Goodbye, Doug

Sadly and very suddenly, we lost my stepfather, Doug Terhune, last month, on Saturday the 21st. What follows are some of the photos from a quick trip out to the family’s beach house, the week following his passing, that I took to retrieve some photos for the service. He’d been a bit down for the past year, since he’d been forced to retire as an air traffic controller (mandated by age), having lost the camaraderie that his job had provided over the years. The Thursday before he passed, he was acting very confused and wasn’t even able to remember how to take his meds. Concerned, my mom rushed him to the emergency room. By Friday, he’d stabilized, but that night, his liver and kidneys stopped functioning and we were called early Saturday morning to come in, because it didn’t look good. Soon after we’d arrived, around 7, his heart stopped. The doctors were able to revive him, but said that he’d need dialysis immediately to filter the toxins from his blood. Suddenly, in the process of beginning the dialysis, his heart stopped again, only this time they could not bring him back.

This has been very hard on the family. It was unexpected, because he was so young. For the past ten years, he’d served as not only a close friend, by as a father figure to my brother. After a few days spent consoling my mother, I volunteered to retrieve the photos. It would be a lot of driving, about three hours each way, but my mom wanted those photos, and I wasn’t going to tell her no, nor was I going to let her drive in the condition she’s in. So, early Wednesday morning, I set off for Anastasia.

I made good time, taking only 3 hours. After retrieving the photos from the house, I went out and stared at the ocean for a little while. It’s the one place I truly feel completely at peace. It was such a beautiful day. I wished I’d been there under better circumstances. Quiet, and with almost no one on the beach.

After a little while, I decided to go into old St Augustine. After the events of those past few days, I needed a recharge. I needed something to pick me up, if only for the afternoon. I thought maybe I’d find some cars to shoot as well. A half hour later, I parked in the usual spot, behind the Lightner.

As I was getting out of a car, a couple was walking past, having their wedding photos taken. I was struck by the idea of two people beginning a new life, while another draws to a close. I clicked a quick photo of them, not for the blog, but for my memory of the day.

Inside the courtyard I shot a statue and a corridor that would normally be the entrance from the street.

As I walked out to the street, I noticed a Pontiac G8 with some custom wheels. It was a nice car, but I wished they’d gone a little more conservative on the wheel color. To each their own, I guess.

Winding my way past the Casa Monica hotel, I spotted the old Ford convertible, that they always have parked out front. They must wash and wax it a lot, because despite being outside every time I see it, it always looks immaculate.

This was also just outside of my favorite place to get coffee, Café Cordova. It’s not especially amazing coffee, it’s Starbucks, but they use a cream that is very similar to Chantilly cream, pushed out of a bag, and it is delicious. I pressed on. Probably not a good idea to drink hot coffee right away, when I’m about to walk around outside.

Apparently, it’s not a good idea to walk through the alleyways without watching where you step, because it was right before I took this shot that I stepped in the biggest wad of gum I have ever seen. I’d be dragging my Piloti for the next hour trying to get rid of it, while cursing people for being so irresponsible with their gum.

Of all the things to run across behind a restaurant, I found a Ford Ranger trophy truck. It was beginning to shape up to be a diverse group of cars in town, for sure, and this was only the beginning.

I turned down another side alley, bypassing the crowd and spotted something strange on the ground, a skull and crossbones.

Finally, I reached “the fort,” the Castillo de San Marcos, the 330+ year old Spanish fortress that borders the town, along the bay. After shooting enough to make a couple of panoramics, I quickly glanced over at the parking area, and spotted this.

An old VW Thing! And this time, one appearing in very fine shape, free of rust. If you view the full size image of the front, you’ll see that the clever owner had a Coca-Cola “The real thing” license plate on the front.

I quickly snapped a photo of this man on my way back towards the car. He was sitting on the ground, smoking, and laughing to himself.

I also spotted a Mustang meeting a Mustang.

Up this street, you can see the Bridge of Lions, leading back to the island.

In a dark garage inside under the Casa Monica, there was this old Chrysler Imperial from the ’50s.

From there, I got my coffee here, inside the Café Cordova. It was every bit as delicious as I’d remembered it.

All too quickly, my time in the old town was up. It was time to head back to Tampa. I was glad I’d gotten that time to myself. The next few weeks would be hard. We had a celebration of his life the following week, and the funeral the week after that.

Doug was interred in the Florida National Cemetery as he had wanted, with a three gun salute, a flag folding, and a flyover, befitting of an Airforce veteran. I think he would have liked the flyover the most. My mother had to sneak that in, since the cemetery doesn’t really like for people to do that. An old friend of Doug’s was able to pull some strings and get a group of planes together for that. They flew over as Taps was played on a bugle. I will miss Doug very much, but I am glad that his pain has ended.

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