Welcome to Ryley Writes, a collection of thoughts, stories, and work from deep in the heart of Texas.

254 | Lamar County

254 | Lamar County


Once, a long, long time ago (like 6 months), in a land far, far away (Dallas), I decided I would spend my Saturday in Paris, Texas.

A couple of friends, Charles and Rachel Dew, decided to tag along; perhaps because they had recently moved to Dallas from Louisiana and didn’t know enough about Paris, Texas to decline spending their Saturday there. I got a little nervous that they would regret their decision when Charles started googling “things to do in Paris, Texas” on the drive up. I hastily began defending the choice — I just needed to get 254 Challenge photos, I hadn’t been to Lamar County yet, there’s supposedly a great bakery, I’m sorry for tricking you, you know I thrive in obscure small towns with no tourism draw whatsoever — but soon, Charles held a hand up to silence me and, with joy in his eyes, announced that he had found the reason for our visit. The thing that, if nothing else, made the 3-hour round trip worth it.

Boots Jesus.

Apparently, according to The Internet, there was a gravesite in the Paris cemetery over which a statue of Jesus (maybe) presides. And presides, according to the wishes of the deceased and in keeping with biblical text*, whilst sporting cowboy boots.

We agreed to save the best for last, and first checked out the downtown square, Paris Bakery (which was both delicious and shabby-chic charming), the Eiffel Tower, and a few local neighborhood streets. Charles and Rachel got a taste of my usual exploration of small towns when I spotted the “bluegrass building,” threw the car in park, grabbed my camera, and took off running and yelling with them sitting half-pulled over on the road. Sorry guys! (In my defense, it was apparently the only well-composed photo I took all day. You win some, you lose some. But at least the win was big — for some reason, the shot below is one of my favorites I’ve taken yet during this project.)


Finally, after polishing off burgers and fries at Jaxx Burgers, we decided the time had come to see Boots Jesus for ourselves. We stopped by the cemetery on our way out and drove carefully down the dirt road, keeping our eyes peeled.

Someone pointed out what they thought was the right grave, and we piled out and wandered over. Sure enough, there was Jesus (maybe); his long robes draped over a lovely pair of Luccheses.

“Texas, man,” my Louisiana friends declared in awe.


*This is absolutely not in keeping with biblical text.

On Being Scared

On Being Scared

Last Shot

Last Shot