Off Second, Onto Main
Last time, I had just finished talking about lunch in Taylor. After we, sigh, had polished off that lovely beef brisket, we decided to stroll about and see the shops, stores, and sights of Taylor.
We headed up Second toward Main Street. Many, many things were different from when we’d been there pre-Covid, two years before. The galleries that had originally attracted us to Taylor were all gone. Why, I couldn’t say. Either Covid or economics or some combination of those two, perhaps. But I was startled. The galleries had seemed to be very much a part of Taylor’s social life -- they had high-lighted artists who were almost entirely local -- yet, somehow, they were gone.
There were also several new shops, new offices, etc. on that part of Second, or on the streets just off it. We saw a co-working space, an interior design firm, and a specialty grocery store (gourmet and plant-based offerings). Meanwhile, the obligatory brewpub which had been there when we visited before remained in place, but I think it had expanded.
Nothing to do with this particular posting, but an interesting story in its own right. See below for more on Martha and Clines Corners.
Also unchanged, unfortunately, was a regrettable trend. Two years before, when we had visited, there had been a great many empty storefronts. Those vacant places, particularly along Main, had multiplied.
It isn’t just Taylor, of course. All across America, in towns and cities, large and small, you see the same thing. Downtowns are dying. The retail ventures, locally owned and operated...the furniture stores, the appliance retailers, the men’s tailors, the women’s clothing shops, the dime stores and drug stores...perished long ago. Now, there is nothing left but their names on walls -- Ben Franklin’s, Woolworth, TG&Y...
In luckier communities, those empty spaces are filling up with new , “post-industrial” businesses--everything from office condos for software developers to trendy wine bars (I’ve heard it called “Mills to Martinis.”) I am sure Taylor will be among the lucky ones. It is already developing rapidly, and will soon receive a wave of newcomers, either as refugees from the high rents of Austin, or arriving with Samsung and other corporations moving into the area. The town itself, then, will profit by becoming a bedroom village and a tourist destination. (Not unlike, come to think of it, our own Georgetown.)
There are worse fates. But...I wonder how the original inhabitants will feel about it.
Anyway, we continued our tour. We visited several of the shops. Many of these were oriented toward tourists--they offered antiques, jewelry, gifts, home decor, that sort of thing. Martha found a bracelet she liked at one shop, and so, being a well-trained husband, I whipped out the plastic. She wore it as we left.
By that time, we were both hot and tired. So, after a little while longer, we headed back to the car, and were soon on our way.
All in all, it was a pleasant trip. I was a little sad about the galleries being gone, but I suppose that is the usual fate of artistic and non-profit ventures in our complicated society. That they had existed at all, even if just for a time, was probably a victory, and a tribute to the tenacity of their founders.
And, anyway, at least we weren’t bored. At least we got out and had an adventure, however small.
Speaking of adventures...
Next time we have another one. This one will involve a steak, a trip, and all of it...
Sur la table.
More to come.
About the photo: I’m going way back in the files for this one. And, no, it has nothing to do with the story.
But, long ago, in 2015, Martha and I drove from Albuquerque to South Padre Island, Texas. The reason was sad. We were taking my parents’ ashes to scatter at sea. They’d had a house on SPI and the place had always been dear to them.
Still, there were pleasant moments on the trip, among them a visit to the Clines Corners travel center in Clines Corners, NM. I wanted to get a picture of Martha there because she is a fan of Lyle Lovett, and one of his songs, “Nothing but a Good Ride,” references the area -- “Cline's Corners truck stop / A waitress with a wet mop / Telling him to don't walk / He tips his hat and don't talk.”
So it was sort of cool to get her photo there. Oh, and here’s a link to the place if you should feel the urge to visit:
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I provide these blog postings for free. That’s fine and I’m happy to do so. But, long ago and far away, I was told that if you give away your material, that means you don’t really think it has any value.
So, to get beyond that, I’ve decided to make it possible for you to leave me a “tip” for my posts.
If you like what I write or the videos I produce, and feel you could make a small contribution to support my efforts, please go here:
That will take you to a Gumroad page where you’ll have the option of leaving me a few pence by way of encouragement.
Again, I don’t mind if you don’t. I just want to provide you with the option so that I won’t feel quite so much like I’m just tossing my works into the wind.
Either way, thanks hugely for dropping by the blog :-)
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