386. Walters, Cotton County (OK18)

This courthouse looks a little like what Lakin‘s courthouse looked like. Not exactly, obviously considering this one has three floors and the other only has two. And, of course, the quotation on the law enforcement memorial…

…definitely is a little different. While I’ve seen a lot of monuments devoted to lives lost in the line of duty, I’ve never seen one that that emphasizes the sacrifice in quite this way. While I have issues with institutional structures when it comes to police departments and issues with how their funding is allocated, I also know that there are many men and women who want to make a difference in their communities, and help people when they are in some of the worst moments of their lives. The idea that they would put themselves in danger like that is something to be lauded. At the same time, I feel the same about police as I feel about servicepeople: some are straight up heroes, some are complete and total jackholes, and most are regular people, just like you and I, who want to do their jobs and go home to their families. They are most certainly not divine, infallible, or untouchable beings. They are just people who have taken on an awesome responsibility, are given great leeway to do their jobs, and must also be held to account for their errors accordingly. I think this is something that both those who enforce the law and the citizenry they serve must think on. But this is an entirely different thought than the ones I had while photographing. What I was thinking while I was there was that there were a lot of muggles just hanging around the courthouse, which was strange considering how small the town is (just over 2500 people). It occurred to me that that’s there an active jail there so that has a little to do with it.

Of course, there’s always a cemetery. The cache was a boring one, a matchstick tube on a fence line. But something did catch my attention and give me a small wave of sadness.

A broken head stone of a child who only lived one day in 1917. Ironically, the stone reads “Gone but not forgotten.” As I looked down on it, I knew that it was a lie and had been for decades. Everyone who had ever known this child who never got a chance at life are probably long gone, too. At this point, it only exists as a broken piece of masonry and perhaps a line in the musty books of the county records department. But I guess if the soul stays near the place where its body rests…

…there are worse views to see for eternity. That, and maybe I was wrong back in Arapahoe.

And this was to be the end of my day, the last stop on my trip. But I had a lot of sunlight left and a long, but not that long, way to go. Could I squeeze in another county on the way? Of course I could! I looked at the maps, and called an audible. With no preparation or planning, I set off for my actual final county of the trip, making a final stop in…

2 thoughts on “386. Walters, Cotton County (OK18)

  1. If you ever get up this way, you’ll see Revolutionary War cemeteries. Some of those stones have just worn away to the point that you can’t read them, and many more are broken off. I agree it’s sad, I love reading and thinking about what those people’s lives were like.

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