Shadows Across Dodge, 2018
oil on canvas
24 x 30 in
Location: FM 405 about a mile north of Tx. Hwy. 190 in eastern Walker County
As I write this moment was about a year ago. It's a complex image of a place that is emotionally fraught. The place I stood in setting up the image was at almost exactly the spot where my wife and younger daughter were involved in a head-on collision with a pick-up truck driven by a man who had fallen asleep at the wheel. That was 22 years ago. Both came away with minimal injuries, but such things never completely go away.
The red store was a social center of the town of Dodge through W.W.II and into the 1960s. It had been owned by W.O. Hopper, and later by his widow. Years later Jane Bartee, my next door neighbor's daughter, bought it and for some time her family used it as a place where the family band would practice. Later, Jane would play the piano for the First Baptist Church of Dodge, whose steeple rises beyond the red store. My wife, Melinda, is their pianist today.
The little patch of trees immediately past the red store used to be the location of a little white frame storefront that was the location of a cabinet maker's shop. We started into Huntsville one day to find a car embedded in the side of it. After a few months it was demolished. That had been next to the location of Dodge's first fire house. Years before the same place had been the location of the icehouse where my neighbor's elder brother, John Roark, had provided refrigeration for Dodge residents. That had closed in the late 1950s, as I recall.
Even the bend in the road has meaning. It was where the rail spur that went to Oakhurst from before the turn of the 20th Century had crossed the road until just a few years before we moved to Dodge.
People and things come and go. They leave footprints on the land. The footprints fade.CALL FOR PRICE