Most mornings in California this past weekend started out dreary and cloudy. But, by early afternoon the sun would find its way out from among the clouds and we would enjoy the rest of the day embraced in sunlight. This day was no different.
My cousin Monique and my cousin's wife Stephanie and I all headed out for a Girls Day Out on Newport Beach and Balboa. On the agenda for the day: a leisurely afternoon of sight seeing and picture taking - some good old fashioned R&R.
Being raised for the majority of my childhood years near the dunes in Indiana, I have a soft spot in my heart for all things beachy. The waves, the water, the piers, the painted toe nails buried in the sand, the wind in my hair, the sound of the tide coming in...all of it makes for a very happy and peaceful Tammy. Living land-bound in central Texas for the past 12 years, the beach is exactly what the doctor ordered.
We weren't even out of the parking lot before we saw our first glimpse of beauty. Isn't this amazing!
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't there just for the R&R. I had ulterior motives. My husband and I were about to celebrate our 9th anniversary in just two days, so I enlisted Stephanie's help to capture some recent images of me for an album I had planned for Steve's anniversary gift.
Cheesy, I know. But, I wanted Steve (and the kids) to have recent professional pictures of me (without a camera in my hand). Some day when I'm long gone, I want them to remember me in what could very well be my very best years - still young (relatively), still healthy (thankfully), still full of enthusiasm and zest for life. This is how I want them to remember me for years to come.
I credit Stephanie for introducing me to photography as a business years ago. She did an amazing job with the images I selected for Steve's album. My new profile picture is one of hers. Thanks so much, Stephanie! The following image didn't make the cut, but it's where I'd like to start today's story - on the Ferry that took us from Newport to Balboa and back.
While packing up my camera gear that morning, I had in my mind that I wanted to keep my eye open for interesting local stories. I wanted the images that I captured that day to reflect the feel of the place, the local flair so-to-say.
Then I saw him...and I knew right away that I had found a story worth telling.
There he was. The picture of what I hope my son will be some day. A brave, adventurous, nature-loving, bare-footed, free-to-roam on his own, self-sufficient young boy - a boy content to spend the day alone with just a fishing pole and the dream of what he might reel in. How old is he? I don't know. 10, 11, 12...I can't tell. What I could tell is that he was totally confident riding the ferry on his own. He was a boy on a mission, and something told me he would get exactly what he was looking for.
We departed the ferry and parted ways - never expecting to cross paths again. We never uttered a word to each other. (Although I'm pretty sure he probably figured out my obscenely long lens was aimed in his direction and that I wasn't really taking pictures of the scenery behind him.) I assumed he went off in search of the perfect fishing hole, while my cousins and I headed off in search of local antique shops.
We strolled past waterfront cottages lined with flowers and bedecked for the holidays - Halloween, that is. It's fair to say the locals do it up pretty grand!
The whole town decorates for an annual Halloween tour. It's creepy and beautiful all at the same time.
Looking past the eerie decorations, we ogled homes that we dreamed about living in. If only that boat were our boat, that porch our porch, and that deck our deck... One such home was lined with floor to ceiling windows that would have made for the perfect photography studio. Stephanie and I were all about that house, for sure.
But, alas, those houses belonged to someone else. We wouldn't be hanging our beach towels over the front porch rails any time soon, but at least we could stop and smell the flowers while passing by.
And dream about raising our little boys there some day - to smell and care for their own flowers - just like this local lad.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, suddenly out of the corner of my eye just past the boats, I saw him. Our little adventurer. Casting his line.
And like predicted, he got what he came for.
And I think it's safe to say...so did I.
We stopped to ask him his name. "Chase," he said. (Which just happens to be the name my cousin has picked out for her next born son if they have another -and if she gets her way.) I asked him if I could take his picture and gave him my card so he could read his story here some day (you know a year from now when he cleans out his back pack and finds the card some crazy photographer gave him one day while he was out fishing). As for the fish? Chase named him "Bob".
Thanks so much for letting me tell your story, Chase! I hope you catch many more Bobs in the years to come. One thing is certain: You're one amazing (not to mention handsome) young boy! May you never lose your sense of adventure.