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Sepia The Color Of Memories

–The Dirt Road Chronicles

October 1971 – Charleston

It was after midnight when the bus let me off on King Steet.  The fog was rolling off the harbor, thick, wet, and cold.  The carriage house was only a few blocks from here.  It was small and tucked back behind my friend’s Thomas Street house, but it was perfect for a writer or artist.  I walked slowly down the street taking in the feeling of Charleston, a town said to be filled with spirits and ghosts that walked the deserted streets at night.  I heard a horse’s hooves clacking loudly on the cobblestone street, yet the fog made it impossible to see anything.  I walked with my head down going as fast as I could toward the Thomas Steet house.

The carriage house was behind the big house, and I was eager to get inside.  I could see candles in the windows and upon opening the door the warmth of the fireplace.  Just inside the door was a steamer trunk with an envelope laying on top.  From the handwriting on the envelope, I knew it was from Author Jessie Earle Grant.  It was a bit unsettling that he managed to get the truck here before I even made it to Charleston; however, I knew I shouldn’t be surprised.  I stood there staring at the trunk, knowing as bad as I wanted to open it, I was tired from the long trip and all I wanted to do was unpack my duffle, close the book on this night and get some needed sleep.

The night was filled with dreams tinted with the color Sepia.  I could see a party on the lawn by the river.  The band was playing Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and the master Count Basie.  The wine and champagne flowed freely, laughter, romance, and passion filled the air.  Jessie Earle was there reading his poetry and the crowd gathered close.  As in most dreams as he was reaching out to kiss the beautiful lady beside him, I then awakened, and the dream faded into the mist.

As I slowly shook off the cobwebs of my dreams, I smelled coffee and heard plates being put on the table.  I slipped on my jeans and a sweater and headed downstairs.  I had yet to see Jessie and I was hoping this was the day, but he was not there.  The table was set, orange juice, shrimp and grits, strawberries, and chocolate crepes with whipped cream on top.  After my long journey to Charleston and the small amount of sleep, I indulged in all of the breakfast delights.

Jessie left a handwritten note on the table, and I opened the envelope.  In his best calligraphy, he wrote that he hoped I would enjoy the breakfast.  He said, “I know that you are probably wondering how you will have time to write.  Perhaps you need a bit of inspiration.”  I walked into the parlor and opened the steamer trunk.  It was filled with photographs of Jessie as a child with his family, school photos, and pictures of him with a beautiful woman.  The last envelope had many images of him on the island near Beaufort, at parties on his boat and several of him alone.  It stood out to me that he was sad, deeply withdrawn, and alone.

Jessie had left another note asking if I would do paintings of the photos, the memories of his life.  The last line of the note provided the answer to my question, telling me that I could write the story while painting the images using what I saw to create a collage.  The photos were many and it came to me I would create a large canvas in Sepia the color of memories.

I was excited to get to the art gallery on King Street, and I put on my best artist clothing, an old pair of white painter’s overalls.  I took my Royal typewriter in case I got inspired.  As I headed out the door, I noticed the window open in the main house and the owner Rebecca Lynn Grant was painting a still life in watercolors.  It was filled with pastels and warm browns.  I paused for a moment but decided to go to the art gallery and introduce myself to her when I came back and hopefully see the painting.

When I opened the door to the gallery I was overwhelmed at the paintings, the many artists working on different subject matter.  I knew then that Jessie’s memories would live on.

These are all the links to The Dirt Road Chronicles

The Royal Typewriter | BIZCATALYST 360°

The Poet’s Library | BIZCATALYST 360°

The Lost Poet | BIZCATALYST 360°

Saying Goodbye | BIZCATALYST 360°

The Urn Carver | BIZCATALYST 360°

Church Bells Ringing | BIZCATALYST 360°

Church Bells Ringing | BIZCATALYST 360°

The Wayward Son | BIZCATALYST 360°

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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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