Welcome to the online pages of the September/October 2019 South x Southeast photo magazine! Did’ya miss me? I missed you! So, allow me if you will, a few words to bring you up to date. Thanks!
Some of you know that I live on my farm in west central Georgia with my 89 year-old mother, four rescue dogs, and BeBe the 21-year old one-eyed cat. I have been the caretaker of my mother for the last 20 years. Her health had been on a general decline. But, on Christmas her health failed spectacularly. As a result, this year has been consumed by hospital stays, doctor’s visits, UTIs and sepsis, and a new kind of care-taking; followed by weeks of rehab, and now the inevitable long-term nursing home residence. As of last week we are on our third nursing home in 8 months. My sense of humor comes and goes.
Having eased into this slowly through the years, I thought myself as prepared as you possibly could be. After all, I have been her patient advocate for two decades, can recite her medical history in my sleep, have sought out and employed the best medical doctors available. I was ready, by god.
I had no idea. And no one was more surprised by that fact than I was. Nancy the Indestructible was brought to her knees. Even though she is still with me physically, I have grieved the loss of her mentally, in increments, every day. It has been, and continues to be, one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to experience. I am in awe of people who care-take family members on a regular basis. You are the true giants in this world today. And why don’t we treat our elderly with more respect? Don’t get me started.
Status as of now is good. Most days, she resigns herself, even with thick dementia, to this being her new normal and to making the most of it. And I’ve learned a whole new meaning of gratitude and patience and thanking my higher powers each and every day for all I have.
During all of this, previously planned routine renovations on my house and mother’s went on (my builder is booked 2 years out so I don’t dare put him off) and became the stuff of nightmares. Walls that had been eaten by termites 100 years ago had to be rebuilt before we could put new windows in; a bathroom about to fall out into the yard due to a 70 year-old cast-iron, 600# bathtub and a million leaks had to be totally rebuilt; the entire front of the house was being held up by one skinny board – for the last 14 years; the heat/a.c. at the barn died completely – big ka’ching there; the den floor at mother’s was totally rotted due to rain pouring down the side of the chimney for god-only-knows how long and had to be replaced along with 2 walls; the well pump died and took the foot valve with it; and just recently the county road crew took out my mailbox in a spectacular array of wood chips that flew all the way across the yard to the house. And those are just the major-major things – I wouldn’t dare bore you with the simply-major things.
Most days now I can’t decide if I’m in the “OMG, it’s September already?” or the “Jesus, it’s only September?” camp.
Which brings me to my point. Workshops and exhibitions previously scheduled before this all began had to go on. But, in exchange, something had to go on the back burner to free me up to handle it all. And that something was this, the magazine. My first, and truest, love. And, oh, I have missed it – as well as all of you. No work has ever made me happier than putting together this magazine to show off remarkable people, their unbelievable talent, and the beauty and knowledge they create to then just hand to us and go “Look.” Isn’t that amazing in itself?
So, we’re baaaaack! And welcome to our Big Fall issue with a line-up that includes something for everyone. And, if there’s something you truly enjoy seeing and reading, please drop the artist a line – their websites/emails are included in the articles. They would like that. And so would I.
And thank you for your patience. You guys are the best!