got back in our car and just as I keyed the ignition, Vesta said, “He’s Swedish, no wonder he’s not freezing his you know what off.”

“Yeah, that explain’s it,” I said, cuz it was so cold, I wouldn’t’a been surprised if I saw Santa and his reindeer fly by over head and Jan was walking along with just a light jacket, like it was a moderately cool summer day.

“Tough people, the Swedish,” Vesta said.

“Immune to the cold,” I said.

“Let’s go home, where it’s nice and warm,” Vesta said.

“That’s got my vote.” I pulled out into the early morning traffic and now I’m home, where I’m toasty warm, typing this.

Day 200, Part 2, Hillary.

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Here is Hillary, she’s running for president. Here, she’s, working the line after her campaign speech here in Reno. I’m guessing all of you who are reading this, even those of you who do not live in America, know who she is.

She came by Reno today, cuz Nevada is an early voting state in our voting cycle and she and her people want to sign up caucus goers. And if you don’t know what that is, you can google it. But the short definition is, that it’s a really, really stupid way to pick a nominee for president.

However, she gave a great speech and even though we have the stupidest way on God’s Green Earth of electing a leader, she’s working really hard in our dumb system to be our next president.

That being said, those secret service people are always thorough, often pushy and I think they could be really brutal if you pissed ‘em off. But they were real polite to us. We got there very early, so early there was just the secret service and us.

“What can I bring in?” Vesta asked this secret service lady who was about twenty-five or so and dressed like a swat person. She was pretty, but she looked like she could take your head off without any trouble at all.

“What do you have in the bag, ma’am?”

“A couple books. A couple magazines. A camera and water,” Vesta said.

“Books?”

“We’re gonna be here awhile and we don’t wanna be bored,” I said.

“Okay, you’ll be good, ”she said. “But you’re gonna have to turn the camera on when you come in, so we can check to see it’s really a camera.”

“It’s a good thing I got an extra battery then.”

She smiled, but didn’t laugh. “Oh yeah,” she said, “You can bring bumper stickers to show, but no campaign buttons.”

“Why not?” I was dumbfounded.

“We wouldn’t want you stabbing anybody.”

“Ah.” I smiled. “Then it’s a good thing I don’t have any buttons, cuz those pins could hurt a lot if you got stabbed.”

Again, she didn’t laugh and I stopped trying to be funny.

So, since we were early, we walked to the mall and looked around for an hour, then we came back and waited in line for another two hours, but it wasn’t so bad, cuz we met lots of interesting people and our friend Beatriz was next to us in line and she’s very fun to be around and she had the latest issue of her magazine with her and she was excited to show it to us.

Going in, after we were checked by the Secret Service, we saw into the next room in the gym and it looked like they had a mini trauma center set up. It’s sad that we have to do that. Perilous times.

After we got in, there was standing room only, but we were right up front. The only person in front of us was a woman, who just had her last chemo session and hopes she is cancer free. She was week and sitting in a walker, so we could see right over her and that was great for Vesta, cuz she’s short and she got to see Hillary like she was in the front row.

We were on our feet for six hours, not counting the half mile to and from the mall and walking in the mall and my legs are aching, so I’m going to go to bed now. And Vesta is too.

Day 200, Part 1, Vonnie and Meredith.

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There are people in this life who you were born to love. There is no reason for it, no rhyme either. You just meet ‘em and you love ’em at first sight. Vonnie and Meredith are two of those people for Vesta and me.

Sometimes you don’t see ‘em for awhile. Sometimes a long while. But when you do see ’em, it’s like the last time you did was yesterday. You care about ‘em and they care about you. It’s just the way it is and that’s the way it should be.

Cuz we need people in our lives and, you know what, there could be someone right around the corner or just down the street like that for you or for me. You just gotta let ‘em in.

Today is the two hundredth day that Vesta and I have been going out in Reno’s Dawn’s Early Light making these photographs and Vesta surprised me. When we got to our bridge, Vonnie and Meredith were waiting with donuts and Vonnie had a smoke for me. What a great morning. Three of my favorite Earthlings, donuts and a smoke, life just can’t get any better than that.

This is gonna be a wonderful Friday.

Day 199, Colin.

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This is Colin, who was in a hurry, cuz he was late for work. But he stopped long enough for us to make his photograph and for that, Vesta and I are grateful, cuz it was colder than a wicked witch’s icy hands this morning and that’s real cold.

One the way to our bridge, Vesta looked over at the outside temperature and said, “It’s only 36°, that’s almost a heatwave.”

I didn’t think it was beach weather, but just two days ago it was 23°, so I didn’t think we’d be nearly as cold, but I was wrong, cuz there was a biting wind that chilled to the bone, so we were glad as the mad hatter when we spied Colin coming north on our bridge as we got out of the car.

We jumped right back into the warm car (yes, when it’s cold enough to freeze your toes off in the morning, we don’t walk, cuz we like our toes). I keyed the ignition, then we saw Christopher, who we photographed two days ago, coming up to the same bus station with his same backpack and suitcase on wheels.

“That’s odd,” Vesta said.

“Maybe not as odd as you might think,” I said. Then I told her about a young man named Chris, which I like to believe was short for Christopher, cuz that would give this missive a nice round circle, who I knew back when I was a young social worker in L.A.

Chris was mentally challenged. He couldn’t work and he was entitled to a full time attendant to take care of him, cuz his mother was a single mom and she didn’t make enough money to pay for it.

But his mom didn’t want to burden the county anymore than she had to and Chris didn’t want to sit at home all day being babysat. So we worked out a deal. I got him a bus pass and when his mom went to work, Chris got on the bus and he managed to figure out the bus system in L.A., which is no easy task.

He’d ride the bus all day long, making several changes, but always managing to get home just about when his mom did. So it was a win win for both the tax payers and Chris and his mom.

Flash forward to today and this other Chris. I suspect he sleeps in a shelter and since they don’t allow you to stay there during the day, I think he rides the bus to stay warm. He’s a gentle man and if that’s what he’s doing, I’m glad, cuz it’s good for him. And it’s good for Reno, cuz he’s outta their hair, so they don’t have to kick him out again. And it’s good for my story, cuz it allows it to come full circle.

Day 198, Josh.

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Here is Josh, out in the Dawn’s Early Light, in Downtown Reno, Nevada. He had his earphones in and was getting ready to start his run, when I stopped him and asked could I make his photograph.

He couldn’t hear me, but young people seem to be much more polite than their elders these days, so I wasn’t surprised when he popped out the earbuds and let me ask him again.

After I made the photo, Vesta asked him if he was a student, cuz we’ve met others on their way to school on this very corner.

“No ma’am. I’m in the military.”

And I was floored, cuz he dozen’t look old enough to be defending us against enemies foreign and domestic. Just kids, these soldiers are.

But then, I guess I knew that, cuz I was serving my country when I was seventeen years old. It’s just something we tend to forget as we get older, you know, that those fighting and dying are only a couple years outta childhood.

I think they outta have a new convention at Geneva, making it illegal for anyone to join the military in any country till they get to be around sixty. Yeah, that sounds good. In fact, every country should draft everybody when they get to be sixty.

That way the kids could grow up and us wise, learned and educated people could actually do the fighting. And if we got killed, who’d miss us? And maybe if we had to do the fighting, there might be less of it.

Who knows, if only old people had to go to the wars, we might actually get world peace.

Day 197, Christopher.

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This is Christopher, who Vesta and I met at the bus stop on the Sierra Street Bridge at about 7:00. I think the time is right, close anyway, cuz today we both forgot our phones. We used to use watches and Vesta still does, some of the time, but more and more we get the time from our phones, like they used to do with pocket watches all those years ago.

After I took his photo, Christopher asked us how long we’d been in Reno.

“Six years,” Vesta said.

“Me, five this time.”

“What do you mean this time?” Vesta said.

“I first came thirty-five years ago, but after awhile they kicked me out.”

“Why’d they do that?” Vesta said.

“They just did. But I came back and they kicked me out again.”

“But you’re here,” Vesta said.

“They’ve kicked me out a lot.” Christopher seemed to wander, like he was remembering. “But I’ve been here five years this time.” He might have been a little slow and he couldn’t look at the camera. He had a backpack and a small suitcase on wheels. It was clear this man was incapable of hurting anybody, ever.

“Is this your bus?” Vesta pointed to a bus coming south on Sierra.

“It is.”

The bus stopped and Christopher got on.

“Bye,” Vesta said and Christoper said it back.

“Sorta reminds me when Reno rounded up those homeless people and bussed ‘em to San Francisco,” I said.

“I wonder if they were all named Christopher too.” Vesta started toward home, turned to me and said, “Because those homeless people they sent away had a lot more of Christ in their hearts than those who sent them did.”

“You won’t get an argument out of me on that one.”

“In fact, they didn’t have Christ in their hearts at all and they’re not in his.”

Day 196, Kathleen.

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Here is Kathleen. Vesta and I ran into her in front of the Little Nugget on Virginia in Downtown Reno at a little after 7:00.

I asked could I make her photograph and she said sure and I did. And afterward Vesta asked her what she was doing out and about in the Dawn’s Early Light.

“Looking for a cigarette.” She blew into her hands to chase away some of the cold.

“I know how that is,” I said.

“I quit a year ago, but sometimes, especially when it’s cold, you really want one.”

“I quit more years ago than I can remember and I get like that.” Truth be told, I get like that more than I’d like to admit.

Sometimes I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll see someone standing in front of a club or a hotel or a bar or anyplace you’re not allowed to smoke inside anymore, and that’s just about everywhere, and I’ll move as close to them as I can, without them thinking I’m invading there space and I’ll inhale as much of they’re excess smoke as I can.

Anyway, we said goodbye to Kathleen, but since she was walking the same way we were, we continued talking and we found out she was ordained on February 13, 2013 and she’d been ministering to the homeless in Las Vegas.

She’s in Reno, visiting her grandparents and she’s seen that Reno’s got a homeless problem as well.

“Some can be helped,” she said. “But some cannot. It’s an awful problem.”

Knowing a lot of the homeless here, I could only agree with her. Some are doing fine, many are not, but it’s been my experience the ones who are not are mostly abusing drugs or alcohol. Why they are and what their demons are, I don’t know, but the homeless who don’t abuse, seem to get along fine with the shelter system we got in Reno.

Except, of course, for the ones who have mental problems. Them, we’ve really let down.

Anyway, Kathleen was in an up and happy mood, despite the fact that like me, she was jonesing for a smoke. I went home without getting one. I don’t know if she got one or not.

Day 195, James and Janet.

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Here are James and Janet on Virginia Street in Reno’s Dawn’s Early Light. Vesta and I got to our bridge this morning and once again, there was nobody about. Something about the biting cold that keeps casual walkers indoors.

But we were there, like every morning. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t crave the days when we could watch, to quote the Boss, “Girls in their summer clothes, passing by.”

Till we moved to Reno, Vesta and I were used to living in places where it was always summer, or at least, almost always. And we used to love to sit and people watch.

In Reno, we can only do that in the actually summertime and we can hardly wait.

Anyway, back to James and Janet. They work at the El Dorado Casino and we caught them on their way to work. If you got a job, you gotta be out in the cold if you walk to work. You strollers who stroll for pleasure and fun, maybe you can stay indoors, but those of us who gotta work, we’re out and about and thank goodness for that, otherwise our project just might have come to an end.

Day 194, Reina and Genessis.

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Here are Reina and her daughter Genessis in front of the Century movie theater, which is right next to the Sierra Street Bridge. We see Reina almost every morning, as she works for the theater.

And on the weekends, when Genessis is not in school, Reina brings her to work with her.

We wave at them all the time and they wave back.

And today, Vesta said, “It’s about time we photographed them in the Dawn’s Early Light.”

So we did and again, here they are.

Day 193, Amin.

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This is Amin on Virginia Street at 6:45 this morning. He was happy to have us make his photograph when I told him about our project and I’m hoping you can see how happy he was by the look in his eyes.

We parked on our bridge at about 6:15 and waited five or six minutes, but it was cold and like yesterday, we were in a ghost town, so we headed for Virginia and the casinos, cuz we can always find someone there, no matter the weather.

As soon as we turned onto Virginia, this young black guy skidded his bike to a stop right in front of us. He was wearing a black cap, sorta like Amin’s in this photograph, and he had a muffler wrapped around his face, so all we could see of his face was his dark eyes.

“You’re the guys doing the year long faces project, right?”

“We are,” Vesta said.

“Do you remember me?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I can’t see your face.”

“You asked if you could take my photograph on the Sierra Street Bridge about three months ago and I respectfully declined.”

“Really,” Vesta said.

“Yeah,” he said. “I shoulda let you do it, cuz I’m an artist too and I really appreciate what you’re doing.”

“We can take your photo now,” I said.

“I don’t think so.”

“Are you just a tease,” Vesta said. “Because I don’t like teasers. They’re not nice.”

“No, no. I’m just not ready.”

“So when will you be ready?”

“Next time we meet. I promise.”

“How do you know we’ll meet again,” Vesta said.

“Oh we will. I promise.”

“You promised two times. So we’ll be looking forward to our third meeting.”

“Me too.” He saluted, then peddled away.

And we started north on Virginia and we saw Amin.”

“Him,” Vesta said.

“Yeah,” I said.

Amin was walking with the kind of bounce in his step that you only see on someone whose best girl just said yes. This guy was happy. Maybe he’d just won the lottery and his girl said yes. Or maybe he just found out he was cancer free or maybe his wife just gave birth to twins.

Something happened in this young man’s life to make him so doggoned happy.

Or maybe he’s that rare individual whose glass is always half full, who always looks on the bright side, who’s always happy, now matter how bad or how hard life gets.

I don’t know. But this morning his happy was infectious, so infectious that I’m still smiling, still feeling great.

Day 192, Dawn.

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Here is Dawn, photographed in the Dawn’s Early Light on the corner of First and Virginia at 6:45 this morning. She was on her way to work and was in a hurry, but she stopped so Vesta and I could make her our person of the day.

And that was a good thing, cuz it was twenty-seven degrees outside, but to me it felt like forty below. If she’d’ve said no, we would’a had to keep looking and Virginia, like our bridge, was a ghost town cuz of the cold.

You know, I wonder just how long you can survive in that weather. We’d only been out for a few minutes, but I felt the frostbite setting in. Really! I did. In both my fingers and my toes.

Lord, I don’t like winter very much.

If I could, I’d hibernate till summer.

Day 191, Sheila.

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This is Sheila, who is from Oakland. She’d only been in Reno for a few minutes, when Vesta and I came across her on Virginia Street at a 6:45 this morning. She had business to take care of that couldn’t wait and she can hardly wait to get back to Oakland, where she belongs, cuz it never gets as cold there as it is here this morning.

“When are you going back?” Vesta asked her.

“In a couple hours.” She was shivering.

I like to think she’d’a stayed a bit longer and enjoyed the Biggest Little City in the World for a day or so if it wouldn’t’ve been do doggone cold. But it was cold, cold and I felt like saying we’d go along to Oakland with her, but we gotta work, so we’re gonna tough it out, while we pray for warmth.

“You got a pen in your ear,” I said, just before saying goodbye.

“I have papers to sign, before I go and I want it handy.” She smiled, then she was gone.

“She really doesn’t like the cold,” I said to Vesta on our walk back.

“Who does? But she wasn’t dressed for it.”

“I’m dressed for it and I’m cold.”

“Well, it’s only six months or so till summer.”

“I can hardly wait.”

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