Showing posts from January, 2023


  They say that when you find a town that has level crossings, you know it’s been left behind. These street level RR crossings are notorious for accidents. Trains never stop for them. Railroad companies have decided an area does not have enough promise to build an overpass. Level crossings tie up commerce, relegating residents to wait for trains to pass before moving around. Where once a hub of business existed, level crossings can backwater a place. Still these towns hold on, trying to race the train, to survive. All against the rumble of trains passing through…


  All gold does not glitter or it seems so in Kershaw SC. There’s a quiet about this place, even with the busy 521 route running through the middle. The town situated just a few miles from the largest gold mine in the Appalachian region has never experienced the growth or prosperity you would expect. The promise of these things are found in every corner of Kershaw. Corners that were partially developed after Benjamin Haile discovered gold flakes on his farm in 1827. Soon the rush was on, the Southern Railroad followed in 1887. Only a local line still exists. There are reasons for all this, but no clear ones. Maybe it was when the Haile Gold Mine was purchased by owners far away who only saw the town as a place to provision its workers. Maybe it was that Kershaw edged in on two counties but never had enough sway to attract the county seat from either. Maybe the town simply became a place left in limbo. Still glimmers of brighter times can be found on the corners of Kershaw. Large buildi


  The parking swirled with activity. A young man loaded his groceries into the back of his car. He turned and glanced at the older worn car pulling into the handicap space just down from him. The paint faded, it needed a wash. Just curiosity I guess, everyone cheated and he wanted to see if this driver was really handicapped. Abe reached in front of Ruth, trying to find the handicap placard in the glove compartment, then gave up the effort, thinking that once people saw him and his walk, there would never be a question. The young man drove off. Abe slowly turned his legs out of the car, holding on to the door top for leverage. He looked back at Ruth, as if to ask “do you want to come?” She motioned him on. Abe straightened himself, his thin gray hair blown by the wind. He still wore a long sleeve shirt and khakis, but steps were measured out carefully now, always wary of a fall. Most onlookers wondered if he was going to make it to wherever he was going. The grocery store seeming like


  Standish CA is just a spec on the road now, most noted as a gateway to the high desert. Once though ideas of Utopia were here. You can almost sense this in the untended fields, broken fences, and remaining buildings. The colors of long grass in the fields play with your mind.  The place flourished in the late 1800’s. Laid out by a religious group from the East and named after the colonizer Miles Standish, it was thought to have everything. Fertile land, settlers willing to follow a dream, and importantly an abundance of water from nearby Honey Lake.  Perhaps a harbinger of the West of the future, times changed. Water rights became an issue with already established ranchers. Finally, the State had to step in carving up the rights between different factions. Standish could no longer survive on the portion allocated. Dreams of Utopia faded, the town slowly giving way back to the high desert. I had stopped at the only business in town, a small liquor store. Mabel, the clerk, explained th