Here's the latest...
Let's just say that 2009 has been a trying and turbulent year. I know we aren't alone in that feeling and everyone has their own story. Ours isn't much different than the norm. I've learned that staying positive will get you through the challenging times, but keeping up that state of being is very difficult when you lose someone. It's taking awhile to peel back the layers and get back to the reality of what has happened.
We started the year off working on the China studio plans and excited about our new endeavors. Business was slow at home, but then it usually is that time of year. So, it was the perfect time to focus on growing it instead of worrying about the future. I would continuously tap into Earl's positive energy and use it as my own fuel so we could be productive and stay on track. Generally, I'm more conservative and restrained. I like to play it safe and secure. Earl is the adventurous one and is willing to take risks. He's been right in the past, so I've learned to follow his lead... usually... but not without being heard.
As the months progressed, there was a looming dark cloud hanging over us that was whittling away at every attempt to remain positive. For every good thing that happened, a bad thing followed. It was testing us at every step of the way. It was like we were fishing in a pond of emotions and didn't know what would end up on the end of the line. It was a sign that life was about to get really difficult...
At this point in the blog, I decided to edit what I originally wrote. It was an account of our struggle with the sadness and loss of Earl's Dad, Arthur Elon Harper, back in April. I guess it just got too personal to feel comfortable about sharing the unfortunate events. I do feel compelled to share how important he was in our life.
Art & Meche have supported us every step of the way in building our business and we owe our success to the opportunities they presented to us. Art helped us build out our first studio on Lucile Street and our second one on Airport Way. If we needed a set built, he did it. If we needed to travel for a shoot, he'd stay at the house and babysat his grand-animals. He even sat for some test shots that Earl used to pitch a new concept to a client. Never a complaint or a request too big or too small. I feel the loss every day because of all of the reminders of him every where I look. Working on the farm I'm constantly encountering things that I need to fix. Everyday I find an opportunity to ask myself... "What would Art do?". Eventually I figure it out because he taught me well. He was the master of improvising, recycling, and reusing resources at home. I used to follow him around so I could learn what he was doing and how he was going to fix what was broken. I don't think he liked me being his intern. I asked too many questions. I could tell because he'd stop and take a really long break. He knew I'd get bored and wander off to do something more productive than watching him think. His patience was always outwardly in tact though. Eventually, he would just come over to the house and fix random things while we were at work. He knew we took on a lot and were working hard to keep on top of everything.
We did have a nice memorial for him. A lot of people came to show their respect and share wonderful stories. We roasted a pig and partied like he would have wanted us to. It was a great celebration of his life. He is missed dearly. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends extending their support to us and Earl's mom. I can't thank everyone enough.
Earl's take away message from the experience has been to get healthy, train for every marathon & triathlon he reads about and don't miss out on all the things he wants to do. Life is short. Work hard, play harder. That's always been his mantra.
For me, I guess I've just been too sad to realize the lessons and the message. I've been burying myself in farm work and studio work. I'm taking for granted that I'll get to the right place at the right time.
On a more cheerful note, business has picked up. We have some new clients that we are super excited about working with. The branding efforts are starting off strong and we're looking to build it up big for longevity and impact. One of the clients has been a long time goal of ours to get. Another is a brand new surprise. And yet another is a huge worldwide established company with far reaching opportunities. The Raleigh and Diamondback catalogs are complete and they are really happy with how the China shoots went including all of the money we saved them. Earl is getting ready to go to Interbike again to see what sort of interest he can spark up. We have some projects that will keep us busy and a big catalog scheduled in October. Things are turning around and I think Art would be proud of our hard work.
February 1, 1940 - April 7, 2009
February 1, 1940 - April 7, 2009