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Monday, August 13, 2012

Strangers in Your Life

I once had a good friend named John who was genuinely interested in the people he met in his day to day life. John could stop to grab a coke and within ten minutes knew where the clerk was from, what his aspirations were, what his parents did, if he had pets or a girlfriend, etc. John is just a personable guy, and while I don't get to see him often these days, I remember his willingness to talk to strangers, which is something sorely lacking in our society today. Recently I decided to take John's approach and open myself up to the people I met. My dry cleaner is a sweet older man who is quick with a smile or a joke. He is a proud man, though as an immigrant, used to staying quiet and reserved. As a young man, he married his sweetheart and, as most husbands do, promised his new wife a better life. Growing up in Jerusalem, he was like many young boys, he had an interest in sports and photography, keeping a darkroom behind a blanket wall in the bedroom he shared with his younger brother. But as a married man, he decided to leave the life he knew behind and come to America, where he settled in Covina, CA and opened up a Dry Cleaners. Thirty-five years later, his business is still in the same location and he and his wife, Abla still operate it, working every day from 8:30am until 5:30pm. They have spent their lives doing our dirty laundry and have raised a family with three children, all of whom presumably have a better life than the one their parents were brave enough to leave behind. When I asked if I could photograph them they were at first shy, but then Ghassan whipped out his comb to be sure his hair was perfect. Abla, who is fairly obsessed with celebrities, was very excited. The two haven't had a photo together in over twenty years. If you need a dry cleaner, stop in and say hello to these two beautiful peaople at Society Cleaners. webIMG_8459 11x14 webIMG_8451 8x10 webIMG_8460 8x10 webIMG_8449 webIMG_8467 8x10 webIMG_8463 end

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Long Live Dub

Dub watched him long enough to make sure he’d go, then retrieved his Henry rifle from the jail. The stock fit smoothly into his palm and he tested its weight. He only carried it now when he began to miss the feel of it, but there was a time he’d carried it everywhere he went--back in the early days with Brody, when they were targets for every hardcase with something to prove. The bark of that old Henry was the last sound many of those men ever heard. Dub checked the load, closed the jailhouse door, and stepped out into the night air. That is an excerpt from my book. As many of you know, I published a western entitled, 'SARAGOSA'. In it there is a character named DUB RALSTON, who it appears is the favorite among all who read the book. My own mother berated me for the trials DUB goes through within the pages. It is no surprise to me he is so popular because DUB was based on my friend Erv Tibbs, who is one hell of a nice guy. It is rare to find a man with such integrity and pure honesty. You either love him or hate him, but you can see your true self reflected in his eyes. He is not only one hell of a writer, and if you have read his book 'SUNSET TOMORROW' you know he is a masterful storyteller, but he is an accomplisehed woodworker who has been quietly making some of the best custom guitars in Southern California. I asked him, this man who inspired me to write about DUB, to build me a guitar commemorating his alter ego. I present to you DUB: The Guitar: IMG_8476 IMG_8491 IMG_8488 IMG_8485 IMG_8481 IMG_8479 IMG_8472 IMG_8471 IMG_8442 IMG_8439 IMG_8436 IMG_8434 IMG_8433 IMG_8431 IMG_8425 IMG_8418 IMG_8416 end