Strangers #13 & #14 ~ Darren & Ashley/ 31 Strangers in 31 Days

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Meet Darren & Ashley (father/daughter). As I was leaving the Main Post Office, I ran into Ashley who was entering. Her colorful tattoos caught my eye and she was happy to take part in the 31 Strangers in 31 Days Project. As I waited outside for her to finish her postal business, I spoke with her dad, Darren. He said they were visiting from California, and were in town for the funeral of Ashley's guy - Sgt. Jesse Balthaser, a Marine who was killed September 4, 2010 by an unexploded incendiary bomb in southern Afghanistan. He was 23. He was based at Twentynine Palms, California. I was once again reminded to really live each moment & be present - we can take nothing for granted. We talked a bit about the economy and the housing market. I learned that Darren is going through a divorce. And it was obvious he loved his daughter.

That evening, as I sat down to watch the late news, it was almost a surreal moment as I looked at the screen & saw Ashley. The story was about the funeral and they were handing the flag to her

I'm only halfway through this project, & I've realized that while I may notice the sunset, I'm not noticing people. Through this project, I'm focusing more on people. And I'm realizing that if we take just a moment to slow down, make eye contact and talk to someone, we become a little richer... & there is one fewer stranger.

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Char said...

how sad but beautiful too. i'm always so sad when i hear of our brave men being killed.

how beautiful that the father is there for her.

Annie said...

Beautiful photographs. My husband was in Iraq for over a year and I worried everyday... I am so glad that that period of our lives is over with... but am so sad for other people whos time in this specific journey is not finished yet and may end in a less joyous way. Thank you for sharing.