08 December 2010

Old and New: Time Marches On

Last week a scene in West Texas brought rushing thoughts about the link between old and new—technologies, families, traditions. Two months is a long time between blog posts. In my defense, these last two months have been packed with genealogical volunteer commitments, three conferences in three consecutive weekends, and some well-earned time off to visit family during the holidays. That family visit started with a 1,000 mile trip from the piney woods of East Texas to the Sonoran desert of Arizona. A drive through West Texas is usually a long, mindless trek without much to look at. I appreciate the stark beauty of the plains, but 400 miles of it with few breaks can allow the mind of even a true plains lover to wander.

Approaching Abilene we started seeing many more modern windmills than on our last trip four years ago. The towering windmills with long, swooping arms have a graceful beauty I find soothing. No new technology comes without drawbacks, but the windmills appeal to me. I bet lots of citizens complained about electrical poles and wires being erected across our lands back in the early nineteenth century as some do today about the windmills. If it helps us use less oil it can't be all bad.

We stopped and I took a few photos of the windmills. A few miles further down the interstate I saw an image that made me suck in my breath. My patient husband got off the interstate and drove several miles on the service road so I could take another photo. The framing isn't as exquisite as the view from the interstate was, but I wasn't willing to risk death for the perfect photo.
Old and new, side by side, sharing the wide open spaces. Of course, the image doesn't show the true size of the modern windmills which are much farther away than the old-fashioned windmill is. My husband's store of patience isn't enough to drive around the backroads for hours looking for the perfect photo, but I'll settle for this.

The old and new were evident in our holiday celebration, too. Daughters cooked all the dishes. I wasn't allowed in the kitchen. The dressing wasn't from my grandmother's recipe or even my mother-in-law's oyster dressing I learned to love as an adult. New traditions and dishes were introduced. When my last maternal aunt died a few years ago I bemoaned the fact I was now the family matriarch. Now I'm thinking that may not be all bad. Of course, by the time the dinner was done my daughter who hosted the dinner was exhausted so she did let me and my other daughter clean the kitchen. Too bad that matriarch thing didn't carry through the cleaning part of the day.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved


  1. I can't tell you how many pieces of new windmills have passed through my town, tied up tight on big trucks, on their way up there. Thanks for sharing your old-and-new photos and a bit about your travels.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it. I didn't even mention the part where we saw one of the blades being transported by truck along I-20 as we returned home. Those things are BIG as well as beautiful. I hope they never have to transport one through a small town with tight turns. Someday I would like to see one of the windmills up close and personal.

  3. I see the blades and other pieces on trucks going up I45 all the time. A lot of them.

    The only wind machines I've see up close are the ones out toward Palm Springs. Those suckers are noisy! I wonder if the newer TX ones are, too.

  4. Great post. I love the old windmills and the new ones, too. We don't have many of either in Ohio but driving west along I-70 toward Wyoming and Utah, we see lots of them. They have a strength all their own.