Those Look Lyke Cumftubble Shoes

Granted, I didn’t know where I was going yesterday afternoon. Originally, the meeting was scheduled for the Winston Link Museum, but nobody there knew anything about it. A phone call found out that the writers’ meeting had been rescheduled for the art museum three quarters of a mile away, in the center of downtown Roanoke. As problematic as parking would be, I’d walk, thank you.

But no, actually it was not at the art museum but around the corner another few blocks at the Center on Church. And so I paid the penalty of being a half hour late, and only after the meeting was over, as I began to walk the mile and a half back to the car, did I realize I also had paid the penalty that a country boy pays when he walks fast on city streets and sidewalks in his prissy dress shoes–fine for standing about but not so good on pavement.

My shins were so sore after the meeting that I had to walk on my heels all the way back to the car. And yes, they are even more sore this morning. Call me R2D2.

On my way home from Roanoke, I stopped by to see an elderly gentleman I had learned about from a local minister at a party. The man’s wife of almost 70 years and died recently, and the minister, knowing that I was interested in local stories, described this gentleman is being a master storyteller and in some considerable need of company just now. My intention was just to stop by and introduce myself to him, bedridden and living with relatives at the foot of the mountain.

Instead, I spent almost an hour there–only maybe 15 minutes of that with my recorder on, with his permission of course. I haven’t reviewed it yet. I’d like to think I would go back and hear much more of what he has to tell about life in Floyd County in the 30s and 40s. I at least need to get what I have onto the hard drive today and then send it on a CD to his family, who have never been able to get this man’s life to paper or other permanent recording. Pity, the loss when these old treasures are gone.

By the time I got home it was already dark. My camera and lens had come (I was almost too exhausted to care) but only be after the sun comes up this morning will I be able to do anything to test the combo, now that the batteries are charged and everything is ready to go. The D200 sure feels good in the hand!

I have waded into an online users guide for the camera that is quite excellent, making recommendations about some of the custom settings and explaining some of the more arcane aspects of this extensively–tweakable camera.

It is a little unsettling to be near the bottom of the learning curve again, after the D70 had become so familiar. But it’s a little exciting, too. And I’m up to my hip waders in taking notes, so apologies for this blah blah post. Maybe I can get an image up later today–from the new camera-lens combo, of course!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I wish I had gotten my dad’s stories on paper or tape before he died. He had a thousand of them, and now they are lost forever.

  2. I too spent a lot of time with Ken before my purchase last fall. It seems to be a great site with real in-depth assessments of the equipment. Enjoy the new tool (toy).