Taking Chances

It is completely terrifying to be on this two+ week exploration to find a new story.

I had originally planned to be in California to work and make some extra cash. But on my way there from Texas,  I kept thinking about a story that has been in the back of my mind for a while now.  (The Small Town America story) On Wednesday, I left Silver City and came across these abandoned buildings, as described in my previous post.

I am alone on this trip, like I am most of the time. But I say this because I am at my own free will. My own free will to turn around or to just keep going. It’s easy to just keep going. I thought about it, jammin’ out, wind blowing in my hair, but I looked in front of me and behind me- no one. I did a u-turn. I got out and walked around the empty lots and took some photos. I didn’t stay long. I get back in my car- I had a spot to make it to before dark. I was trying to make it to Cali by a certain date.

I keep driving and about an hour later that’s when I passed the fireworks stand in the middle of no where. I did the same thing as before. Jammin’, windows down, looked in front of me and behind me- no one. I turned around. Im glad I did. That is when I started talking to Richard. One hour goes by, hour two is creeping up. The conversation was lovely and open. But at some point I looked at my watch. If I wanted to make it to my spot by any decent hour, I should go. I said good bye and thank you, and that I might be back… one day. Probably never. Luckily for me, there was a diner a 10 or so miles up the road, I was starving.

There were two sweet young ladies, Camren and Kenzi, that were working there. Camren’s eyes lit up when she saw my camera. She started asking me questions. It was dead in the cafe so we all started talking. They asked if I could take some polaroids of them. I did. I told them about my story idea and they got excited. We talked for about an hour- it was clear that I wasn’t making it my spot before nightfall. I didn’t really have ‘a spot’, just a forest service road I read had some places you can camp at in a National Forest near Flagstaff.

Camren and Kenzi at work at the diner in Alpine, NM

At this point, it was decision time, keep heading west, or bailing and sticking around this tiny town in hopes that these people will open up to me and let me into their lives.

So I thought, okay, I am going to go back to the firework stand, to see if I can catch Richard’s wife in time for her Canasta card circle with the ladies. I had missed it but I stayed and chatted with them for a while, anyway. That is when his wife asked him to play for me. He did. Then she and her grandson went and got the music book from their house that was probably a mile away.

Sam, Richard and Granny play music inside of their firework tent.

It was a beautiful little show put on by some kind folks. When they invited me to stay at their home, that was it. I decided to stay for a couple of days. While Granny and I were at breakfast the next day, she told me one of her grandsons was getting married.

“You can come, anyone is invited,” she said.

You know… I think I have to take that opportunity.

My friends from Cali called and asked where I was. I told them I was going to take this chance and work on this story and go slow. Its scary taking a chance like this. It makes me anxious knowing Im missing out on a pay check when Im just “seeing how it goes”. Maybe there is no story. Maybe my photos won’t capture the depth and the true nature of a small town. Maybe this was a lucky draw and no one else on my trip will be as open.

But then again, maybe they will.

I guess the one thing that I have learned in my short life is to go with your gut. If you listen, it will lead you in the right direction.

Fingers Crossed.



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