Tuesday, August 05, 2008


1976 1991

I never saw her with arms, but one has to wonder why she was beheaded? Did it happen before or after she vacated her perch along the side of US90E in Del Rio, Texas? We -- me, Greffe, and Murphy -- were headed home after spending Thanksgiving holidays in the Big Bend. I don't recall ever seeing her when traveling west on this highway, but that was probably because it would have been dark by the time we passed through Del Rio having not left Austin until after getting off from work. Driving all night, we would arrive at the Rio Grande Village campground in Big Bend just at first light, detach the trailer and set up camp, make some coffee and breakfast before heading out into the park to photograph. All day Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting well before sun-up we would traverse the park visiting familiar and unfamiliar places, not returning to camp until well after another glorous sunset and the last light had faded from the sky. Sunday morning we would break camp early and head east putting us in Del Rio in late afternoon with the sun to our backs and brilliantly lighting the Del Rio Lady waving armlessly to travelers. Of course, over the years, there were many rude remarks made about the statue of the red bikini clad armless wonder standing in front of the Alamo Motel. She sort of marked our halfway point heading home to Austin from Big Bend. Then on one trip, she was no longer there, but I spotted her from the corner of my eye on the ground behind the motel, her head no where in sight. Used up, our highway sentinel had fallen from grace.

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