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Thank you, thank you, thank you

Published 6:58pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

I’ve bared my soul on this page before about my terrible habit of failing to send thank you notes (and my mother still hides her face in shame when I walk into the room), so today I want to publicly thank some folks for their help with a couple of recent and upcoming projects.

This might not square things with Mom, but I hope it causes her to turn down the temperature of the water I’ve been boiling in since my last confessional column.

First up is Brian Williams, who manages the beautiful Hilton Garden Inn at the corner of North Main Street and Constance Road.

The week before last, Brian spent part of summer’s hottest day yet, walking me around on his hotel’s rooftop so I could find the best vantage point for photos of the city’s Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza. Dressed in a suit and tie, he seemed entirely unaffected by the blinding heat. Dressed in a polo shirt and about 75 extra pounds, I could not say the same.

After about 45 minutes of scouting a location, I had settled on a spot above the conference center. But when I arrived at the hotel on the evening of Independence Day, I had a change of heart and asked for a place on the balcony over the hotel’s back porch.

Williams did not hesitate in acceding to my request, and he took me to a portion of the balcony set off by an ornamental wooden fence from the area where City Council members and guests watched the party below.

I had all the space I needed, and my view was completely unobstructed, allowing me to set up a tripod and get a few great shots of the fireworks that we were able to share with readers and Facebook fans.

Thanks, Brian!

Next on the list are the fine folks at Culpepper’s on the Lake, located at the Cohoon-Meade Fishing Station.

The first thing I’ll say about Daryl Culpepper, his wife Danette and her father, Big Ernie Swain, is that they’re awake far earlier than humans should be forced to get out of bed.

When they met me at the station recently for a sunrise photo shoot on Lake Meade for the July/August edition of Suffolk Living magazine (which will be available Monday afternoon), I was amazed at how alert they all seemed.

Typically the only way I see a sunrise is if I’m still awake from the night before, and I considered having Big Ernie strap me onto the bench seat of the boat so I wouldn’t doze off and fall into the water as we headed out that morning.

Daryl and an employee, Mark Johnston, took a separate boat to give me subjects to shoot, and they got an unproductive morning of fishing out of the deal. Big Ernie, on the other hand, had to settle for sparkling conversation with a zombie for the entire trip.

The photos are fine, though, and somehow the unusual experience left me feeling poetic, so readers of this edition of the magazine will get an idea of just how muddled my brain really is at 5:45 a.m.

Thanks Big Ernie and the rest of the folks at Culpepper’s!

I know, this still isn’t the same as a handwritten thank you note, but I can guarantee that it’s more legible. (There go the heads of all my primary, middle and high school teachers, nodding in unison.) I promise I’ll try to do better, Mom.

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