There seems to have been a common desire, when stores and service stations closed for business, to leave the gas pumps standing. As a reminder of place and times. As a reminder the clerk did not need to question my statement of gallons and cost.
What’s it like to explore villages and towns, street by alley in pursuit, peering up and around corners, looking for the perfect window? I’ve taken more pictures of windows and doors, over the years, than any other subject. By far. And cannot explain why I’ve posted so few. Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz on History Channel’sAmerican Pickers express the same fascination with each Sinclair sign and gum ball machine they rescue. The hunt, the find, the rush.
Day 20, homeward bound. Riding the Blue Ridge Parkway from Benge Gap in Ashe County, south 155 miles to State Road 215 in Haywood County. Ten blissful wildflower hours. Twelve devotional stops for opportunities like this. Over dosing with infatuation. 12:30 pm. Three Knob overlook near Crabtree Meadows, milepost 339. While flat on my back, conducting myself like any prototypically aggressive advanced amateur photographer would under the circumstances, camera aiming skyward up the rock face, isolating a goatsbeard floating on the draft, a curious question echoed about, “What kind of flower is this?” Craning my surprised neck from ground level, scanning, locating and focusing, “Water parsnip,” I echoed like a sonar blip. He patted me on the back for that one, satisfied and a bit avuncular. Such was my upturned introduction to Harry Ellis, resident of Bakersville in Mitchell County. Wildflower photographer for 40-years. Extensively published in outdoor photography magazines. He had a trunk full of exhibits, too. Covers, articles, essays. Beautiful eye-popping work. I felt small and inadequate. He even showed me a shot of trout lilies growing on a tree branch. Remarkable, trout lilies don’t grow in trees!! I turned off my camera and replaced the lens cap.
Looking back on that day, I wish Harry Ellis could see this shot.
“Mmmmmm,” my palate trembles. Chocolate fudge oozes from the spoon. At Dee’s Drive-In overlooking the Tug Fork Big Sandy River here in Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky. Only a silver dollar’s throw across the River from Fort Gay, Wayne County, West Virginia. I’m so glad to be on the road, pleased to be right here, and delighted to have been a Fire Truck Salesman, if only for 15 minutes. That’s Andy Warhol type fame. It was this morning. A micro story of mistaken identity climaxed with a three mile truck chase. Beginning (Act 1) at the Turkey Creek water wagon. Finishing (Act 2) at Jarrell Community Church. Local cast: an on-stage volunteer fireman who, like many, chuckled at the idea that someone on vacation would with forethought leave home and drive to Turkey Creek, Kentucky, to take a picture of their fire truck; and, an off-stage supervisor who knew exactly what the dude with camera was hustling. Several minutes down the road, that dark thought brought pickup tires sliding to a stop beside me. For me, here was about the nice church yard. For him, here was a message delivered, “He say’s to tell you the truck is not for sale.”… There was a pregnant pause. He chuckled again, and casually began to tell me about the church. It was his after all.