A White Rose & A White Boeing 727Tuesday, July 01, 2008
White is not my favourite colour. Perhaps it has all to do with having had to dress in sailor whites for two long summer/springs in Buenos Aires. I had to look crisp and clean all the time. When I took the train or bus I never sat down. Buenos Aires car pollution not to mention that from the Mercedes Benz diesel buses added to the seat grime. Luckily the blue sailor collar prevented ring around the collar. I swore that if I ever survived the ordeal I would never wear bell bottoms, white pants or white shirts. During the late 60s I must admit I wore a few semi-bell bottoms. But none were white. In photography, white shirts and dresses are a problem particularly when the resulting photograph will be reproduced in a newspaper or a magazine with lower reproduction standards. White shirts and a caucasian man's white face don't mix well and look terrible in newsprint. I invariably ask the businessmen and lawyers that I photograph to wear blue shirts. I ask the women to try not to wear white bloused but I do recommend pearls. Pearls will make the toughest female lawyer look approchable and femenine. In my garden I have several white roses. I have Rosa 'Fair Bianca', Rosa 'Blanc double de Coubert', Rosa 'Splendens', Rosa 'Mme Alfred Carriere', Rosa 'Gruss an Aachen' and the lovely one seen here Rosa 'Margaret Merril'. She is not an old rose but a 1978 Harkness floribunda with a very sweet smell. I have purchased three and two have died in the same spot that I insist on planting her (not very sunny). I thought I had finally lost her but today she appeared with this one bloom. I gave gotten the message and in the fall I will move her to a sunny location. When I first saw her today I remembered many years ago (at least 32) when I had gone to the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico. I had spent a whole day in stifling humid heat and was attacked by mosquitoes which I kept almost at bay by constantly smoking some Flor de La Costa cigars from Veracruz. That evening I had stayed at a cheap hotel. I asked the man at the front desk to wake me up in the morning so I could take the bus to Villahermosa and not miss my Mexicana plane. The man told me he could not assure me that he would wake me up as he had nobody to wake him up. I had a wrist alarm watch but I did not trust it. I kept awake all night and took my third class bus with chickens, pigs, turkeys and native Mexicans that reeked of smoke and sweat. The bus had something like 10 forward gears. Every time it stopped to pick up a passenger (and this happened so many times I was in fear of missing my flight). Then the driver would engage all those forward gears until he reached some sort of cruising speed. I finally arrived at the airport with a few minutes to spare. I was soothed and refreshed by the sight of the all white Mexicana de Aviacíon Boeing 727. I have never been so happy to see white. Almost as happy as I was today to see Margaret Merril.