At the counter.

S

ometimes, I can tell you everything about making a picture. You know, the how, what, why, when and who of it?

But, not this picture.

I know where it is located in my archives. But, it doesn’t fit with the rest of the take. My big goal during the lockdown was working on my archives. Some got done. Most didn’t.

To tell the truth, I have no idea where this picture belongs. But, I like it. It brings back feelings of traveling and memories of driving all night and finally stopping for breakfast in some little town.

Somewhere.

I’m sure many of you have done that too. You walk into a place like this and your body is still all jangly from the wheels on the road. You look at the menu and the type swims before your eyes.

You give up. You order the old standby. 10,000 eggs over easy. A hunnert pieces of bacon. Five pounds of has browned potatoes and toast, or biscuits if you re in the south.

Oh, and coffee. About five gallons of strong black coffee that leaves you with a stomach ache.

You leave the way you came in. Instead of swaggering you roll.

And, on the road you go.

M

aking this picture was easy. It was sitting there staring at me.

I raised my camera to my eye and snapped away. The counter person asked why I took it. I said that I liked the scene. She walked away shaking her head.

I ate, paid the bill and left.

All of that is great. But, I have no idea where I took the picture. I’m pretty sure it was in the West. That’s all I can tell you.

I’m mostly just wondering what the hell Numi Tea is supposed to be.

Anyway.

The post production is minimal. I darkened it and added contrast and all that color popped out.

Oh yeah. For those of you who just love the block system, he said with an evil gleam in his eye, WordPress sent me an email. They improved it.

Oh, God.


Mike Keller waits on a customer at his store, the Keller Market Food Store.
Mike Keller waits on a customer at his store, the Keller Market Food Store.

This stuff drives me crazy. The internet and its lack of accurate information. I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, a few words about this picture. A few days ago I mentioned a guy that I know – grocery store owner — called Mike Keller. The store is called Keller Market Food Store. I wrote that he had been shot and wounded three or four times. I said that he also shot a couple of bad guys. All true. There’s more. I’ll get to that in a minute as well.

I thought I should show you just who this guy is, and what his store looks like. So. This is Mike Keller. This is his store. He’s worked in the store since he was a pre-teen. Or, as we call them today, a tween. His grandfather built the store as what was called a public market in 1831. Or 1868. The WPA renovated it in 1936. Or 1939. It was demolished in 2005. But, I photographed it in 2012 and 2013. We’ll get to this in a minute.

So. The store is a throw back. They still sell products that my mother used. In 1958. Or that my grandmother used. In 1938. Prices are somewhat reasonable and the store accepts WIC cards — like food stamps — as well cashes checks, takes in bill payments and sells disposable phones. It seems like most of the nearby community likes Mike. And, he seems to treat his customers fairly. But, the store gets robbed from time-to-time. Mike fights back. It’s probably not a good thing. But, he does have a lot of street cred. And, some bullet scars.

Back to this information thing. I’ve run into this before when I was trying to do some serious research. There is not one website whose information about the Keller Market Food Store that agrees with another. One website that seems relatively academic and erudite claims that the store was built in 1831. The property was leased for 15 years, renewed for another 3o¬†years and finally sold to a man who I guess is Mike’s great-grandfather. It isn’t clear. This website is the same one that says the building was renovated in 1936 by the WPA during the depression, and that it was demolished in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina damaged it. Well. That’s a pretty amazing fact considering I was standing in it last year and this year. I though it might be a new or different building. So I looked at the pictures. Nah. Same building. Same building next door. And, the same building behind it. ¬†Another website says it was renovated in 1939 by a private construction company that had nothing to do with the WPA.

So. What do I believe? What should I report? I’d ask Mike. He might have some of the correct information. But, this is New Orleans and likely he doesn’t. Too many bullet holes. Probably, he’ll only know the stories that his family passed down. Those may or may not be true. Or. They may be enhanced, or embellished. Or. For some reason the past might be covered up. Who knows?