From Wichita Falls to Fort Worth the scenery was mostly cattle. We saw cattle ankle-deep (do cows have ankles?) in alfalfa, their shiny brown or black coats vivid against the bright green. There were cattle in feed lots fattening up for market. Cattle trucks, full and empty, roared by. Cattle ranches were on the left and right, with one pole up on each side of the driveway and one over the top to make a ranch entrance, and a brand sign or name on top. The drivers of pickups wore ranch clothes and Texas hats and waved Texas friendly.
In Windthorst, a tiny town of about 400 souls, we were startled to see a large brick church on a hill with an elaborate grotto at its base. Very European, we decided, and sure enough, the original church (this is the third) was the first building erected by the German Catholic settlers when they founded this town about 1900. Today the town was full of signs about the girls' state volleyball tournament. Winslow Homer painting
In Fort Worth we stopped at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Originally built to house Mr. Carter's collection of Western art including many works by Frederic Remington, the museum's collection now includes fine works by John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Ben Shawn and Georgia O'Keeffe, among others, well displayed in spacious galleries. We were less attracted by the works of Charles M. Russell, because, charming as they are, they are too closely attached to the mythologizing of the West, turning fact into fiction.
We were most impressed by the museum's photography exhibit, which includes historic photographs and techniques as well as works by contemporary Dallas Botanical Garden photographers. The museum holds more than a quarter of a million photographic items, including the photographic estate of Edward Weston. The pictures are all the more beautiful because we know that many of the photographs depict pristine wilderness scenes of regions that are now dotted with buildings and crossed with roads.
Two other nearby museums -- the Kemball Museum of European Art and the Museum of Modern Art -- must wait for another visit.
Navigating the swirl of freeways surrounding downtown Dallas we exited at Fair Park, looked at the Cotton Bowl and the other exhibition buildings, and then found our way up East Grand Avenue to White Rock Lake and the Dallas Arboretum. This is a splendid place to visit, made possible only by the city's acquisition of two magnificent waterfront estates surrounded by gardens. The botanists have added more flowers, shrubs and trees, along with a A Dallas skyscraper Pioneer Discovery area frequented by school groups. There were quite a few groups of little ones, but we threaded our way through the excited kids and took a great many photographs of the lovely scenery. We also had a good long walk with lovely weather around 70 degrees. We loved the beautiful statuary and architecture and fountains which set off the gardens surrounding the houses, which are sometimes open to the public for guided tours. The city is deservably proud of this garden, which was only opened to the public in 1982.
Walking around downtown Dallas on a Saturday is probably not as much fun as during midweek, when the businessmen outnumber the bums; it was also foolish of us to choose the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination to be anywhere near downtown Dallas. Anyhow, after a few fits and starts we got ourselves on the Dallas North Toll Road and zipped out to the Galleria, which, although not quite as high-tech as advertised, still had a most attractive Xmas tree rising from the center of the ice rink through four stories of mall. We walked them all and so got plenty of exercise, for which we are grateful.