Ron and I went hunting breezeblocks again this afternoon. My list now stands at 86 properties with either breezeblocks, shadow blocks, or a combination of the two. I have found 51 examples of hidden circles; seven examples of Empress; six of square-in-square; five of double-Y; two of double-X; one each of arch/cathedral and snowflake; assorted squares and rectangles; and a handful of mystery styles, including a couple of Empress variants I haven’t been able to identify. I also spotted at least nine examples of shadow blocks in varying patterns — and we still haven’t inventoried the mid-century subdivisions in the southwest quadrant.
The featured photo at the top of this post is one I shot in December of the front of my church — a gorgeous A-frame with a snowflake-pattern breezeblock wall out front. Here are a couple more views, showing that stunning backlit cross:
First Presbyterian doesn’t have the market cornered on ecclesiastical breezeblocks, though. Immanuel Baptist Church makes nice use of hidden circles here:
We also found quite a few commercial installations:
Motel designers were especially fond of breezeblocks:
And last but not least, here’s a pretty residential application:
It was at this point in the trip that I turned to Ron and said, “If he’d build it out of breezeblocks, I might have to rethink my position on Trump’s ‘big, beautiful wall.'” And then I had an idea for the greatest political compromise in the history of ever … but that’s another post for another day.
It’s been an artsy sort of weekend. I made a double batch of hot-process soap yesterday and had enough time left to paint the prototype for my next mural, which is going on the side of Tee Pee Curios on Route 66 in Tucumcari the first week in October:
I’m looking forward to that project, although I’m a little antsy about having to work so high up off the ground. This mural is going on the side of a building that’s quite a bit taller than the garage walls I painted last spring. We’ll see if the magic of New Mexico is powerful enough to override my acrophobia.
I’ve also been using every spare minute to add more book illustrations. I’m looking at about 28 images by the time I finish. Here are the most recent ones:
Each image precedes a chapter and represents something significant from that chapter. You’ll have to read the novel to find out what a neon sign, a journal, a letter on motel stationery, a clothesline, a guitar pick, a burning cigarette, a snow cone, a milagro, a toy camera, a gopher snake, a seventh-grader’s biology assignment and a replica of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey have to do with the story.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I’m about four illustrations away from being able to submit this thing for publication, although I’m sure I’ll spend at least another week fussing over it before I work up the nerve to send it out into the world.
Ron waited until Monday to tell me he didn’t have to work today, and my editor sent out an email this morning telling all the reporters we could leave as soon as we filed our stories, so we ended up with an unexpected afternoon off and no specific plans or projects on our agenda.
Ron had posted a blog entry yesterday about the fact that the folks in Devil’s Elbow — who busted their butts to save the awesome historic bridge that carries Route 66 across the Big Piney River — have decorated the bridge for Christmas, possibly for the first time in its history.
It takes about three hours to get from Cape to the Elbow Inn.
We have to work tomorrow.
The Elbow Inn has good barbecue.
I think we all know what happened next.
And that, kids, is how we came to spend Christmas Eve celebrating the birth of Jesus at a biker bar in the Ozarks.
On the way back, I insisted on stopping to take some pictures of the gorgeous neon restoration at the former Skylark Motel — now a VFW — in St. Clair: