I still remember the day, or to be more technically accurate, the evening that I received that horrible text. My cousin Earl had been in a very bad motorcycle accident. Having no brothers of my own (if you discount my 300,000+ Frat worldwide of course), that was like hearing my brother had just been seriously hurt. I was instantly numb. And helpless. Hundreds of miles away and feeling there was nothing I could do.
The soonest I could see him happened to fall on the Kansas City reunion weekend. By that time, he had been stabilized to the point where he could have visitors on a semi-regular basis. He was still very heavily medicated though to help his body cope with the constant pain. That's why he still has no recollection of my time with him in the hospital. It's too bad because his conversation was down right epic. Even on pain meds, I would have expected nothing less from Earl.
Fortunately, that was nearly a few months ago and a lot has changed since then. Earl beat odd after odd as he embarked on his road to recovery. Those successes landed him in this renown rehab facility in Lincoln, NE known as Madonna's. Still pretty far from me to see him, but not if I was in Des Moines doing shoots. So the last time I had something scheduled there, I made sure to set aside an entire day where I could road trip to Lincoln to check on my cousin-brother.
Needless to say, Earl was doing MUCH better than the first time I saw him since the accident. Back then it was good to just see him coherent. This time, his personality was fully intact with no medication inhibiting him. He had Diah and I cracking up the entire time we were there with his stories of his time in the facility. Best one of all being the 'special' men's section of the chapel choir. Days later and I still start laughing thinking of how Earl tried to encourage those poor tone-deaf souls.
One of the highlights of the visit was getting to see Tanya. We missed her somehow while we were in KC. It felt odd too because it's not often that I see Earl without here so everything seemed right again seeing her at Madonna's. That's why I just had to capture this image. It didn't matter that Tanya had expressed they had taken about a thousand pictures already. I pointed out to her although that may be the case, they hadn't had one done by me. I promised it would be worth it. Even she admitted it was one of the best photos of the two of them that they have had in quite a while. So the entire trip overall was one huge success.