This wasn’t supposed to happen. My friends are turning 60. Of course, I’ve known people who are sixty before. I called them “parents,”  or sometimes they were friends of my parents, or my doctor or a professor or a retired person who trudged around the neighborhood with a cane and sometimes I even liked those people, but they weren’t what I would call friends.

When I started my career as a photographer there was one person working for the Atlanta papers who I looked up to, (later I discovered he was a little shorter than I was, but I still looked up to him) Louie Favorite. I first met him while shooting some high school sports event and instead of being cocky and arrogant (two adjectives often associated with my profession) he was warm, generous and kind to this fledgling shutterbug.

His work inspired me and he became the first mentor in a profession I have enjoyed for the past 30 years. Recently retired from the paper, Louie spent his career visually telling us the stories of our city. I now, humbly, will try and sum up this artist in flawed language with rhymes that don’t quite rhyme and a meter and syntax that will be a mystery to English majors:

Who would have thought in the way back of then,
that our Louie Favorite would turn six times ten.
His camera attached like a part of his body
from which he takes pictures that aren’t at all shoddy

Shooting great pictures is not all that’s cool:
Louie is also quite good at pool.
While some people used to put hair in a locket,
Louie likes playing with balls in a pocket.

Add on to these skills the guitar that he rocks with
Rock and roll songs that he constantly focks with:
Indeed, our Louie’s a real guitar hero
And often is seen with guitar and a beer-o.

We loved him back then and now love him still
And not just because he knows how to grill,
although it’s been said that we’d commit murder
just for the chance to eat Louie’s burger.

Chocolate, strawberry, apple pie,
if Louie don’t get dessert he’ll cry.
The Krispy Kreme number? He’ll phone it!
For delivery of a hot gooey doughnut!

Suave and debonair and with a quick wit,
his humor is harmless and don’t hurt a bit.
The best part of Louie, of course is his Vicky
Who married him despite the fact that she’s picky.

A daughter in college a dog in the house,
life has been good for him and his spouse.
An artist, a comic, a friend of us all
Happy Birthday dear Louie, YOU’RE OLD NOW, DON’T FALL!

Author’s note: The editor of first heard this poem after ingesting a quantity of fermented barley and hops and his judgment may have been inspired by the chemical process of these products upon what is left of his gray matter.

Artwork by artist/musician Vernon Carne. For your listening pleasure, visit his music at:

Billy Howard

Billy Howard

Billy Howard is a commercial and documentary photographer with an emphasis on education and global health.