Thursday, October 20, 2005

Abandoned But Not Forgotten

I used to live in Kentucky. I also owned a hot dog cart. Everyday I would pass this barn, located on US 41 between Hopkinsville, KY and Oak Grove, KY where my hot dog truck spot was. Kentucky is a beautiful state and this barn was just one of the things that made me fall more in love with the place.

I loved this barn. I saw it in the morning light and bathed in the glow of the setting sun. At any time, any angle, any weather, this barn was beautiful. There was something about it that I just loved. I called it mine, as in "Look, there's my barn!"

Now that I'm on the road all the time, I look at all things abandoned. I see houses, cars, silos, barns, apartment buildings, schools, even entire towns. I like to look at them and wonder what they were like in their day. Who lived there? What happened to the people? Why would someone let a car like that rust? Didn't they know someday it would be a classic? Why is that beautiful old home falling apart? If I lived here, I would fix it up.

The best places are the old back roads in the South. Those areas seem the most history filled to me. I imagine a woman hanging clothing on the line or a man working in the field. I wonder what the teacher was like in the tiny schoolhouse that is now covered in vines. Did anyone own a moonshine still behind that old house? You know, far back in the woods, over the rock wall and behind the twisted old tree.

I like coming across an old grocery store or gas station. The fuel pumps are rusty and have big flip numbers on them, weeds growing up around them. Old cars, farm equipment, school buses. Signs advertising all kinds of old time products; RC Cola, Moon Pies and Fanta.

It makes me want to explore. I've always been drawn to these places. My brother and I used to ride our bikes "around the mountain" to an old school house. We imagined Little House On The Prairie, right there in our neck of the woods. I still want to explore but now I want to capture the moment with my camera.

Most of the time, I miss a good picture because well, we're traveling at 60 miles an hour. Since we're in an 18-wheeler, I can't just turn to Eddie and say, "Pull over!". I mean, I have said that but he usually looks at me like I'm smokin' the pipe. Sometimes I try to do the best I can while moving.

I feel very lucky to be able to experience this country the way I do. I like being able to see a little piece of historic America. I like knowing what people are talking about when they say they are from Sweet Home, Louisiana or Tontitown, Arkansas or even Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Some people don't even know where Oklahoma is.

I've suddenly become interested in history, the subject I would eschew in high school. Now, with the internet at my very fingertips, I can look up something the moment I see it. I can explore the country with my eyes, my mind and my body.

These places may be abandoned, but they will not be forgotten.


Mise en Place said...

Hm, I do the same thing here. I see an old abandoned barn and imagine. There at the building site a crew of men, working in the sun. All of them in overalls and straw hats, working the wood with hand tools to the exact size. Boys running through the fields with their dogs, and chancing their sisters. Women keeping them all supplied with sweet tea and talking about the preachers sermon last Sunday. Every single one of these structures has a story. I just wonder, like you, what it is.

The barn on our property is thought to be near 100 years old. That is what I think everytime is see it.

Great post!

Twisted Cinderella said...

I love old places as well. I am struck them and their history.

Anocsanamun said...

You are sooo lucky. Only very rich people get to experience what you do, and they don't even do it the right way. You soak up the history, inhale the past. That is such a blessing to be able to do.

Anonymous said...

Some of my best pictures were taken from the window of an 18-wheeler going 65 mph.
So don't give up.

Anonymous said...

I am not anonymous!! just forgot to sign my namw.