Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Smoke gets in your eyes

Louisiana was 75 degrees all week. My dad grilled dinner for us.

The Invisible Man

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Remembrance of things past

Here's a video I recorded of JR Johnson (my grandpa's best friend) talking about my grandpa. Talking to him was one of the best experiences of my life.

JR Johnson talks about Troyce Carter from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A final salute

My family asked me to photograph my grandfather's funeral.

"Did you bring your camera in?" my grandma asked me at the funeral home.
"No, of course not," I told her.
"Will you go get it?"

She didn't want any photos of the open casket or the family crying, but she wanted me to document everything else. I didn't ask her why or try to change her mind. I videoed the 21-gun salute and held my breath so that I wouldn't cry and ruin the sound of the video.

My grandfather was a lot of things, but he was most proud of being a veteran. I think he would have appreciated these final tributes.

Removing the casket


The folding of the flag

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The facts of a life

I've learned so much about my grandpa in the last few days. His best friend JR Johnson (pictured below) sat around and talked with me for a long time, telling me his favorite stories about my grandpa.




Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First person: Troyce Carter

First person: Troyce from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

I'm so glad I videoed him a few years ago so that I can remember his voice.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I can't stand the rain against my window

After a month of dry and mild days (mid-50s while the South was freezing!), the rains have returned to Oregon. So, so sad. But I guess it matches the rest of my life-happenings these days.

the rain is back

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Remembering Troyce Carter


My grandpa read every article I wrote. When I was younger, he kept a cadre of e-mail address to use to send letters to my editors in praise of my work. wanted the Missouri editor to know that Casey Parks knows how to use them store-bought words. read the Oregonian every day just waiting to see if the "star writer" Casey Parks had another masterpiece.

His favorite song was "Only You." He loved American Idol, Wrestling and Jerry Springer. He called watching those shows "going to class," and he also sent me reports on what he had learned that day. He made the best ice cream cone of all time -- there was never a bite of cone that lacked ice cream. Even though he was in his 70s and living in the South, he never once said something bad about my being gay. He asked me about girlfriends. When a girlfriend moved across the country, he asked me, "Have you ever considered having a long-range romance?"

He e-mailed me nearly every day. Each message had about 20 different smily face gifs, and he always signed them GOP GP. He loved to tease me about his being a republican. He was so funny that sometimes I forwarded his message off to friends to show them the kind of family I come from (charismatic, charming storytellers). He always asked me about my doll, Ruthie. Here are some of my favorite lines from his e-mails:

"it is 4:05 in the cold Louisiana Town of West Monroe, getting ready to take Grand maw to Shreveport for her Dr's Appointment
heard you got a new ride good for you. I am having my cup of coffee (3rd) while I write you it will keep me awake and make me P three time between here and Shreveport. love you."

"they wont let me comment on your blogs they are afraid that some of your redneck cuzins will write about you to to the NYT. Tell Nick bubba said take care of his girl. You are doing such a greatly job I have called the mayor's the senators and all the mucky muck telling them about you and your being on the TODAY show. I will have all my recorders on Monday. Have a safe trip home and enjoy and take all this that you have seen and put to good use I know you can and that you will also win the Pulitzer also, I am watching the Millionaire and some woman from Ludwig GA is on. Love you hope to see you and hear your voice soon it has been a long two weeks for me."

"here it is Tuesday night at 8:28 PM, watching Idol with a box of Kleenex crying my eyes out. I feel like I am not loved any more and that I am a 3rd world person. I have to get all my information thru the song I heard it thru the Grapevine. Here I am your NR. 1 fan and I did not get any information about you writing again and being on the front page again. So I will set here and read the other less talented writers article and have a glass of wine and cry."

"That is one great article. I really enjoyed reading that. It does seem that kids have no self respect the way they dress and carry on. But oh I Look back to the early fifties, we had a dance called the bop, which was okay but then we had a dance called the dirty bob and the city of Houston banned that dance all together , I was the King of the Bop. So I know how it goes, then we Had Elvis and as Sony and Cher said the Beat goes on. Ironically I am listening to the news and the topics are Dancing. the guy the profiled is 92 years old. Honey all I can say is keep up the good work and again I must say we are Proud of you."

"Here it is 9:41 Pm my time and I just got thru watching Grease yet again, got me to thinking of you"

"Don't let this stress you out, for I am here for you all the time. Even thou you are a democrat and I am a republican I will be here for you. Doing a Little Dance Singing a little song Drinking a Whole lot Of Crown Royal. if you interview the BOSS tell him a big howdy from Krump Master GOP"

"Grand mother said that you should look at Springer and set out and write a book the title should be called The True life Story of the Trailer Park Saga, By Casey M Parks. and then the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism is Ms Casey Park for her Novel The True Life Story of the Trailer park. The Oscar goes to Casey Park for her Screen Play and Best Motion Picture of the Year Trailer Park. The Tony goes to Casey Parks for her musical trailer Parks. Ms Parks also won People Choice awards and the Golden Globe Award. got to go ECW is on

What will be her next project only time will tell. May I have a Autograph copy of the book? got to go ECW is on."

"one of the news shows said there will be over 7000 portapoddies there who wants to see that many toilets in action at one time and a million people there crying. It will not be as interesting as Jerry Springer. how is work going. I read your paper everyday looking for your articles."

"My Dearest Casey, I come to you with a very heavy heart this evening the 1st day of November 2009. It seems that you have forgotten you favorite GOP GP. on a very somber occasion in your life. i that have stood by you threw and thin, sleet and snow and even gave you my car keys to go get you some KFC. Threw ear surgery good times and bad. I never for get a special occasion for you but on this great day you just shut me out. I am going to cut the lights off the TV Off the computer off and set in the dark and cry my little old eyes out. Me your Grandpaw your confidant, your friend, me of all people I did not get invited to Ruthie's Baby Shower. I could have got her a shower gift. But thats all right I will just go set in my room."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Help me, Rhonda

All these years, they're still walking together

Parents Walking and Going

Tuesday, February 8, 2011