For the past several months, I’ve been working on a project documenting all the regulars at the local tavern. It’s one of those places where the same people have been coming for decades, while the tavern has changed hands and names, and everyone knows each other. The younger crowd tends to take over at night, but the “old crusties”, as we affectionately refer to them, still rule the roost.
It’s been great fun and a great honor (even if at times a GREAT challenge!) photographing all my friends. I’ve only needed one more portrait in order to call the project complete: Deacon, who arrives in his motorized wheelchair nearly every day at 11am, as he has been for forty years. The project wouldn’t be complete without him, and I’ve been meaning to do it for several weeks now. Unfortunately, I waited too long. Deacon passed away last week after making what looked like a good recovery from a stroke. He is greatly missed, and there’s an empty bar stool where he should be.
I’ve missed shots before because I assumed there would be another chance, but this one stings more than the others. My way of honoring Deacon will be to learn the lesson he taught me, once and for all. No more putting off the important things and taking tomorrow for granted.
This is the photograph of Deacon that I never took. It’s a fitting end to “the regulars”.
You can see the project in its entirety at http://www.cherylnicolai.com in “the regulars” gallery.