We’re continuing with our series featuring some of the creative people that we know. Every Tuesday we will introduce them as they share with us the ten things they can’t live without. And this month, we’ve decided to feature our parents! Get ready for lots of embarrassing pictures of us from when we were little, as well as getting a little glimpse of where we came from. Today we are introducing the father of the girl, photographer, antique military paraphernalia collector, muscle car restorer, model train builder Mark Stevens.
Location: Commerce, TX
[one] family, friends, and my network
“So far away. Doesn’t anyone stay in one place anymore. It would be so fine to see your face at my door.”… Carol King
My wife Becky (The Girl’s mom), who for unknown reasons has blessed my life with her presence for thirty years. Our daughter (The Girl), who is amazingly intelligent and talented and makes us so very proud. Friends, some of which I have known for decades and still remain in touch. Friends that I haven’t heard from in decades, but still remain in my heart and my memories. My network of co-workers, aquaintences, and the doctors and nurses that saved my life when I fought cancer.
“…and songs are never quite the answer, just a soundtrack to a life that is over all too soon…David Gough aka Badly Drawn Boy
It started innocently. As a child, coming indoors and hearing Hank Williams or Johnny Cash on my mother’s radio. My sisters listening to Johnny Mathis or Elvis. Kind of like second hand smoke. Then I started to experiment on my own with The Beatles, the Stones, the Hollies, the Animals, the Kinks. When I started high school, I moved on to the harder stuff. The Doors, Hendrix, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd. I was soon out on the street trying to score some Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Velvet Underground, Lou Reed. Mellowed out for a while with James Taylor, Neil Young, and Simon & Garfunkle. When I got my first job and had some bread, I turned to the dark side. The short-lived Texas Progressive Music of the mid-seventies. I got strung-out on Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie, Asleep at the Wheel. A long haze followed with the Eagles, Queen, ELP, Fleetwood Mac, ELO. Met Robert Johnson at the crossroads, was led out of the darkness by Bruce Springsteen. Re-lapsed with Nirvana. Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith led an intervention, and brought Robert Earl Keen for back-up. And here I am today, with nothing out there on the airwaves that tempts me to damage my hearing. I always go back to my old heroes. Speed kills, but my speed was 33 & 1/3 rpm.
Man, I wish John Lennon was still around.
“A dog is the only thing on earth that will love you more than you love yourself.” ~ Josh Billings
Our two Chihuahuas Maggie, aka Moodles, Moo Moo, Moosie, Magdaline Fairchild, Mooster; and her brother Rupert aka Roodles, Roo Roo, Rupie, Batman, Rooster, and Little Man. Growing up, I never cared for small dogs until we filled our empty nest with these two little cherubs, and newly acquired Chester the Siamese Cat aka Curtis, Kit, and Sam of Siam.
“You say you’re not from Texas, man as if I couldn’t tell.
Well you think you pull your boots on right and wear your hat so well.
So pardon me my laughter as I sure do understand.
Even Moses got excited when he saw the Promised Land”…Lyle Lovett
Blistering summers. Bone chilling winters. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Dust storms.
Bluebonnets. Mockingbirds. Longhorn cattle. Pretty women.
One of the most recognized flags in the world.
The greatest state in the Union.
Did I mention I was born here?
[Photographed by Mark Stevens]
[five] english literature
“And you read your Emily Dickenson and I my Robert Frost.
And we note our place with bookmarkers that measure what we’ve lost”…Paul Simon
From William Shakespeare to William Blake to T.S. Elliott.
From Thoreau to Poe to F. Scott Fitzgerald. It makes no difference on which side of the Great Pond it comes from, the beauty of the written word is man’s greatest achievement.
[Lower left Photographed by Mark Stevens]
[six] planes, trains, and automobiles
“and I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parts car”…Bruce Springsteen
No, not the movie. I have a tremendous fascination for the planes of WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam and the men who manned them. I am in awe of the railroads that built this country.
But of the three, it is the auto. More specifically cars of the 60’s. Fairlanes, Falcons, Mustangs. Chargers, Challengers, Barracudas. Chevelles, Novas, Corvettes. The GS, the GTO, the 442. Cragar mags, Hurst shifters, Isky cams, Holley carbs. Tommy Ivo, Mickey Thompson, Junior Johnson, Carroll Shelby, Jim Hall. Back then, all cars looked entirely different from each other.
The first Job I ever had was working all night at a gas station in Leonard, TX (pop. 1117). Just me, a car magazine, and my transistor radio. Every once in a while a couple of cars would pull in. Maybe a Competition Orange ’55 Chevy and a black ’57 Ford. The drivers would be a couple of locals who had graduated from high-school and had jobs at TI in Dallas. Spending most of their pay on their cars. They would grab a Dr. Pepper and say “Filler-up with Ethyl”. I would pump the gas (yes, that’s what people who worked at gas stations used to do!). “Ten gallons”, I said, ”Thattle’ be a dollar-seventy. You guys gonna drag?” They would line up on Hwy 69, in front of the station, and scream off into the darkness. I can still hear the tires “chirping” in all four gears.
I was 13 years old. Life was good.
[Photographed by Mark Stevens]
“If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading this in English, thank a soldier”…bumper sticker
Whether it is a poem, a magazine, a technical manual, a novel, or the ingredients to a bag of chips, I enjoy reading.
I do not have as much time to do so, but I still manage to flip a page now-and-then.
Next on my list is to re-read the “Ender” novels by Orson Scott Card. Recommended!
“You maybe haven’t been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal.”…Pvt. Hudson…from Aliens.
I still call it Sci-Fi, some new-age folks call it “speculative fiction”.
Written or filmed, I love stories involving giant bugs, terminators, ET’s, time travel, space travel, and best of all……ZOMBIES!
[nine] film lines
“What we have here is failure to communicate”…the Warden, from Cool Hand Luke.
I use these everyday. Unfortunately, the only response I usually get is…What??. Once in a blue moon someone will spit out the next line, and its game on!
“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”…President Merkin Muffley, from Dr.Strangelove
“If we’re wrong, then nothing happens. We’ll go to jail. Peacefully. Quietly. We’ll enjoy it. But if we’re right, and we can stop this thing…..Lenny…..you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters.”…Dr Peter Venkman, from Ghostbusters.
“Vacant, with a hint of sadness. Like a drunk who’s lost a bet.”….Diane, from Shaun of the Dead
“I don’t know, there’s just something about him. Something around the eyes. Reminds me of…ME.
Nope, now I’m sure of it. I hate him.”… Doc Holiday, from Tombstone.
[ten] hobbies and collections
“…These are a few of my favorite things.” – Maria, from The Sound of Music
Coins, stamps, photography, model railroading, military paraphernalia, railroad memorabilia, baseball cards, LPs, golf clubs, WWII rifles, old cameras, automotive memorabilia, and replacing some of my childhood toys that my mother gave away.
[Photographed by Mark Stevens]
Stay tuned for text Tuesday when we feature the father of the boy, professional photographer, guitarist, model car collector and lover of airplanes Dan Klepac [@daklepac].
Until next time!