Small town U.S.A., all across the country, small town lives, small town ways.
Country songs, written for the farmers, ranchers, truck drivers; the life blood of all that is left resembling old America.
Driving into town, all the back roads driven on that avoid the highway. The main street, what a colorful street, you feel comfortable cruising down the blacktop, the old brick library, tall steps, the books; all the presidents linside, including Nixon and Ford.
The Equestrian, on the east side of the street, catering to the venerable Cowboys and Indians that are conversing across the street; hands of the local ranches or farms. So comfortable in their conversation, so unaware that they are supposed to be mortal enemies by the bigots failing standards. They laugh, pat each other’s shoulder, then laugh some more. The Indian leaning against the pick-up, his black cowboy hat, the long feather, maybe eagle or hawk. The Cowboy, his boot clad foot resting on the bumper, jeans relaxed, his straw with braided horse hair band tilted backwards, two men of the west conversing.
The town restaurant, breakfast cooking, air permeates the senses, bacon, eggs, hash browns sizzling, platters served; before the fast-food joints invaded the town.
The highway, headed east and west, dividing the town; but not the people. The train cuts it’s way through the heart of town, past the brick factory, the marshes and fields; where the deer and coyote inhabit and thrive. The quaintness of the town, there is no wrong side of the tracks, just life and living.
Powell boulevard leads east to highway 26, a few minutes down the highway, Sandy; a town the size of a postage stamp. Each year, they gather in the town park, the less primitive Rendezvous, unlike Frog Hollow, but the fringe and buckskin can still be seen, the long rifles, powder horns and possible bags hung on the shoulder. The ladies in their long gowns, lace and bonnets hanging on their backs. Walking to the park, talking French Canadian Trapper in rustic manners, about the ways of old.
Back down the road where this journey started, tractor trailer rigs, log trucks with three or four logs, their racks full, parking along the boulevard, walking into the heart of town after driving down from the mountain; time to eat, to nourish themselves for the drive up or down the ‘5’, or east on the ’84’.
In the fields of the town, Longhorn cattle graze, berries, fruit and corn grow. Large plots of ground, untouched except by the rancher or farmers hands, plow or field truck. In the summer nights, city lights low, starfields fill the sky; peaceful. Maybe a barn dance, nonetheless a gathering of friends; Porter Wagner, Kitty Wells, Ray Price, Lynn Anderson, Merle Haggard; playing on the radio before D.J.’s and turntable racket while the pig roast on the Spit, people dancing, conversing.
Kids, playing in the stream, catching crawdads on a piece of bacon, chasing the girls in the park, innocent laughter ensues; later the crawdads make it home for Mom to boil.
The home that was, before time, before the new age misfits of memory became the historian; before the forgetting.
Gresham, a small town in history’s back pages. Cir 1960 – 1970.