Friday, January 16, 2009
Parking lot of the Coffee Station
Mary, Perri and Kendall
Crawford, Texas is home to George Bush's ranch, where Cindy Sheehan camped out for twenty-six days in 2005 seeking an explanation from the President of the "noble cause" for which her son, Casey, died in the war in Iraq.
The New Yorker ran a story this past October, Exile on Main Street, describing the waning popularity of the (almost former) president in Crawford. Seven gifts shops selling Bush souvenirs have dwindled to two that keep regular hours.
I got directions to Crawford from the tourist information center in Waco and drove about twenty miles west on small highways. The clerk at the information center circled Bush's ranch on a map and highlighted the Coffee Station where the President eats his hamburgers. She told me if you drive on Prairie Chapel Road towards the ranch, you reach a point where you get stopped by secret service men and you can't take any photographs. I never made it quite that far down Prairie Chapel Road, where I drove alone past fields and ranches until a pick-up truck made me a little nervous.
I did stop at the Coffee Station and ordered a BLT instead of a hamburger, and the waitress gave me an extra free pink lemonade when I paid the bill, as people so often are either exceptionally friendly or exceptionally suspicious when you have a camera. I will also venture to say that Texan hospitality goes a long way, and there is something to be said for manners and friendliness.
The Coffee Station was nearly empty, and a cheap cardboard stand-up of President Bush was leaning in a corner. I took a photograph of Jean in the parking lot outside, where she was taking a cigarette-break. Jean, who moved to Crawford from Waco to be with her partner, still seemed proud of the fact that Bush gave Crawford a claim to fame, and she had seen him on more than one occasion. She said this is not how she dresses when the President is around.
These young women - Mary, Perri and Kendall - also talked about their experiences with the President and said they had been photographed with him on more than one occasion.
Lately, I have been taking more photographs of people, and I am curious about what people think about where they are at this moment in time, and what makes that place different or the same as anywhere else.
Anyone with ideas of where I might find editorial assignments along these lines, please don't hesitate to write ...