Sunday morning at the river and things were mostly pretty calm – a few people fishing, a few more sitting in chairs watching the water go by, a woman doing about a thousand push-ups in the shade of the bridge, a wandering photographer do her thing.
When I was a kid and we’d go visit my grandparents (who lived about another hour down the road), we’d sometimes stop and have a picnic beside the river. That was in the Old Days, before the park was really developed the way it is now, but it stuck with me as a Thing One Did. San Angelo has really done an exceptional job with this park, and as with the lilies, if I lived here, I’d visit often.
Also, this is a cool thing – every year the American Planning Association names the Great Places in America as part of their effort to “recognize the neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces that make communities stronger and bring people together through good planning.” One of their selections in 2017 was the Concho River Walk. Somehow, even though I am (literally) a dues-paying member of the APA, I was unaware of this recognition until right now. And I feel sort of bad that my photo features that machinery making clouds of dust on the other side of the water.
San Angelo, Texas
My granddaughter, the fabulous Miss Hannah Harvey, turns 13 years old today. Yay!
A few weeks ago, she and I took ourselves on a Big Adventure, which included a stop at a coffee shop; a drive to Abernathy, Texas, to make some photos*; and a picnic lunch of fried rice. It was an excellent day. Among the many interesting things we spotted in Abernathy was this row of theater seats on a sidewalk. Hannah spotted the 13 right away, of course. (And don’t tell her, but part of her birthday present is a print of this photo.)
*Yes! She’s a photographer and even has a “real” camera, a starter-level Nikon.
I keep a list* of mundane things that fascinate me – like garbage cans, car washes, laundromats, parking garages. And barber shops.
After my dad became too frail to drive, one of my tasks was to take him to the barber shop, a two-chair operation where one of the barbers was even older than my dad; they were both as deaf as a stump but they seemed content as they carried on parallel yet unrelated conversations, like this actual one I overheard:
Barber: It’s cool today.
My dad: Yes, I’m feeling a little better.
The haircut was eight bucks. My dad paid with a twenty, and the barber gave him a ten and two ones as change. My dad handed him the ones as a tip; the barber took both ones and handed one of them back. It was a complicated financial transaction and took very nearly as long as the haircut had.
Usually, though, the younger barber cut my dad’s hair and his kindnesses toward my dad – holding the door, helping him in and out of chair, walking him out to the car – always made me emotional. As the days in assisted living moved on, eventually going to the barber was the single thing left from my dad’s old life. And then one day, I took him for a haircut and the place was dark; the door was locked and the phone was out of service. I felt so bad for my dad: just like that, with no warning, that single thing from before was gone. And we didn’t know what had happened.
I did find out a few months later, through one of those coincidences that happen in a town like Lubbock. Over lunch with a work friend, I happened to mention that later that day I was taking my dad to get a haircut but we were having to go to a new barbershop, and I told her the story of the vanishing barber. She said, “Edward? Oh, he died!” He was in a relationship with one of her employees and he’d died suddenly, after a Thanksgiving lunch. I never told my dad – I couldn’t bring myself to tell him any more bad news than what I already had to deliver on a regular basis.
And then when he passed away, my friend from work and the barber’s girlfriend both came to the funeral.
Of course none of this has anything at all to do with today’s photo. But it was on my mind…
*An actual list, on the door in my studio. In case I forget.