Thoughts & Images from Andy Sharp

2015 Special Olympics
Chisholm Trail Park
Clouds at SU
Cat on Leash
Kelly Miller Circus
Granny Basketball
2015 Fun Day
Birds in Fog
East Wilco Fog
Chicken Seminar

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Sports At Its Best

Among my favorite events to attend each March is the Special Olympics, sponsored by the San Gabriel  Breakfast Kiwanis Club.    This year, athletes attended from Georgetown, Taylor, Hutto and Austin.    To me, the Special Olympics, wherever they’re held, are really what sports is about, a sweet, enduring and pure activity not based on financial gain, or really, even about winning.   In Special Olympics, everyone wins.  Like 11-year-old Alize Ramos, helping begin the games in a torch run around the track, assisted by her teacher, Clay Cansler, left, and Georgetown firefighter Colby Lyons.   Or athletes Zeke Walker and Trevor Leathers going head-to-head in the 100-meter run.   After the race, the young men shared a warm hug.    One of my favorite moments is the last photo in this series, where athlete Suraj Naik, at left, gets a hug from volunteer Austin Mallard, a senior at Georgetown High School, also a member of the football team.   Normally, I’m not a fan of someone looking right into my lens, but the young football player’s eyes spoke volumes about his compassion for the athletes.   We need a few more Austin Mallards in the world.   These photos were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.

An Afternoon in Round Rock

After completing an assignment nearby, I stopped at Round Rock’s Chisholm Trail Park.   An artist friend had heard about the wagon tracks imbedded in Brushy Creek’s bed and wanted to know if the old tracks, from the time of the cattle drives through Texas, was a good candidate for her paintbrush and easel.  It was.   Before heading home, however, I happened by the almost-hidden waterfall at the park, something passersby might not notice.   But Robert Cliborn, and his 2-year-old friend, Dosha, knew about it.  With temperatures well into the 80s when these photos were taken this week, this was a grand spot for the pair.  Springtime doesn’t last long around here.   Finding a good watering hole is a big plus.

Clouds Rolling In

These photos were all taken the other day, late on Wednesday afternoon.  Storms were approaching Williamson County, Texas.   After all the fuss, a real thunderstorm never really materialized, but the clouds certainly did.   I’ve mentioned numerous times my feelings for Texas skies.   Wednesday’s display speaks directly to that.   Among the images:  a tiny cemetery in a field, in Weir, Southwestern University, in Georgetown, First United Methodist Church, also in Georgetown, a farmer’s soon-to-be corn field, in Jonah, a very cool old red barn (rainbow included at left), near Jonah, and finally, a windmill, about a mile from my house, in Taylor.   These photos were taken within a 2-hour span. Texas skies are a visual feast.

The Reluctant Kitty Cat

Renee Gamez wants to be sure Marley, her 2-year-old feline, gets plenty of fresh air, but with so many distractions near her home, she keeps her big boy safe, utilizing a harness and  a leash.   Marley, however, took a decidedly cat-like attitude on their Monday evening stroll.   Renee’s a good mommy, keeping Marley safe from loose dogs, and a cat’s urge to chase ducks at Taylor’s Murphy Park.

A Unique Circus Appearance

We’ve had a great deal of wet weather in our area.  While the moisture was welcomed in drought-ridden Central Texas, it proved to be a challenge for the performers at the Kelly Miller Circus, who brought their act to Granger, Texas on Wednesday for two performances, courtesy of the Granger High School student council.  It was so wet, in fact, the troupe wasn’t able to put up their big top tent as planned.  The show must go on, and it certainly did!   The ring and seat were set up, sans covering.   Attendees were treated to an open-air event, complete with a backdrop of grain elevators.   In small-town Texas farm country, it just looked right.   Nobody seemed to mind a bit.   Children had a grand time, but so did those long past childhood.   There’s nothing like a circus to bring out your inner kid!   These were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.

These Grannies Are Amazing!

The Georgetown Recreation Center was a hopping, dribbling place to be Saturday when the Fire Ants, joined by the Old Glories, took on the Louisiana Crushers in a a fast-moving game of Granny Basketball.   To learn more about the sport click here, but in a nutshell, granny basketball is meant for ladies of a certain age who want to stay in the game, in this case on the basketball courts around the country.  Their league was founded in Iowa in 2005, but has grown, with  teams all over the country.   For Saturday’s event, the Crushers team drove 6 hours, from DeRidder, Louisiana to take on their opponents.   The Crushers prevailed, winning 49-33, but everyone had a grand time, score aside.   To join the league, women have to be at least 50-years-old, but most of the ladies I saw were well beyond that.   The Fire Ants’ oldest member is 81, for instance.   Nationally, there’s an 89-year-old taking part.   How cool is that?  Now in my sixth decade, I recall, growing up in Texarkana, girls were cheerleaders, pep squad members, or in the band, but didn’t get to take part  in organized school sports activities.   Thank God  for Title 9.  I like the last photo a lot.  That’s Crushers player Ruby Washington, getting a hug from her grand-children, including 3-year-old Darius Washington.   Ruby’s son lives just up the road, at Fort Hood.  He brought the family to town for the game.   It was a sweet thing to see.   These are photos I took for the Williamson County Sun.

“Fun Day” in Georgetown, Texas

Georgetown Partners in Education held their 2nd Annual Fun Day last weekend at the San Gabriel Community Center.   The kids enjoyed a great deal of fun games and got to see some interesting exhibits, like an inflatable planetarium provided by Girlstart.   The three young ladies in the opening photo are the 6-year-old  Smith triplets, Olivia, Grace and Isabella.   They’re posing for photos with signs indicating the year they’ll all graduate from high school, one of the numerous activities in which children participated.    These photos were taken for the Williamson County Sun.

Fog Envelops Murphy Park

The little lake at Taylor’s Murphy Park is always a spot to view the area’s avian wildlife.  Normally, however, photographing this setting can be distracting.   Near the lake are some buildings that don’t lend themselves to a pastoral setting.   So it was a pleasant surprise, when on my Tuesday morning walk, I noticed the fog had rolled in.   Those buildings, while still there, became virtually invisible to the eye.  Thus, a few photos for your perusal.

Fog Rolls Into Texas

It seemed proper to find some imagery to mark Texas Independence Day.  Initially, I was not  liking the weather, rainy and cold most of the day.  But as night enveloped East Williamson County, Texas, the fog rolled in, enhancing the beautiful landscape.   Spending 35 years away from Texas causes me to have an even greater appreciation of where I grew up.   Even though I hail from Northeast Texas, in the Piney Woods part of the state,  this Blackland Prairie part of the Lone Star state has really grown on me.   When we left Georgia, I kind of longed for moving back to my tree-laden area, but economics led us here, near Austin.   It’s been the right thing.  The ocean has always been fascinating, so expansive and open.   But this beautiful farm country is my “land ocean,” and that’s okay.

 

Chicks Gone Wild (And a Curious Kitty)

It seems chickens are becoming a popular addition to yards everywhere, and not just here in Texas.   People are seeing the economic advantage of really going local when they can just step out to their hen house and gather a few nice eggs.   With that in mind, Georgetown Farm Supply held their “Chicks Gone Wild” seminar Saturday.  About two dozen people came to learn all they could from Abby Brewer as she gave some great tips on the care of all kinds of chickens.   That’s Abby in one of these photos with her prize-winning rooster, a show bird.   As I was getting ready to head out, one of the store’s staff wanted me to see Crusty, one of the two store kitties, as she demonstrated her feline curiosity to check out a cage full of bantam chicks.   Thankfully, Crusty made no progress on getting in there.   These photos were taken for the Williamson County Sun.