Every morning, James and I take Ringo for a walk through the neighborhood near our little brick 1922 house, in a residential section only two blocks south of the main street which eventually reaches downtown. Further south, the neighborhood abruptly ends with the Interstate highway.

Having been truncated by two major thoroughfares, the neighborhood has definitely seen better days. But perhaps it may have seen worse and is now on its way up. One can dream, anyway.

The oldest houses appear to have been built in the late 1800s, with the majority having been constructed in the 1920s and 1930s. There is a sprinkling of post-war houses as well, and less common, new construction usually consisting of “project”-type housing.

If I had a LOT of cash, this neighborhood would be a good investment, buying up cheap houses, fixing them up and selling at reasonable prices. But who knows what direction this neighborhood will really take, especially during these tough times?

It is rather sad to walk through this neighborhood. Echoes of a bygone era whisper as we walk through the narrow alleys choked with weeds and discarded furniture and appliances.

One can tell that the houses were grand at one time, with detached garages lining these rutted little byways. It is a sad testimony of neglect and careless dumping.

Alleys and fields are perfect places for Ringo to “do his business”. There are more vacant lots close to the Interstate. The juxtaposition of wide-open weedy spaces and the roar of the cars on the freeway offer a clashing contradiction for the senses.

Walk #1:  10/19/08

Yesterday morning was sunny and clear — cool but not brisk — as James, Ringo and I started our walk. There were more people up and about on a Sunday than we see during the week.

The first person we encountered was a man of indeterminate age shuffling aimlessly along the cracked sidewalk in our direction on the opposite side of the street. He stepped into the intersection and veered left, weaving into the middle of the street.

Ringo perked up his nose and sniffed the air, his attention immediately drawn to a flock of large, black crows picking at an object in this intersection.  As humans and dog approached, the birds rose up in a clattering flurry of wings and caws.

The roar of the highway increased in volume as we neared Ringo’s favorite vacant lot.

At the far end of this lot are two abandoned houses. I finally remembered to bring my camera in an attempt to capture some impressions of this neighborhood for the blog. I snapped this shot of the first “foreclosed” house, where new plywood has been tacked onto the windows just over the past couple of days:

…and the house next to it, in similar condition:

We walked up a couple of blocks back towards our house, away from the highway, and were treated with the sight of this yard full of “collectables”:

Then we turned down the alley which eventually leads to our house, and I took a picture of this garage and back yard which had caught my eye over the past few walks:

A few doors down, this house shot from the alley:

Further down the alley, on the other side, was this structure which looks older than the others:

Another sad house, with a larger weedy lot, taken from the alley:

And now for something more cheerful — a couple shots of the Fall colors:

James asked me to take a picture of this place with the tall pine and the tiny smudge of the moon to the left:

Walk #2 (today)

I took a break from writing the above to go on this morning’s walk. It’s one of the few overcast days we’ve had since we arrived on Oct. 6th. It looks like it’s going to rain soon, so we were glad to do the walk beforehand.

I suggested to James that we walk in the opposite direction from our house than we did yesterday, so I could take a picture of this colorful assemblage at “The Kings”:

An informal playground for the kiddies:

Lots of local residents park their cars and boats in their yards:

Here’s a sad little house. For some reason I could actually see myself living in this, if it were spruced up.

…and the house directly across the street:

Many yards have wood ready to be split:

I trust that the string of lights in this front yard make this place look better at night (with passing shot of Ringo):

A typical alley in the ‘hood:

A bit o’ this and a bit o’ that, including Halloween decor:

Another temporary change-of-scene with more Fall colors:

More creative Halloweening:

Combining “car in the hood” with Fall color:

As we approached the following house a few doors down from the car, the dog in the front yard started barking furiously. I snapped the shot without realizing that I caught the owner, who emerged to see what all the barking was about:

I don’t think he saw me taking the picture. I noticed him standing in front of his door afterwards, when we had already passed by, and he didn’t even look in our direction as he was so focused on his barking dog.