Our ultimate destination in Texas was Marfa. Sure, it was great to see the rest of Texas, but Marfa had been on our “destinations-that-must-be-seen” list for many years. “Why?” you ask. We’ll give you three big reasons:
1. it’s an important art community centered on Donald Judd’s work;
2. it’s where the movie “Giant” was filmed with Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean; and
3. it’s remote location makes for wonderful night sky viewing.
Now you’ll appreciate Marfa’s appeal.
We even stayed at El Paisano Hotel, where those movie stars stayed during the filming of “Giant.” The hotel is comfortable and right in the center of this small town of 2,000. As soon as we checked in, we walked out of the hotel, ready to explore the town. Browsed in the bookshop right next to the National Public Radio station. Stopped in a dozen art galleries and little shops. Snapped photos all around the town. Everyone was very friendly and only one person with whom we spoke was actually from Marfa. Most were transplants from big cities in Texas and were happy to have made the move.
The next day we walked to the Chinati Foundation. Our directions were to take a right turn after we passed the Border Patrol office. As we approached our turning point, several uniformed Border patrol officers were running outside, looking across their parking lot fence, cameras out and snapping photos. What was going on? Then we heard the strange birdcalls, and feathers appeared. Two wild-turkey toms! Our camera came out, too, and we started snapping photos as the turkeys engaged in aggressive strutting.
Exhausted from pushing the camera shutter, we took a break and had a cold drink next door at Fat Lyle’s food truck, and the woman there told us the long, sad tale of these turkeys in Marfa: fed as pets near the local school, the birds began attacking grade school kids for food; so, being afraid, the kids threw stones at the turkeys; the birds were removed by animal control to a far away location; but, then, some of the turkeys found their way back to town, where they think they “belong.”
After that story of love and betrayal, we headed on to Chinati…to be continued.