Scars, Bars and Blues

–A Time Of Sleet and Snow

It was early 1972 and February had turned brutally cold with snow covering the Interstate.  The hours passed on the lonely drive as I went from interstate to two-lane blacktop to a small dirt road near Boone, North Carolina.  The landscape was buried under ice and snow and with dusk falling, I slowed down and drove with caution.  According to my map, I was about ten miles from the farm that I was looking forward to spending some time at after many years of playing music on the road.  For me, it would be a time of healing.

The wind was blinding, and my old 69 Ford Econoline Van was not made for dirt roads and snow, so I was taking it slow.  The heater was struggling to keep the ice off the windshield, so it was icing over badly.  I was still several miles from the farm when I realized the snow was too deep to drive through and the windshield had finally iced over.

I pulled over as close to the ditch as I could, putting the Van in park, and dug through my trunk for the winter clothing I brought.  Fortunately, while shopping for an old barn coat at the thrift store, I also found some snow boots.  I grabbed some trail mix, my gloves, and off I went into the night.

The cold was like a living thing, strong and at times frightening.  It drained your energy making a short few miles seemed like a trek to the North Pole.

I found myself looking down, walking slower while the wind found any place it could to get past my attempt at weatherproofing myself.  The snow came down harder and the wind was so robust that my face felt frozen.

The road narrowed and was lined with tall pines that swayed as the wind grew even more furious; the limbs started cracking with a noise like a loud thunderclap and the limbs crashed to the ground all around me.  I dug into that waning reserve of strength and broke into a slow run toward a plank bridge.  I could hear a dog barking in the distance and what looked like a lantern swinging side to side.  While I was focused on the sound knowing they had a hound dog on the farm I hit a patch of slick ice and went sliding across the bridge over the side and landed on the frozen creek knocking the breath out of me.

I passed out for a moment but through the darkness, I could hear Henry calling my name and his hound dog barking.  As I was fading out again the hound dog came sliding across the ice and came to a stop beside me.  Henry said to grab his harness and he would pull me to the bank.   Henry reached out a hand as I neared the bank and pulled me up.

He had a thermos of hot coffee with a big smile he poured me a big cup, and we headed back to his farmhouse which was less than a quarter-mile from the bridge.  His house was a wood plank house with a big front porch and a big oak door that opened to a main room. Tucked into one corner was a wood-burning railroad pot-bellied stove.  The heat was wonderful, and Henry brought blankets for me to wrap up in.  Henry smiled and said welcome to the farm.

I had been on the road playing music for several years and the scars from that lifestyle were deep and painful.  I came here to this farm away from the lights, the Bourbon, and the loud music to heal those scars and get past being tired and the burnout that the road can gift us with.  I needed a quiet place to lay my head.  I came here to find a better day.

Coming soon Part Two:  Roosters Crowing and Train Whistles Blowing


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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