ile on top of that, if you are interested in writing about the experience
don't hang out with friends the night before and do your fair share of drinking and
talking. Your brain will likely be in idiot
gear the next day. I did all that and and more.
Well, I suppose if John Mulhollan and I had gone to
one of your larger communities where folks might be hanging out things could have been
different. But no. I decided we ought to visit some practically
disappeared communities like Cherokee, Pontotoc, Fredonia, Brady, Katemcy, Art and
Castell. Okay, I know, Brady is alive and
well -- except on Sundays.
locations fit our brain activity which was pretty much as empty as the towns proved to be. So now I'm faced with the daunting responsibility
of reporting, while mentally impaired, about nothing.
That's not to say you ought not go to these places. Most of them will be pretty much the same any day
of the week, but they're worth a look-see. If
you like old, wore out, broke down, past their prime, practically abandoned towns you'll
fall in love. I did. 'Course I wouldn't live in any of them, except
maybe Cherokee which was our first stop.
Founded in 1878 Cherokee was a prosperous community
by the 1890s complete with a hotel, several churches and businesses not to mention (which
I will) the Cherokee Academy (1894) which later became West Texas Normal and Business
College (1896) then Cherokee Junior College (1911) and finally Cherokee High School (1921)
until it burned down in 1945.
Evidently, back then the folks in Cherokee didn't
mind change. Take the post office. The Cherokee post office moved five times between
1859 and 1879. (When a post office moves does it need to file a forwarding
address?). 'Course nothing much changes in the town these days except the weather.
Straight away I let Nigel the Land Rover graze in a
parking lot while I hopped out to take a picture of their local church. Everyone was already somewhere else so there
wasn't a congregation automobiles to interfere with the picture taking.
The way I see it,
banker's hours can't hold a candle to preacher's hours, but then again both pretty much
interfere with happy hours so I'll stick to my current profession -- the wages are low and
I'll never be citizen of the year or such as that, but I can't complain (much). Anyway I'm holding out for the day when the
Pulitzer committee decides to give out the Pulitzer Prize for Illiterature. I'm sure to be recognized.
Cherokee is all antique stores. Or, honing the description to a finer edge,
stores that are antiques. Most are empty and
slowly working their way back into the earth so you better hurry. John and I walked along the west side of town
where some of the buildings are still standing and poked around. If you like the look of the old west you'll take
to Cherokee. If you don't have your camera
you'll wished you had.
Finally we meandered across the street and there it
"Look," John said, "a pile of
Sure enough, piled up
against the side of a store (CLOSED) was about a hundred wooden feet. They were as well crafted as those high dollar
wooden ducks folks perch on their mantle piece. Some
folks call these things shoe trees, but for the life of me I'll never figure how someone
came up with that description. Where are the
roots? Where are the branches? Where are the aspirin?
It was all I could do not to help myself.
But, even if the place had been open I wouldn't have been able to decide
whether to buy one or two. And if two, which
two. A matching pair? Two left feet?
(Speaking of which, why is it that fellers, like myself, are accused of
dancing with two left feet. I mean, does
another klutz with two right feet do any better? Or is it just that the folks "on the
left" get blamed for everything that goes wrong on the dance floor?
We surmised it was going to be pretty hard to find
anything in Cherokee that would outdo the pile of feet so I pointed Nigel the Land Rover
PAGE 1: CHEROKEE
/ PAGE 2: PONTOTOC & FREDONIA
PAGE 3: BRADY & BEYOND / PAGE 4: ART & CASTELL
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