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Tag Archives: Rural America

Olney, TX

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.

About that arena. Who has the story?

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2021 in small towns, Texas

 

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Forestburg, TX

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.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2021 in small towns, Texas

 

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Jal, New Mexico

Photos above: 1) DC Car Wash on the corner of Main and Quay. 2) Plate steel cattle drive sculpture. (Images shot with 590 nm infrared converted Nikon)

According to Weatherunderground.com it is 54 degrees this evening in Jal NM. The temperature was about 64 degrees a couple weeks ago while I was driving through before lunch time. It’s the middle of November. Jal is one of those small towns that you could miss if you stay on the 18 going north or south and not look this way or that. The 205 and the 128 pass through but you have to stop at a stop sign at some point and you’ll know you are there. This is the Permian Basin, home to oil and gas production as seen by vast fields of oil derricks, oil storage tanks, flare pipes, and endless pump jacks. And the smell of rotten eggs

Between the creaking, humming, squeaking sounds of a pump jack and the wind, cows graze quietly in the open scrublands. The vast plains set against a blue sky is quite pleasing, really. It’s cowboy country in these parts and many ranches have invested well in both cattle and oil. I always liked this wide open peacefulness of it all.

I drove a few blocks into town and realized not much is given to the streets in Jal. Pot holes were abundant and I drove slowly to avoid the bumpiness of the ride. A middle aged Latino woman walked past with purpose carrying a cloth sack of who-knows-what. I waved at her but she did not look my way. At the end of the street on the corner across from a small church, two men were exchanging tools as one reached under the hood of his dark blue pick-up truck. I passed them and turned left. This neighborhood has not aged well.

I had not been to Jal much as a kid. We went to Eunice for play days at the arena. I’ll write about that later. My parents did not have reason to drive any further I guess and I don’t remember having any reason to be there. My dad may have driven through Jal with us in his red Ford truck once or twice on the way to Kermit or Odessa. As an adult, I’ve passed through numerous times but had not stopped to spend anytime here. Unfortunately, we are in the era of Covid-19 so when I crossed the state line I was greeted with an electronic sign that read, “All visitors must quarantine for 14 days”. I had planned only one day in Lea County.

Unfortunately corona virus hindered my plans for a visit with the librarian, an oil field worker, locals at the coffee shop. There was not much happening that morning. Many stores were closed. Allsups had the most activity, it seemed, with people pulling up to gas pumps, coming and going in and out of the store, grabbing a Coke or some snacks, a pack of cigs. I had planned on capturing some street photography to include humans and maybe a stray dog.

I saw no one downtown on Main except for a few driving their cars and one with a poodle hanging out the driver side window, tongue flapping in the wind as if it has won an all expense paid trip to the Bea Arthur Dog Park. Many of the vehicles in Jal were trucks and had Texas plates. Most work on both sides of the state line in a variety of jobs but mostly the oil fields. The largest building in Jal: The high school building. Maybe. It might be the nursing home. Then I drove past a huge metal garage housing equipment likely for that hole to be drilled west of town.

Main Street remained quiet. The wind picked up and I caught my cap in time. This did not change the smell of the petroleum, though. This car wash in the picture wasn’t open and I had not found one to wash my black beast. An empty plastic water bottle rolled and bounced across the pavement as I closed my car door. I turned up the volume and listened to David Bowie’s “Life On Mars”, turned around at the high school, said goodbye to morning and to Jal and headed north.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2020 in New Mexico

 

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Madill, Oklahoma

If you look at the image long enough you’ll discover what town this corner drug store is located. I’ve been there a dozen or so times passing through but have not stopped long enough to explore.

An advantage of the 2020 pandemic is or was fewer cars on the road because many people were and have been staying home. It was prevalent in the early weeks of the pandemic and one could take a drive during the week day or perhaps a Saturday afternoon and experience very little traffic. That is the case in this image. It was a hot afternoon in this Oklahoma town. Many of the stores and shops in Madill had closed for the day if they had opened at all. This intersection is busy almost always since it is the crossing of 1st and Main downtown. The town square is just a hop and a jump behind this picture taker.

Throughout this blog, and this is an old blog with many images taken from my car, I’ve shot images from the front seat. The pandemic now allows me a bit more freedom to move around and sometimes to quickly get out of the car in the street and shoot a picture with no one in sight.

This black and white image was shot with a 590 nm filter and post processes using PS and channel mixer. I then decided I preferred a more nostalgic look and changed it to monochrome.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Rusk, Texas

Geocaching will find you some pretty interesting spots.  A few weeks ago, while on my trek home from the Piney Woods, I found this historic foot bridge.  According to records it was built in 1861 and then again in 1889.  It’s been restored over the years and is believed to be the longest footbridge in America.  You’ll walk 546 feet to get to the other side.  It is tucked back in an area that connects the residential neighborhoods with the downtown area.  We were quite pleased with this find.

What makes the Rusk name significant?  It was Thomas Jefferson Rusk who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.  Other notable figures are associated with this town of 5500 + people.  Rusk is the county seat of Cherokee County.  The Cherokeean Herald is the town’s newspaper.   This is a little town along the route that I find each time some sort of interesting historical treasure to explore.

i-NWB4WPd-X2

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2018 in Texas

 

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