SMILEY & CUERO: Smiley--you're looking at it. Next
is downtown Cuero and the Tillman's Antique Center
with Nigel the Land Rover posing for yet another road pic.
FOWL, FIRES & CUERO
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
Smiley was simply "on the way" to Victoria, as was Cuero.
Truth is Ms. Intrepid and I were both thinking we'd been through Cuero before but
we're old enough to consider memory lapses
as natural as breathing.
Smiley was the first community south of Nixon but you'd
better look quick driving through. There's not much to the place. But the
town, settled by a sheepherder back in the1870s, is the "Unofficial Poultry Capital
of the World". Just up the road is Cuero, home of the Turkey Trot.
Georgia has already laid claim to the official motto so maybe Smiley could be the
"Poultry Capital of Texas." Why not? Mabye they should throw in with
the turkey folks in Cuero and hold a Fowl Festival. And every night during the event they
could have a Fowl Ball, then... Okay, maybe not.
Smiley was incorporated in 1911 only to be destroyed
by fire the same year . Further south is the small community of Westhoff which like so
many other communities in Texas fell victim to the boll weevils. The town's name was
changed from Bello to Westhoff in 1909 and in 1913 a fire took out thirteen businesses and
the town never really recovered.
down the road is Cuero. Incorporated in 1875 the community fell victim to a
catastrophic fire in 1879. Now I know a courthouse fire is something of an early
Texas artifact, but generally the rest of the town is spared. Not so in this neck of
the woods. Seems fires are something of a tradition in these parts.
Entering Cuero, famous for its annual Turkey Trot/Turkey Fest,
we drove right up to Tillman's Antique City with its crowded sidewalk of elephant,
dolphin, mermaid and cherub sculptures. Not exactly Texan as such things go, but
this yard art is bound to impress your neighbors.
Cruising around town we passed the St. Mark's
Lutheran Church (above) and the law offices of Wiley L. Cheatham (pic
here) and ventured onto the square to record the obligatory courthouse wallpaper.
The downtown streets are wide with plenty of room to
step back for a nice panorama of a few historic buildings.
That done, I was drawn to a red building with
metallic awnings hovering over a wooden sidewalk bench.
Sidewalk seating is a favorite subject of mine and it
was only after reviewing the photo back in the studio that I noticed the white Styrofoam
cup someone left behind. Generally I remove litter from my pictures, but not
here. To take extraordinary liberties with the William Carlos Williams poem "The Red Wheelbarrow",
so much depends upon a single white cup and a silver awning beside the black door.
PAGE 1: NIXON / PAGE 2: CUERO
PAGE 3: VICTORIA / PAGE
4: GOLIAD / THE MAP
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