Wednesday, August 29, 2018

And the world moves on

I’m not really sure what’s going on over there next to the Verizon store on South Jefferson. I drove by the other day and there’s just a slab of concrete where there used to be something, but for the life of me I can’t remember what.

The Verizon store used to be a gas station; gas used to come in more than just one flavor; the drive-in is now a trailer manufacturer; drive-thrus are a dime a dozen; and a dime will never again buy you a cup of coffee.

That’s life. Eso es vida. C’est la vie.

The Martin theater is now a church; the old First Baptist Church building is now the place to go for revivals on financial management; the library used to be in the old post office; and let’s not talk about the courthouse – a once handsome old building covered up by years of “let’s get with the times” until it became what it is today, which isn’t all that bad depending on your point of view.

I walked around the courthouse a while back, sat on a bench, drank a tall latte and thought to myself, “This life could be a whole lot worse.”

There used to be a train depot just off the square. Now there’s just an empty plot of dirt and sand that doesn’t know what to do with itself. Last Friday I stood in the middle of what once was the depot’s loading platform, trying to hear the voices of the men who waited for the Cotton Belt steam engine to take them to World War II, but I was 70 years too late. The train and men had long left the station.

Turning south you can still see the old smoke stack for Borden’s. Men and boys would collect milk from local dairy farms and bring it back to the factory to be pasteurized. Milkmen would deliver cold bottles of truly fresh milk right to your doorstep, and nobody was lactose intolerant. Today I put Almond milk in my morning coffee. It’s just not the same.

The ghost of Bull Durham continues to look down on the square, but Rogers Hardware Store is now a pizza parlor; a parking lot displaced The Stephens Hotel years ago; The Texan movie theater stands empty, looking for a lessor; and if I told you where the old Titus County Jail once stood, you would never again believe a word I say.

Thing is, things change. Things come and go. New things replace old things. Old thingamajigs get replaced by new doohickeys. Groovy ain’t cool anymore, and bad got replaced with da bomb long before being dope was litty.

The world moves on, and that’s a good thing.

Bess Caldwell owned a beautiful house that was across the street from Harold Richardson Grocery and Feed Store to the north, and Butternut Bakery to the west. When she died, she willed the property to the city, stipulating that it be turned into a downtown park. Today, Caldwell Park sports a splash pad, a gazebo and is a great place to walk your dog, or visit the Farmer’s Market when it’s in season.

I doubt the change would have bothered dear old Bess one iota.

Dawg Fest Rally

We had a charity car and motorcycle rally this past weekend. This is one of the photos I took.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Another school year begins...

... but without me!

I've been a newspaper reporter / photographer / columnist going on four months now -- and it suits me fine.

I've got more deadlines to meet than ever before, but I can go pee whenever I want to.

I haven't had a single day that was just like any other. And if I want to have a beer for lunch, I order a beer.

Screaming kids? Haven't heard a single one.

Papers to grade? Nada.

Cafeteria or hallway duty? Are you kidding me?

Sure, not everything is rosy. But that's life. C'est la vie.

The other morning I went out to the football field to take photos of the marching band participating in their annual summer band camp. I got kind of hot and sweaty. So....

I headed to the gym and went for a swim.

And today, I took my daughter to lunch. Afterward, she bought us snow cones for desert.

Life is good.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

It's just your point of view

I didn't mow the yard last Saturday. I didn't even think about it. Trim the hedges, water the fescue? They weren't on my list to do. And I didn’t watch “the game” either. I don't know which game I didn't watch, but I'm sure it was a doozy on someone's television, just not on mine. It wasn't even on in the back of my mind.

Iwent to Dallas with my wife; everything else I declined.

I could have gone to the hardware store just to piddle around, I guess. Pick up this or that; lug it home, find out that it's two inches too small, and return it. But I didn't. I would have though, because it's a shame to waste money, even if it costs just a dime or two. But all my pennies were in their proper places.

We took a tour bus with friends all wearing smiles on their faces.

I was the only guy on board, if you don't count Terry the bus driver and Dan who was in charge of the trip. Me and lots of women dressed to the nines, but do you think I cared? Not one little bit of Saturday chores undone could ruin my day. Grocery shopping? I'll take care of that tomorrow. Wash and wax the car? I'll take care of that next week.

We were all eager to see "Love Never Dies," a summer musical sung in English.

"Well, it's Greek to me," I hear you say under your ball cap while you're sweating in the front yard, pulling weeds in the summer sun. "And it's probably all about 'Love' and only a bit about 'Dying,' and I'd much rather step on a nail than go, or spend a night in jail. You know?"

"And it's got that opera singing I just can't stand," someone pipes up to be heard over the cacophony of the third beer commercial in a row. "And if you can't understand a word they're singing, what's the point of going in the first place? Hey, the game's back on. Move your face."

I see your point. Yes I do. But isn't it necessary to sometimes alter your view?

You go watch a musical. She joins you at a monster truck rally. Together you agree: avant-garde belly dancing just ain't your cup of tea. Maybe you take up knitting. Maybe she volunteers to skin a squirrel. It's possible, you have to allow. Don't roll your eyes like that. I ain't talking highbrow. There's nothing wrong with baseball, crocheting, soccer, fine art or ballet; reading a book or listening to Mozart. Watching "Sons of Anarchy" or "Places in the Heart."

So yes, you could change your oil today, fix a faucet or chop up some wood. But instead, why not just change your perspective. Who knows? It might do you some good.