Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Study on a Country Church

Country Church, 1974

When I was in school and still unmarried, I had a six-day-a-week, part-time job as a circulation supervisor for a daily newspaper. To take a little liberty with a comment of William Faulkner's, everyone should have a job at least once that puts you at the beck and call of anyone with the wherewithal to buy a 25-cent newspaper. Which means it was a job with a certain amount of freedom and a certain amount of thrill--people with this job were conspicuous and attractive robbery targets--but otherwise quite thankless. Oh, and did I mention that because I was considered one of the more mature members of the staff I did my duty in some of the worst and most hardscrabble inner city neighborhoods?

But the job did provide me with $200 a semester towards my college tuition and a company car and all the gasoline I could burn. (With take home pay of about $58 a week, gasoline was about all I could burn.) And to be completely honest, I did learn a lot from the job, and the fact that the plain white company car looked suspiciously like the cars narcs drove in those days made some of the less savory residents of the areas where I worked a little cautious about making me their next robbery target.

On Sunday's, I would jump in the car with my camera and explore the back roads of Central Virginia. I photographed most anything I came across. Cows. Fields. Fence posts. Old filling stations. Broken bottles along the road. Collapsed farm houses. It didn't really matter. It was all new to me. Later on, the girlfriend who would become my wife joined me for these rides. We'd make day trips up to Charlottesville or Washington or out to the "rivuh," as Richmonders refer to the Rappahannock, and explore towns with names like Crozet, Warsaw, Saluda and Cuckoo.

I don't exactly remember where the country church shown above is located. I wasn't terribly good about keeping records in those days. My guess is that it's somewhere in either Hanover County or Louisa County.

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