THE FINAL PHOTOS OF JANUARY 2020 – Marilyn Armstrong

bushboys world: LAST PHOTO, JANUARY 2020

I use three cameras. The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80 (my traveling camera), and my Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark I and Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark  II. The I has a 25mm 1.8 lens on it (effectively 50mm) and the II has a Panasonic 100-300 on it which I use for shooting birds (it’s effectively 200-600). It’s a great lens, but slow.

As it happened, I used all three of them yesterday, January 31st. That’s rare. I usually shoot either inside or outside. As often as not, it’s either all birds or all the “indoor garden” or a trip to one of our many riverside parks.

On the OMD M5-II, this is a nuthatch with a black sunflower seed in his beak

I used to bring the Olympus with me when I was out, but I could never make up my mind what lenses to bring. I would sometimes just sit there with the bag open trying to figure out what I was likely to need. Would there be any birds? Would I need a wide-angle or long lens? Will there be people to portray?

On the Olympus OMD M5-I, this is a blooming Christmas Cactus

The confusion got so bad I gave up. Now. I take one camera, the Panasonic (unless we are going on vacation in which case I might take everything). The Panny has a good Leica telephoto lens which extends from 25mm to 750mm and of course, has a close up “macro” focus as well. It’s considerably smaller than the one I’d been carrying and will actually fit in my bag, but: (1) it’s a very big bag and (2) it may be a smaller camera, but I swear it’s heavier than its predecessors — all three of which I still have.

I’m sure I have even more cameras going back to my earliest Canons, but exactly where they are, I’m not sure.

The last shot of the dam before going home. Garry who had not brought HIS camera was moving me around telling me where to shoot and I finally said: “Next time bring your OWN camera!” Sheesh.

I think they are all working. I had an entire array of Olympus cameras, but I have distributed the ones I never used amongst family and close friends who were camera-challenged. The only camera I still really really want is the Olympus Pen F. I even have a friend who has an extra one to sell, but alas, I don’t have the money. I have to remind myself that I’m not suffering from a lack of cameras. But ah, the Pen-F is such a sweetheart of a camera.


When Garry proposed, I was shocked. That was not supposed to happen. He was 48. I was 43 and had been married twice. My first husband (still alive) was Garry’s best friend. It was (really) complicated.

I had finally managed to get unmarried to number two which was made a lot more difficult because I needed an Israeli board of Rabbis in Jerusalem to agree. You’d be surprised how difficult that can be. They are not modern guys.

Photo: Debbie Stone

After I got over the shock, I realized we would have a wedding, about which I was not enthusiastic. I have never been enthusiastic about weddings. But Garry wanted the whole thing. Flowers,  music, and his pastor from childhood who was retired, but he dragged out of retirement for the occasion … and of course, me. Also, it had to be in New York at his childhood church rather than in Boston where we lived — and where Garry had lived for more than 25 years.

Having told me what he wanted for a wedding, Garry retired and let me deal with it. He figured out I would do everything and he could show up in a tuxedo. Voila! Done and done.

Somewhere in Ireland

The whole thing’s a blur. Luckily, I have it on a DVD. As a bride, you get moved around, told where to stand. You wear shoes so painful you need the jaws of life to remove them from your feet. Also, the gown had no shoulders, so I had to wear a corset. It was a hot September and beneath the corset, I was bathed in sweat. There were stockings with garters, a veil, flowers, coiffed hair, and more makeup than is suitable for a very warm day. Sheesh.

As for the date, it would be when Garry’s baby brother, the honorable Dr. Anton Armstrong, conductor of the St. Olaf’s Choir wasn’t going to be on the road with the choir. We wanted him to sing — and he wanted to sing — but he’s a busy guy. Then there was a bagpiper (my first husband insisted). My Maid of Honor wanted to sing (lovely voice) … and another friend was going to sing too. NO way we were getting away with simple music and anyway, Garry has a streak of Hollywood director in his soul, so we made no plans for the reception, but staged a big show for the ceremony.

That was September 15th,1990, so it will be 30 years this year. Time sure has hurried by.

When people asked if they could bring their kids, we said “absolutely not” and they brought them anyway. Garry’s mother invited all her best friends because she was Garry’s Mom and felt she could do whatever she wanted. And she did.

I wanted to go to City Hall and have the Mayor marry us. He was a pretty good friend then — still IS a friend, though he’s long out of office. We could have had a nice little ceremony on the steps of city hall, grabbed a plane at Logan and headed for Ireland. But we had to have a wedding. I think we were the ONLY people to invite 86 people and end up with 110 people attending. No one refused.

Everyone came. “You mean — GARRY is getting MARRIED? I’ve gotta BE there!” He was Boston’s longest surviving bachelor, so this was an occasion for all and sundry. It was a great wedding which I know because we have the DVD. A couple of years ago, we transferred it from tape to DVD having discovered that mylar tape corrodes rather quickly. Who knew?

With a few exceptions, we know all the same people today we knew then. Funny how that works.

I suppose we stayed married because we were determined to make it work. We really cared about each other. Love is important in a marriage, but I have to say it is the friendship that keeps it going. When the flush of romance has been crushed under the pressure of two full-time jobs, all Mr. Romance wants to do is sit around the apartment watching baseball. Being friends helps.

Love is a grand thing, but a deep and abiding friendship lasts forever. So, if I were you, I’d call a time-out at a big wedding and spend the money on a fabulous honeymoon. Honeymoon food is better and you don’t have to wear high heels.



A trip to the dentist also means a chance to photograph the dam in the middle of town since the two places are adjacent.

The cold dam at the end of January.
What made this interesting is that I’ve never taken a picture of this area in the winter. All my other shots began in the spring and through the late fall.

Taking advantage of a rare opportunity to take a few pictures in winter.

Gray, foggy afternoon in January
Light snow on our road