GULF SHORES, AL; March 6, 2020 – It was 68° F, there was no ice on the water, but it felt as if there could have been. Young folks were down at the edge of the shoreline, a few wading, some playing volleyball, many just lying in the sun, determined to get a tan before the end of their vacations. But elderly folks sheltered themselves from the northerly wind behind a public building, soaking up the sun’s warmth, glad for the reprieve of shoveling snow back home.
Every third Friday of the month, Pensacola, Florida hosts Gallery Night. Downtown streets are closed to vehicular traffic at 5 p.m. when residents and visitors are invited for free events, such as an art fair, and live music on the streets. Many restaurants offer sidewalk cafe’s in the shade of Live Oak and Sycamore trees.
I went to see the 26th annual Power of Photography show (a spectacular photography exhibit) and was pleasantly surprised to see all the activity going on in town. Vendors along Government Street offer for sale very nice arts & crafts, there is free music everywhere, and many businesses offer special prices on drinks. The official party ends at 9 p.m., but most bars and restaurants stay open much later in the evening.
The photo was taken outside Carmen’s restaurant on South Palafox Street shortly after the festivities began. I rendered it in brown tones because it just felt like an old-time community event.
Thick fog muffled outdoor sounds in the late night. No one heard the wrecker pull in and park behind the Mercedes sedan. The operator worked quickly, quietly. He jacked up the car, removed the mag alloy wheels, set the car down on cement blocks, and silently drove away.
The following day, a neighbor came home for lunch; saw the expensive, violated car sitting on blocks, knocked on his neighbors door and wondered whether anyone noticed the theft of their neighbors wheels. “What kind of neighborhood are we living in that something like this could happen?” It was near noon. He knocked on the owner’s door. She was shocked, but not entirely surprised to see her car sitting as it was.
Several months earlier, she financed the expensive wheels and tires, but failed to make payments. After many unsuccessful attempts to collect, the finance company repossessed their property.
The car owner shrugged her shoulders, “I didn’t make my payments, so they came and got ‘em. I’m getting them back, I just have to go down and make a payment.”
Dark nights still bring in thick fog, the atmosphere is still eerily quiet, and there is no vigilante group to keep watch for furtive thieves. The Mercedes owner has her wheels back and all is as it should be in the Deep South neighborhood.
It began to rain.
She parked her bike…
…and knocked on the door.
A sunny Saturday in Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas, Mexico just across the border from Progreso, Texas. It’s a tourist town catering to Winter Texans who come south to escape the cold winter in the north. Primary businesses are pharmacies and dentist offices. Prescription medicines and dental work are less than half the cost for the same products and services in the U.S.
However, street vendors sell food and trinkets throughout the town. Many of the salespeople are very young children. Although they appear impoverished, popular legend has it that these children and their parents go home at night to beautiful homes in various communities in Texas and upscale neighborhoods in Reynosa, Mexico.
(Click on each of the photos to see a larger image.)