wasn't because I didn't want to. Life just gets in the way sometimes. It's Easter. I haven't done my taxes yet. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts!* (with apologies to the Blues Brothers)
Ehhh...honestly I just get lazy and distracted. Such is the case now.
This day I was out to revisit old stomping grounds. As I have mentioned a while back, there was a salvage
yard on Hwy 280 that was the inspiration for my journey. A land frozen in the year 1965. I had my new super-duper Nikon and oh, the art this sweet camera was going to make. It was a gorgeous day. Mid 50's. Bright and sunny. As I made my approach I noticed the cars were not where they had been. I could see some a ways away from the road but not near as many as before. I pulled in to say hi and could I.....well nope. Ain't gonna happen. Seems the owner had decided to sell off many of his collection. Curse you eBay! What he kept was not available for public perusal anymore. Too many thieves. There was no swaying his wife to my cause no matter how noble I made it seem.
Insert heavy sigh here.....
Needless to say that was a blow to me. The best junk yard I had ever seen and it was just beyond my grasp. But it was not a total loss. She suggested the guy about a half mile up the road. He ran an interesting little place called, well, The Lot. To say his collection was eclectic seems a bit lacking. He sells used cars but seems to collect them too. It was not the visual panacea I had hoped for but there was still plenty to see.
Keep in mind my criteria is old, unused and abandoned. But every once in a while I see something really old and unusual. Something quite rare. So much so that a couple of "Americans" who are "Pickers" might be intrigued. Such is the case with the J.C. Higgins bicycle with the gasoline engine added. I had never seen one like this and trust me, they are quite rare.
I thanked Jeff for his kindness and hospitality when I left. Nice guy. Just a good ole' boy from Alabama...
I went on my way and then veered off in Sylacauga to what was the old Hwy 280. As I have learned over the course of my journey, when any major highway is widened they don't always follow the old route be it geography or whatever. Which means they bypass the older road. That's usually where I find my visual gold. What may have been a busy town at one time becomes a quiet shell of what it was because the new and improved highway found a new way to go. Such is the case in Goodwater. The sign post at the left. I've never seen one anywhere. It's a cast iron marker pointing north up AL Hwy 9 towards Ashland. I have no clue what 90-D means.
I remember many a trip to Auburn in the fall. My parents going back to Auburn to celebrate homecoming. That trip eventually connected to Hwy 280 which went through Goodwater. It's certainly not how I remembered it. Even the ABC store had moved on. There were a lot of abandoned storefronts. Many of the buildings on the main drag through town were offering little more than a collapsed roof and a home for stray cats. As a child growing up I still remember my Mom taking us to the A&P supermarket in Huntsville on South Parkway. The only reason I bring this up is I still remember the conveyor belts at the checkout line. I don't remember the manufacturer's name but I remember they were built in Goodwater. I have to admit I have remembered the oddest things from my childhood since I started my journey. Funny how the mind works. The things that stimulate memories.
The building at right. Not sure what it was. On this day it was storing lumber. It wasn't a house. Obviously some sort of light industrial business. I think it may have been a millwright or some other business involving wood. Processing wood in Alabama has always been a booming business. You can't go anywhere in central Alabama and not see a log truck plodding down the highway somewhere.
Have you ever seen something so defining that it told an entire story with a single word? A look? Or an
image? As I was looking out the window of the old abandoned service station I was struck by how defining this picture was to me. As if life was passing this little town by. Having grown up in the suburbs I never got to experience life as it might have been in Mayberry. Goodwater makes me think of what Mayberry might have been way back in its day...
* The Blues Brothers, 1980, Universal Pictures