New Image Added to Turvey’s Corner 63050

This early August morning has been delicious. I entered the studio early for what I absurdly label “executive time.” While reading Zola’s The Masterpiece, I lingered over the lyrical depictions of the artist and lover’s excursion to Le Havre. Zola painted the northern French landscape with a luscious brush, describing sun, atmosphere and lovely rolling hills. And as I read, the sound of a lawn mower in our neighborhood transformed me back in Proustian fashion to my childhood August mornings, waking up and lying in bed lazily in High Ridge, Missouri. We had no air conditioning in the house so we slept with our bedroom windows open. And as I lay there, I would listen to the sounds of a distant lawnmower, children shouting as they played outside, the voice of a radio broadcaster on KXOK, the popular St. Louis AM station.

The visitation was a warm one, stimulating me to return to the manuscript of Turvey’s Corner 63050. Going through files of my art work from years gone by, I came across the watercolor posted at the top of this blog, and decided to insert it into one of the chapters I’ve recently revised.

The chapter now reads as follows:

Winter in Turvey’s Corner 63050

Early morning polar winds snapped through the narrow valley of Turvey’s Corner, a Missouri town still sleeping through the harsh winter. George Singleton emerged from the Terra Lounge bar with his snow shovel and leaned forward into the frigid air. Overnight winds had hardened the drifts across the walkway and he felt the sting in his cheeks as the wind cut across his face. As he bent to his task, a loud cacophonous whistle from a Frisco Railroad F9 diesel signaled its approach to the crossing, half a block from the tavern, and George felt beneath his boots the vibrations of the thundering freight cars as they rolled by. Assorted box cars and rusting reefer cars crawled through the town, the bells continuing to clang with lights alternately blinking at the crossing.

Turning his head, George looked back up the empty street to regather his thoughts. It was a sixteen-degree December morning in Turvey’s Corner, and his mind was numb to the possibilities of anything memorable happening on this particular day. The Korean Conflict was two years behind him, the 38th parallel over 7,000 miles away. But Randy, his first-born son, not yet a year old, slumbered in a dark bedroom on the second story above. These thoughts caused George to smile in the face of the frozen morning, forgetting the stiffness in his lower back.

George had just opened a new chapter in his life. Striving to put the madness of the war conflict behind him and determining not to return to the shores of the Mississippi River in southeast Missouri to resume the impoverished tenant farm life that had raised him, he set his compass toward St. Louis in search of a better life. For two years he had served his country overseas. Now returning, he wondered if his country, his government, really had anything to offer him. The Missouri motto he was forced to memorize in the country school salus populi supreme lex esto (let the welfare of the people be the supreme law) never penetrated to his center of belief. Convinced of the need to provide for his own welfare and that of his new family, he came to Turvey’s Corner, invested the army pay he had sent home to his folks for two years in this tavern property, and was determined to make it work.

Turvey’s Corner, population 582, was situated on Highway 30, twenty-three miles southwest of St. Louis. Historic Route 66 lay a few miles north of town but was beginning to deteriorate with the arrival of Interstate 44 that bypassed the once thriving midwestern towns. George was O.K. with that, however. In the army he had lived a life surrounded by hordes of men in close quarters. He was ready to carve out a livelihood in a town that time would likely forget.

___________________________________________________________

It’s time to turn my attention to a pair of commissions I’ve been working on for awhile now. Tomorrow (Saturday) I’ll return to Palestine to work in The Gallery at Redlands for the day and evening.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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2 Responses to “New Image Added to Turvey’s Corner 63050”

  1. Dian Darr Says:

    Love the story, and the paintings are perfect! You reminded me of my childhood home in Fort Worth. My bed was by the window, and I often slept with my pillow on the window sill since without AC, the windows were always open! I had a small, turquoise plastic radio always tuned to KXOL.

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      How funny! Only one letter off with the call letters KXOK versus KXOL! At this age I am finding such comfort reliving the childhood memories through painting and writing. Thank you so much for your willingness to pause and read.

      Like

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