Black-and-white photographs

He comes in periodically with a new batch of old photos, of people and places around the county from days gone by.

And once a week we run one, a sort of backwards glance.

Today he wanted to talk local high school football. One school just let their long-time coach go and he remembers a different school who kept their coach for decades, even though he wasn’t very good.

And within minutes he’s back in the past, remembering the team that was undefeated so many decades ago, the star that year who was second in his stats for the state but could have been first if anyone had been paying any attention.

He’s rattling off the numbers and remembering how the boy was benched whenever the team was winning by too much. The boy, a sitting councilman, died a week ago.

And now he’s remembering how communities shrunk when they closed railroads, and how the boys on the football team fought each other after three tiny schools were merged, how it took years for them to become one team.

But one just loved to fight. “If a leaf fell from a tree that was a reason for a fight,” he said. He’s not sure if he’s still living.

That was 50 years ago.

And then he wanders out, back into the June sunshine. But I wonder where he is, really?

Because we take our backward glances here weekly.

But I think he lives there, in his black-and-white photographs of a county made of coal and rail roads.



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