In which our intrepid hero encounters Trojan horses of a most unusual kind…
Let me declare flat out that unexpected pleasures are the best pleasures. A gift is better if you don’t know what it is, better still if unanticipated. Case in point: twenty years ago, a local movie theater held a week-long series of Hong Kong films. This was long before Americans knew who Jackie Chan was and Hong Kong cinema was known primarily to cinephiles. I myself had never seen a Hong Kong film at that point, so I decided to go see one of the movies. This was the 1993 film The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk. I knew absolutely nothing about this film—and this was before the World Wide Web—so I found myself in a situation that I pretty much never am in, going to see a movie completely blind about it. I didn’t know the cast, the plot, the concept, nothing. To my delight and surprise, the movie, an action-comedy, turned out to be extremely entertaining. Because I had no expectations for the film at all (I didn’t even know it would be a comedy), the fact that it turned out to be pretty decent made it even better, because it was so unexpected. Even the smallest pleasures get magnified when they come unannounced.
[Note that you can click on the images below for larger, better versions]
Little did I know as I entered the western Ohio town of Troy that such an unexpected pleasure would await me. Troy (population 25,058, salute!) is a prosperous town on I-75 a bit north of I-70. It’s a rare Ohio town that has experienced substantial population growth in the past half century, in some decades growing by more than 20%. Some of that growth probably came at the expense of Dayton, as Troy is in effect a distant suburb of Dayton (which has lost half its population in the last half-century).
Or so I thought, anyway. It dawned on me eventually—I am sometimes slow on the uptake—that the guy wasn’t moving. Closer inspection (below) revealed that this wasn’t a person at all. Rather, I was looking at a lifelike statue, very realistic except for the skin tone. It was actually a bronze sculpture. I have to say this delighted me no end. Who would think that there would be a sculpture of a guy with a lawnmower in front of the county courthouse of a small town?
As I drove around central Troy, though, I realized that Lawnmower Man was not alone. I’d catch someone out of the corner of my eye and when I turned to look I would see it wasn’t a someone at all—it was another sculpture, like the below example of a young man and his girlfriend.
Here’s another one. A young man, right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, perhaps getting ready to leave on the bus or the train, possibly to go to college.
After a bit, I began to be suspicious of pretty much everyone. As I drove around, I scoped out every human being with the intensity of George Zimmerman looking for black teenagers. Everybody was a potential statue. I’d look down a street like the below street and scan it for statues.
And often I would find one, including on that very street, as this close-up reveals. It turns out that these statues were among 20 statues that were part of something called Statues on the Square, which the town of Troy periodically organizes. Apparently there have been at least six such exhibitions, and three of them had sculptures by the sculptor who did these, an artist named Seward Johnson. Kudos to Troy for this great example of public art. It turned what would have been a “routine” trip to an Ohio town for me into an unexpected Easter egg hunt. I hope they keep Sculptures on the Square going.
What does “the Square” look like? Troy has a very nice town center, dominated, as is the case with many towns, with a traffic circle or roundabout.
Troy also has a number of nicely aged buildings. The below building includes an example of something that did not interest me at all before I started my “excursions,” but which came to interest and appeal to me over the course of the past several months: old fashioned fire escapes. I guess it is because I rarely if ever see them in Columbus. I suspect you will see more pictures of fire escapes in upcoming blog entries.
Having conquered Troy, I now decided it was time to start my odyssey homeward. So I headed east, taking a different route home. I found this interesting old farmhouse not too far outside of Troy.
I also found this old garage with a beautiful antique truck in front of it.