I swear that as soon as I walked into the furniture store Soho Retro in Homewood, Ala., I expected to see Aunt Helen stub out her cigarette in a glass ashtray on her Eames (-inspired?) coffee table and rise from her Hans Wegner-style sofa (although she called it a “divan”) to greet us. Which would be a great trick since she died about 20 years ago and had to give up smoking and her mid-century Modern home several years before that. Soho Retro, where the late lamented Red Rain eco-friendly general store was, definitely is time travel at its finest — not to mention a top destination for furnishing a space with all things 1950s. As my friends and I wandered through and admired, we began every sentence with, “I remember …” (Well, okay, my sentences also began with “Are we ready to go get some coffee now?” and “I really shouldn’t have had that second martini at lunch.”) I’m conflicted about the recent revival of mid-20th-century Modern style. On one hand, I love its sleek minimalism and function-equals-form industrial approach. On the other hand, since I lived it, I’m not sure about embracing it wholeheartedly 40 or so years later. It’s the same as in fashion: Just because I once wore pleated and tapered pants and long boxy blazers doesn’t mean I should do it again. No matter what Nina Garcia says.
This is one of 3-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable’s first attempt at actual photography. Genius! Brilliant!! Oh-so-talented!!! He’s sitting on his grandad’s tractor at his grandparents’ place in Tuscumbia, Ala. — which is about his top No. 1 thing to do, although we suspect that one day he’ll figure out how to turn it on and go plow the lower 40. On this afternoon, he’d gathered an admiring posse of girl cousins and their friends — another favorite activity — and then decided to round out this duo of red tractors and adoring females with another of his obsessions: Examining anything that clicks, moves and has tiny little parts — in this instance, my camera. So he leaned over from the tractor, grabbed it out of my hands and was snapping photos before I could say, “If you turn off the flash and use the ‘normal,’ setting, you’ll get a better shot.” He needs to work on lining things up and getting everybody in the frame, but maybe he was making an artistic statement here … you know, about postmodernism in an irony-less world and the interaction of our natural environment with human productivity combined with personal questions about the the supposed mutual exclusiveness of reality and representation. (I don’t know what any of that means, either, but thank you, Mr. Google, for teaching me how to talk like an art reviewer.) Of course, almost anything the Captain does is perfect to me, so I believe this is the start of a successful photographic career as well as the origins of a new style of photography that will come to be called the Hawk Pride Mountain Style and I’ll end up on the Today Show in 30 years saying, “Yes, I knew my grandson was a genius as soon as he grabbed the Canon PowerShot out of my hands.”