Meanwhile ... In America

When roaming around the countryside, I don't always focus on the Natural/Abstracts. Many times the Rusty/Abstracts are much more appealing. Their purpose in the landscape are oftentimes bewildering. They have just been left behind. Who left them and why is a little bit of an obsession of mine, one that will never be satisfied because the answer will never be known.

Old abandoned cars represent a nostalgia for a time in which I never lived and probably only exists in my imagination. They represent, at least for me, a simpler quieter time in small-town America where people were honest and hard-working; where people cared for and about their neighbors; where people took responsibility for their actions no matter what the inconvenience may be.

I found these old cars in a forgotten corner somewhere between Lubbock and Odessa but not close to either one. The lighting was bad. Isolating my photographic subject was impossible. When I got home and upon uploading that day's work to the old laptop, it didn't seem like there was a keeper in the entire bunch. But while looking at what I had shot that day, an old song "One Time, One Night in America" crept into my head and hasn't left yet. So with a little magic with watercolors and photoshop, I salvaged the ones I thought best represented my Meanwhile ... in America.


Home on Sunday
Home on Sunday

The old blue Chevy appears to still be puttering along in the midst of other travelers. I titled the photograph "Home on Sunday" because even to this day Sunday for me is a day spent with the family. So no matter what kind of hectic-ness this old blue Chevy suffered through the week, it made it home on Sunday to relax with the family.


The Sentimental Journey
The Sentimental Journey

A "Sentimental Journey" is from the perspective of the driver behind this enormous steering wheel. Watching old TV, it seems like every summer the family took a vacation to some American destination such as Mount Rushmore or the Grand Canyon. Although there were others, I remember my family's summer vacation to the Grand Canyon when I was maybe 7 years old. I remember stopping for a picnic at a creek alongside the road. This is where our trip was delayed after Lynn picked some cactus blossoms for Mama. It was a painful lesson for him to learn that while cactus blossoms were very pretty and colorful they did not make good bouquets. I remember standing at the edge of the Petrified Forest with my mother and looking over the vastness of it all. I remember the trading posts we stopped at to get touristy souvenirs.

After Lynn's sudden death in 2008, these memories have become bittersweet and wishing that life would have remained as a simple as that family vacation taken what now seems like much too long ago.


Long Ago and Far Away
Long Ago and Far Away
I first called this old red truck a Ford; but thanks to Facebook friends, I know it is a Jeep pickup from the 1950s. I call this "Long Ago and Far Away." To be honest, the title was not well thought out. It came from a CD of World War II music that happened to be handy while I was making its label for a recent exhibit. But it is an appropriate name for this photograph. This old truck reminds me of the ones I've seen in my mother's old family photographs from the farm. Their livelihoods depended upon such a pickup to such an extent they included the old truck in their family portraits. Whenever a holiday came around and family gathered together, they posed around the pickup as a group. The grown-ups would have their pictures, and then the kids, and then grandkids. Trucks and tractors were so important to the family that my grandparents posed their first 25 grandchildren upon a tractor and hung that portrait in their home for the rest of their lives. I being #26 was not included in the photo but learned the names for far-away cousins from this picture. My grandparents would name off each grandchild and then tell me about the tractor.



While I say that the time these images represent to me may not ever truly existed anywhere except in my imagination, we each make our own time what we will. So this world does exist to me. However, I still am not taking the Christmas family portrait in front of the SUV.