Category : Uncategorized

13 hours, 23 minutes ago 5
Posted in: Uncategorized


All three of our children, and most of their families will be with us this weekend.   I’ve been going throug thousands of images that record the history of our family, going all the way back to 1970 when I was blessed with the greatest earthly gift of my life, Sherelene!  We’ve reared three children welcomed three great new members to our family as each were married and are now blessed with 6 wonderful grandchildren!  I will put a music and image show together to share while we are all together.  I also saw a lot of images from my professonal life while searching for the family images.  The evidence of an incredible life is there in these images.  Let me be sure you understand, that I understand, (sounds like Dr. Phil),  That all of these incredible blessings are from God and any thing good that has happened to me, in my life, the credit, honor and glory all go to Him!!!!!


In going through the images I found several of my very favorite family images of all time, thought you might enjoy seeing them.


Early in the Great American Photography days my daughter Catherine ran the office and accompanied me on a number of workshops.  After one workshop a guest sent me this image he had shot of us, it is my favorite images of us!  What made it extra special was Catherine had it blown up and wrote an incredible thank you note to me, one of the most touching things I have ever recieved, it still hangs proudly on my wall and in my heart!


My son Wesley is an avid hiker an backpacker, an actitivty that I have seldom done with him, but Sherelene always wanted to hike to the top of Mount LaConte in the Great Smoky Mountains and Wes and she did it together, I have no idea who shot this image, but it is one of my favorites because of the sheer joy they are sharing in a beautiful place!  I love how deeply our family loves one another!  Sherelene has done LaConte three times, shame on me!!!!


My oldest son, Scott was busy getting and education and raising a family during the Great American Photography days and sadly we never got to travel around the country like I did with Catherine and Wes!  A few year’s ago I gave him an evelope for Christmas saying,” anywhere you want to go for a week, just the two of us.”  He chose the Golden Circe in Utah (Bryce, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and the Page area), and we had an incredible father-son time, we are going to do it again soon!!!  Wherver he wants to go!


This is my favorite photograph of Sherelene and I together!  She more than makes up for what my looks are lacking!  A few Christmas seasons ago my sister-in-law, Terri Fortneym Homer’s wife, came down from Harlan and did portraits of all our family members.  Terri is an incredible portrait photographer, especially kids, which I qualify for, at least at heart!!!!


This is an oldy but definately a goody!!!  The late, great Don Nelson, years ago, ( look at my hair and beard ), invited me to be the master of cermonies for the Southern Short Course, the most prestigous of the early photojournalism conferences.  I did a stand up comedy routine and they invited me back for several more years, where I met and made friends with the giants of photojournalism.  Above top row left to right, Porter Binks of USA Today & Sports Illustrated, the pilgrim, the late Bernie Boston legendary pulitzer prize winning photographer, Dick Darcey, legendary sports shooyer for the Washington Post and  the government rep for Nikon, God forgive me and I can’t remember his name!! I am 72 after all!


This one goes back to the very early part of my career when I worked for two coal companies and I can tell you, every time I look at this image I thank God I work above ground now!  Photo Credit:  Danny Lawson.


Some of my favorite childhood images from each of my children, adults!!!!



Now, do you see why I know I’m blessed by God!





the pilgrim







3 days, 16 hours ago 17
Posted in: Uncategorized


My readers are for the most part; male/female, straight, white people that adhere to some variety of faith.  That should make us a protected class since we seem to be, currenlty, under the most attack in the world today.  Now the question is “how do you react to the MAGA hat above?”  I would guess, with some preconceived notion, that most of you would say, yeah let’s get on with that!


A minority who come here would probably have a completely different reaction.  It is with you folks that I want to share.  This is not a confrontation, I repeat, THIS IS NOT A CONFRONTATION,  it is my attempt to explain what that hat means to most of us that you would take issue with.  I hope to show you that what you are hearing on the main stream media is not true and that you’re being mislead.  Let’s set the standard for this.  I know many people that are right leaning and left leaning, they are all good people, and they have sincere, strong beliefs about their positions.  Any person that is a member of the KKK, or the John Birch Society or that are rioting in the streets with ANTIFA or Black Lives Matter, or the Womenn’s March probably falls further to the right and left.  If you do not consider yourself that extreme, then don’t associate yourself with those groups!  This blog post is not aimed at any of you, I doubt you would listen or would hate me for excluding you!  Why am I excluding those people?  Those groups and the people that adhere to their behavior are not in any way making America better, they are hateful and destructive against civil discourse.  Now that we have settled that let me share with those willing to listen.


I know many people that would be proud to wear that hat and I want to tell you who they really are, which is counter to what you would here on CNN and MSNBC!  CNN was once a great news network, but they have now thrown in with the far left position on almost all issues.  It is very easy to see and research the thousands of examples of their out and out lying to the American public.  MSNBC has pretty much always been in that camp.


This is the truth about those of us constantly maligned by the left.


Opinions on minorities:  The people I know and I know many, do not see minorities any differently than you do!  They work with, go to church and school with and have many minorities as friends!  In spite of what you are being told we do not, nor does our President, want ot make “America White Again!”  I am deeply offended by that characterization.  Most of my friends are offended by it to.  I would advise any Democrats trying to solidify their base to stay away from that one,  it is not true and highly volatile!


Opinions on the LBGT community.  Most of the people I know are not interested in being gay, but they believe that people have to right to choose as they wish.  They believe that it is never right to abuse, or disadvantage someone because of their sexual orientation choses.  While we respect others rights to choose, we would not likely attend the gay parade to support them.  Allowing people to make their own decisions and supporting those decisions is two different things.  Support can translate to approval of the choice and I can only speak for myself on this one, I won’t do that.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a number of gay friends, men and women, and I like them very much, just not in that way.


Opinions on Socialism and Communism.  Some on the far, far left actually would like to end capitalism in America and replace it with Democratic Socialism or Communism.  Our opinion on that is it has never worked anywhere before, so why consider it for here.  It has had limited success in smaller countires, those with much smaller populations, but not in massive populations like the U.S.  Once you provide all everyone’s needs regardless or how hard they work, you change the dynamic of a society and innovation, and productiveness takes a bad fall!


Opinions on the 2nd Amendment.  Some on the left feel the only way to truly end gun violance is to eliminate the ownership of guns by the general population.  There is one major flaw with that thinking, with the countless millions of privately owned guns you would never be able to seize them all and those are legally owned guns!  The crinminal element of our society has very large stockpiles of un-registered guns, and you would never be able to even get a fraction of them back from criminals.  So think about this, if every legal gun owner in America willingly gave up their guns, and the criminals didn’t, who will protect you from them, then??!!  One other little thing, The 2nd Amendemnt gives us the right to own and bare arms, and that is a constitutionally guaranteed right.  One last thing the NRA (National Rifle Association) is constantly attacked when all we do is protect our constituional rights.  How many mass shootings or homicides have been committed by NRA members?  Look it up, you will be shocked! We’re not the bad guys!


Opinions on illegal immigration.    It is falsely claimed that people to the right are anti-immigrant.  FALSE, we are descendants of immigrants, actually, except for American Indians we all are!!!  This is the rights “real” view.  We have a wonderful country, so wonderful that people from all over the world want to come here and live in our great country. We used to have a immigration system that, in a orderly way, allowed people to apply to become a citzen.  If they could bring needed skills and contribute, if they wanted to be “an American”  learn our language and become a part of our family, we welcomed them and it took many years to finally become a citizen.  Many cried tears of joy when they were granted citizenship!


We now have floods of people simply invading our country illegally and demanding to stay, not learning our language, many despising our country, and many going on the welfare rolls.  Some states have decided to not only to welcome them but support them even offering free heathcare and education all the way through college.  Think about it, these people are here illegally, they did not go through the system set up by our country.  They demand to be made citizens and yet do not want to really be Americans.  How many of you are being provided welfare, healthcare and an education all on the Federal Government?  (Transltion: the taxpayers)


Here is the bottom line question that you cannot get any liberal to answer.  What is the limit we should set on allowing people into our country?  Is it one million per year, 10 million per year, limitlss open borders?   Another good question that needs to be answered.  If only 10 percent go on U.S. provided welfare system how many more people can we have on welfare in America before we collapse the economy.  Are you willing to pay up to 80% of your earnings to support people that are coming illegally and won’t or can’t find work?


We all feel terrible to see people in other countries suffering, but there is a limit to what we can do about it!


My point is simple, that’s my hat, and I truly want to make America Great Again.  I believe we need to live by our constitution and our laws and we need to be caring and supportive of each other, but not give the farm away, if we do, there will be no farm for you and I.


Think about it.




the pilgrim

1 week, 1 day ago 10
Posted in: Uncategorized


We find ourselves in a country severely divided.  I’m not going ot take sides but will offer a solution, a “key” if you will, on how to unlock peace and a united front.  Now if you are person of faith this will work for you, if you’re not, sorry, I can’t tell you what to do!  Without God’s promises, we are all hopeless!


It’s simple, God is in control, and even when it appears the situation has even escaped Him, that’s not true.  Nothing happens without His permission, so we can be sure that whatever we are facing, He will bring some good from it!  God never said our lives would be a bed of roses, but He did promise He would sustain us through any situation.


I could not face another day if I did not believe, with all my heart, that as long as I’m focused on Him, it will all be o.k.  The most important thing to know is that you are standing by Him and with Him, and trusting Him!




the pilgrim

1 week, 6 days ago 15
Posted in: Uncategorized


John Wayne said it best, “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by.”  ….and that’s what this is about.  I grew up in the late 40’s the 50s and 60’s and my father was a man’s man, my brother Homer is a man’s man, and I sure hope I am too.  My father was a John Wayne type character, in my mind and heart.  He and the Duke taught me much of what I built my Foundational Self on.  So as the Duke said, “A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.” 


He also said,  “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.”  guess I’m going to fail on that one!!!  😉   So, here are some select quotes from my father and the Duke that have helped me decide who I wanted to be, or at least who I’ve tried like hell to be.



“I’ve always followed my father’s advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be damn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble.”  JW


Authenticity is one of my most valued traits in others.  People who know who they are, what they believe in and are not afraid to live by that.


“Words are what men live by…words they say and mean.”  John Wayne


My father, William Pelle Fortney,  taught me to:


Believe and trust in God.


To consider the Ten Commandments as a code to live by.


To always treat others in the same way I would like to be treated by them.


To never ask others to anything I was not willing to do myself.


To love my family and stay close to them.



Let’s admit it, the world we live in, is in a stupid state today!  So many people are lost, confused, desperate and afraid.  Satan is having his way with us.  Politics has become a contact sport, and it is not what God wants for us. Sherelene constantly has to remind me that we are not wrestlsing with men but against principalities of evil.  It is the hardest thing a Chrisitan has to do, pray for those that persecute you.  Watching the news I saw where a female Senator in a previous grilling of one of the people beign considered for the opening on the Supreme Court, said she had a problem with her DOGMA; (dogma | ˈdôɡmə | noun a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true: the rejection of political dogma | the Christian dogma of the Trinity.)  She is a devout Catholic and holds to the principles of her faith and this Senator saw that as a serious problem, God help us all!


“When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it.”  JW





If you really want to know how you are doing, look at your calendar, it will reveal what you consider most important in your life.  “Spend time with your kids, they grow usp so fast.”  William Pelle Fortney


“A man oughta do what he thinks is right.”  John Wayne



What do I think is right?  We better find out before we start to put our wheels or mouth in motion.  I have a few;


I believe in God and I know He loves me.


My greatest desire is to share His love with others.


I love my country, stand for the National Anthem, salute the flag and support my President.


I deeply appreciate our military, police and first responders, and support them in word and deed.


I’ve become sadly disappointed in top people in both the FBI and DOJ.


I’m Pro Life, Anti Socialism, Pro Capitalism.


I believe in, will stand for and will defend the 2nd Amendment.


I miss the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy.


Sorry but, “Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.” JW


“Words are what men live by…words they say and mean.”  JW


“When the road looks rough ahead, remember the ‘Man Upstairs’ and the word H-O-P-E. Hang onto both and ‘tough it out.”  JW


“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”  JW


“Stand for something, a real man doesn’t doubt his convictions!”  William Pelle Fortney


….and finally, “It looks like it’s going to be another fine day.”  John Wayne




the pilgrim




My father, William Pelle Fortney, I miss him everyday….