The Blue Bird Bookstore

–Chapter One

It was a cold December day, and I was a bit sad.  It seemed like a long, lonely drive as I always took the back roads instead of the interstates.  It had been a while since I visited the old homestead and while it always awakened good memories it was a sad lonesome and abandoned place.  It was my home for many years and some of my most cherished memories were made on that old tobacco farm.

I was coming to a town near the South Carolina North Carolina state line and while it was at one time a busy town filled with people it was now deserted.  The buildings were boarded up, the sidewalks cracked and dirty.  My daddy purchased his first car here and at harvest time we brought our cotton and tobacco here.  It was a place of friends, families and you could feel the joy and hear the laughter, but not today.  The only sound was the cold wind blowing down the empty street, almost a ghost town.

As I came across the bridge, I noticed the river was frozen in places.  I stopped at the red light looking right toward my old home and then looked left seeing an old storefront bookstore.  The sidewalk in front of the store was power washed, the windows clean, and Christmas books were in the window.  It was the only store open on the street and I was sure I had never seen this bookstore.  I grew up here and would have remembered this place as I loved books.  Growing up daddy would take me to the library in Myrtle Beach to check out books for two weeks.  It was a special time for us, just me, my dad, and a good book to read.

I opened the glass doors and walked inside.  The old wooden floor had a nice deep bass sound as I walked inside toward the man sitting by the window writing in a leather journal.  It was beautifully embossed with an image of an old tobacco barn.  That awakened many memories from my childhood days on the farm.  The man looked up and said, “Welcome to The Blue Bird Bookstore.”  He told me his name was Tabias Hammond and he wrote stories for people.  A chill ran through my body, and I knew he went to school with me in 1959 before I moved to Myrtle Beach.

I kept in touch with him until I was sixteen and for some reason he stopped sending letters.  On a visit to the farm in the late sixties I stopped by the Hammond farm and was told he had taken a drive late one night and never came back.  Yet here he was sitting in a bookstore I had never seen before.  I asked him how it was possible that he was here.  He took a pause and stared out the window.  In a quiet almost whisper he asked that I take a seat by the fireplace, and he would tell me his story.

Tabias Hammond

It was late one night, and I was driving over to see a friend just past Fair Bluff.  The rain stopped suddenly, a dense fog appeared, and I ran into one of the oak trees just as I crossed the Lumber River.  I was not hurt, and I found myself in a bookstore filled with books but none of the books had anything written in them.  A note left on the counter told a story about living books, and I would write stories for others until I found my own story.

I asked him how he was here, and he said that he was here but in a different place.  A place of living stories, a place where lost stories are found.  I asked him about the bookstore, and he told me it was only here for the people that believed in storytelling.

Tabias asked me to relax by the fire and tell him my story. He took out a calligraphy pen and dipped it into the inkwell then holding the pen on the first page the words appeared as I talked.  It seemed that hours passed before he put down the pen.  He told me to take the book and come back when I finished reading what I wrote in the book.

I thanked him and got in my car.  Driving away, in my rearview mirror I could see that the bookstore was gone.

Part Two coming soon.

The Living Books


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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