Friday, January 05, 2007
Fair thee well Jennifer
Jennifer Reynolds poses for a portrait for the book "Rita Captured" in the studio of The Beaumont Enterprise. Since the rest of us had beards, she felt isolated. So, a few minutes later, I had her looking like "one of the guys."
Photo illustration by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise
Today is the final day I shall have the honor of working with my esteemed colleague Jennifer Reynolds. Her next duty is photo editor at The Galveston County News.
It'll be a hardship for us until she's replaced (if anyone can replace the scent of a gardenia in the spring), but I know her sorrow must be bottomless. I'll guess she's moving to be closer to her parents. Yes, the increased pay and choice of new equipment may be a fleeting salve to ease the throes of leaving, but we can see her obvious pain.
Whatever the true motivation, I'm certain it's serious. I can tell by her laughs of hysteria. All this week, she has moped around saying nothing but, "I don't care. I don't care. I don't care." Sure, she's keeping a brave face by skipping across the photo department while singing those hopeless words, but we know the truth. Inside, our hearts break for her.
We'll truly miss her work ethic. On New Year's Eve we had a going away party for her. Although it was her day off, she selflessly worked past midnight covering a private going-away party at the most exclusive club in town for - ironically - another person named Jennifer Reynolds.
I had the flu and left the huddled mass in the smoke-filled garage around midnight, but I understand she didn't finish her hard work until after the echoes of Auld Lang Syne faltered away from the group in the ode-to-fishing room. I never saw her images, but I'm confident they were up to her normal standards.
Out of obligation, we tried to coax her into avoiding this terminal mistake. I personally purchased her a gift of the finest, newest automatic camera I could locate before the mini-marts closed after twilight. It was a lovely shade of olive green. It was even pre-loaded with some fine 800iso film from a manufacturer so exclusive that I've never heard of their fine products before.
My wife even contributed to our last-minute attempt to free Jennifer from the errors of her judgment. Fayrouz donated a container of her country-of-citizenship's most beloved libation - Foster's beer. Surely that would sway Jennifer's decision (at least the hangover might). Yet, alas, she continues with her reckless endeavor.
So it comes to pass that we must wish her well on her journey of despair. After all, how long can one bear the burden of photographing scantily-clad, young vacationers frolicking in the warm sands of a city as old as Galveston? The torture of palm trees cluttering the skyline? The unadulterated cruelty of hors d'oeuvres and La Dolce Vita (whatever those are)?
The madness. The shame. Woe upon woe.
Nevertheless, the boundaries of our circulation and coverage areas overlap in (mostly swampy) places. We'll still encounter each other on occasion. I can already imagine how she'll look after they brutally leave her in the sun for hours without end. Yet, I'll feel pity for her and gallantly invite her to return to her true home here.
However, I'm certain her ignominy will require her to rebuff my kind-hearted attempts to guide her toward her true habitat. Then, I'll kick her in the shin and run away.
Enough for now,