After a long drive to Dayton, OH, I rang Dr. Turk's doorbell. The last time I saw him was on a road trip to Florida with my parents in 2006. We had met a few months earlier in Antarctica when he saw my nice camera and asked if he could have some of my photos. I sent him a CD and a friendship was born.
Dr. Turk looked as great as the last time I saw him, and with a comment that was something like “you're too skinny,” he whisked me away to a fancy restaurant for a fantastic dinner which would set the pace for the next two days. Included in my stay were tickets to a crappy musical, a trip to the Air Force museum, a glance at a pool that hadn't been open for two summers, and lots and lots of eating.
Just as with my last visit, I was blown away by Dr. Turk's house, dubbed The Turk Museum. As a lifelong traveler, he has amassed a huge collection of artifacts from around the world. The suit of armor made me jump more than once when I thought nobody else was home. His chess sets have such intricately carved pieces, I can’t even imagine how much labor went into making them. His porcelain Lladro's and painted ostrich egg were true works of art, and his collection of old medical books made me thankful not to have lived through the nineteenth century. But the things that really made the Turk Museum stand out for me were the wood carvings, ranging from a few inches to several feet tall, from more countries than I can recall. Dr. Turk showed me around his house for hours, and we didn't even see half of his stuff. I could write a book just about his collection, let alone his stories.
"To a lot of people, this is all just stuff," he told me at one point, "but to me, these things are memories." I couldn't agree more. Dr. Turk's mind is sharp as a tack, and he recited details about everything he showed me, including where and when he bought them, and what their religious, spiritual, or traditional significance was. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember everything, but I captured some details in my photo comments.
I just was able to catch Dr. Turk at home between two of his international trips, so the timing was perfect. He has led such an interesting life, I was kicking myself for not visiting him sooner.