Summer 2000 and The Hands That Fed Me / by SuperDee

Earl's Hands. Missoula, MT 2000. Color Photograph

The summer of 2000 I will never forget. I have to preface that summer by the year before it: I had worked my ass off straight for a year in Lafayette, LA roughly putting in 18 hour days for that year. I ran graphics at a TV stations morning show, from 3:30am-Noon, then at 4 I coached my old high school's cross country and the distance runners on the track team, then from 7-11, waited tables. And I still found time to drink..hmmmm.

All of this work to save money for enrollment at Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, MT, and to take one month before and after, to travel. By the time I got up to Missoula I was broke. School was paid for, and all that, but I had no money to process slide film, find a place to live, or eat. I was squatting an abandoned shed near the interstate and dumpster diving (some of the best!) around town with some photo class mates... and all the money I had went to film processing.

One of the first days there, I ran into this large black man, sketching a bank on a pad of paper. He was head to toe in a wool suit, sweating, swearing as he sketched...and then I remembered him. I had met Mr. Earl Lee Scarborough on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge 4 years earlier, sketching fraternity houses... it's what he does. After remembering each other, he needed a ride to the liquor store, and then to his hotel. And what happened that day, happened every day for the next 2 months... and I was $10 richer each day, sometimes $20. Now I could have some cold beer. (I continued to dumpster dive since the food was too good and cheap to pass up!)