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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Mind Bridge... gone

It is fading fast. At one time, everywhere you walked in Navasota, there seemed to be a charming reminder of her past; an architectural relic, an antique light fixture, old native stone walls, or the handsome patina on a downtown storefront.

This was a quaint corner on Railroad Street, once the "blues alley" we want so much to preserve today. Anyone could look upon this seen as I did a few years ago and imagine Mance Lipscomb sitting on a stool, entertaining passers by. This scene, with its time worn character, that seemed to bridge the gap of time, is gone, like so many others. If you go look upon the yellow church with modern doors that stands there now, you will see what I mean.

Photographers and artists serve a very important function, as they often document things, sometimes unwittingly, that will soon be changed or lost forever. I have been fortunate enough to have been there with my camera many times to capture our wonderful heritage, so at least some classic, poetic visuals could help future generations understand the importance of being sensitive, worthy stewards of our historic resources. So many from this generation just do not get it.

Throngs will never come to Navasota because of our Dairy Queen or Walmart, but because we offer an interesting, even inspiring pocket of our heritage, preserved for everyone to be reminded of who we were... and are. So we and they can know in part, what it means to be Texan. The whole world loves Texas. When traveling abroad, I discovered quickly to tell foreigners I was a Texan, and I would instantly get better treatment. All over Europe, blues enthusiasts know all about Mance Lipscomb, and other Texas blues musicians, and want to know more about where they came from.

If it were not for European blues lovers, the blues might have died during the Rock & Roll years, when British Rock Groups began to record blues songs and "invented" a supposedly new genre. Many music lovers in France, Germany and England know where the music really came from. And the same kind of irrational curiosity as that of Elvis and Graceland, brings them here. It is important to develop this world famous association we have with European tourists, who would rather come here, to the Blues Capital of Texas, than any place in America. And in order to develop and preserve that identity, we will have to take better care of other mind bridges like this.

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