8/9/2014 – Not JR’s “Dallas”

August 30, 2014

 

Head into Dallas. (Must admit, since November 1963, cannot [WILL not?] suppress a certain “negativity” towards Dallas. Recognize it as irrational: an act by one man should not be an indictment of an entire population, but, as a close friend often points out, we humans are “wired funny”)

Arrive at Dealey Plaza and what was once Texas Book Repository. Am surprised to see a number of “ex offico” guides, and so many young people and foreigners, at an alien site in terms of THEIR time or geography, photographing themselves. (The ultimate, being those who step off the curb, into a multi-lane street to be filmed standing on an “X” painted on its pavement, signifying JFK’s position when hit by Oswald’s shot). Somehow, this “carrion call of Dead Kennedys” urges me away completely from this milieu.

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Dallas/TX – JFK Memorial

 

 

Fortunately, close by a charming old red Courthouse relic, a simple, unadorned memorial climbs high: its (intentional? accidental?) irony being that it projects a sense of “protection” so at odds with our actual heartbreak over a president’s assassination.

 

 

 

 

 

Dallas/TX - Fountain Place

Dallas/TX – Fountain Place

 

 

Wander through artsy “West End”, and, as weekend traffic is nearly non-existent, traipse along a path of new skyscrapers. Commercial “Fountain Place” is an exquisite building,with a cool, charming pool at atrium level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still on “shank’s mare”, notice a gorgeous, white, harp-like bridge which attracts me, so, erroneously, wander off into what becomes urban boonies: an old, deserted, multi-level parking structure beside a now abandoned, gigantic football stadium. (It is, indeed, a strange feeling to be completely alone, in acres of cracked concrete, numbered parking lot slots, diminished by sheer scale of surrounding ruins, while, within sight, traffic pulses through a major metropolis. “Scary” is too strong a word; but “vulnerable” and “anxious” are close to the mark).

Dallas/TX - Reunion Tower

Dallas/TX – Reunion Tower

 

Decide to go “cross-country”, and pause, enjoying air-conditioned refreshment, at an obscure loading dock at Reunion Tower’s base.

See “green fields” and assume “civilization” must be “just over the hill” only to find myself on a shoulder of heavily-trafficked Interstate highway. By this time, hot, tired, dehydrated, decide to “run across” highway toward a visible off-ramp.

Fortunately, Gods watch over drunks and children (even those, like me, obviously in a “second childhood” of invincibility), highway traffic lessens, and, except for a single, surprised driver entering from a ramp unnoticed, am able to raise my blood pressure several hundred points and safely cross eight lanes of roadway. (As a reward, stumble into a nearby McDonalds, and slurp down two quick, caffeine-laced, chilled colas).

 

Dallas/TX - "Brigadon" Bridge

Dallas/TX – “Brigadon” Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luck, being better than wisdom, notice, upon exiting, my now-suspected “Brigadoon” bridge is barely a quarter of a mile away, substantively visible from a now-closed off bridge easily traversed. A youngish man walks by: the only other person enjoying this panoramic view of bridge and downtown Dallas skyscrapers, but am still too tired to buttonhole him and “confess my sins”.

Dallas/TX - Skyline (from "Brigadoon" Bridge)

Dallas/TX – Skyline (from “Brigadoon” Bridge)

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8/8/2014 – (Ft) Worth A Visit

August 30, 2014

Head over to Ft Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum to check out their permanent collection. An interesting set of dual modernist buildings, separated by a sunny courtyard, Kimbell seems to expect a lot more art: uncrowded rooms are huge, with plenty of space between art work. (And, again, a website: kimbellart.org ).

Ft Worth/TX - Kimbell Art Center - Entrance & "Woman Speaking in Public" sculpture

Ft Worth/TX – Kimbell Art Center – Entrance & “Woman Speaking in Public” sculpture

 

Upon leaving, curiosity attracts me to a noticeable complex which turns out to be a Will Rogers Memorial Center which makes me wish my planning had included much more time.

Ft Worth/TX - Will Rogers Memorial Center

Ft Worth/TX – Will Rogers Memorial Center


8/7/2014 – “Cattle” Drive?

August 30, 2014

Drive up I-35, with a quick stop in Waco: Baylor & Brazos River. (Not exactly my remembrance from those Saturday afternoon Westerns at Chicago’s Liberty Theater).

(Hard not to wonder how cowboys [and, maybe, cattle] might feel to see an area once spread wide with “cattle goin’ ta market” might react to miles and miles of strip malls, gas stations, fast food joints [well, we can certainly guess cattle’s reaction], and motels.)

Arrive in Ft Worth in time to watch a big “do” get set up in Amos Carter Western Museum.

Museum itself is quite lovely: personal selection of Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington paintings, sculpture and drawings worth seeing, plus expansion to include additional American and Western art. (If you’re curious, check out their website: cartermuseum.org )


8/6/2014 – The Art of Traveling

August 30, 2014

 

When all else fails, time to check out local art museums.

Regional museums are an interesting mix. Often, their collections begin when someone who builds a private art treasure donates it; a museum is built to house it; funds are created to maintain this museum; other contributions or purchases are made; and, slowly, a respectable “art space” is created.

Thus, drive down to Austin’s U of TX to check out Blanton Art Museum.

They have a wonderful, if modest, collection of European/American/Western Art in a gorgeous building. (They also have a cute, temporary, “Cats and Dogs” exhibit, but it seems all works of art are set too high on the walls for pets to fully appreciate.)

 

Luis Jimenez has become a personal favorite, as he uses themes from his personal role as a “second-class” Hispanic American living in the Southwest… more with resignation, than bitterness.

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Austin/TX – U of Tx – Blanton Art Museum – “Progress II” (Luis Jimenez)


8/5/2014 – Beer Solutions

August 13, 2014

 

 

Cousin Vince and I drink beer and solve world problems.

Cousin Vince and I drink MORE beer and solve MORE off the world’s problems.

Cousin Vince and I drink ALL the beer and solve ALL the world’s problems.

 

Given sufficient quantities of beer, wouldn’t we be more efficient than the UN and State Department?


8/4/2014 – Austin, or Bust!

August 13, 2014

 

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Ft Stockton/TX – Ft Stockton SHS – “no kiddin'” guardhouse

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Ft Stockton/TX – Ft Stockton SHS – Officers live better

 

Head out early to Old Fort Stockton. Woman at Visitor Center offers a somewhat biased vision of “Buffalo Soldiers” being sent to TX as a penalty for Texas’ Confederate status during the Civil War. Wander grounds: a restored guardhouse; barracks being rehabbed for ADA compliance, a barking dachshund protecting a row of Officer Quarters.

 

 

 

 

Am reminded of those glorious days, when, at taxpayer expense, was allowed to protect my country from “Godless Communism” (Commies, at the time, were Russkies who allowed women to put their children in “child care centers” and go off to work at paying jobs). Ft Sill/OK had some of the same, “baking-out-in-the-sun” qualities.

 

Drive I-10 once more, pausing in tiny, silent Ozona: no pedestrians, few cars.

A large monument to Davy Crockett (? Well, he WAS at the Alamo), a gorgeous courthouse, an empty, out-of-business bank (Bonnie & Clyde?); an old, abandoned Hotel Ozona (well, sparrows seem to like the rates & accommodate themselves abundantly); another otel, now turned into a welcoming mortuary; and a plaque suggesting Ozona’s first water well was discovered where now stands First Baptist Church.

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Ozona/TX – Davy Crockett Memorial

 

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Ozona/TX: old hotel converted to mortuary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue through Fredericksburg into Austin, and, amid heavy traffic, manage to find home of cousin Vince and wife, June.


8/3/2014 – Beyond the Blues Horizon

August 13, 2014

Drive I-10 again… and again… and, again. (Feel a bit like “Charlie on the MTA”). Seem to remember: you can drive across Texas for a long time… and still be in Texas.

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McNary/TX – abandoned gas station

 

Pause briefly in McNary, as ruins of a couple of businesses attest to Interstate’s ability to destroy social fabric: no doubt, these once thrived with local and long-distance visitors… now, they are but husks listening to I-10’s susurrus.

 

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Sierra Blanca/TX – Railroad Museum

 

Pull off into Sierra Blanca to check out its historic railroad museum, but have arrived a couple days late… open only on Wednesday (figure THAT one out). A charming, simple church (something one would expect in a “Magnificent Seven” film) stands stark against a cloud-filled, blue sky.

 

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Sierra Blanca/TX – neighborhood church

 

There is a curious feeling, noticed elsewhere and often, that no one ventures out on foot. Occasionally, dusty pick-up trucks casually float through “Stop” signs, but other indications of townspeople remain sparse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pause briefly in Van Horn to see if “Historic Hotel El Capitan” meets its billboard promise, but, must admit, have seen better.

 

Settle in Ft Stockton, but realize, “have miles to go” before fulfilling my “promises to keep”