Pictures first, and after them is this little thing I wrote up about meeting him. and the color version: and the color version: Today is Thursday and Thursday is always a good day for some picture takin', so it was no surprise to me when I found myself thinking, "Hot dern, I oughtta go out picture takin'!" Because it's Thursday, and you know what they say about Thursdays. As soon as my classes ended I put some film in the camera, put the van in gear, and attacked the road with a thirst and a righteous zest for Photography, the holiest of all -agraphies (geography [and dare I say it, calligraphy] be damned)! So, I'm driving, ya know, listening to folk music and just trying to get myself into my Picture Takin' Mood, and looking for roads that I've never been on before. Ah! There's one. But wait! I spot it too late to turn so I just keep driving, telling myself that I'll come back later to that road. Boy am I glad I didn't go down that road, because if I had, I would have never met one of the nicest, most interesting fellows I've ever come across. The road I end up taking is that road beside the gas station in Masonville. If you know where that is, you know where it is, and if you don't know, I'm not going to explain it because that would take a God awful long time to do (but it's to the right of the Masonville gas station; don't blink or Whoops, you missed it! Shootfire, now ya gotta turn around!). If you drive down this road a couple of miles you'll run into some sharp, sharp curves and along one of these curves is a field. A field with some barns on top of it! And if you've ever seen pictures of mine, you know that me and my camera love takin' pictures of barns. So I pull over to a house that is off to the side of the field and I ask this nice lady if she owns the barns or if she knows who does, because hey, I need to take some pictures of those barns. She says that no, she doesn't own them, and that she doesn't know who does or did or whatever, but that her husband does. And then, and then, and then. And then she introduces me to her husband. This, is how I met one of the nicest, most interesting fellows I've ever come across. This, is how I met Rusty. Rusty came around the barn with a hammer in his hand and I asked him the same question that I had asked his wife. He answered me and asked me why I was taking pictures, is it for class, newspaper, and so on. And I tell him no, that I just like taking pictures. We talk about this for a little bit and then I ask if I can take some pictures of him and he tells me, "Sure." From here we went on a little walk and he showed me his property and pointed out things that I might like taking pictures of. But while he was doing all of this, he was telling me all about himself and his family and the things he likes and just about everything a man can tell you. And I stood there. And I listened to him. And Rusty is one of the nicest, most interesting fellows I've ever come across. I suppose the things he told me about were regular ol' things. About how after he got married, his wife told him that she's always wanted a horse, so he bought her a horse, even though she can't ride it. About how when things are turning rough, he'll go sit on one of the stones buried in the ground beside his pond and watch the sun set and how that's his heaven. About how he's afraid he hasn't given his children as good of an upbringing as his parents gave him. These are things. Regular ol' things. But I stood there and listened to him talk for over an hour like a kid watching cartoons on Saturday morning. And I took pictures of him. I think part of the reason that I was so enthralled by this ordinary guy was that he's the complete opposite of me, but pretty much exactly what I want to be. He's a genuine person. He told me a lot of things and he meant every bit of it. He's not trying to come across as cool or ironic or hip or whatever. Rusty is Rusty and that's that and he's happy with himself and happy with his life. I think that Rusty might also be my new hero. Because he's genuine, but also because he kind of looks like Tom Waits.