The Christening, May 2011

Family members pass Paul Thomas Reeves around moments after his Christening into the Catholic Church.
Family members pass Paul Thomas Reeves around moments after his Christening into the Catholic Church.

Abby and I travelled to Baltimore, where we spent ¬†four days with Abby’s daughter Chele, her husband Tom, and their new baby, our new grandson Paul Thomas Reeves. The occasion was Paul’s Christening into the Roman Catholic Church, at the same church where Chele and Tom got married two years earlier, the¬†Sacred Heart Church of Glyndon, Maryland.

Tom and Chele hold their son Paul Thomas as a priest baptizes him during the Christening ceremony. Assisting is Tom's sister Rose.
Tom and Chele hold their son Paul Thomas as a priest baptizes him during the Christening ceremony. Assisting is Tom’s sister Rose.
Abby holds little Paul as we prepare to leave Baltimore.
Abby holds little Paul as we prepare to leave Baltimore.

It was a short visit, though I can say with confidence that we all had a great time. It was my first time to lay eyes on the actual baby, and he and I took to each other. Apparently I have a very interesting face.

Abby smiles as we wait to board a plane in Kansas City, a stop on our flight to Baltimore.
Abby smiles as we wait to board a plane in Kansas City, a stop on our flight to Baltimore.

After the actual Christening, we had a reception at the house of Tom’s sister Rose and brother-in-law David, where everyone had a great visit.

Later at Tom and Chele’s, we played Wii sports, walked Tom’s dog Toby, made deep dish pizza, and even visited my favorite Baltimore Diner, the Bel-Loc.

The trip home was unusual; our Southwest Airlines flight from Saint Louis to Oklahoma City was diverted by weather to south of the Dallas-Fort Worth area before finally flying north, due to a line of thunderstorms that resulted in several large tornadoes in the western suburbs of Oklahoma City.

Towering cumulus clouds billow above southern Oklahoma as our flight makes a long diversion to the south. Below us, these beautiful clouds spawned severe weather throughout the Sooner state. Through our window, these clouds made amazing images, including one I was able to use in Ada Magazine.
Towering cumulus clouds billow above southern Oklahoma as our flight makes a long diversion to the south. Below us, these beautiful clouds spawned severe weather throughout the Sooner state. Through our window, these clouds made amazing images, including one I was able to use in Ada Magazine.

Even after the diversion that added an hour to our flight time, the descent in Oklahoma City was so rough (“Rough as a cob,” my flight instructor used to say) that the senior class on their traditional class trip in the back of the airplane were screaming when the biggest bumps hit. When we finally touched down, everyone burst into applause.

Paul, who was teething, repeatedly grabbed my fingers and pulled them into his mouth to chew.
Paul, who was teething, repeatedly grabbed my fingers and pulled them into his mouth to chew.
The Bel-Loc Diner is named after the intersection of the Beltway and Loc Raven Boulevard.
The Bel-Loc Diner is named after the intersection of the Beltway and Loc Raven Boulevard.
Chele, Tom and Paul Thomas pose with Tom's father and step-mother.
Chele, Tom and Paul Thomas pose with Tom’s father and step-mother.

Despite a constant pain in my lower back, I was able to enjoy my visit very much, particularly getting to know Paul Thomas. As I mentioned, we also had the opportunity to visit the Bel Loc Diner, which became one of my favorite Baltimore locations two year earlier when Tom and Chele got married. If you ever visit the Bel-Loc and are a meat-eater (which I am not), try the scrapple.

Additional images:

Abby and I helped Tom rescue a family of baby robins that nested in the patio roof.
Abby and I helped Tom rescue a family of baby robins that nested in the patio roof.
Tom and Chele with their mothers proudly hold Paul Thomas after his Christening.
Tom and Chele with their mothers proudly hold Paul Thomas after his Christening.
Tom's nephew and niece hold Paul Thomas.
Tom’s nephew and niece hold Paul Thomas.
Chele looks over an old yearbook as Tom's mom holds Paul.
Chele looks over an old yearbook as Tom’s mom holds Paul.
Tom plays with his son. In the background, Abby looks on.
Tom plays with his son. In the background, Abby looks on.
Your host holds Paul. Although Abby says he has my eyes, in fact we are not biologically related.
Your host holds Paul. Although Abby says he has my eyes, in fact we are not biologically related.
Paul laughs at one of my many funny jokes.
Paul laughs at one of my many funny jokes.
Tom, Chele and Paul at the sanctuary of the Sacred Heart Church.
Tom, Chele and Paul at the sanctuary of the Sacred Heart Church.
I made a series of very successful images of Paul during lunch in the Reeves' kitchen with my 50mm f/1.8 lens.
I made a series of very successful images of Paul during lunch in the Reeves’ kitchen with my 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Paul gets a bath; this baby is one of the happiest, best-natured children I have ever known.
Paul gets a bath; this baby is one of the happiest, best-natured children I have ever known.
Both flights to and from Oklahoma were punctuated by interesting, beautiful skies, like this one as we approach Baltimore.
Both flights to and from Oklahoma were punctuated by interesting, beautiful skies, like this one as we approach Baltimore.
Airports like Baltimore's are always interesting to photograph due to their glossy textures, leading lines and bright lights. After I made this image, a security guard asked me, "Who are you with?" I coyly responded, "My wife."
Airports like Baltimore’s are always interesting to photograph due to their glossy textures, leading lines and bright lights. After I made this image, a security guard asked me, “Who are you with?” I coyly responded, “My wife.”
Abby holds our grandson. Although we love seeing him and his parents, it never seems like enough, and they seem too far away.
Abby holds our grandson. Although we love seeing him and his parents, it never seems like enough, and they seem too far away.
This is one of the numerous spectacular skies we saw on our flight home, this view looking east toward Arkansas as we made a long diversion to the south around thunderstorms.
This is one of the numerous spectacular skies we saw on our flight home, this view looking east toward Arkansas as we made a long diversion to the south around thunderstorms.
After turning north from the Dallas area, we passed a phalanx of towering cumulus clouds and severe thunderstorms, eventually breaking out behind the squall line, revealing late afternoon clouds like these.
After turning north from the Dallas area, we passed a phalanx of towering cumulus clouds and severe thunderstorms, eventually breaking out behind the squall line, revealing late afternoon clouds like these.
Chele and Tom play with Paul in their living room. This image now resides in our living room.
Chele and Tom play with Paul in their living room. This image now resides in our living room.