For months, I have driven by this industrial lot that is filled with old gas pumps from another century. I can’t explain why, but I always wanted to stop and photograph them. Finally this last week with storm clouds gathering, I stopped and asked the owner if I could take some photos. I live in a small town, where people are nice but not immediately open to requests like this.

“What you goin’ to do with them pictures?” he asked while measuring me up. Was I a local or an outsider?

“Not much,” I answered feeling a little uneasy and not wanting to admit they would end up on a Web site. “I just like taking photos.”

“You gonna sell ’em or something?”

“Nope, not going to sell them.” I said smiling while remembering that too much talk in a small town means you have something to hide.

There was a long pause and I allowed my eyes to scan his office. It was a tumbled mess of oddly arranged desks that contained stacks of papers and file folders. Two co-workers occupied a couple of old metal office chairs near the front door. Both were munching away on a small bag of Cheetoes.

“Think it will be okay?” I asked again wondering if this was a good idea.

“You have any idea how many people want to buy those gas pumps?”

“No idea, but I bet there’s a lot,” I replied. People from Atlanta will buy anything in the mountains. They load stuff up and drive off thinking that what they have is quaint.

“Plenty, but the owner’s not selling any of them. They just sit out there and rust. Go ahead,” The man said squinting through a set of clouded glasses. “Take your photos. Just be careful.”

I thanked him, turned, and quickly headed out the door. I was grateful to return to my car, to my dogs, and to take the above photos on my way off the property!