Tag Archives: Palmyra

Getting Ready to Move

That’s right, we’re getting ready to move. My plan is to include beckwithmansion.com with the house when we sell it (providing the new owners pay for the domain transfer.)

Having this disease has made it necessary for us to downsize and move closer to family. We’ve already put money down on a lot in Utah that is close to several of my daughters and some of Elizabethe’s sisters. We hate to leave Palmyra and this beautiful home, but it is the right thing to do.

Accomplishments Before Getting Sick

To show an attitude of gratitude I want to list some of the things we’ve done since moving to Palmyra…

  • Operated a successful tourist home – in the process, we met some wonderful people. Some of them celebrities, and others just downright nice folks.
  • Owned a commercial property with very little vacancy periods.
  • Served a 5 year mission for Church Publishing Services – during this time (and even now) I’ve had many photos published in church magazines and websites. Just this last General Conference issue had one of my photographs.
  • Ran a successful photography business – photographed lots of people, several weddings and had a great time.
  • Documented NY Route 31 in photos
  • Did a Route 66 end-to-end road trip that took 30 days. (This was just a few months before getting ill.)
  • Three trips to Israel!!!
  • Survived getting hit by a car as a pedestrian.
  • Served the entire time in the Palmyra Temple as an Ordinance Worker.
  • Served 8 years as the Palmyra Ward Organist.
  • Visited by many family members and friends and took them around Western New York.
  • Several day trips to NYC (by bus) where I photographed models and did street photography.
  • Made more friends than I ever imagined.
  • Saw my best friend of 30 years and his wife join the church, go through the temple, and then he passed away.
  • Met hundreds of missionaries.
  • Photographed several general authorities, including several apostles.
  • Met John Bytheway and spent an afternoon talking to him and his family.
  • Worked security every year at Hill Cumorah.
  • Was VP, then president of Finger Lakes Professional Photographers.
  • President of the local Chamber of Commerce – Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce – worked on the re-branding of the Chamber.
  • Hosted a really fun Walton Family Reunion – so, none of my extended family attended. It was just 3 of my daughters and their children, but we had a BLAST.
  • Had pictures published in Waterfalls of New York Calendar (2017).
  • Attended PPSNYS Workshop at Hobart and William Smith Colleges for the last 6 years. (Last year I was already sick, but managed to sit through the classes. Decided that would be the last year given it’s too much to handle with MG.)

2017 Eclipse

2017 Eclipse

In case you missed it, here is the 2017 Eclipse…

2017 Eclipse

Its aura was a beautiful orange color.

On the serious side…

The 2017 Eclipse was like the other partial eclipses I’ve seen.  This time, I used my pinhole lens to take a picture…

copyright 2017 db walton 2017 eclipse

Eclipse as Seen Through a Pinhole Camera

After spending time looking at the eclipse through my special sunglasses (made especially for viewing eclipses), I made a decision.  The next time, I don’t bother unless it is totality.

Guess what?

The next full eclipse is in 2024.  Totality will pass over Palmyra, New York.

Rooms at the Beckwith Mansion the night before and after are $50,000 each.  (Okay… they probably won’t be that much, but there is this thing called supply and demand.)


I picked a good peck of tomatoes today.  The last 2 days many ripened.  Elizabethe is turning them in to tomato sauce with herbs for pizza and stuff like that.  (She cooks it down so it is nice and thick.)

Our home teacher (John Harmer) told us about cucumber spiced apple slices.  Elizabeth researched and found a recipe and is making a batch.  She’s doing this to the huge cucumbers that went hidden until they got too big for much of anything else.

Collecting Paintings

Collecting Paintings

Chuck Collie went with me to collect the paintings from the merchants today.  Chuck road his scooter while I walked along side.  We had a great time and good conversation.

At one point, I found myself almost saying, “Let me know if I’m walking too fast,” and then it hit me.  His scooter is electric.  Yeah, my brain misfires sometimes.

Couple from Utah

Saturday I ran in to a couple from Utah who were here as tourists.  The ran in the Pirate 5K.  I saw them at church yesterday too.  Today, Chuck and I ran in to them.

I love it when tourist actually spend time here!


This couple were here for a few days and they immersed themselves.  I think that is great.  I hope they go back to Utah and tell their friends how much fun they had (which they did!)


This was a guy and his adult daughter.  She looked like she was perhaps in her 40s, and he looked like he was in his mid to late 70s.  As we walked away (well, Chuck drove his scooter away), Chuck motioned me to get closer and asked, “Is that his wife?”

I laughed and told him it was the guy’s daughter.  As a result, I could tell Chuck thought the guy was a cradle robber.


The remainder of my day I spent mowing the lawn.  In addition, I trimmed some bushes back.  I am beat.  That hedger works great, but the arms tire from holding it at various angles to trim the bushes.

Collecting paintings this morning was easy and fun compared to whacking bushes.   I trimmed before I mowed the lawn.  That way, the mower mulched the stuff.

Recommend Desk

Recommend Desk

Working at the recommend desk in the temple is always a delight.  Meeting people as they come to the House of the Lord is an awesome responsibility when you think about it.  It is your job to assure people have the correct documents to enter the temple.

Being a “destination temple”, you meet people from all over the world too.  People come from around the world to visit the Palmyra Temple.  Many ask to look out the window to see the Sacred Grove from the temple — something no other temple has.

As one person put it, it is the only temple you can look out a window and see one of the Lord’s outdoor temples.

Sacred Grove

Becky took the car after dropping us at the temple so she can visit the Sacred Grove.  She returned later to go to the 7:30pm session.

In spite of Hill Cumorah Pageant being over, we had several guests.  They had enough for a sealing session that it wasn’t necessary to augment it with ordinance workers.  I wish every night was like that.


Rain is slowing the progress on the roof.  They are 90% complete.  They have a few pieces to attach and rain gutters and then they are done.

Leave it Clean

Leave it Clean

In Scouting we used to say, “The world is our campground.  Leave it better than you found it.”  When you borrow something, you do the same.  Likewise, when you use something, do the same.  Leave it CLEAN!

This came up in a conversation about people using the chapel.  As a result, I’m going to rant a little here, but it is worth reading.

My Rant

Palmyra is a destination for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Some are large groups and they desire to use our chapel for activities during their visit.  We happily oblige them if there is room.  (Note:  We WANT you to come visit and spend time here.  We love that you do, so keep reading.)

When some (not all) of these groups finish with their use of the building, it is a mess.  They don’t leave it clean.

Who has to clean it?

The members of the Palmyra Ward.  We’re not a large ward, and most of us are over 60.  When you leave the chapel in a mess, cleaning falls upon us.

You are using a House of the Lord.  Treat it as such.  Respect policies such as no food except in areas where allowed.  Respect the fact we are in the country.  Propping doors open invites critters to enter the building and throws the heating/air-conditioning off.

Please do your share to leave it a better place than you found it.


When scheduling a visit with use of our building, please schedule time to clean!

Don’t be in such a hurry to make your appointment at the temple that you can’t clean.  Plan ahead.  If your temple appointment is at 2 p.m., plan your chapel use to be done at 1 p.m. so you have an hour to clean up after yourselves.

Go through and check all of the rooms.  Empty ALL of the trashes even if you didn’t fill them.  (Remember my comment about leaving the place better than you found it?)


Respect your reservation.  If you reserved the kitchen and cultural hall, please don’t drag your social into the chapel, Relief Society, Primary or other rooms you haven’t reserved.


My Wife

My wife has the responsibility for scheduling the building.  When talking to her I asked about messes left behind.  She said if she knows of a mess, she will contact the bishop or stake president and they will in turn contact the leaders of the visiting group.  (Hurray!)

My Experience

I recall a few years ago my wife and I were assigned to clean the building the week of Pageant.  I have never in my life seen one of our church buildings this dirty inside.  The people who had the building early in the day tracked grass everywhere.  It was even on pews and seats as if someone stood on them.

This scene made me sad and also a bit angry.  It made me sad someone would treat the Lord’s House this way.  It made me angry they left such a mess for us to clean.  I remember thinking, “I hope we never have to clean during pageant week again.”


In conclusion, simple clean up after yourselves.  Yeah, this goes for locals too.  However, most locals know they will have to cleanup their mess or deal with the consequences.

We want you to come visit.  We want you to use our building if it will help provide your group with a better experience.  Our love for you runs deep.  We staff our temple with many local volunteers, and we clean our chapel every week.  Please come, visit, use our building, but be aware we need your help keeping it clean.

New Bean Book

New Bean Book

There’s a new Bean book.  Rand Packer, grandson of Palmyra Bean, has a new book of photos taken during Willard and Rebecca Bean’s time.  The pictures show Palmyra around the turn of the 19th Century.  I love it.

They are selling it at the Historic Palmyra Gift Shop (Williams Street in the Coverlet Museum).  As soon as I saw it I thought, “I have to have it!”

Ice Cream

Tonight Historic Palmyra hosted their annual ice cream social.  It was a nice evening.  We met some new temple missionaries.

A lot of people don’t attend these events.  Had I known I would have announced it in Priesthood Meeting Sunday.  I guess I need to pay better attention to the community calendar.

Other Stuff

The Coverlet Museum also has a very cool Palmyra Coverlet for about $45.  If we had a place to display it, I’d buy one.  I’d hate to put it on a bed because I wouldn’t want it to get ruined.  It would look cool displayed on a large wall.

It shows the four churches, the canal, and other Palmyra landmarks.  I bet they sell a lot of these to site and temple missionaries.  It’s a good reminder of Palmyra, New York.


Saturday Monday

Saturday Monday

Have you ever had a day when you thought it was one day, but it was actually another?  Today is a Saturday Monday for me.  I got up thinking it was Monday, April 24th.

“Oh, shoot,” was my first thought, “I forgot to call Natalie on her birthday.”

I texted her, “Happy Belated Birthday.”

As soon as I hit send, I looked at the date on my phone…

SAT APRIL 22, 2017

Before I could respond, my daughter sends a text back, “Do you remember what day my birthday is on?”

Well, of course I do.  It’s April 23rd, and I was thinking it was April 24th at the time I hit send.  Now that I realize it isn’t Monday, but Saturday, I’m feeling like I’m going senile.

Walk Time

It’s time to take a walk.  It’s cold for this time of year, but I forced myself to do it anyway.

Down to the trail at the Aqueduct Park, along the canal, up to the Grandin Press Building, and back along Main Street.  I kept my pace brisk, but I did stop for a few photos along the way.

copyright 2017 db walton - Saturday Monday

High Water Levels on the Creek

I’ve never seen the water on the creek this high.  Because of the recent rains it is quite muddy.  I have seen photos where it has been higher, but this is the highest I’ve seen it.

copyright 2017 db walton - Saturday Monday

The Wetlands Behind My House

I did a sideways panoramic shot of the big pond behind the house.  I wanted to get the entire tree and its reflection.

copyright 2017 db walton - Saturday Monday

Along the Canal Trail

There’s a trail at the end of the pond that cuts across.  It’s getting greener ever time I walk by it.  Soon it will be a tunnel of foliage.

The Battle

Blood, Sweat and Tears sang a song titled, “The Battle”.  Whenever I think of medieval times I think of that song.

So, I’m walking down the street and see something going on at the Episcopal Church.  I get closer and realize they are having some sort of medieval event.  How could I resist?

I stopped and took pictures.  One of the reinactors told me all about their club, while another tried to recruit me… like I have time for that.

copyright 2017 db walton - Saturday Monday

Medieval Reenactment in Palmyra


copyright 2017 db walton - Saturday Monday

Medieval Reenactment in Palmyra


Final Thought

Looking for a great camera with professional features, interchangeable lenses, built to last?  Check this one out.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)

Pizza with Police

Pizza with Police

Tonight the Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Mark’s Pizzeria sponsored a special Pizza with Police night.  Our Chief of Police, Sherman Yates along with a deputy sheriff and Sergeant Baker of the Palmyra P.D. were there.  It was a great evening.

We sat around and talked with the officers for the entire time.  We were able to ask questions, listen to stories, and more.  At the end, we all agreed we should do this more often.

They came with goodies for the children like teddy bears, pencils, coloring books and stickers.  The Chamber of Commerce came with tote bags for the grownups and bracelets for the children.  It is an event you won’t want to miss next time.


A few of the temple missionaries came over to pick postcards for their picture books.  We’ve created a tradition when groups of them leave.  I take a group portrait and individual couple portraits, and then they put them in a 4×6 album for each of the missionaries.

Elder and Sister Johnson brought lunch with them.  She made a delicious chicken and pasta salad.

Door Lock

I installed a new deadbolt door lock on the front door.  Note to self:  Keep cordless drills charged.  It took a few hours to cut the new holes.  Most of that was due to running back and forth because a battery… or two… or three… died.

The locks installed and working perfectly.  The next step is to remove the old hardware and fill those holes.  After that, I need to install the new door handle.

The Storm

The media is talking about the BIG STORM that is coming tonight.  They could be blowing things all out of proportions.  Tomorrow will tell.

Cold Again

Cold Again

Just when you think things are warming up for the spring it gets cold again.  Today’s bitter cold is coupled with high winds.  I feel bad for those people without an alternative source of heat to their electrical heating.  Power is still out in several areas.

I was in hopes to install new hardware on the front door.  However, the bitter cold and wind are not conditions you want to stand there working on door locks.  Most of the time you are working the door needs to be open.  It isn’t going to happen today.

Pork and Mushrooms

After working on my taxes, and getting the numbers mailed to my accountant, I decided to stop at Happiness Garden and get lunch.  As I tell people, it is the best Chinese Restaurant in all Palmyra.  In all fairness, it is good Chinese food.  It is every bit as good as what you’ll get in Chinatown.

I brought it home, retired to the bedroom, and binge-watches Watch Over Me.  (It’s a sappy sci-fi series from a decade ago about a guy who created a virus that is indestructible, then accidently got infected with it, and is desperately trying to create a cure.)

Next Project

My next project is the front door.  Comes Monday I will start.  If it is too cold, I will simply drill the 2 1/8th inch holes and plug them with the locks.  Then, when it warms up I will do the latch and mortise work.

I also want it warm so I can do some exterior painting and touch-up.



I photographed the rehearsal for the Face to Face with President Eyring and Elder Holland today.  Tomorrow Palmyra becomes the backdrop for the Face to Face broadcast.  Today I learn how this all works.

They asked me to photograph behind-the-scene pictures.  One such interview was with Emily Sine.  Emily lives in a neighboring stake.  She shared her testimony in the interview.  For the first time in my life, the Holy Ghost bore his witness BEFORE someone began their testimony.  As a result, I lowered my camera and listened intently.

copyright 2017 db walton

Emily Sine on Camera

You can hear portions of Emily’s comments here:

Other Youth

Other youth were filmed too.  I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to photograph this event.   Most of all, the Spirit was present during each interview, especially when they shared their testimonies.

Buddy Blankenfeld

A childhood friend, Buddy Blankenfeld, was there too.  Buddy’s brother Ken was a good friend in Junior and Senior High School.  I recall many a recess hanging out with Ken at Andrew Carnegie Intermediate School, in Orangevale, California.  Ken had a way of making me laugh.  While Buddy is closer to Mark’s age, I knew the family well.

I didn’t see much of Buddy today, but it’s always nice to see old friends — even if it is only for a moment.

Other Pictures

Here are some other pictures from the day…


The evening consisted of a Fireside with President Eyring and Elder Holland.  What an amazing experience.

Elder Holland basically set the tone for President Eyring’s remarks.  President Eyring testified of our Heavenly Father’s love for us and how he knows us.  He shared a little about his Patriarchal Blessing.

It was then I realized, photographing this event is a fulfillment of my own Patriarchal Blessing.  How blessed I am to have this opportunity.