Copco Lake, California (CNN) – Celebrated photos of five friends taken every five years in the same lake in California are out to see the world despite one person’s latest fear of cancer.
Some boys openly feared it might be a photo of four friends instead of the first five as teenagers this year.
“I was crushed,” said John Dixon, who lives in Santa Barbara where friends first met. “We were concerned that there would be empty space on the bench where we would take the picture.”
Dallas Bernie, sitting in the middle of a series of photos mimicking the pose of the first shot, told CNN that he had a large cancerous tumor removed from his left leg in 2019.
“My cancer – liposarcoma, I knew something was wrong for several months,” said the primary school teacher.
“I was out of school for five months. I can’t run anymore, but I can walk for sure.”
Bernie Dixon, Mark Rumor-Cleary, John Moloney and their host, John “Wedge” Wardlo walked smoothly around Kopko Lake on Tuesday evening.
They weren’t all together since the last photo in 2017. Bernie’s cancer and epidemic made reunion difficult.
But first, food
John “Wedge” Wardlow fry tacos in his protective gear on Tuesday night.
Paul Workman / CNN
So they gathered the night before their other five-year tradition – “Wedge” Tacos – was photographed for the feast.
Wardlow fills the meat in a tightly supported shell and fry it very hot, wearing gloves and safety goggles to protect it from splashes.
The jokes flew.
“Salt is the main ingredient,” Wardlow laughed.
“We’ll all drink water at midnight,” Moloney said.
“And # @ $! Cardiologist,” Rumor-Cleary quipped.
Two friends with a window view rose from their seats.
“Bald eagle,” they said.
The majestic bird, with its trademark white head, loops over the cabin, as if borrowing the scene and the circumstances.
Other animal sightings on Tuesday include bobcats, deer and cattle.
Taco Dinner 2022. Another tradition for five friends.
Paul Workman / CNN
Friends, often talking to each other in quick bursts, showed up across Lake Oregon.
40 years tradition
By noon on Wednesday, it was time for the main event.
They took the latest photo on a 79-degree day worthy of a travel brochure cover. As the photos in the Nikon D800 camera clicked, five people fell into their postures and froze. They sat in the same order and in the same pose as they have been striking since 1982.
Copco Lake, 2022. From left to right: John Wardlow, Mark Rumor-Cleary, Dallas Bernie, John Moloney, and John Dixon in 2022.
Courtesy John Wardlow
The hat is always on Rumor-Cleary’s lap or knee. Moloney holds a jar in his right hand. Bernie’s right hand is inside his right knee.
“Coming back here and knowing that cancer is not going to eliminate what we are doing,” Bernie said.
It’s about friendship.
All five told CNN that they ended up in an exhibition at the German Museum on Friendship. His photo was featured in Costco’s magazine.
Once again, his images went viral, circulating around social media sites, where his appearance was brutally dissected and praised.
“There are some dumb quotes you can never put in any article,” Wardlow said.
The five friends have been together in the same Copco Lake cabin for four decades.
Courtesy John Wardlow
“(Three of us) had answers to go shirtless. Some said we looked so good and after 50 he was brave.”
Four friends are 59 years old. Rumor-Cleary is 58.
Rumor-Cleary pointed out that the photo has generated surrealism and says that sometimes strangers will stop it.
“It simply came to our notice then. “I’m 6-foot-6 and have hair on my face. They won’t pick it up immediately from the bat. ‘You know, I can’t tell you why.'”
The way back to the beginning
Five friends, all graduates of Santa Barbara High School, took their first photo in 1982 with an automatic camera timer in the now-familiar pose of their late teens.
They reunite in the Kopko Lake cabin, built in 1970 by Wardlo’s grandfather.
They’ve been fishing, hiking, barbecueing, picking berries for homemade pies and making fun of each other for years.
Moloney described the late-night knocking on the walls, setting off fireworks in the bedroom for revenge and relentless annoyance.
Dixon confessed that he nicknamed Wardlow “Wedge” because of his definition of his friend’s head shape after a haircut.
“I hate nicknames,” Wardlow said. “So, he stopped.”
For the past 40 years, five friends have been taking the same photo every five years in the same cabin in the same pose.
Moloney is a New Orleans-based photographer. Rumor-Cleary is retired and lives in Portland, Oregon. Wardlow is a filmmaker and photographer who lives in Band, Oregon.
Bernie, a veteran of the Air Force, enters his 23rd year of teaching in the fall in Northern California.
Cancer Survivor is not worried about the future of the photo and its health.
“But sitting on that railing scares me,” Bernie said.
“As we get older, the railing also gets bigger. We get a little bigger, heavier. That bench and the railing sits about 30 feet above. One day I’m worried about it cracking.”
Such remarks made a mockery of the gallows, and Berne showed a picture of a knot pulled from his leg,
“It looks like a tri-tip,” said Bernie Hussein, referring to the triangular cut of meat that has become popular in Santa Barbara County.
All the friends laughed and almost said in a chorus, “Well, that doing“
After four decades of jokes and friendships, it is only fitting that they mocked the knot that almost ruined their photo tradition.