The Christmas Stroll in Georgetown, Texas is an annual holiday treat that includes a parade and many other family-friendly activities. The morning parade is a big part of the fun. All through the day there were vendors, of course, but also Bethlehem Village, created by Georgetown Church of the Nazarene. As a Taylor resident, I was happy to see the young lady with Cuddle Quack, her pet duck. Cuddle Quack has his own Facebook page! This year there was a skating rink set up on Austin Avenue, too. Note that it’s similar to an ice rink, but the surface is synthetic … and portable. A photo I like a lot is the last one, sisters cuddling midst hula hoops older sister made as a play area. It breaks my rule about folks looking into the camera, but sometimes that’s just fine when it works. It does here. These photos are for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.
Lana Sue Hill, my Bartlett, Texas folk artist friend, suggested recently that if I like old churches, to take a look at a couple just down the street from her. One that I found to be quite interesting is Bartlett First Presbyterian Church. I have no idea how long it’s been since the sermons have stopped there, but it’s quite lovely. According to a historical marker, the church was built in 1899. The congregation formed in the mid-1870s as the Nazareth Church of the Central Texas Presbytery. When taking photos, I asked a neighbor about the church. He thinks it’s owned by someone living in New York. I hope he/she finds a way to keep the building alive. It seems to have good bones.
Tonight, as promised, are a few holiday-related photos taken the past few days. The theme, other than lights, is Texas Christmas in the country, or in the case of Holland, Texas, lights strung on City Hall, located on West Travis Street, the main thoroughfare through this Bell County town of a bit over 1100 people. The tree of lights, although not that big, can still be seen a long way off, thanks to plenty of open land. You might detect a little camera shake in that one, but the mood outweighs the motion issues. At least for me it does. As I wandered east toward Thrall earlier tonight, I happened on a nicely-decorated barn, well-placed in front of a farm’s stock pond. You may well see more holiday posts. It’s a time when people get really sad, but if they can have a little bit of light in their lives, maybe it’ll help.
This week, with some time on hand, I took a short drive to Georgetown’s San Gabriel Park, where the San Gabriel River flows. I’ve been here quite a few times since returning to Texas in 2009. You know, of course, my go-to place for birds is the rookery at Taylor’s Murphy Park, but this place in Georgetown is mighty fine, too. I got there about 90 minutes ahead of sunset, wandered up and down the adjacent trail, then finally settled in, near sunset and beyond, on a little bridge where I like to watch the action …. or the inaction. Then I just stayed. And observed. Until the light moved on.
There’s no real theme to these photos taken earlier today at Georgetown’s San Gabriel Park. … a couple riding their bikes, birds flying past a Waxing Gibbous moon, and some interesting plant life. Don’t ask me what the plant is because I don’t know, but I like the light. The bike-riding photo was a booger. Late-afternoon lighting, while good, can also be a challenge.
About two months back, while on another one of my adventures, a family attending a high school football game in Thrall mentioned that perhaps I’d like to take my camera to Westphalia, Texas. There I would find a church worth the short drive from Taylor. The church is The Church of the Visitation, a Roman Catholic church that certainly lived up to the family’s recommendation. Westphalia was settled by German immigrants in the 1870s. Since most were from the Westphalia Province in Germany, they dubbed their Texas home Westphalia, too. These settlers constructed churches. Regrettably, storms in the early 1880s decimated them. By 1895, the church you see in these photos was built. It’s one of the largest wooden churches in the state. A Wikipedia listing also says that, until recently, it was the largest wooden structure west of the Mississippi River. I can’t speak to that, but can say that the church, in Falls County, is wonderful to see and document. I love the twin bell towers. The stained glass windows, both inside and out, are fine to see. And the view as I stepped outside was divine … a glorious Texas sunset rising above St. Mary’s Cemetery, here since 1883. Many of the church parishioners are buried there. This was surely a good visit for my camera.
Recently, I paid another visit to Bartlett, Texas, a small community about 20 minutes north of our Taylor home. A television series is filming there, but I didn’t get a sense of that during my brief stay. That’s okay. The little town is charming in every sense of the word. The opening photo is the main thoroughfare through town. The buildings on the left are in Bell County, but when you cross to the other side of the road, you’re in Williamson County. The light in the opening photo had the feeling of hand-tinted photos from the early 1900s. I like it when that happens.
Near the conclusion of this rather busy week in Williamson County, Texas I paid a visit to the Georgetown square on Friday evening for their annual Lighting of the Square. If I’m fortunate enough to continue documenting this fine happening, one thing’s certain …. I will need to get there much earlier. Even though things didn’t get underway until 5:30, when I got there, just after 4:30, almost all of the nearby parking spots were taken. It’s a good thing I walk a lot because I sure did last evening! What’s happening is this: people from other communities are beginning to realize the beauty of this town square. Anyway, I’m going on too much. The opening photo might be my favorite. This young lady, 3, was reacting just as the lights were switched on. She was living in the light’s glow. So were quite a few of us. Returning to my car after it was all over was nice too. My friend, the moon, added its own glow to the night. These photos were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.
834 participants lined up on a chilly Thanksgiving morning in Georgetown for the Georgetown Running Club’s 5th Annual Turkey Trot, with a fun run for kids and a 5-miler for everyone else, and a few kids there, too. The Turkey Trot raised over $13,000 for Meals on Wheels this time, and $4000-plus for Park Pals (Friends of Georgetown Parks and Recreation). Additionally, a huge barrel of food was collected for The Caring Place. While I find all the photos okay, I’m partial to those with dogs, like the three dachshunds running in tandem, and a big old girl named Sandy cuddling up with her human after the pair finished their run together.
For the second year in a row, the City of Georgetown, Texas was there to make Thanksgiving a day where everyone who wanted a meal got one at no charge. No strings attached, other than showing up. If you couldn’t make it where the meals were being served, for health or transportation reasons, volunteers brought the meals to you. 500 meals were served by over a hundred volunteers, overseen by Alycia Tandy, owner of Do Yourself a Flavor Catering. Community Thanksgivings were held in the 1990s, into the early 2000s, but then went away. Tandy felt they needed to come back, leading the effort to do that in 2016. While anyone was served, it was obvious from my visit to the community center today that some folks wouldn’t have anything if not for this group, which also included the Salvation Army of Williamson County, C.J.’s Catering, the Georgetown Police and Fire Departments and the Georgetown Public Library. It was an inspiring day of photography for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.