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Grandma's Retirement Ceremony No.1 | by Douglas Bawden Photography
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Grandma's Retirement Ceremony No.1

Many of you that are regular visitors to my photostream know that I am a native of Yosemite National Park, and that my maternal grandmother worked in the park for 53 years. This is a shot of my grandmother at her retirement party back in October, 2007...her final day of work was November 10th, 2007. At the party, the bosses were trying to figure out how to get her back part time on a consultant basis. They miss her and while she is enjoying her retirement, she is missing her friends and misses being in Yosemite on a daily basis as well.


For those of you that are familiar with the late Phil Frank's comic strip 'Farley', his character 'Velma Melmac' was very loosely based on my grandmother! While grandma doesn't smoke or drink gimlets, she did have a passion for taking care of Yosemite and taking care of the visitors. She, along with my late grandfather, maintained campgrounds in the park for many, many years. And for many, many years, families would ensure that their reservations would be for one of my grandparent's campgrounds. People that started coming up every year as kids along with their parents, became the parents and brought their kids to stay in one of the campgrounds maintained by my grandparents.


One of her favorite things to do is to cook. So much in fact, that about 15 years ago, she wrote her own cookbook! It's nothing fancy, it is all handwritten and includes short anecdotes with each recipe. As well as her source for the recipe if it wasn't something that she came up with on her own. Some of the family recipes have been around for nearly 100 years. She gets it printed and bound at Kinko's and she has sold copies to people from Maine to Australia and everywhere in between. She's from the south, so everything tastes great, and none of it is Weight Watchers approved...but I don't care!


Update on December 17th, 2011: Today we laid my grandma to rest. She passed away on December 8th due to complications from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as 'Lou Gehrig's Disease'. She was diagnosed with ALS earlier this year, but looking back she had been showing some slight symptoms for the past couple of years. However, she passed them off thinking that they were the result of a minor stroke. By the time she was diagnosed, she was already losing her voice and we only had her for a little more than six months. She will be sorely missed by many friends and family.


For more information on ALS, you can visit the ALS Association's website by clicking on the link below.


Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (350D)

Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm @24mm

Exposure: 1/60 Sec @ f/4.0 ISO 400

Lighting: Camera mounted Canon 430EX


This image is © Douglas Bawden Photography, please do not use without prior permission.


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Taken on October 10, 2007