This is Ed. Ed used to own the Union 76 Gas station in Welch WV…well….technically, he still does- but it’s more of a service center now- the pumps having been replaced by flowers and such. If you look at the mural behind Ed, to the right, there’s a man in Blue leaning- That’s Ed painted in the mural by the reknowned artist Tom Accosta. I had to photograph him with this backdrop- and that’s also why I painted him as I did.
I met Ed while I was shooting down in the southern coal fields of WV. I was with my life long friend Todd and his son Stephen while we were looking for stories and photos for “the magazine” (Wonderful West Virginia Magazine)
Ed glanced out his window at this crazy guy out in the middle of traffic shooting buildings and old signs-thinking he must be “touched in the head”- called him over to ask what he thought he was doing ( yep, that would be me-LOL)
After explaining that I loved visiting towns and geting to know the history about things, how they used to be- what happened here and there- I found a remarkable person who had seen just about all of it. Ed had been there as the business had boomed, coal was king and paychecks were plentiful- people working and the typical american dream was alive and well here in Welch.
Fast forward today: Things are slower now- the “boom” long over. But the history remains along the streets and bubildings of towns like this all over the state.
I was fortunate enough to take the time to hear the oral stories of the place Ed had to share that day. We talked about automotive news, the state of things, and how times have changed, But what I got out of the conversation was much more than all that- I got a measure of someone who was sincere , softspoken and had relevence as well importance in a community he served- a dignity that trancends the current situation.
So..what’s all this got to do with a post about Thanksgiving you might ask?
Well……all this got me to thinking that I’m thankful for having the career I do in photography that lets me meet people like Ed- in this state or any other. I’m thankful that I get to share my photography and get to bring other peoples photography into the public eye as well.
I’m thankful that I sent a print of Ed to him- because he sent me a handwritten note back with gratitude that I cared enough to take time show an interest, wishes for doing well- and to come back and visit anytime.
I’m grateful for family and friends- and I’m also grateful that because of the camera I wear and how I use it when I do, that I have family and friends no matter where I roam.
That’s what I’m thankful for…… 🙂
Blessings to you all and have a happy thanksgiving together!