SURFING HEALS ALL WOUNDS.
I returned with my family from Idaho the day before I took this selfie in the pouring rain. We were attending the Memorial service for our beloved JoEllen Bunton. It was an emotional trip to say the least. So when Tony texted me to tell me that the surf had reached a favorable height, I was all over it. For a short window (approximately one hour) Tony and I had it all to ourselves. And it was a legitimate waist to chest high with incredibly warm water temps. The rain washed me clean. And it masked my true sorrow that I was dealing with. There's nothing like weeping in the rain. It was a healing that I had been suppressing since her passing on July 6th, 2021.
The heavens literally opened up and wept. And I cried right along with it.
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go” ~ ~ j. anderson ~
It's still hard to believe that JoEllen is really gone. 72 years old is just too young. She was such a force of energy, and she had so much more to do and accomplish, that for her to be silenced by cancer just seems so wrong. We all marveled at her incredible culinary skills and her expert gardening talents. And when she was around, she seemed as fit and as exuberant as the girls. Anyone who knew her will tell you the same.
She was beautiful.
My wife and my daughters with JoEllen/Grammy. They look like sisters.
The photo below was taken at their wedding in Washington DC on July 8th, 1988. It was an indoor wedding and it was one of the hottest days on record. The heat and humidity was staggering. And, there was NO Air Conditioning . Yes you read that right. NO AC on a blistering hot and humid day in DC. I was assigned to shoot video of the service.
It was a daunting task to say the least.
I knew only a handful of people there. And for me to be sticking a video camera in the faces of some of these individuals was almost comical. After all, I looked like a cross between Al Pacino and Fonzie. And those in attendance were not exactly enamored with a total stranger taking video of them and asking them for comments.
But I did it, and made friends that day that I'm still friends with to this very day.
JoEllen's Memorial was beautiful. I had never been to Idaho, but I truly saw the beauty and charm of the countryside, and her people. Her home and the magnificent surroundings, reminded all of us of the farm in Virginia. She had decorated virtually every single room and made it reminiscent of Virginia. And I think that was both hard and comforting for our family. I watched our kids take it all in, as their memories of both Grammy and Grampy came flooding back.
As it did me and Cory's. 33 years is a long time. It's a lifetime of memories.
We left Idaho with some bittersweet emotions. And although the service was wonderful and emotional, her final resting place will be in Virginia. As she will join her beloved husband Jerry at the Lexington Cemetery (Formerly known as Stonewall Jackson Cemetery).
That will be the final leg, of this emotional roller-coaster ride, we have all been on these last three months. But we see it as a fitting end. To be buried together for all of eternity.
I would want to have my ashes buried with my wife someday. After of course, a good portion of my ashes having been sprinkled at some key locations around the seacoast, and the mountains in New England.
Leaving Hampton and Idaho
meant we spent some serious time in the airports and on airplanes. As you may have already guessed, the Mask mandate is in affect at every single airport. I'm not a fan of wearing masks, but, I clearly understand the reason why. So as much as I dislike it, I wore my mask everywhere I had to. From Logan to Minneapolis to Boise and the same coming back. At one point I was asked to be thoroughly searched because my pants were drooping. The TSA agent said to me and I quote "You're looking like a gangster there, with your pants hanging down. I'm going to have to pat you down. Are you OK with me doing it here, or do you need privacy?"
I looked at him and said
"I'm OK with you doing it here. I'm just not sure where you get the "Gangster" look though."
"You're old." He said. "When you get to your age, you lose your butt. You have no butt!"
I started to laugh. But then I stopped when I realized he was telling the truth. I halfway expected that was gradually happening to me, I just never had anyone say it to me. Damn, I'm losing my butt.
On the last flight from Minneapolis to Boston, the plane was full. Not a seat to spare. Booked solid. The plane was already 20 minutes late and so coming back to Boston meant we wouldn't be getting home to well after midnight. As we sat at the gate waiting to taxi out to the runaway, I picked up on some of the hushed vibes the flight attendants were saying to each other. I heard
two keywords. "Mask" and "woman." Long story short, a woman in the back of the plane was refusing to wear her mask. WTF? Really?
I mean we've all heard of these situations on the news, etcetera but none of us had ever experienced this firsthand. Not until now anyway. We were delayed a good 20 to 30 minutes while this woman refused to wear her mask. This was on DELTA leaving Minneapolis to Boston. The photo below is NOT the same woman. I just found this pic on the Internet. I guess it's pretty common. Ironically, the woman on our flight did kind of look like this woman.
Only the woman we saw did not have any mask on period. And she was obviously intoxicated. And to make matters worse, right when she got to my seat she intentionally dropped her salad in the aisle. "Excuse me...hello...it broke." She was saying to the flight attendant. "It broke..." and looking down on the aisle, she pointed. The salad was all over the place. That really pissed everyone off. This young drunk white woman was standing there and NOT picking up her own spilled salad. She just kept saying "It broke." Well I did all I could, not to scream at her and make her pick it up. I guess I am mellowing out as I get older. Because, I was fit to be tied. I had visions of me grabbing her by the back of her jacket, and making her pick up everything.
Instead the poor male flight attendant was down on his hands and knees scraping up her disgusting salad. Meanwhile standing behind the woman was either her boyfriend or husband. He quickly joined the culprit as the two were escorted off the plane. You freaking losers!
She was a pain in the ass. A pathetic pain in the ass.
The next day I ran the dogs out in the woods and found peace and solitude.
I love finding old pieces of local history out there. And this was one of those times. This old wooden wagon wheel. It's easy to let your imagination run wild as you try and imagine who owned this wheel, what were they like, were they husband and wife? Did they farm this land? Did they have bird dogs like mine? At what age did they too pass?
All of that ran around inside my head. And just like that, I was grounded again. I knew I was back home. And that everything would be OK again. At least for the time being. I am well aware that things happen to people. Good and bad. It's all part of life's experiences.
Later that night, Patch (age 10) was loving his new dog bed.
"SURFING AND FAMILY HEALS ALL WOUNDS!"
This week's Ed's corner is from July 13th, 2009. This is Brian Nevins enjoying a warm summer surf session at the wall. And lucky for him Ed was there to capture the moment.
Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
Now for Some Local and National News
Last month I received an email and a digital file of this book.
I had a son who lived in India for 15 years…..He and his wife were both surfers….They opened up a Surf Ashram near Mangalore around 2005….He also was the tour guide for three top US surfers that came to India to discover the good surf spots….this is a book he did.
He died in 2017 at the age of 37 of Melonoma….He was an amazing surfer and very spiritual person….we miss him… his photo is on front of book. He was a very special soul unfortunately he only had a few copies of the book made with the company Blurb
I read the article of the top surfers that he took around India in a major surf magazine but I don’t remember their names…. I do remember they made a statement that traveling in India was difficult but they loved their tour guide Govi…. My sons nick name……Jonathan Madhava Govardhana Hebel….Wife..Krishna Priya Hebel….two children Leela and Vayu now 12 and 9
Hope all is well with you and your family… yes you can post this but sorry I don’t have pertinent info.
Best Wishes Susan"
If anyone has a copy of this book, please get in touch with me.
OK it's that time of year again!
This is a great opportunity to showcase local and national surf artists. If you know of any surf artists please let them know about this annual Surf Art Blog. DEADLINE IS NEXT SUNDAY.
JULY 25th, 2021 at 5:00PM
And speaking of Surf Art.
My longtime Surf Artist/Surfer/Musician brother Stan Chew has a surf art Exhibit coming up at the end of August at the Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery in Portsmouth.
I love his work and I can't wait to attend.
Surf Art For Surfers and Lovers Of Surf.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
OK so the latest rage is rich celebrities hurtling through space. Richard Branson is the latest to get that "high" experiencing weightlessness. Branson, Bezos, and Musk are all in the Celebrity Space Race. Well you already know how that made Ole Khaliddy feel. He was roaring to go. Move over Hollywood, the Sheik wants to "Shake His Booty " in outer space too. And he refuses to wear any mask, Astronaut suits, or helmets. He was wants to go "Free styling" in outer space. Thank God this is all make believe huh? Enjoy your weekly KSM meme.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of BUZZ LIGHTYEAR Dolls
Home Depot this week.
Our local hero Chris Zigler sporting a Cinnamon rainbows hat while serving his country in Africa. Chris is the REAL DEAL Patriot. We wish him a safe return to Hampton. Thank you Zig for doing what you do for our country and our community.
Photo c/o Chris Zigler
HAPPY BIRTHDAY John Rastl July 12th, 2021!
HAPPY 29th BIRTHDAY Gunther "Blue" Northwood
AKA GUNNY July 18th, 2021
REST IN PEACE JoEllen Bunton 72, July 6th, 2021
REST IN PEACE Nash Rogers 8yrs old, July 6th, 2021.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Judith Rastl July 23rd, 2021!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Janelle Donahue July 23rd, 2021!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Tami Heide July 23rd, 2021!
HAPPY 33rd ANNIVERSARY Kevin and Kim Grondin
July 23rd, 2021!
PLEASE Keep 90 yr old Chuck Dreyer (Kim Grondin's dad)
in your thoughts and prayers.
PLEASE Keep longtime NH Surfer Greg Smith in your Thoughts and Prayers.
PLEASE Keep local Surfer/Musician Pete Kowalski in your thoughts and prayers throughout the year.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE DIPG AWARNESS TEAM!
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to
Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 16 years.
** BUY a HIGH RES Photo
from any of the weeks on RPOTW.
my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.