"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A brand of hope in wet concrete, and questions

I've seen this symbol many times in my life but this one caught my eye this weekend on a decaying sidewalk in Norman. I wondered about the people working on that Depression era crew long ago  in Oklahoma in the residential neighborhood of small frame houses. How hot was it? How long had they been working that day? Where were they all from? Which hands were assigned to place this symbol, this brand, of hope and three meals a day in hard times, in this concrete? They're all dead now, but still I wonder.
Then it occurred to me that I've never seen the tool that was used to imprint this brand of hope in the still wet concrete. Was it like a cattle brand? Was it a badge of honor and experience to be selected to place the mark of a long day's work in something that would last? Who designed the tool? Where were they made? What were they called? Have they all rusted away, or been melted down for metal in the war years? So many questions, unanswered in the years.

1 comment:

  1. Hah, I love it. I'm always wondering about stuff that other people don't care about. Like the "World's Largest Hand Dug Water Well" in Kansas. A local was bragging to me about it. I had to ask, "What the hell is a hand dug water well?" and how do you know it is the largest? And if there is no water in it, how can you call it a water well as opposed to a hole in the ground.

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