Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Word or Two About Marfa TX ...


[The Hobby-Eberly 36-foot telescope at the MacDonald Observatory 
17 miles northwest of Ft. Davis, TX.]

This a.m. is a catch up time here.  I'm into laundry and Wendell is out back, washing his DUSTY truck.  These poor people must battle dust 24/7/365!  It blows all the time, everywhere.  I ran the Swifter last night while dinner was cooking and I went through one pad per room!  And I think I could do that daily!  (But I don't.)  This afternoon one of the guys from church is taking Wendell on a sort-of driving tour of Marfa; W. is interested in learning more about what some of the interesting looking old buildings used to be before they were turned into art galleries. 

This town is different ... (but aren't they all?).  Home prices are terribly high considering their condition!  This has happened (according to the locals) because of all of the "artists" who have "found" Marfa.  There are more art galleries than restaurants (open).  People who move here from east Texas cities find the prices reasonable compared to 'back east' (Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin, etc.).  An old adobe slum house can go as high as $150,000!  Actually (unbelievable to me) there is a real controversy here, brought about by these same new residents, about whether these old adobe homes should NOW be left as-is (since they have theirs fixed up) and be retained as they stand as a piece of history, not to be disturbed.  In fact we are right next to such a "piece of history".  We love this region and this house we are staying in, but wouldn't come back to Marfa to stay.  Maybe Alpine, Ft. Davis, or Marathon?  Who knows?  It is too laid back for our structured selves.  For instance, when we go to a restaurant, drug store or grocery we expect it to be open at its posted hours.  (How dumb are we?)

As an example of how laid back this town is, last Saturday I went downtown to a shop called Stuff.  Through the window I could see it had interesting looking art deco furniture and decor, and I really wanted to check it out.  Hours were posted as Thurs-Sat 10 to 4.  I was there within those hours but they were closed.  I went on to a yarn shop and one of the two women working there said this about Marfa when I mentioned my experience at Stuff ... "It's what I call the wonder of Marfa ... you plan on going somewhere but before you leave home you say to yourself 'I wonder if they'll be open?'"  We got a good laugh.  But do you know me?  (Yes, I think you do.)  I'll not even try to go back to see if Stuff is open again. 

Yesterday we went to the MacDonald Observatory north of Ft. Davis.  It was awesome!  Since this is their off season at the observatory, there were only two other people in our guided tour group -- a nice couple from Pensacola.  Surprisingly the astronomer who led our tour was originally from Evansville and knew people from Worthington!  What a small world!  This is the second time this has happened to us on this trip.  The other time we had stopped on a back road to talk to a Border Patrol officer and his home town was Vincennes!  We have met the nicest people here!  I'll post some pix from the past few days below.