Saturday, October 31, 2009

To Display at Kaweah Oak Preserve, 11/06/09

"Kaweah River" from a series "On The Walk...", Three Rivers, Winter 2009.

The daily walk along Kaweah River Road is full of adventure if you keep your eyes open. Critters and birds attracted to the water's edge, the seasons change the landscape and the way the rivers runs through it. A new home was built and I realized before long all the wild beauty will disappear, even the local Hawk was so disturbed by the loss of some of his territory he knocked the hats off a few walkers, even hurting a couple. I feel empathy for his rage, even as I understand how lucky the people who moved in are. I take my camera each season, hoping to capture this lovely place, just in case my fear is realized and the wild disappears.

"Truck Garden," Three Rivers, 2009

Pat O'connell's Petrol Station is a familiar landmark for those of us who live in Three Rivers, and many tourists who pass through, especially those who find themselves in difficulty and Pat has been called to rescue them with tow trucks. The line up of rusty ancient vehicles creates conversations of how ugly, and as my image shows, how beautiful and interesting, the O'Connell property is, depending on how you see the world. Since his wife, who passed away before I moved to Three Rivers, and I share our first name, I felt attracted to the stories of rescues the two of them participated in over the years. He towed in the broken vehicles, and she fed the waiting people. Mother Nature obviously loves the rusty stuff of what she finds on the O'Connell property because blackberry bushes fill in the landscape with lush berries that critters and birds must appreciate, enveloping the old truck in a wonderful garden.


Bernard Yin said...

Neat stuff. I hope to visit that region sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for commenting, Bernard. I enjoyed your site, especially your family picture. And the Monkey Man, a wow! If you do come our way there are many artists, like me, that have studios they'd love to show off, since Three Rivers is an art colony at the Gateway to the Sequoias.

sblairkeller said...

The "Truck Garden" is gone. One by one all the old tow trucks and cars have disappeared, Pat's Petrol Station is looking quite sterile. Even the old white truck he used to put Santa in, and stream Christmas lights all over it, adding cheer to the holiday darkness of 3R's, is gone. I feel sad that I missed the opportunity last Christmas to capture that old decorated white truck. There will be no "Oh, well, I'll do it next year." At least I did the one photo shoot and "Pat's Truck Garden" hangs on my wall reminding me how fast things change some times.

sblairkeller said...

In this time of so much anti-Islam sentiment floating around our country, I thought to story timely. My sister married a Pakistani Muslim, converted and raised 6 children in that religion. They are grown. This story is about a trip to the Sierra's they took in their early 20's.

The car broke down on their way to Stoney Point Camp Ground. They were told to call Pat O'Connell, Three Rivers, the closet tow truck around. Pat arrived, hooked up their car and my nephew and his cousin jumped in the truck to accompany their vehicle. The rest of the family stayed at the camp ground and returned home in the vehicles that didn't break!

They were obviously Muslim if you recognize that the women's head were covered, and the young men were bearded, most looking like Pakistani's or India Indian. Pat asked them questions about themselves and they asked Pat about living in such a wonderful place like Three Rivers. From young ages my sister and her husband had brought them to the Sequoia's to camp so they past through Three Rivers many times over a lifetime.

When they arrived at Three Rivers Pat decided to drive them to Visalia. He told them they will have better luck with mechanics there, and if needed, motels to stay, restaurants to eat, and so they said okay, offering to pay for the extra mileage. He shrugged and drove them to Visalia.

He continued to ask them questions about their lives. He now knew they were students, and this break down was going to really mess with their finances. When he arrived at Visalia, he looked at the young men and told them, "Listen, I have nothing else to do the rest of the day. If its okay with you I will drive you to L.A." They were stunned, but again, said they would pay for it.

Upon arriving at one of their homes, Pat unhooked the vehicle. The young men pulled out money to pay him for this extraordinary journey. He refused the money. He told them to finish school, take good care of their families, and that was pay enough. He got into his tow truck and left them stunned.

My nephew tells me now that in all the hateful rhetoric that flows the airways at this time, he never forgets Pat's openness to them, his curiosity about who they were, and Pat's generosity of spirit. Pat's action guides many decisions my nephew makes toward others.