I knew I was in trouble when I got an e-mail from “Tess the Mess” that was entitled Portrait Without Me, and I thought to myself, “what has she done now?”. The next sentence I felt clinched the situation when I read: “It was screaming hot outside when I did this. Good that the bullets did not fire up. LOL.” Surely the heat has gotten to her brain. Now what in the world was she talking about?
So I read on and became fascinated with the life story of “Dad Jimmy”…
“My father-in-law Jimmy was born on March 8 in Ardmore, Oklahoma to an Irish-American father and a Choctaw Native American Indian mother. During the dust storm in Oklahoma in 1936 the whole family migrated to Sebastapol, California.
Being born to a dirt poor family, they worked themselves so hard to try to alleviate their financial status by working in corn plantations and supporting the whole family with home gardening and canning all the garden produce for the whole year supply of food that most of the times lasted more than the whole family needed for the year. The family never got food stamps as it is a shame to the family to get free food from the government as it is an act of laziness as my father-in-law told me.
After finishing college and earning the degree to become a registered nurse, Jimmy joined the US Army and served in the Korean War for almost three years as a military nurse in June 1950 to June 1953. Despite the cold and being home-sick in North Korea, he was so proud to be able to serve his country and would do it again in a hearbeat.
After serving in the Korean War, Jimmy continued to serve in the US Army all over the different military bases in the country until he was deployed to Germany in 1966 where he met my mother-in-law Genovefa (Eva) Mepka Mimikakis. The two got married and Jimmy adopted my husband Nick. When Jimmy came back to the country bringing with him his new bride, Nick and their new baby Jimmy Mack in 1968, the new family lived in Sebastapol, California where in three years they had another son, Robert.
In 1985 after retiring from twenty five years of service in the US army, the family decided to move to Belton, Texas and live there the rest of their lives.
In September 30, 2010, Jimmy died at the age of 80 due to metastatic lung cancer and was honored with a twenty-one-gun salute by the US National Guard and this flag was awarded to his widow Eva and the president of the United States awarded this recognition for his service to the country.
Jimmy loved old coins and guns. This image is a description of him. The flag is the real flag that covered his casket and was given to us by my mother-in-law as she knew that my husband wanted the flag but we were shocked that she also gave us the recognition. We said that we cannot do that to her, but she insisted on handing them to us which is really so nice of her.”
Now at one point, I must tell you that Tess e-mailed saying that perhaps she should re-do this and instead do something about herself, but I told her to not change a thing, that it is a beautiful tribute to her father-in-law, and that I would like to use it as a final image in this challenge.
So it is with that in mind that I suggest to you that at some time in the near future that you do a similar type “portrait” to honor a loved one… living or dead. It could be for a birthday, an anniversary or in remembrance. Mat it, frame it, and give it as a special gift. Such a remembrance will be cherished for many years to come.
Photography coupled with innovation is powerful. Use your photography to make a difference in someone’s life. It will cost next to nothing but it will surely touch the hearts of those who care. Thank you Tess for this beautiful entry!