We often capture strangers in photos we take in public. Open your photo library, and stop at the first picture that features a person you don’t know. Now tell the story of that person.
This one is right up my alley. I’m a photographer-usually landscapes and nature, but every now and then I capture an unintentional photo bomber. For instance, my last photo I took in a series on my way to work one morning captured two of our city’s many homeless population sleeping on the very narrow and steep steps at the bayfront. Picture this-calm waters, pricey sailboats, blue skies, office buildings and then two people sleeping on concrete steps because by some circumstances that I do not know, they are homeless. Maybe they are homeless by choice, maybe some other reason, but they are homeless nonetheless. So for the purpose of this blog, I’m going to write a little piece of fiction about Harry Johnson, the dark haired, weathered guy laying on that hot, narrow slab of concrete in the 95 degree heat (heat index of 109) on a July morning in 2014. Harry Johnson was 18 when he served in Viet Nam in 1969. Before Harry served his two years in hell, he was an honor student at King High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. Upon his return, Harry Johnson was addicted to heroin and whatever booze he could find to kill the pain of seeing so many of his comrades blown to bits in a country that hated Americans. But, when Harry Johnson arrived “home” he didn’t find anyone waiting to welcome him at the airport other than the few protesters who spat on him. Harry’s high school sweetheart had moved on after meeting a young man who chose college over war. Harry didn’t choose-our government and war chose him. Harry took a taxi to the nearest bar and proceeded to get rip-roaring drunk before he hailed a cab to his parents’ home in the middle class subdivision on the south side of Corpus Christi. Instead of opening their door and welcoming their son home, Harry’s parents expressed their disappointment in their oldest son who arrived drunk. There was no welcome home party unless you count the one Harry had for himself at JB’s Bar in the seedy part of downtown Corpus Christi. Not long after Harry reunited with his parents, he left home again in search of a new life-the wonderful life as a veteran of war-a 21 year old veteran of war. Nobody wanted to hire Harry Johnson because he had served in what was one of the most controversial wars so Harry continued down a path of destruction and wound up some 40 plus years later sleeping on a hot slab of concrete in the 95 degree heat (heat index of 109) enduring the people who looked down on him for being homeless.