Sunday, December 28, 2008
One does not expect a photographer or writer to describe his work as “nothing spectacular.” This week the description is probably appropriate.
My weekly epistle is not a part of my income stream, so I try to have as much fun as possible pursuing subjects. Normally, I will strike out before noon on Sunday and head in the direction of the day to see what I can find for the current article. I’m rolling the dice, so to speak, which throws a bit of a challenge into the routine. Most of the time, I get lucky and find something I believe will stimulate, here and there, a few galvanic responses in some unsuspecting array of interested neurons. Not sure I made it this week.
This old store stands in Oil Trough, Arkansas, a nice clean little town. I first wondered about the Christmas lights dangling from the rickety porch, thinking, Why put lights on an apparently abandoned store? Then I noticed the absence of an electric meter, a condition not appearing to be a recent development. One presumes that the last occupants decorated for Christmas some long time ago, then parted company with the premises while neglecting to fetch their lights.
The building shows evidence of a typical Southern structural practice. The left part of the building was an add-on. Look below the left porch column and you can see a separate foundation block for the left part of the building. In many old stores, such an addition often accommodated feed and hay, usually evidenced by a slightly larger door to that department. The door is not wider, so who knows.
A sign on the back of the building says “antiques.” Perhaps the buying and selling old things was the last official function of the building.
Even though this old store has long since ceased being a commercial venture, Oil Trough is not without a store — or, for that matter, a decent looking sandwich shop. Since it was Sunday, I can’t vouch for the quality of either venture, stores in these parts being closed on Sundays, but from all outward appearances, the establishments appeared to be alive, well, and serving their customers.
That, in itself, says a lot about a small town. It indicates a sense of loyalty and perhaps more than a modicum of local pride, along with the presence of some savvy local business people who know how to take care of their constituents. I suppose a management professor would call that a system.
Would that some larger areas take on the same mantle.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.