A little over nine years ago, when we moved back to Texas, the rodeo arena in Georgetown caught my eye. It defined everything I think about growing up in Texas. Even then, a friend, a member of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo, told me it wouldn’t be around many more years. The property, you see, was leased. The lease would expire in a few years. The arena would be no more. I couldn’t believe that. Fast-forward to 2018. What I, and many others feared, would come true. The community would not extend the arena’s life. Until this morning, while looking around San Gabriel Park for a photo, I happened to look toward the arena, where two men dismantled the grandstands. Entering the arena, I asked if it were okay to take some photos. The gentleman at first hesitated, then said okay. The men are members of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse. They were salvaging what they could before their contract ran out … on November 1st. So it is. Another slice of our culture is relegated to history. The arena grounds are covered in weeds now. Grackles make temporary homes on the stands … but not for long. Included in this post is a “portrait” I made of the arena last spring, plus a black-and-white photo of two bull-riders waiting their turn at the 2017 rodeo. That one’s on my business card.
A couple tonight, grain elevators reflecting ambient light on a very wet Friday night in Central Texas. On every walk this week, I carried an umbrella. On the plus side, it was mighty cool. The opening photo was taken in Noack, Texas. The second, perhaps a half-hour later, was in the heart of Taylor, at Williamson County Grain. Night light, friends, is soothing. At least it is to me.
Recently, I covered the annual Choo Choo Fest in Coupland, Texas, a fundraiser for the restoration of their vintage caboose. The town’s venerable depot has had its makeover, but residents in this community of around 300 people in southeast Williamson County are tackling the restoration of the caboose. When finished, it will be used as a children’s museum. Although I photographed the Choo Choo Fest during the day, it seemed like a good idea to go back for a photo of what the money’s helping. It’s a neat little community with a good heart.
This evening I’m staying with subject matter that continues to engage my senses. The opening windmill was the result of a pretty long afternoon drive into neighboring Milam County, Texas. It was a cold and misty day, just the right setting for what I saw along this lightly-traveled farm-to-market road, a windmill surrounded by fog, resting in a base of Blackland Prairie soil, with a dirt road leading into what seemed like infinity. Back in Williamson County later tonight, two more windmills caught my eye. These last two are neighbors, maybe a half-mile apart. The center one’s been a photo subject several times. The last one, new to me, was taken into that blue period of light. And in the far distance, a pinprick of white light, farmhouse perhaps. Just windmills, friends.
I was going to skip posting anything tonight, but decided to toss something out there. My afternoon and evening were spent photographing some flooding in the Georgetown area. While the photos are good, they speak to those living in Williamson County, Texas. When I post, the images need to have an appeal beyond the local audience. So tonight, two quick road images, both from last evening near Granger, Texas. The night had turned cold and wet, the wanderings not so much, but I happened on another sweet dirt road, thankfully not very muddy (yet). The second photo is along the main corridor in downtown Granger. Daunting at first glance, it was, thankfully, pretty shallow. That’s all for tonight, friends. Just some roads.
At one time, Jonah, Texas, a community between Taylor and Georgetown, boasted its own school, the Jonah Community School, opening in 1922. In the 70s, however, the Jonah students merged with the larger school district in Georgetown. The original school, however, remains, now repurposed as the Jonah Community Center. If you happen to be traveling along Texas 29, going west, look for it on the right. These photos were taken the other evening, when I decided to utilize a handy tripod, allowing better quality (I hope) images. I like the red light that shines on an given evening, a beacon of sorts. It’s a fine old structure, small, but sturdy. My elementary school in Texarkana, Texas, Grim Elementary, was built in 1913. In 1958, I began my education there, as a first-grader. In my office, right behind me as I write, is a school desk purchased for a quarter, original to the building. It was a grand old structure, with two floors, and a really nice auditorium. The radiator heat sometimes got a little noisy, but it warmed our bodies. As a young adult, my career led us to Georgia, where I spent 29 years. On one of my rare visits to my hometown, I was heartsick. Grim was gone, the victim of a road-widening. So you see, I appreciate staying power. Jonah School’s still with us, allowing an occasional photo.
If you follow my posts long enough, there’s a good chance you’ll find my lenses aimed at our Taylor parks. Murphy Park, shown here, is a place I go to clear out the cobwebs and unwind. It’s not just about the rookery, but that, of course, is quite amazing. These photos were all taken during a single session a few days ago. Sometimes I sit on things quite a while because at some point, you folks might grow weary of these therapy interludes. However, I’ll say to anyone who asks, if I were the only soul left on the planet, I’d still do what I do. Have a good night.
Not every post has a theme, but tonight, how about poultry? Mostly chickens, but also a fine-looking turkey called Beyonce. This morning, before going to an assignment in Georgetown, I stopped by Taylor’s Bull Branch Park, where Good Life Taylor was conducting their annual fair and 5-K race. Since it was a short visit, I focused on the poultry petting zoo, where I finally got to meet Beyonce (who pecked my lens hood), but also a nice 4-year-old named Hunter (the opening photo). Hunter’s family raises chickens. He’s a chicken-whisperer. Really. Some of these photos were taken just north of Taylor, at Sweet Eats Fruit Farm, located on Texas Highway 29. From the highway, you might see a grove of peach trees, but if you travel the dirt road, you’ll find pumpkins (tis’ the season, right), but also what I’ll call free-range chickens because they’re literally everywhere. One chicken they call Chickalinda seems to like pony rides. Who would’ve thought? So there it is, friends. Poultry galore.
In my early years, one of my favorite shows on television was “The Addams Family.” What a great cast! The good news? The Georgetown Palace Theatre, just in time for Halloween, has produced this classic for the local stage. During dress rehearsals, I usually pace myself, but at last night’s performance my shutter was clicking almost non-stop. If you’re in the area, any weekend through November 4th, it’s worth the price of admission, but get your tickets early. This will sell out fast! These are a few images for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.
The Louisiana State Fair, in Shreveport, is getting ready for another season. October 25 is their opening day. While going through old negatives this morning, I came across some film taken at the October 1975 fair. It was rainy day, giving fair workers little to do. Some, I was happy to notice, spent their time reading newspapers. Others just smoked cigarette after cigarette. I found their moods interesting 43 years ago. The same holds true today. Good old b/w Tri-X film might’ve helped with the moodiness. Except for the “What Is It?” photo, these images are newly-edited. It’s fun to look back in time and see something new.