kirby b. johnson photojournal

Wise Guy

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on June 28, 2010

What does a young man of 15 years do on a hot summer day?

Probably X-Box stuff.

– – I’m afraid not.

Wii stuff?

– – Uh uh.

Work with his iPad?

– – Nope. I don’t think he has one.

Well, what does he do?

– – He tags along with two of his uncles to a local air show, listens to old guys talk about their experiences in the war, waits patiently in line at a concession stand and he says “Please” and “Thank you” when he buys a hot-dog. After the air show, he hitches a ride to a garage where another one of his uncles is putting some finishing touches on his beautifully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro; he’s very eager to assist his uncle bleed the brakes.

There are still things to which young people can avail themselves that enrich their lives and provide guiding experiences and aid their learning that aren’t shrink wrapped and high priced. My great-nephew Jack is wise to take advantage of those things. Maybe his folks or one of his other uncles can get him an iPad.

Sounds like he doesn’t need one.


sixty-seven days

Posted in minnesota state fair by kirbybjohnson on June 21, 2010

Tradition dictates that the objectives of my first two stops at the Minnesota State Fair be Swedish Egg Coffee from the Salem Covenant Church dining hall and a half sheet of Lefse, with Lingonberries, from Lynn’s Lefse booth in the Food Building. My good friends Tom and Sue Arndt enjoy their own Fair traditions equally important to them: “Cheese-On-A-Stick” and “Bunny Day” to name but two.

Traditions old and new will begin to be enjoyed at this year’s Fair for twelve days beginning August 26th. Gates open at 6:00 AM.

Bob’s B-17

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on May 14, 2010

Shortly after gently touching down at Janes Field in Blaine MN, my friend Bob Zenz poses for a portrait in front of the B-17 that had just carried Bob as a VIP passenger. This vintage WWII aircraft did not engage in any combat during the war; it rolled off the assembly line shortly before the war’s end.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom

Posted in Uncategorized by kirbybjohnson on May 10, 2010

It’s been 28 years since I attended a Minnesota Twins game with my mom.  It’s been even longer since I’ve thought about that tattered, red coat of hers; it was her favorite. I have lived without my mother more years than I was blessed to have with her. Nevertheless, I’m able to smile and  imagine her presence whenever I pick up my black cat Otis.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

NNO: Opportunities In Como

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on August 7, 2009

NNO_20090804The evening of August 4th marked the annual event that gives individuals, across the country, the opportunity to gather and revisit an old concept – – the neighborhood. This tried and true model of community flies in the face of another idea that has growing prevalence today. That notion being that the many houses lining our streets are lone structures, where families go about their lives – – all by themselves – – with scant interaction with other families. This notion  is the death nail to the concept of neighborhood. This notion leads to a missed opportunity. The opportunity to befriend someone who holds your same interests or concerns; the opportunity to befriend someone who holds different interests or concerns.  Each August, one evening is marked on the calendar to revisit an opportunity that is available to us every day and night of the year. Thank you to Rebecca and Kyle. The root beer floats along with Niko and Cessi made us feel welcome. Thank you for hosting National Night Out for our neighborhood. Thank you for the opportunity.

Morning Chores

Posted in minnesota state fair by kirbybjohnson on July 25, 2009

msf_pitchforksPeople, who each year enjoy attending the Minnesota State Fair, fondly speak of their favorite things about the Fair. Familiar themes relating to adorable baby animals, foods-on-a-stick or the best place to park the car are exchanged in earnest as opening day approaches. Families hold many traditions dear and close when attending the Fair. “I have to stop and get some Swedish Egg Coffee – – first thing…”, “Let’s go on the Sky-Ride…”, “We have to go see the baby pigs…”

Morning chores at the “Great Minnesota Get Together” probably do not generate the same type of anticipatory tension as the first bite of a Pronto Pup, the happy result of a Spin-O-Paint or trying to win a stuffed animal for your girlfriend. The prospect of getting lost doesn’t make for an exciting afternoon either: “If we get separated, we’ll meet at the bottom of the Grandstand ramp…”

The 2009 Minnesota State Fair runs for twelve days beginning Thursday, August 27th. The gates open at 6:00 AM.

Marty’s Drum

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on July 16, 2009

Marty_3Marty is an individual who listens to no one – – unless they have something to say. For nearly 35 years, I’ve had the good fortune of knowing that the drummed cadence that sounds in Marty’s head is heard only by him. It’s quite possible that if others were within earshot of his drummer, they wouldn’t be able to keep in step. That’s just fine with me. I’m perfectly content to let my good friend Marty lead the way – – I’ll listen for the drum.

Brethren; 15th Air Force, Foggia Italy

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on July 11, 2009

bob & bob

Two men: who grew up up in homes less than 15 miles from one another, who collected soda bottles to be able to go to the movies, who both raised families like you watched on Father Knows Best, who witnessed the milestones, joys and disappointments in their children’s lives, who laughed at Jack Benny and Mork & Mindy, who both remember the ’37 Ford Coupe their neighbor kept on his driveway, who both drove ‘K’ cars in the 1980’s…

These two men had to grow up fast while resolutely serving their country. These two men, who still live less than 15 miles from one another, met for the very first time in May of this year during a display of vintage WWII aircraft at Jane’s Field, Blaine Minnesota. Bob Clemens (L) and Bob Zenz (r) both served in the 15th Army Air Force based in Foggia Italy during World War II. A combined total of 88 missions flown (50 Clemens – – 38 Zenz) these two men routinely downplay their contributions and sacrifices they’ve made for their country.

The circumstances that allowed me to witness these two men becoming acquainted are measureless. These two men provided me an experience that will impact me forever.

sixty-four days

Posted in minnesota state fair by kirbybjohnson on June 25, 2009

msf_bench_boy_manEach year at this time, I begin to look forward to the opening of the Minnesota State Fair. Attractions such as the food, the animals and the Grandstand vendors provide memory making opportunities for Fairgoers young and old. The gates are scheduled to open on August 27th at 6:00 am.

3500 Pleasant Ave.

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on June 17, 2009


Ken – – philosopher, painter, resident caretaker, neighbor.