I’ll Be Home for Christmas

I'll Be Home for Christmas

On This Date: Photo taken 12/15/1971

A bunch of G.I.s at Cam Ranh Bay, waiting for the plane that would take us home to the States. Most of us had had our tours cut short–mine by about 45 days–because the war was beginning to wind down. And because Uncle Sam likes to get folks home for the holidays. (Yes. Truly.)

Many of us would report to our next duty station in mid-January only to be told we’d be released from active duty within a week. That happened to me at Fort Dix; I was out of the army late in the month.

We boarded the plane and cheered when the wheels left the runway. But the real cheers came when we touched down in Seattle.


My Cam Ranh photos are the earliest I’m confident I can date. One (it’s of the parade ground) was taken on the 14th, four (more or less like this) were taken on the 15th, and three were shots taken through our airplane’s window of the sun rising over the Pacific on the 16th.

I’ve posted this photo before; it was the second image I posted to Flickr. It’s been 46 years and I still think this may be my best photograph.

Number of pix taken on various December 15ths: 613
Year of oldest photo: 1971

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 23
  • 2 Stars: 103
  • 3 Stars: 413
  • 4 Stars: 63
  • 5 Stars: 11

Revision History:

A Passing Train

A Passing Train

On This Date: Photo taken 12/14/2014

We were getting pictures of the Ken Boothe Sr/Lakes Contender tug/barge pair when we got distracted by this train, and its still painted Grand Trunk locomotive.

On Port Huron’s waterfront. That’s the Michigan Culinary Institute in the background.


The Boothe/Contender tug/barge has (have?) been renamed to Clyde S. VanEnkevort & Erie Trader. They’re still one of the most attractive “boats” on the Great Lakes.

Number of pix taken on various December 14ths: 835
Year of oldest photo: 1971

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 14
  • 2 Stars: 80
  • 3 Stars: 549
  • 4 Stars: 172
  • 5 Stars: 20

Revision History:

Pusher

Pusher

On This Date: Photo taken 12/13/2014

A tug, a barge, and the Point Edward Casino.

The tug’s named Michigan; the barge is Great Lakes. I think this is the only time I’ve seen them under weigh, though we’ve seen them many times at docks. In the 90s I often saw ’em parked at Greilickville, near Traverse City; in recent years we’ve routinely found the pair downstream from the drawbridge in Cheboygan’s harbor.


Before she retired, Joan routinely took a mid-December week off to Christmas shop, mail cards, hang decorations, and similar stuff. Three years ago, realizing she didn’t need the entire week, she suggested we try staying in Port Huron’s new Doubletree waterfront hotel and watch the lakers pass. So we did.

Number of pix taken on various December 13ths: 168
Year of oldest photo: 2012

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 15
  • 3 Stars: 130
  • 4 Stars: 21
  • 5 Stars: 2

My image collection also includes 9 December 13 photographs taken by my brother. They were made during and after what appears to be an Advent service at Kalamazoo’s Lutheran Church of the Savior in 2010.

Revision History:

Ash Highway

Ash Highway

On This Date: Photo taken 12/12/2012

Five years ago I thought I’d see if I could get an obviously-Amish photograph. Turned the corner at Gresham and found myself amongst a bunch of kids on their way to school via bicycle and buggy and foot. ‘Twas fun to watch, but not a possible photograph from a moving car.


The Amish intention didn’t work out. But I did find some interesting photographs on roads I rarely travel.

I really wanted to get a 12/12/12 photo in here. Just because.

Number of pix taken on various December 12ths: 398
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 11
  • 2 Stars: 76
  • 3 Stars: 243
  • 4 Stars: 63
  • 5 Stars: 5

Revision History:

Sparrows at the Feeder

Sparrows at the Feeder

On This Date: Photo taken 12/12/2013

“On December’s first day with snow I generally stay home and photograph birds through the window.”

Oh, yes. I already explained that.


Number of pix taken on various December 12ths: 398
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 11
  • 2 Stars: 76
  • 3 Stars: 243
  • 4 Stars: 63
  • 5 Stars: 5

Revision History:

Winter Leaves

Winter Leaves

On This Date: Photo taken 12/11/2016

On December’s first day with snow I generally stay home and photograph birds through the window. I occasionally get distracted by the needles on the pines, or the leaves on the crabapple. Or the snowflakes.

I didn’t quite nail the focus on this one, and I mebbe shoulda bumped the aperture to f/8. But gosh I like it.


“On December’s first day with snow…”–the roads aren’t safe. So I stay home, avoiding the crazies.

Retired people can do that.

Number of pix taken on various December 11ths: 230 [includes one by my sister]
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 28
  • 3 Stars: 115
  • 4 Stars: 77
  • 5 Stars: 9

Debbie’s pic’s of our brother, who’s filling bird feeders. I’m not real sure how the photo wandered into my collection, but I was delighted to find it yesterday when I was sorting through today’s images.

Revision History:

The Upjohn Farm

The Upjohn Farm

On This Date: Photo taken 12/9/2014

Think I’ll just repeat a commentary I wrote in July of 2013:

The Upjohn Farm–now labelled Zoetis–is between Kalamazoo and Richland on Gull Road. Upjohn–a Kalamazoo based pharmaceutical company–used this farm as a research facility. When Asgrow was an Upjohn product line, that division was headquartered here. (My father worked for Upjohn, but not at the farm. I did know a family that lived on the farm, from church.)

Despite several changes of hands in the past two decades, we older Kalamazoo natives seem to still think of this place by the Upjohn name.

For many years this field had cattle, who “crossed” Gull Road through a tunnel. We always thought that was neat.


Number of pix taken on various December 9ths: 88
Year of oldest photo: 2007

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 8
  • 2 Stars: 13
  • 3 Stars: 55
  • 4 Stars: 11
  • 5 Stars: 1

Revision History:

Don’t Fall!

Don't Fall!

On This Date: Photo taken 12/8/2014

For much of the year you’d see rock climbers….

Oak Park in Grand Ledge, Michigan. The photo doesn’t really show the scale well, but you’re looking down a cliff at the Grand River. Signs in the park warn about 50 foot falls.


Grand Ledge is convenient for me–just a few miles down the road from my house. It’s also photogenic.

GL is mostly a Lansing suburb, these days, but its self-image is former resort town. The city hasn’t forgotten its manufacturing heritage–there’s a park on the grounds of a former brick factory–but the town’s historical imagination features the river and the ledges, Mudge’s Folly and the roller coaster, the Seven Islands Resort, and the Spirtualist and Adventist encampments.

The river and the ledges remain, and are the reason the others found Grand Ledge.

Number of pix taken on various December 8ths: 151
Year of oldest photo: 2007

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 42
  • 3 Stars: 82
  • 4 Stars: 22
  • 5 Stars: 5

Revision History: