Bellville, Texas is about 65 miles west of Houston. It’s a leisurely drive from my house, most of which, once you’re out of Houston, is on a two lane road. I would love to say it’s a road that is hilly and picturesque, but let’s be honest – it’s not. It’s just far enough outside of Houston that you’re not quite in the hill country. The road is littered with small farms filled with Texas cattle, small businesses and trailer parks. I know, it doesn’t sound pretty, but for flat land, it’s not bad. And if you wait till March or April, this same road will be lined in Texas wildflowers. I love that time of year. It’s a time when Texas really shows off its best. But, its not March, nor is it April. It’s an overcast weekend in February and hubs and I are on the road to Bellville.
Bellville was settled in 1822 by two brothers from Florida. It’s one of those small Texas towns where if you blink, you’ve missed the main drag and its one traffic light. I’m not kidding. The main drag runs around the town square and the biggest building in the square is the jailhouse. Ah, Texas justice – it’s big, bad, and in this town, right in your face! It’s a historic town with several well-preserved buildings and beautiful old homes. Bellville was, and still is today, a big farming town. Population as of 2011 – 4,031, filled with farmers and city-folk like me that ran off to the country. On this day, it was population 4,033, as hubs and I rolled into town square. I know what you’re thinking – what is this busy city mom doing in small town, Texas? Good question!
A few days earlier, hubs approaches me and says he thinks we need to take a day trip this weekend, just the two of us. “Are you kidding?”, I shrieked. This particular weekend was the first in a while where we didn’t have to actually be anywhere – no basketball, no volleyball, nothing. I was looking forward to a Saturday of tinkering around my house, maybe watch a movie on the couch or take a cat nap. Bliss. The last thing I wanted to do was get in the car and drive, like the weekend before this one…..or like I do Monday through Friday…….I wanted stillness, I wanted tinkering and I most definitely wanted some napping.
Hubs persisted, and, like a good Capricorn, I did too. By Saturday morning, he was determined to go, with or without me. He got up, packed a blanket, packed a lunch, packed my camera. As I continued to dig my heels in, he said he just wanted to take me to Bellville, somewhere we’d never been, for a few hours, to give me a chance to get away, snap a few photos, have a picnic lunch and then head home. Ok, he may be on to something here. How could I argue with that? And he was doing the packing? I watched as he grabbed a bottle of wine from my stash to add to his picnic lunch.
Ok, I’m in.
I was quiet on the drive west, still being somewhat resistant and not wanting to admit this was a good idea. Then I saw a rusted out old steel barn…..with barbed wire……and my picture-taking eye was intrigued. I love photographing architecture – all kinds – new, old, falling apart, barely standing up, city, country, doesn’t matter to me. We pull into the town square in Bellville and, naturally, the first store we see is called Man Caves. “Oh, we have to go in there!”, says hubs. Ok, I’ll give him this one because I kinda wanted to go in too! We strolled through the small store, laughing at all the old signage and knick-knacks. After, we drove around town (gee, that didn’t long) and found a park just off the town square to have our lunch. I was finally slowing down, soaking it all in and ready to snap a few. Off in the distance, I notice an old house with a matching bird house. Growing up around the bird house was a vine of some sort, completely void of any foliage. Snap, snap, snap. We drove around a bit, but honestly, I didn’t see what I was looking for – old, falling down barns. I was still thinking of the steel and barbed wire, but I will admit, my busy brain was slowing down and I might have even felt a bit calm.
Going back through town, we stopped at the one building I found interesting on main street – the Finn Building. The Finn is an Italianate building built in 1896 by Oscar Finn who was a master buggy mechanic back in the day. The building has beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows, some with ivy growing up along them, and cast iron columns. I loved the tall windows, the lanterns out front and the art deco design over the windows. I snapped a few here before we headed out of town.
And finally, we found that old steel barn and barbed wire. It was hard to get up close to since the trees and grass were growing out of control all around it. I got as close as I could to the barbed wire and snapped away. I couldn’t wait to put this picture into Pic-stitch and edit it! Oh my creative juices were really going now and….wait……what’s happening……..I’m relaxed, I’m content, I’m not thinking about laundry, or dusting, or even of my kids (did I just say that out loud?). I want to edit my photos and share them…asap.
I settled back into the car for the hour drive home, quiet, even a bit sleepy. I couldn’t help but think I’m a lot like that old steel barn – tired, a little rusty, parts of me falling down. How could he have known I needed a little preservation too? I guess when you’ve been married this long, you just know what the other needs. I needed a bit of preservation too, much like the old buildings I photographed that day. I needed time to just be me, not worrying about what still needs to be done at home, just time to slow down, be creative, be me.
Damn, I hate it when he’s right……