HOME OF THE BRAVE
What did it mean to you? A day off and a barbecue? Amnesty for lighting fuses, sparklers and blowing stuff up? Opportunity to wear one’s more colorful wardrobe? For me it was a day of exploration and an opportunity to use a new lens I had just received in the mail. Damn 28mm lens. Almost as much love and hate as my damn 85mm lens. Forced to just shoot it as I see it. No zooming in on pimples and moles. Just shooting it strait.
I had heard of this lake surrounded resort town called Mount Dora… and I wondered how a place as flat as Florida could have a Mt. anything. My first stop was at the flower stand on the way out-of-town. I just had to. The shade under the trees looked like the dawn’s early light or perhaps the last gleaming of twilight.
From the fragrance of flowers I followed my nose to some guy named “Grandpa” who was cook’n up ribs at a gas station down the road!
Grandpa was so excited to see me with the camera that he called me over for a closer look. He wanted to show me his smoke and his ribs… but I could not take my eye off his sun-lit wet red plum!
I complimented his smokey slabs and thanked him for making me smell like smoke too… and went on my way. He yelled out as I left.. “here, here… take one of me…” and I did…in all his braided and beard stained, “Demons Befriend Me” T-shirt glory. Home of the free and land of the brave. What a country. Anyone can do anything and be anyone they wish. Pull up to a gas station yo, light some ribs on fire and sell your shiz.
I drove a little further down the road and out of the corner of my eye I saw a very unlikely pair. A Rolls Royce was parked in front of an impoverished trailer home. In this country you can be wealthy and choose to live in a trailer or be poor as hell and drive a Rolls. I didn’t know what else was in the yard. It kind of looked like some kind of chair parts or ram parts gallantly streaming.
As you know I’m always looking for a sign. A sign that says I’m in the right place at the right time. I love when those signs just pop up in front of me. I saw this sign and I of course pulled over to park, cause it told me to.
After driving through town after town looking for the Dora mountain noted for it’s 184′ elevation… I finally saw another sign that told me I was finally entering Mt. Dora. I turned down a few side streets and saw a strange dog hiding in the bushes. I had to pull over and shoot him as he was obviously modeling for me. A Neapolitan Mastiff I was told…
As I got back in the car I passed a bush trying to squeeze out its own little celebration of the 4th. It actually looked like it was offering some rocket’s red glare.
Once I got to this magical town, I was taken by how many people had dressed up for the occasion. What a country. We can wear what we want whenever we want and push our dogs around in baby strollers without ever having to explain ourselves. I guess this gives proof through the night that our flag was still there.
As I crossed the sunny street, I noticed two lovely ladies whose broad stripes and bright stars, could be seen through the perilous light.
I walked and shot, smiled and grabbed all the street side patriotism I could find. Then entered this cool little antique store. Inside the store was a woman whose head resembled a cotton ball… or perhaps it was just bombs bursting in hair.
Coincidentally on the other side of the store there was another beautiful doll with white hair dressed in red with a sign in blue.
As I walked out of the store a saw a basket full of shiny objects. I asked the store owner what they were and she said they were “Francis Scott Keys”.