Did anyone else in Central Texas happen to peek outside tonight a little after sunset? It may have been cold, but these Texas skies were singing a nice warm song. The last image is an iconic statue near the entrance to St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Taylor. Stay warm, friends.
During one of my early-evening ramblings recently, I was about to give up and head on home. Driving along a county road just east of Granger High School, however, I saw a light shining through a window, powerful enough to demand attention from two blocks away. Rather than going on home, I drove to the light source, which turned out to be the venerable gymnasium at the school. Since moving back to Texas in summer 2009, I’ve admired this building, but never stopped to take photos. That light, however, was a good reason to get acquainted. The photo session continued while I unpacked the tripod and took a few more photos, including one of the school mascot, a lion. Back home, I did some research and found out the gym opened in 1940, a Works Progress Administration project, part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. From 1935 to 1943, the WPA employed 8.5 million Americans at a time when it was most needed. I was intrigued enough to ask for a peek inside the gym. Granger High School principal was gracious with his time, allowing me to snap a few shots inside. Although this gym has been replaced by a more modern one, it’s still utilized for physical education classes and other school functions. It cheers me that the people in this small Central Texas town want to hold onto the things that count.
Sometimes things are close, but we don’t see them. Passing through my bedroom this morning, light falling on a family dresser that’s been in my family for many years caught my eye. Light filtering through a window can be harsh on sunny days, but clouds were with us, providing a more subtle set of textures to a scene. While wandering the countryside is good, nearness is good, too.
Jared Friemel is an amazing young man. So is his mom, Charlotte. On Saturday, I covered the statewide Special Olympic Games, where Jared was competing in powerlifting. But the Friemel family wasn’t finished with the weekend. When Sunday rolled around Jared and Charlotte, and Jack McDonnell, Jared’s caregiver, were at the Georgetown Sheraton where Jared and Jack were runway models for the 10th annual Georgetown Bridal Show. Tonight’s images are from Jared’s day of fashion modeling. Included at the end of this post is a photo I made of Jared in late-May 2011, when Jared received his diploma from Georgetown High School. During the 2010 football season he was named Homecoming King. I wish I’d been there for that. Jared is a rock star. So is his mom.
How about I keep the words shorter tonight, okay? These are photos from the statewide Special Olympics games, taken Saturday in Georgetown, Texas. The focus was on powerlifting, with a little bit of bowling tossed into the mix, but really, it was about the compassion these athletes show for each other, and their families and friends. One young man I’ve photographed almost every year since returning to Texas in 2009 is Georgetown’s Jared Friemel, pictured in a few of these photos. Every one of these competitors, however, are inspiring and exceptional. These were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.
After a very busy Thursday evening, continuing into early Friday morning, on Friday evening I didn’t travel too far for photos. Taylor’s Murphy Park, only a mile from home, fit the bill nicely. Included: A man I’ve seen often since moving to Taylor in 2009, a bike his only mode of transport, or so it seems. A dad with his kids as they enjoy a ride on a pleasant night. And having fun on the swing set. Add to these images a few birds around and above the rookery. At this time of year, activity there is minimal, but you can always count on a few cormorants and egrets. Come Spring things will pick up. It’s still a nice park, whatever the season.
On a cool and drizzly night (note the last two photos) I made it over to Georgetown Thursday for the dress rehearsal of “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” the newest mainstage production at the Georgetown Palace. While all Springer Memorial Stage productions are musicals, this one’s particularly lively, a country music review directed by Lannie Hilboldt. Like all Palace offerings, these musicals book up fast. It plays weekends through February 24th. These photos were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.
Although I didn’t grow up on a farm, many aspects of an agricultural life continue to intrigue my interest. Tangible examples of our country’s history can be found via the equipment used to till those fields. I’m thinking about tractors. Included here are some examples. The first eight photos are all John Deere Model B tractors, popular in the 1930s and early 40s for this Moline, Illinois-based company. Those eight are owned by a Bell County friend who plans to restore them once he retires. He’s a mechanic by trade so the task, while daunting, will come naturally for him. His are all John Deere models. The company was founded by John Deere in 1836, when he invented a plow that could till the hard midwest prairie soil with ease. The three images after those first eight were taken in Georgetown, at Miller’s Mechanical Mart, which recently closed after many years. Those accompanied a story in the Williamson County Sun. Among those three are two examples of Oliver tractors, a brand dating to 1853 as the Oliver Chilled Plow Works, founded by James Oliver. The Minnesota was part of a popular 20th Century company, Minnesota-Moline, based in Minneapolis. The last photo, a Farmall tractor engulfed in weedy growth, was made yesterday at the site of one of Bartlett’s now-closed cotton gins. Farmall was part of the International Harvester company. All this is probably too much information, but it’s an interesting subject to yours truly!
Only one image tonight, friends. I’m trying to slow the pace a little. But I did enjoy seeing this scene last evening on a county road east of Taylor, but not quite in Thrall. The evening sky was darkening, yet a bit of gold made its way into the picture. I thought it complemented the somewhat cool appearance of the barn and house. And the weather-worn windmill was okay, too.
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve seen this tree before, right? And not too long ago. But what the heck, it’s exceptional. Last evening, an errand took me to Bell County, Texas. There’s no way I was going to pass up an opportunity. Have a good evening, friends.