Got good surf pics?
I know some of you are scratching your heads right now saying "What the hell is Ralph talking about now?" Well, I'm talking about the passing of a 19yr old this past week that left this world by his own doing. This young man was a friend to many here in the community. He left behind a younger brother, a mother and father, grandparents and hundreds of friends and mourners. Was he a surfer? Yes and no. He has surfed. I know this, because I was there when he first tried it. He was a snowboarder. He loved music. He loved his family and his friends. And by all accounts, he loved life.
Now before any of you ask why I would write about this touchy subject without consulting the family first, you need to know, that they have made this very public. There was no "he died a sudden death" in the newspapers, nor was there no speaking about it at the wake and funeral. Everyone knew how. Yet, everyone did not know why.
And like the Catholic Priest, who gave the most amazing homily, I have ever heard on this subject, said at his funeral, "No One knows what was in his mind at the end, when this darkness over took him. No one. Not those who knew and loved him. No one." And I think that is the biggest question we all have. Why? Those who knew this handsome and bright young man, are left with an emptiness and sadness that will linger forever.
so upset over this news, that I had called a family meeting to look
our own children in the eye and tell them." If any of you, ever
find yourself in this deep depression, facing this darkness where you
think that this is the only way to fix this problem. You need to know,
right here and now. That this is NOT the answer. That you will not be
at peace, and the hurt and sadness that you will leave behind, will
destroy your family and friends."
Look I know I am not an authority on suicide. I'm not a analyst, or a counselor, or a priest. I'm just like you. A surfer with kids who has a genuine love of this lifestyle, and the people who live it. I don't want to see anyone else go through this. I know there are readers all over the globe who read this column every week. In fact, the count on this site from November to December was over 10,000 readers.
I don't know 10,000 people/surfers personally.
But I know that's a lot of surfers. So to those who only know me through these weekly rants, you need to talk with your children. Or your brothers and sisters. Your mothers and fathers or your friends. Let them know that if they ever face this darkness, there is help. And if you know someone now who's in this dark world of despair, you need to get to them. Don't turn your back on these lost souls.
Help them find their way, back to the light.
the first. Remember, I said I had three cases of darkness. The second
was finding out about an old friend of the surf community who finally
lost his life to the darkness that he willingly gave his life to. Drugs.
Steve "Neddie" Nelson died last week. "Neddie"
was one of the most colorful surfers to ever surf here in New England.
I mean there was NO ONE who surfed like Neddie. No one.
But Neddie walked into the darkness of Drugs. And he never came back out. As much as he may have wanted to, the addiction, or the disease was too powerful. I'm not talking about smoking weed. I'm talking about the real shit. The stuff that Elvis liked. The stuff that a lot of creative types have fallen into. Heroin and narcotics. Neddie could not get away from that addiction because as he once said to a mutual friend "It's just too dam good to quit."
Neddie died alone. A broken man, who left behind only a handful of friends and memories.
The darkness of hard drugs and alcohol has taken many lives. And I'm 100% positive that it has taken many surfers. I know it has, because I've known some. This darkness, is another wake up call to those out there, who may slip into the seductive grasp, of hard drugs or alcohol. Again, there is hope, and there is a way out of that black dark tunnel. And unlike suicide, this disease is recognizable. So, if you know someone who's living in this particular dark nightmare, try and get to them. See if they are willing to help themselves get help. But please, don't turn your back on them.
Please my friends, say a prayer for the souls of Alex and Neddie tonight and ask that they finally find their peace.
The third form of darkness, is happening as I write this. And before I share the words that was sent by a friend this past week (see below). I want to remind us all. That we should, really, really, be thankful for what we have.
I know we give thanks to the Lord on special days like Thanksgiving and other Holidays. And there are those who give thanks every week at church gatherings, and there are others, who give thanks every day. But I also know (because I am one of them), that we tend to bitch and moan about some things that are so trivial, that it's almost a laughing matter.
It should be a laughing matter when we stop to think about the real true suffering that is going on in our world. The War in GAZA, the War in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the War in Africa. The suffering of the millions of displaced human beings in those countries is heartbreaking. I mean, it is absolutely heart breaking.
Our friend and exceptionally talented photo journalist Brian Nevins is currently in Nicaragua. He is there on a Humanitarian Photo shoot project. He is at this place they call the Dump. I will post his amazing photographs (below ) for you all to see. And if these photos don't hit you like a cold slap in the face, then you are numb and without emotional feelings.
If these photos don't make you realize, just how lucky we are, then again, you are without feeling. You are soulless. But, unlike the previous two forms of darkness that I wrote about, this darkness can be helped.
This darkness can be helped without counseling (although I'm sure some of these kids will be scarred for life). This darkness can be cured right now with humanitarian aid and money.
I know asking for Financial aid when some of you are hurting is not very popular. But look at these photos and read Brian's words. And if nothing else, please think twice about bitching about the lack of surf, or snow, or whatever...just stop and look at what we have and by God, be thankful for all of it.
some casual observances from last week.
and suffering goes on.
OK I have
to say...this is the funniest and saddest bit I have ever seen about
surfers and localism. If you have not seen it you MUST check this out.
It's called KOOKS
Just click on KOOKS
and check it out. It's hilarious.
The only team I'm not happy for is the Steelers. If you saw the Eagles game today vs the Giants you saw our old friend Assante Samuel pick off a ball from Eli "Dopey" Manning that led to the first Eagle TD and eventual romp of the the Giants. I have one question for Assante. "Why the hell couldn't you do that in the last game you played with New England?
still time to score one of Brian Nevins's canvas print orders.
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of
The Week Especially: Ed O'Connell, John Carden, Brian Nevins,
Bernie Baker, Jamie Wade, Kevin Doherty, Lenny Nichols, Chris Shipley,
The Phantom, Ross Kunkel, Bob Consentino, and Chris Thompson and
all the others.
my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
1983 VINNY and the KIDS
Me and some friendly locals. Central America 1983 from the "Olas
De Sexo" tour.
Nicaragua January 2009
Nicaragua January 2009
Day Four and Brian writes again....
apologize if I'm filling your mailbox with a lot of not so pleasant
imagery, just let me know if you want a break... I know it's a bit overwhelming.
It's a bit overwhelming on my end and just wanted to share in my experience
Day Five Brian writes "This is what perfect looks like"...
is just another day. The only difference is, a t shirt, little Wendy
had on today, that made more sense to me than any phrase I've ever seen.
For everything we want, and everything we wish for,
Day Seven Brian's email from the "Darkness of the Dump".
was a nice day off at the beach. It was nice to put in a surf and break
away from this place. Back in it today.
note from Ralph. I hope you are all still here looking at these images
and reading these
Pics from New England "From The Darkness to The Light"
Danger? For who?
Danger, empty lefts...
2009 Pics from Beyond New England January 2009
The Hawaiian carve. North Shore January 2009.
2009 PARTING SHOT- ...The Hawaiian Eating Gas
The Hawaiian down payment on Paradise. North Shore January 2009.