It’s been a wet and cold weekend here in Central Texas. That didn’t stop organizers from holding the annual Christmas Stroll in downtown Georgetown Saturday. Things were scaled back a bit. The parade was cancelled, and Whoo Village, as well as Bethlehem Village, decided it wasn’t to be with all the wetness. Nonetheless, families showed up, vendors showed up, and most wonderfully, Santa did, too, making funny faces, even sitting with a Georgetown police officer. What a hoot! And let’s not forget a few princesses, in front of the Palace Theatre, from Princess & Co., an Austin-based troupe of (wait for it) princesses. Here’s a few photos from the wet, but fun day.
There is something special about subtle light. As you’re probably aware from previous posts, I cherish its purity. None was more pure than the light of candles filling the Lois Perkins Chapel at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas as I once again attended the school’s sweet gathering for the Season of Advent. Two services were held. Knowing it was a school night, I pointed my cameras at the first one, where I suspected more children would be present. Having covered this for a few years now for the Williamson County Sun, I know that my best place is in the balcony, where the light’s presence has the most impact. On a side note, the first time I attended the service, I got in a wee bit of hot water with a university vice-president for taking photos on the ground floor. These days, I stay up above the fray. It’s also where parents with small children like to go, probably due to little attention spans. Everyone was nice last night though. While this post focuses on the younger candle-holders, I like the gentleman pictured, too. When most everybody else had filed out of the chapel, he remained, holding his candle, singing “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” He was so intriguing, he’s included twice.
While visiting with a friend this week about churches I’ve photographed in Texas, she asked “Have you seen St. John, in the Richland Community?” Not only had I not photographed St. John, the Richland Community was also unknown. I came to understand that the “Richland Community” was more an area than a town on the outskirts of Pflugerville, in Travis County, Texas. “St. John” is St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, a beautiful church on what I’d call a southern section of the Blackland Prairie. In the 1860s, German settlers in Central Texas came to Richland, but had no church meeting place. For a while, they held services in private homes. The congregation came to fruition in 1878. After two church buildings, the one you see in this post came along in 1925. Until the 1930s, services were conducted in the German language. Inside and out, the church is lovely. I met the pastor, Todd Peterson, who kindly allowed me to enter the sanctuary for a few images. The friend who told me about the church, herself a Lutheran, was impressed with the ornamental metal covering adorning the walls and ceilings of the sanctuary. Many of the photos you see show that. One of the last photos, taken outside, shows portions of the gate leading into the church cemetery. I’m glad to add this to my list of churches photographed in Texas.
Because I’m working diligently on something else this evening, here’s one taken during an interlude earlier tonight, something simple, prairie grass flowing around a stock pond on a lower portion of the Blackland Prairie. Onward and upward, friends.
It was night just to clear my head. After dropping off a book at the Taylor Public Library, I wandered pretty close to home, along County Road 401, where you’ll find Immanuel Lutheran Church, the little church on the hill, and also County Road 404, which intersects with C.R. 401. There I found a nice old barn, a car cresting a hill toward home, and another sweet little stock pond, or tank if you prefer. That blazing sky was seen from the church parking lot at Immanuel. It was fine night.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting, and photographing novelist/educator/rancher Carol Fox on her cattle ranch in Circleville, Texas. Carol’s novel, “Ask Me Nothing,” is available on Amazon. For our initial photo session, we took a few photos at the Circleville Store, then ambled up the road to her ranch for more images. Carol expertly navigated her truck through the rolling prairie land, her two dogs chasing not far behind. Carol spent her childhood on this land. Day or night, she knows every dip in the pasture. After a few photos, including some on the San Gabriel River, we made our way back. En route, Carol pointed out a Bur Oak tree that has been around, she thinks, for 100-150 years. I found it lovely, too, and said it would be a good subject for photos. Initially, I had spelled the tree’s first name with two r’s, but the Texas A&M Forest Service says it’s just one, as do other sites. Recently, when our schedules aligned, I met Carol at her ranch, hopped in the truck, and visited the tree. Bur oak trees aren’t abundantly-charged with color. In the Spring, the leaves are a vibrant green, which eventually fades to brown, but this old tree has presence. My photos began with a few hungry cows around. Carol got their attention with some fresh hay and the photo-taking commenced, well past sundown, the stars lighting the sky, and the trail of a passing aircraft, too. I hope Carol’s okay with it, but I’m putting a photo of her into the mix, too, at the San Gabriel, with Miles. The tree, with Carol’s blessing, of course, may become a little ongoing project.
When I arrived in Georgetown Friday afternoon, a little after 4:30, the town square was already tightly-packed with families and individuals gathered for the annual Lighting of the Square. The festivities wouldn’t start for another hour, but the event, through the years, has grown in popularity. And that’s as it needs to be. Much of this post will concentrate on children, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include one lovely lady, on the planet for 90 years, her eyes as bright as any child in attendance. Some of the kids singing Christmas carols with the Austin Carolers on the courthouse step were in heaven. One 3-year-old, bless her heart, was overwhelmed by the crowds, but daddy was there to make it all better. The opening photo was taken atop the roof of my client, the Williamson County Sun. It would be extreme understatement to say that I am afraid of high places, but sometimes, for an image, one must strive to overcome. In the process, somewhere on the square, I lost the small umbrella attached to my belt. And it didn’t even rain. Life continues.
Georgetown, Texas has a good heart. Today, on Thanksgiving, free meals, including turkey with all the trimmings, were offered at the Georgetown Housing Authority, First Baptist Church and the Georgetown Public Library. The massive undertaking was aided by local caterer Alycia Tandy, owner of Do Yourself a Flavor, whose company smoked 76 turkeys for the day. It’s good to see the happy faces, from not only diners, but volunteers like members of the Georgetown Police Department.
On this cool Thanksgiving morning, I found myself on the Georgetown square for the 4th Annual Turkey Trot, a Georgetown Running Club event that attracted 650-700 participants this year. The day included a kids’ fun run, a 1-mile walk and a 5-mile run. It was fun, low-key events with no times recorded, kind of nice, really.
On Thanksgiving morning I was on the road before dawn. The minutes before the full light of a day begins, like those at the end of a day, are magic, but the mist associated with dawn is really cool. I’ll leave it at that.