This is the reason the Blog is late this week. For those of you who do not follow me on social Media, here's what went down last week.
On Tuesday January 5th, 2021 I got up at the crack of dawn to go shoot the surf. It was cold and snowing out as I stood on the edge of the surf, standing in ankle deep water out on the reef, while shooting both video and stills. Throughout the morning I saw and spoke briefly with several of the surfers as they came and went. Always at a safe distance, and I had my hood and face cover on. I may have sneezed once or twice, and coughed here and there, but thought nothing of it. It was after all freezing out, and it was snowing. I thought it was the beginning of a common cold.
I shot for at least 4 hours that first day, and then called it a day. Later in the afternoon, I ran my two German Short-Hairs in the woods. It was cold and there wasn’t much wind. But I noticed that my nose was runny and I had a slight cough. I just assumed it was a typical winter cold. Besides, my nose gets runny every time I go out in the winter. It always has. Same with my eyes.
The surf on Wednesday January 6th, 2021 was pretty significant. I got up early to go down and shoot the surf and once again, I paid no attention to my runny nose, or the slight tickle in my cough because it’s winter. Again, I was wearing my thick winter coat with a face covering. The face covering is to stay warm but also acts as a mask. It’s thicker than any of the masks I wear in public to avoid COVID.
I shot from 7:00AM to 4:30PM. Basically from sunrise to sunset. The surf was insane all day long.
Throughout the day I saw many surfers (all at a safe distance). We would speak but at the required social distancing. I tend to find a spot where no other photographers are standing and get my pics and video. I avoid getting too close with anyone else shooting, for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with COVID. I did not feel sick, outside of that tickle in my throat, and that runny nose. But like the day before, I shrugged it off to this being a typical wintertime scenario.
Thursday January 7th, 2021. The third day of the swell. I overslept and missed the first light session. But still managed to get down to the ocean to capture some really pretty waves. I felt better this day, I think it was because the sun was shining so bright, and it just felt warmer. I don’t recall my nose being runny or my cough, but I’m sure I had both. After shooting the surf I ran the dogs again. It was cold out there.
That night I spoke with my wife about getting tested. Three days of a runny nose and cough (in spite of it being winter) I figured better safe than sorry. So the next morning Friday January 8th, 2021 we scheduled a drive thru testing at the local CVS. I went at 11:00 AM and she went later in the afternoon. The drive thru results are a 3 day waiting period. After my test I went back to my studio to begin working on the next Blog. I had already received hundreds of pics from a half dozen, or more photographers. I was so excited about all the great photos coming in.
As I was sizing pics and creating galleries, I felt the first signs of a chill come onto me.
Within the first half hour of the first chill, it started to get more intense. Before I knew it, the chills were on me like I’d never experienced before. I was shaking like a leaf. It got so bad so quickly, that I could not control the mouse. I simply couldn’t stop shaking. I pushed my chair back and stood up. My teeth were literally chattering. What the hell was going on?
I went upstairs and got into bed with all my clothes on and was shaking uncontrollably. I’m no doctor and certainly no rocket scientist, but I knew something was not right. The shaking was almost comical. I mean I was vibrating, and just astonished that this was all happening. And no sooner did the Chills stop when I suddenly spiked a fever. My temp soared from 97 to 102. Within minutes my whole body was on fire. I mean I was burning up. My skin was hot to the touch. At that point I knew. This was COVID.
For the next several hours I fought that fever with a vengeance. I was not going to let it take me.
I was delirious at times, and babbling like a fool. And I felt like a fool on so many levels. For I had been somewhat cavalier about COVID in the past. I never dismissed it, as some have, but I just never thought in a million years, that I would somehow get it, and if I did get it, it wouldn’t be so bad. Well I was wrong on all of my previous conceptions about COVID. Not only did I think I have it, but it was kicking my ass.
At the peak of my fever, I realized just how and why so many people have died from this. If someone my age or older got this, and they were not in the same physical condition that I was in, they would be in serious trouble. I could see very clearly that this thing was not only real, but was in fact a killer. As I twisted in pain, and fought the fever, the headaches, and the now suffocating body aches, my heart went out to all of the 300,000 Americans who lost their lives to this virus. I prayed for their souls. And asked God for forgiveness. I was wrong, and wanted to make amends with those who have passed, and to those who have fought this virus on the front lines, and to those who are dealing with it personally.
And, I asked for forgiveness to those who I might have offended, by not taking it serious enough. I was wrong and I'm sorry.
What’s the saying? There are no atheists in foxholes. I prayed and fought all night long. And before I knew it, my fever broke, and I could feel myself coming out of this feverish nightmare. I knew I had it. I was finally able to get some sleep. And when I awoke, I made an appointment to get a Rapid Test. Even though I was 1000% sure I had COVID. I either had COVID or I had Malaria.
When the doctor walked in to give me my results I already knew the answer. POSITIVE.
She asked me what my symptoms were and I told her. Runny nose and a slight cough. I told her I thought it might just be a common cold or just a winter time reaction. She looked at me and yelled at me. “THAT’S COVID!” Then she said, “I have 100’s of people who come in here every day saying the same thing! I thought it was a common cold. IT’S COVID!” Yikes. I felt sheepish but took her advice.
And speaking of advice, a dear friend and fellow surfer Dr Mark Henschke called me and gave me all kinds of valuable advice as well as directing me to a regiment of meds that can really help me. So I’m pretty fortunate to have the people I have in my life.
And the best news of all? My wife just tested NEGATIVE! Thank God.
We had a saying in Vietnam. “There’s always something out there that can jump up and bite you!”
COVID is one of those things. If you have a runny nose, or a minor cough? Get tested. Wear a mask when you go out in public. Be smart. Don’t listen to the conspiracy bullshit. COVID is real. COVID can kill you. Be safe and watch out for each other. I’m not out of the woods just yet, but I’m on the right path. And I can see the forest through the trees.
Thank you for all the well wishes, calls, PM’s, and text messages. I’ll get the Blog up in a few days when I feel stronger. Peace and love.
Hopefully all you RALPH haters will accept my apologies and find forgiveness in your hearts. But if you can't? I can't help you, and I'm not wasting anymore of life's precious times and moments with those of you who are consumed with hate. You know who you are.
Meanwhile here's some more COVID info.
Meanwhile, you guys are in for a treat with all the pics
from last week.
Like this one from Dina Crawford.
And this one from Ed Moran.
As well as this one from Mindy Bocko.
One from my gallery. Becca Speak on 1-6-21
Here's Becca again from another angle. Photo Tony Berardini.
And the man of the hour (or the swell) Johnny Meehan. Photo Stan Chew.
Kai Zola from a ridiculously long sequence. Photo Zola
"LOVE, FORGIVENESS, and SURFING HEALS ALL WOUNDS!"
This week's Ed's corner is from January 15th, 2008. The surfer is Lenny Nichols, and the photo was shot from Ed's Corner. Yes there was actually a spot that he stood in for years to get this angle. I always called it Ed's Corner. 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
Two weeks ago I posted about Sam George and his new venture.
If you like great writing with wit, humor, and an incredible legitimate insight to everything that is surfing, you will LOVE
Sam George's new venture.
*CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE START READING TODAY*
*I urge you all to sign up to get these important and entertaining stories of our world. Besides, it's FREE. Trust me it's worth it.
For those of you who think that what happened last week at our Nation's Capital was Patriotic, I want you to look at this man's face. Brian Sicknick was 47 years old. Married with children. A Veteran who deployed twice to the Middle East had his brains caved in by a fire extinguisher while battling "insurgents" who breached the walls and doors of our nation's Capital.
He's a Patriot! He's a Warrior! You killed a Police Officer!
Those who stormed the Capital are no better than those who looted and burned buildings last summer during the BLM protests. There's no justification for that kind of behavior.
Five people died that day. Why? Because you believed some harebrained conspiracy that this man told you was true?
This man? He conned his way into the White House in 2016. And he tried to do the same last week. Instead he ended up causing one of the blackest days in the history of our country. His legacy took a dip so low, that he will never be able to recover from. I was in shock at what I was watching unfold. Sick to my stomach.
I know that not all of the 74 million Americans who voted for him supported this attack on our capital. But I am surprised at how many of his supporters were OK with what happened.
How can you justify what happened? You can't.
Those who climbed over the walls, knocked down barricades, fought with Police, and created havoc and destruction inside the rotunda were NOT Patriots. They were criminals. They were insurgents. They were domestic terrorists. And every last one of them should be tried, prosecuted, and sent to prison.
Including the conman who incited this terrible Black Day.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's several.
This man has been arrested. Buffalo Bill Loser.
Think about this image. Just sickening. Turn him in.
As a Marine Corps Veteran I would have volunteered to take up arms against these insurgents. Without question.
Not since the War of 1812 has our capital been under attack.
This will go down as one of the darkest days in our history.
This moron will be going to jail. You freaking loser.
2021 RALPH'S PIC CALENDARS SOLD OUT!
I'm waiting for more orders before I make another run.
If you ordered one just hang in there.
PIC OF THE WEEK is 2021 CALENDARS
It's all local surf and surfers. If you're interested in getting one send me an email to: email@example.com
I'm asking $20 per Calendar.
Who doesn't want a local New England Surf Calendar? I shot all the photos. Yes they are from The BLOG.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
I just found this on the Internet. 45's Last Stand. I didn't notice that Ole Khaliddy had worked his way into this painting. But, there here is. Wonder if they all got scalped? Then we would know for sure if 45's hair piece was real or not. January 6th, 2021.
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 Buckskins at Home
Depot this week.
REST IN PEACE Frank Grondin 98, of Hampton, NH
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kim Grondin January 13th, 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 Prayers.
PLEASE Keep local Surfer/Musician Pete Kowalski in your thoughts and prayers this Holiday season.
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.