I felt surly when I woke up yesterday. Rather than David be in danger of saying and doing the wrong thing all day, I gathered my cameras and drove west. I thought I would head toward Weatherford, a town west of Fort Worth. Not really a suburb, Weatherford is still considered "in the country". I remembered a town square area and thought I would shoot pictures, have lunch and check out some stores on the square.
The Parker County Courthouse
I haven't been to Weatherford since the early 1990's. I wasn't missing anything. Weatherford is ugly. A disaster in city planning and zoning. The main road up to the courthouse is a mishmash of fast food establishments, small independent car dealerships, local restaurants and other assorted random businesses, some in what appear to have at one time been homes. The courthouse sits in a roundabout, which I have established my distaste for, but since there are no other cars, this one isn't difficult to navigate. The square seems oddly empty to me for lunchtime on Saturday. Mine is the only vehicle in the public lot.
I think I found the problem.
I go ahead and park to take a picture of a mural painted on the side of a building.
The text reads "Citizens Corner Baking on the Square since 1868". I think that was the last time the paint was touched up too.
I find a few (very few) open businesses on this street so I walk in a large circle around the outer streets surrounding the square. As I walk the streets that make up the spokes of the roundabout, it turns out there are more murals.
Of course the only other car on the square is in front of what I want to photograph.
The Parker County Peach Festival is July 14? I might have to come back. Or not.
There are old buildings with interesting architecture but they are mostly in disrepair. Tired is the word that comes to mind. Things have not been well maintained.
Clearly no one needs to go in here anymore.
This obviously new door seems out of place on this stone wall. The other doors on this wall were either boarded up, like the window here, or closed up like the previous image. Also, watch that first step...it's a doozy.
There might be a matter of public gathering being discouraged by the city that prevents an economic boom for the area around the square.
Can I be accused of congregating when I am by myself?
The tired feeling of the town starts to sap my energy. I spot a chair and think I might sit a minute. After reading this sign, I decide against it. I might be accused of dumping. Or loitering. Or general merriment.
"Video Surveillance is monitoring this area. Dumping violators will be turned over to the authorities."
Not wanting to risk jail I go back to my car and down the road to McDonald's. Not exactly the lunch I envisioned but the places on the square are either closed or questionable so I go with what I know. I have a moment of déjà vu when I ask if they have cherry pie. (I had almost this exact conversation somewhere in Virginia on the recent trip to Maryland.)
Me: I want one cherry pie.
Cashier: We only have apple pie.
Me: (I lean over to look.) It looks like you have cherry back there.
Manager: We have cherry.
Me: I would like one cherry pie.
Cashier: (Blinks at me several times. Looks at panel of register. Looks at me. Blinks. ) You can get two for $1.
Me: I only want one.
Cashier: But they are two for $1.
Me: But I only want one. I am happy to pay 79 cents for just one.
Cashier: (Blinks. Consults panel again. Looks at me. Blinks.) How do I ring up just one cherry pie? That isn't on here.
Me: (I blink back, say nothing and hope he isn't directing his question at me even though I know the answer from my experience in Virginia.)
Manager: Ring up one apple pie.
Cashier: How do I do that when they are two for $1?
I passed up an opportunity for more fun at McDonald's.
This must be a big problem to warrant a professionally printed sign on both doors. Also, note the use of "or" here. Shouldn't it be "...Without Food AND Receipt"?
I wish I had returned after eating my one cherry pie and shown my receipt for a refund. To the same cashier. And then ordered 3 apple pies.