Monday, August 31, 2009

Goodbye Franklin

Observational notes from a town visit

The Confederate Army memorial is surrounded by half empty buildings from a dozen decades ago and others selling vintage things, family department stores as they once were, and the gap along Main is now a pocket garden, Antebellum dresses are next door in the window, paint scrapings and lace. Up the hill are a few tired houses, a curving driveway going towards nothing in particular out of view next to a pedestrian crossing sign and another which demarks BUS441. I go down now, pass the berm with its trees and flowing plants, right at the light, and cross the street. Here is the VFW hall, a windowless cat store with a fluttering flag of airbrushed kitties outside making faint noise in its shadow; it blocks the sidewalk at head height. The ubiquitous family appliance store, Ingles, hot parking lots, occasionally a tree that is old and large—its canopies sweep up the wind—are all scenes from the periphery of this busted sidewalk. There are odd corners where nothing stands but mowed grass and some perennials. A realtor’s hut with a shiny Hummer and sunflowers outside. The backs of the buildings on Main along the diverted and split one-way highway. Everybody here has a sign in the window, some gentlemen are setting out antiques. Where do these power lines go besides into the canopy? And why are there streetlights here? It is nice outside; warm with no humidity. Drafting services, radio towers, police parking lot, Latino men walking down the highway. That lazy sound of cars. Bright teals and reds and yellow beiges. Shiny cars parked along shady trees, in the center of a town that doesn’t seem to bother. Everywhere is a nowhere. For Rent, For Sale, Now Open. Air conditioners and one-way delivery drives. Inexpensive clothing; billboards. Well drilling, Ruby City. Everything in need of a trim, a touch-up, rebuilding, alignment. Some things are freshly painted. Odd background bird calls. The Sapphire Inn down the hill in the distance. Music is coming from the cars and leaves are falling.

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