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How the Zimmermans became my heros

It was all planned. She was supposed to land at Harrisburg International Airport at 9:19PM. I was going to be there waiting at the bottom of the escalator to watch her come down and propose to her right then and there. My friend Charlie Zimmerman and his lovely wife Shelly are awesome photographers. The best I’ve ever seen. They were going to meet me there and capture the entire event on film. I didn’t want video. I wanted it in still photography in Charlie’s unique creative style. But Mother Nature had different plans.

I had a lot to do that day to prepare for her visit. There was house cleaning, laundry, and a million other things to do. I’d been in touch with Charlie several times during the day via email going over different parts of the plan. I would meet him there about 45 minutes early to scope out the angles and so forth. That was the plan.

I didn’t have the tv or radio on all day. I was too busy. I had no idea there were severe storm warnings or anything. About 6:30 I started hearing some thunder but nothing to be alarmed about. I got a shower and got dressed and was on the road by 7:30 which would have put me at the airport by 8:30. Here’s where the plan changed. I made it about half way there and on a section of highway with a concrete wall on one side and a guardrail on the other, all traffic came to a complete stop. Parking lot stop. The kind of traffic jam where everyone puts it in park and turns off the engine.

So it’s 7:50 and I’m sitting there. 8:00 rolls by. Then 8:30. I still hadn’t moved. 9:00 comes and goes. I’m freaking out. Still no movement. Unbelievable! I didn’t have Charlie’s cell phone number. He’d heard about the impending doom and sent it to me late in the afternoon, but I hadn’t checked my email before I left. Charlie and Shelly left early because of the forecast and they were at the airport plenty early.

So there they are at the airport. Debbie’s plane lands. Everything is in place except that I’m in this God awful traffic jam with trees blown over the highway and nothing is moving. Debbie calls me to tell me she’s landed. Time for plan B. Gonna have to make this one up on the fly. I described Charlie and told her to look for him. I told her I wanted to have pictures of us meeting at the airport and that’s why they were there. So she finds Charlie and Shelly and introduces herself.

The way it works out is that Charlie and Shelly offer to take Debbie to a local lounge and wait for me. Traffic finally starts to creep. All the while, they’ve been hearing about the destruction of the storm and it’s hitting close to their house. They have no idea if they even still have a house, yet they are doing all this for me. Rescuing my girl from the airport and bringing her to meet me so I can propose to her, and they will photograph it, and that’s what we did.

This is a once in a lifetime shot for me. I am in awe and deeply in debt to Charlie and Shelly for doing all of this for me, all the while knowing that they might be incurring damage to their home while they are doing it. It was a great show of friendship and one that I will certainly never forget.

Also, I can’t say enough about the high quality and unique artistic aspect of their work. Go check them out at http://www.charliezimmerman.com and you’ll be glad you did.

To Charlie and Shelly. Thank you so much for everything you did for me. You were my heroes and I will never forget what you did for me.

Speechless and excited

Soon I will ask a question, and if I get a three letter answer my life will change forever.