Chance Encounter

Billy Faier - musician
Billy Faier – musician
Sometimes it is easy to forget that life is a journey full of unexpected twists. One day on a whim or boredom, I drove four hundred miles from San Antonio to the West Texas crossroads town of Marathon. I pass through Marathon once or twice a year on my way to Big Bend. It’s a good place to stop for coffee. In fact it is the last place to stop for anything for more than a hundred miles when heading into the Bend.

Sitting on the patio of my regular coffee joint was an old man playing the banjo with such eloquence that I had to sit down and listen. Funny, none of the other patrons seemed to notice him there. He was playing and singing tunes straight out of the East Coast folk scene of the 1940s and 50s. Given where he was in far West Texas it was like he had beamed in from another place and time.

That is how I made the acquaintance of Billy Faier. He was genuinely a veteran folk singer, friend of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, traveling companion of Woodie Guthrie, contemporary of Pete Seeger and practitioner of progressive politics. He was old school in ways that are hard to comprehend for the twenty first century. Now at eighty four or eighty five years old he was transplanted to another place altogether.

We spoke for half an hour. He had a bright cheerful manner with plenty of stories which he punctuated with simply beautiful solo banjo music. I bought a couple CDs and told him I’d see him next time I was out that way. Sadly he died before I got back to Marathon. I won’t forget him anytime soon.

Border View

Reflect the Border
Reflect the Border
The borderlands in far West Texas become a little poorer every day. That is strange given the amount of commerce that passes along the highways to and from Mexico. In some measure this is the result of the politics of division practiced in the United States. Small areas around the major border crossings and the maquiladoras flourish. The rest of the border is an economic desert fit only for the tit-for-tat of smugglers and authorities.

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The North America calendar
Weeks starting on Sunday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 51 – North America

The International calendar
Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 51 – International

Sunset

Winter Path
Winter Path
The old man with the cane was slow but moving forward speaking to passersby as he walked. He seemed to have no complaints.

This is a photo that I reinterpret from time to time. A black and white image derived from the same digital raw file was posted here some time ago. Each image is unique and together they represent a body of work based upon a single photograph.

Download the latest Phototrice calendar in PDF format. Direct download links – No signup required.

The North America calendar
Weeks starting on Sunday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 49 – North America

The International calendar
Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 49 – International