It was raining while I was driving through. At the time I took this picture, though, it had dried up some, but the sky was cloudy and cast a dull shadow across the town. I’ve been through Olney before and it’s one of those towns that, again, is off the beaten path.
It’s been more than ten years ago, but I think there is an “Olney, TX” post on this very blog with an image of an arena. That arena is gone. This is why it’s important to take pictures. When I first came on to town from the East side, I was looking for that arena and didn’t see it. Surely I had the right town. It’s been a long time. Get to church. So what if you don’t go to the Baptist church. There’s another down the street. God is Love. Open your Bible and pray. Perhaps due to Covid there is too high of risk or the church is restricting attendance. Ask if they have an online service.
I like taking pictures of churches. Most of the buildings I photograph are the Methodist churches. It doesn’t matter. I drive by any church and pray. I see the image sometime later and am reminded to pray for that congregation, that preacher, no matter who is there.
What brings me through Forestburg, for it is far off the beaten path, are my travels between Montague and Valley View. Sure, there is a faster way but this is far more interesting. I had never stopped to take pictures before and this was not much of a stop either because it was raining. The images were shot March 14, 2020 about the time the Corona virus wiggled its way into the state of Texas. The rain hindered our geocaching as well, but we captured a few shots as we passed through.
Unsure of the population there right now, it is under 200. Maybe it’s under 100. Who knows except for the citizens there. Although it was raining and some places closed due to Covid, there was activity in town, mostly trucks passing through. I’ve seen this “Forestburg Museum” before in years past and there were more items situated on the porch then. Maybe it was all brought in due to rain.
At the United Methodist Church on 455, the church windows are beautiful. All churches, in my opinion, should have stained glass windows. But they are expensive items and the care and welfare of the church’s members should always come first. But the windows. The windows. Stained glass windows (most of the time) are a picture from the Bible. Look at these above. I’d love to see them on the inside.
There isn’t much to do in Forestburg unless you farm but there are plenty of places to visit in nearby towns such as Valley View, St. Joe, Muenster, Gainesville. Hopefully, on the next trip, the museum will be open.
It’s where my hair dresser used to cut hair a decade and half ago. She worked in the salon down there on the end on the right side in the first picture. It’s the two story gray building. She was the only one in town, several towns who cut my hair just right and then she retired from clippin’ hair. I’ve always wondered where she ended up. Her name was Cindy. Once in a while (pre-covid), my son and I come down here to Pirate Island for a slice of pizza. The food is/was good but if going at meal time we often waited a while. And this is no significant review of the restaurant. In these small towns where everyone knows everyone else and you aren’t in that mix, you may have to wait quite a bit longer for the servers to chat with the customers who they all know before they get to your table. More than once. But I’ll go back, probably order by phone first if they are still open. This Covid-19 pandemic has changed up business. Next door to the pizza place is Manuelito’s Mexican Restaurant. Fabulous little place and gets busy especially on Sunday’s after church. They are my break from Hacienda, in Whitesboro, who also has a great menu and delicious meals, but when that’s the only place in town, you look for something slightly different and Manuelito’s does not disappoint.
When I shot this picture it was in March when we were all ordered to stay in there were few people roaming the streets. The 377 was busy but it’s the main drag through this town. One can only stay in before going mad and others need to be checked on who are more at risk of colliding with the disasters of this world. There is a cross street down at the end of these string of stores, Hughes. Situated on the south side of the street have been most always a junk/thrift shop or two, an antique store, and if I recall, a small eatery. Was it donuts or catfish? You can find both around these parts. It never fails to run into a friend while browsing through the second hand items in the junk stores. I don’t know why that is but there is always someone I know dropping off or picking up collections of housewares. The things people collect.
Now that I’ve written this, I must return and travel through town to take Collinsville’s blood pressure and learn how it has survived the 2020 pandemic. We pray that businesses have survived, grown, evolved to meet the needs of the community and their citizens. We wish that for everyone. And I’ll have to grab a slice of pizza and a Coke while passing through.
This artsy little hub of contemporary art is on your way to Big Bend National Park or on your way home from Big Bend National Park. There is also the enormous Big Bend State Park that you cannot ignore on your way to the big park. Marfa was brought to my attention by another photographer, an old friend from past moons, who discovered megapixels and glass. When you google someone’s name on the web, you’ll find them if they have a camera.
Marfa is out in the middle of nowhere. But nowhere is somewhere and that somewhere is the vast Trans Pecos area of far West Texas. Many of my readers familiar with Marfa are familiar with the Prada Marfa art instillation along highway 90 on the other side of Valentine. I didn’t go there this time. I wasn’t interested in driving that route because it was not on the way to Fort Davis, another amazing little town you’ll have to read about later. I stayed downtown for a few hours enjoying the warm afternoon sun, people watching, geocaching, and photographing the town.
I arrived shortly after the lunch hour and sat in my car for a few minutes in front of the Palace Theater gathering geocaching locations, loading and programing cameras and watching as people walked by. An art gallery on the corner behind me bustled with activity as visitors gathered at the entry. Laughter was heard and I hesitantly walked toward the gallery curious to go inside yet knowing this pandemic has a price tag. Instead, I stood in the middle of the street facing the gallery paying no mind to oncoming yet slow moving cars. I took a picture of the courthouse and waved at the male driver of an older model faded blue Chevy truck who slowed to allow me to cross as he turned left onto Highland Street. I photographed a young couple who were taking pictures of each other in front of the Marfa marker next to the Palace Theater downtown across the street from the Presidio County Courthouse
There is so much I didn’t photograph or see or taste. Call me over cautious, paranoid, some of you do and I know this by how you write on your FB accounts. I won’t walk in and out of restaurants, galleries, shops, casually with little care. But I’ll window shop, sip something I picked up curb-side, wave at others, give a thumbs up at their window front. And that I did for two hours. I would have rather sat inside of the soda fountain chatting with locals about what makes Marfa tick. Damn this pandemic!
I didn’t want to leave Marfa and if had the time, I would have booked a room at the The Hotel Paisano and stayed a night or two. What did I miss? Building 98
The Chinati Foundation
and much more.
I’ll be returning sooner than later. These are only a few pictures I shot. And I shot everything with the 580nm IR camera.
That is where you will find Boggy Creek. The creek, known for it’s “Fouke Monster”, winds East to West and sometimes North and South about a mile south of the town of about 800 people.
The movie “The Legend of Boggy Creek” was screened last month at the 2020 Fouke Monster Festival. Due to Covid-19, the event was held in Texarkana at the convention center and it required the state Governor’s blessing because of the number of people expected to attend. The handling of it was superb. Arkansas is pretty strict, or at least in the area we were, and it was well managed. I’d prefer we’d be in Fouke because, well, that’s the home of the Boggy Creek Monster. My first visit to the town of about 800 was with my man in 2006. His idea was to pass through, find some evidence of the Boggy Creek Monster, eat, and head south on the back roads of East TX. We didn’t see Big Foot at that time but noticed that the locals were pretty reserved about having visitors. We drove around and people suspiciously observed our slowing through town taking pictures of the usual: the water tower, general store, and of course the Big Foot cut out situated on the east side of the 71 in front of the Post Office. At that time, we enjoyed a burger at Allen’s Burger Center located right where it is today. We sat at the bar, browsed through a real estate publication. The waiter took our order but said nothing to us. But when others came in, everyone talked, laughed, joined in conversation. At that time my man and I figured we were not welcomed in this little town off the beaten path so we finished our sweet tea, left a tip and headed south.
In the year 2013, Fouke, AR was put on the map when Lyle Blackburn and his team came in for the first annual Boggy Creek Festival held at the local fairgrounds on Miller County 10 across the road from the school. It was a big event for Fouke. There were some vendors, some games for kids, good food and speakers including Lyle Backburn and Smokey Crabtree. It became somewhat of a Big Foot rally. For Fouke, it brought in more than they expected. The event has been held annually since that time. We loved it. I wrote a letter to the City of Fouke leaving a review and hope for another event. The city must have received a lot of positive feedback. My son was 4 years old when we attended as a family. This year there were the usual monster experts, cryptozoologists, and such, that presented their take on sightings, stories, and research.
Friday evening, we drove out to Boggy Creek, took a few shots and went back out again Saturday evening to shoot some drone shots. The skeeters were thick and the humidity heavy that first night. And with daylight waning, we figured we’d better pick up at least two geocache: one from Fouke and the other from Ida, Louisiana because that little town was only a few more miles south. Saturday night, we parked in the same spot and observed a couple of dogs down the road. The 7 is a rural road with little traffic at all so we parked off the road as we were able. An argument was heard in nearby field/yard as my man assembled his drone. Two dogs lay in the road across from that driveway. While James and I walked along the edge of the road and explored the creek at roadside, we could hear a male yelling loudly for a few minutes at someone. At first I thought it was his wife and that doesn’t ring well with me because women are not owned by men, nor should they answer to them when the one with the Y chromosome believes he is so almighty. Apparently someone didn’t mow the grass in two weeks and it was another male. Maybe it was the son. Who knows. By the time the arguing ended, I told James to get in the car. My man was programming his drone while the two dogs unfortunately made eye contact with me. That means only one thing: “let’s meet the new humans”. We both sat in the car while the dogs trotted toward us, tails wagging. One was a momma dog, black, medium sized. She kept her distance. I refused to make eye contact with her. The white, a large puppy, floppy ears, short hair, probably a hound mix, joyfully introduced himself to my man with his romping around, and jumping, and slobbering. By the way, while my man was talking to him, I figured it was okay to get out. Of course this dog jumps so you’ve got to meet him with your knee or he will have you on the ground. What a super sweet and non stop slobbering attention seeking pup. We couldn’t film with a dog so we had to pack up and leave. I moved my black car moved forward as I watched one of the men on his mower along the fence and the other mowing along the driveway on the property. May they have worked out the mowing situation. On our way back toward Fouke, the day was coming to a close and our tummies were hungry. There are two eateries in Fouke: Allen’s Burger Center and Sheryl’s Country Kitchen. We were too tired to order and eat in the car. We really wanted a quiet booth inside with bathroom, running water, a mirror. Neither of these offered that. Covid is not good for business but it won’t last forever. We enjoyed our weekend in Fouke, AR and will be going back for filming, photography, and maybe some searching.
Much of this blog is a collection of pictures I have taken across the rural Southwest. In addition, fragments of my quirky life are written with photos and stories of my cats, my kid, my horse, my thoughts, and plenty of lists.
I welcome your comments, ideas, suggestions, and admission of guilt. Thanks for stopping by.