Old stuff time. This is photo taken sometime in the mid-1970s when I worked for the Shreveport Journal. My boss there was Stan Tiner, to this day the best editor around. Shreveport has quite a few bayous, a good place for youngsters to pass a summer day.
Wheat was visited a while back, when it was beginning to spread its wispy wings across the landscape, but not ready for harvest. In recent days, however, I’m beginning to see flattened fields where this resilient crop has already been scooped up by combines. These fields are a couple I saw earlier this week, the warm evening light fanning across their fullness. A series of rain showers had moved through on this day, adding a nice layer of texture to an already-pleasant thing. Farmers make this look so easy, but some of us know better. The arduous labor and long hours our agrarians contribute to earth’s citizens is taken for granted, but not by me. Never by me.
While these old family burial sites are by no means exclusive to Texas, they seem to have made their way to my mental radar more often since we moved home. Without doing a lot of research, my sense is these plots were common in farming or ranching country. At any rate, I find them intriguing. The one presented here, anchoring this field in the Norman’s Crossing area, is the burial site of members of one of Williamson County’s founding families, the Kimbros. Daniel Kimbro was born in North Carolina in 1808. No birth year is given for his wife, Mary Polly Gilbert Kimbro, but she was brought into this world in Tennessee. They married in 1832, moving to Texas in 1836. If the gravestones are accurate, they owned slaves. It was a different time, well before the Civil War. Spelling, however, was apparently not a strength. One thing I’ll look for when spring/summer growth has gone away, is the site of an ancient barn in the background. It’s kind of hard to see right now. These burial sites are witnesses to our histories. They are fascinating.
Those dang Texas storm clouds are deceptive. They form into deeply-dark pockets of dark gray and black in our skies, but sometimes that’s all you get. Earlier this evening was a good example. A mass of scary-looking clouds took hold above Taylor’s St. James Episcopal Church. A few minutes, and a couple of blocks later, there was a fellow doing some roofing work on our famous barbecue establishment, Louie Mueller BBQ. Shortly, very shortly, after this photo was taken, the young fellow hurried on down. While I’d hoped for some lightning streaks, or a fine rainbow, those didn’t happen, but these are okay, aren’t they?
Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about horses, but there’s this: they are beautiful beings that beg to be photographed. And I do, as often as possible. Much of my Saturday was spent at the Williamson County Expo Center, covering the Trinity Hill Central Texas Hunter Jumper Horse Show. While you’ll find a few “action” photos here, what makes it special are human/horse relationships. Hopefully, some of that is presented here. I’m particularly happy with the opening photo, where Tyler, an 18-year-old equestrian from Austin, plants a kiss on her friend called Oso. Tyler explains that Oso is Spanish for bear! That last photo? That’s Jaycee, a lively 8-year-old whose mom is a trainer at a facility in Salado. Jaycee is a rider, too, but on this day, she played and just had fun. By mid-afternoon, she was ready for a nap. These photos were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.
Here in Texas, we’ll be yearning for these fast-moving showers pretty soon. Our summers, generally speaking, are not known for an abundance of rain. This one’s from our back porch just a few minutes ago. It’s already moseyed on.
A planned assignment in Georgetown this morning didn’t work out as planned, but since I made the half-hour drive from Taylor, I felt compelled to make the trip worthwhile. As I was driving out of San Gabriel Park, what you see here caught my eye. Meet a young lady with a wonderful name. Beautiful. Yes, that’s this 3-year-old’s name. Beautiful was spending the day with her grandpa. She patiently observed grandpa as he traversed the hills and valleys of his smartphone. Occasionally, Beautiful decided to just be a kid. As they were leaving, she gave me the most incredible happy smile, pairing nicely with her shirt, “Born to Sparkle.” Normally, images where subjects are looking into the camera are a bother, but not this time. Beautiful was particularly happy because she and grandpa were off to buy a new toy. It was a productive morning after all.
These ten photos are from my daily long walks, taking photos along the way with my inexpensive Motorola Moto smartphone. Most who follow my nonsense are aware of this ongoing experiment. When funds come my way, there’s a chance I might “upgrade” to good point-and-shoot camera. The so-called telephoto function on phones, even the expensive ones, is lacking. These were all taken in Taylor, a bit of this and that, including another of our free-range chickens, carefully strolling across a road. That shiny/glassy object is a chunk of mirror in the dirt. People might wonder, right?
One of my several recurring subjects for photos is St. James Episcopal Church, in the heart of old Taylor, at the corner of 7th and Davis Streets. These photos were taken on different evenings. The first three were shot last week. The north facade of the church, when night comes virtually glows. It’s a scene I’ve visited before, but a new picket fence adds new shadow possibilities. The last two photos, however, were taken this week. For reasons I can’t answer here, interior, and some exterior lights, were shining. Naturally, I had to stop for a look. At some point, I’ll post something from the sanctuary. That statue in the courtyard is St. Francis of Assisi, but you probably knew that. The church has been here since 1893.
There’s a lady living between Granger and Bartlett, Mrs. Joyce White. Lord, I don’t know where to start. Joyce recently celebrated her 85th birthday. We met in late-January, when I was covering a BBQ cook-off in Walburg. The barbecue photos done, it was time to head home. One of the organizers, however, said I might want to stay around and meet Mrs. White. So I did. Here’s the thing. This sweet lady and her group, which I can’t mention, is a wonderful, positive story. Although we’ve visited several times, she still balks at the publicity. Her great-aunt, who helped raise 5-year-old Joyce after her mother died, made one thing clear: you were not put on this Earth to serve yourself. Joyce listened. So I’m not mentioning any of that here. But Mrs. White did study journalism at University of Texas in Austin, earning both bachelors and masters degrees. She taught high school for many years, in Houston for nine years, but mainly in Granger. A lady at her church, First United Methodist in Bartlett, calls her Saint Joyce. Last week, during a visit, I asked her if it would be okay to just take some portraits of her … no mention of a story. She agreed. These photos are the result of her kindness. On the personal side, Mrs. White reminds me of my Great-aunt, Addine Bradley, who, for reasons I never knew, was called “Bip.” She was my mom’s aunt. Aunt Bip, a farm girl from northeast Texas, was special to me. Growing up in Texarkana, I spent copious amounts of time in the “country,” the family farm 16 miles south, near Queen City. She lived there with her two siblings, my great-aunt Sal, and their brother, Harry, my great-uncle. None ever married. Bip lived to 94, Uncle Harry passed at 97. Bip and Harry were more like grandparents than aunt and uncle. Bip’s countenance comes to mind when I’m around Mrs. White. Even if she doesn’t allow a story, she needs to know a lot of us see her as special. We need more like my Aunt Bip and Mrs. White. I’m posting these in color, but on Facebook, I’m offering them in glorious black-and-white. Joyce and I are both fans of that method of presentation.