In 2010 my job ended. It was involuntary after the sale of my division to an out of town company. At 39 with two kids, it was really painful for all the common reasons. One always hopes these episodes create time to travel and catch up with the other aspects of life, but the reality is that doesn’t happen when you can’t sleep because you have no idea where or when the next position will show up, and with dependents, it’s awfully difficult to go on walkabout or take a flyer on a start-up. Still, I did manage to visit my cousin whose family had inherited the Yaggy Plantation. It was where my grandfather was born and raised, but like many farm-raised kids, wanted something else.
I arrived on a hot August day and spent a few days on the property but also traveling around with my cousin. It was a great time and I regret not taking even more pictures. The first images are from the plantation itself which was recently sold to a few actors who plan to keep it going. One evening, given the choice between a local fair and a demolition derby, we chose the fair. Some of my favorite images are from this adventure, partly from the images themselves, but also partly from the time - August is not a time for job searches so there was a lot less pressure to be on it every day. I was a bit unburdened and it was so much easier to approach people and take their photos which is a talent I really struggle with developing.
The girl with the sheep in the 4-H show, the young man selling tickets to the demolition derby, the barrel racing so close the horses kicked dirt in my face, the pink shirts all the burly men wore in honor of breast cancer research. Indelible memories for me of just seeing the midwestern world in a place east coasters rarely venture.
The final image is a small intersection. The grass in the background is the site of a railroad junction from a century ago. At one point the Yaggy Plantation was one of the largest apple producers in the nation and the trains would load up right there. It is my understanding a hail storm wiped all the trees out in one afternoon which ended that run. And so it goes, the fragility of life's work and sustenance is ever present.