Monday 30 May 2005
Webster Springs, WV
A little serendipity goes a long way. I've often visited Webster Springs over the years, a county seat that wears with pride the calluses and textures bestowed by the rugged mountain life. It's a good town for a quiet photowalk with the added opportunity for me to renew old acquaintances, if they still survive.
I photograph a larger-than-life lumberjack in front of the county court house, a red fire hydrant on some yellow steps, a street scene, a doorway leading upstairs to a yard sale, a fancy red rose bush by a porch downtown, then pause with delight in front of Son of Doc's Barbershop. Pause with reverie is a better account. This door is one of my all time favorites, and it warms me that all's well and Doc's is still lookin' good.
Swinging the viewfinder left I focus on a poster in the window. There's a kindly looking man in the picture standing atop a huge pile of wood chunks smiling broadly, dressed in blue work jeans and red flannel shirt, hoisting high overhead a Stihl chain saw in triumphant jubilation. The caption reads: "Winner and Stihl Champion. Arden Cogar, Webster Springs, WV. Winner of 43 National and World Lumberjack Championships."
"How are you doing…," words from a distance barely able to penetrate my fog. "How are you doing…," again as I begin to realize that someone is calling. He's lugging and pushing boxes around a coupla doors away, raising clouds of dust with good old fashioned West Virginia perspiration.
It's Ben Randolph who wonders, right away, if I only photograph barber shops. Ben just purchased an old 4-story hotel, doesn't yet know what he will do with it, but is investing gobs of sweat equity to spruce up the place for the possibilities ahead. That's a great statement about the spirit of Webster Springs and the directions for the county as more visit or move here, ahead of the monoculture tsunami, to enjoy the rugged mountain life.
Ben tells me about the 47th National Woodchoppers Festival this past weekend and how it's growing bigger and better and more successful each Memorial weekend. His enthusiasm is understandable because of his association with the Webster County Economic Development Authority. Honest promotion and good hard work bode well for Webster Springs in the years ahead. For me, I'm determined to return for my first Woodchoppers Festival. For the rest of you, Click Here for the application forms to compete in the events. There's the Hot Saw, Single Buck, Springboard, Standing and Underhand Championships, plus the Axe Throw. You should plan to bring your own axe, however.
Title: © Woodchopper. r1391-12
Series: None of the Above
Location: Webster Springs WV
Date: Monday 30 May 2005