Walk of the Cardinals

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I DO NOT LIKE CHANGE. I am proof that there was no evolution, because my DNA would have stayed in the comfort of the primordial soup.

I am the lecturer at the Creatures of Habit Seminar. It is not “guest lecturer” because it is the same lecturer every year.

Since a tornado came-a-callin’ about one year ago, my habits have changed. Some of my daily routines are now a thing of the past. Sometimes I feel like Mr.Square in Roundville.

When my wife rearranges the furniture, which I might add happens as often as a full moon, I descend into the little known tenth circle of Dante’s Hell called Alterus Decorus Frequentous. There are times when I think she has motives that aren’t so interior design-oriented. It’s usually when I hear a faint giggle through the throbbing of another stumped toe.

My wife is one of the one and a half billion Catholics. The most excited I ever saw her was when we saw Pope John Paul II ride by in his motorcade during his visit to San Francisco. It was at that brief moment that I realized the importance of the leader of the Catholic Church and the effect he has on the world.

Once again it is time for the Catholic Church to choose a new leader.

I am not of the Catholic faith, however I am attracted to the traditions of the ceremonies. I love how the Catholic Church chooses a new pope. I do think the Cardinals fulfill God’s Will in these conclaves. I think the Cardinals have free will to vote their conscience and are held accountable for their motives and at the same time what God wants to happen will happen…God’s Providence. I hope and pray that God will guide the next pontiff to be a wonderful leader of the church.

I took this picture to show the path the Cardinals walk as they ascend to the Sistine Chapel to be in conclave to elect a new pope. This walkway is beneath the Sistine Chapel and St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Cardinals have been walking this hallway preceding the papal election for hundreds of years. I love this tradition.

As I stood in St.Peter’s Basilica, my mouth agape with the same sense I had staring out over the Grand Canyon, I could not grasp the enormity of the structure. At the same time I saw the beauty of Bernini’s Dove in stained glass, through his seven-story bronze canopy over the altar and Michelangelo’s Pieta and all of the other magnificent sculptures. I saw the beautiful paintings and treasures in the Vatican museum. I saw the magnificent Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo.

However, the sight that meant the most to me was this quiet, subterranean, lighted hallway. I don’t know why. I think it has something to do with the brevity of the job of the Cardinals in picking a new leader, that these men from all over the world who entered the priesthood and have spent an adulthood in service to God and mankind walk together with a common goal of choosing a new leader.

Oh, I forgot another reason I loved St. Peter’s Basilica…the last time they rearranged the furniture was when Columbus was coming home.

If you like this picture, you can see more of my photos here.

Big Mac Bridge

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I was saddened by the recent death of Stan Musial. He was a prolific hitter known affectionately as “Stan the Man” and played for the St.Louis Cardinals from 1941 to 1963. He was my dad’s favorite baseball player.

The earliest memories I have of going to Cincinnati Reds baseball games as a child were at the end of Stan Musial’s career. My dad would load us up in the early morning hours for the trek up to Cincinnati. This was before I-75 was constructed so we would have to go to Maysville, KY and cross the Ohio River and up Route 52 into Cincinnati where we would find good ol’ Crosley Field. Sometimes, I guess when we weren’t running late, we would use the ferry to forge across the river in Augusta. These trips would probably take about three and a half hours in those days of the early 1960’s.

I know it wasn’t always the case, but it seemed like the only time I saw the Reds play, they played the Cardinals and Stan Musial. I remember being at Crosley Field for Musial’s last game in Cincinnati. I remember Sunday afternoon double-headers and twinite double-headers, both getting to be a thing of the past. I am experiencing a lot of “things of the past” lately.

I took this photo of the Big Mac Bridge that connects Newport, KY and Cincinnati one unusually warm morning in January of this year. The cold water temperature combined with the warmer air temperature created a fog that hung over the river up into the early afternoon hours. I was going to take some pictures in the city but I was drawn to the riverbank.

This wide-angle shot of the river with the fog and bridge was shot on the Cincinnati side and you can see The Montgomery Inn on the right side. Incidentally, the ribs at The Montgomery Inn were rumored to be Bob Hope’s favorite. I processed it in black and white for a dramatic feel.

This photo doesn’t have anything to do with Stan Musial.

Sometimes my mind takes me in round-about ways to get to the same place. I always loved crossing the bridges into Cincinnati and I always loved going to Reds games. Going to watch Stan Musial was the beginning of those feelings for me and somehow this shot reminded me of Stan Musial…go figure.

If you like this photograph, you can see more of my photos here.

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe

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I was distraught when I read Lynn’s Paradise Cafe had closed its doors. My wife and I loved eating breakfast at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe when we were in Louisville, Kentucky.

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe was one of those restaurants that was special. It was loud because people were having a good time and eating exceptional food. Usually the tables were filled with families and large groups of friends. The decor was unlike any restaurant I had experienced. It was artsy and gaudy and over-the-top…so nouveau kitsch.

It was so enjoyable eating at Lynn’s, like eating at the fun aunt’s house, you know the one that never married because she had a career in the city and wanted to spread her wings and saw a life beyond what she knew from her upbringing. She traveled. She cooked exotic foods and didn’t care if you dropped stuff on the floor because it would be a treat for her two dogs and four cats.

My wife would order French toast at Lynn’s, the portion being the size of a beret worn by a big, bulbous-headed futuristic Frenchman. I would have an omelette as big as a small hen-house.

I love to eat. My sister-in-law calls me “the locust”. I informed her on a recent visit that I have started fasting on Sunday morning. She reported this surprising development to her husband who responded,”Does that mean he wants only two pancakes with his eggs and bacon?”

We plan our vacation destinations on the availability of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and only travel during the times when the “hot” light goes off. Whenever we go to the southeast coast we time our travel so we will be eating lunch at Maurice’s Bar-B-Q (also known as the Piggy Park) in Columbia, South Carolina.

My son was about six years old when he first dined at Maurice’s. We were driving to the beach from our eastern Kentucky home. I kept telling him how wonderful the food was at Maurice’s as we passed the hours on the road. He was a picky eater, as most boys are at that age. I knew he would not want the barbecue. He only wanted a plain hot dog.

I don’t know if it was the 8-hour build up or the excitement of going to the beach, but he proclaimed to all who would listen that “this is the best hot dog I have ever eaten!”.

I took this photo of Lynn’s Paradise Cafe one morning last April as we were waiting to get a table. I will miss Lynn’s. I hope she will reconsider her decision. I don’t think France’s economy will survive the loss of income from exporting their toast.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my photos here.