The Value Of A Good Story

When a book inspires you to learn the value is priceless. I often wonder where I would be had I never opened that first book.

In 1958 I lived on a long, straight as an arrow, dirt road. It was a hot dusty July day. Thunder clouds gathering in the distance.   The family had stopped the field work to eat lunch and we were all sitting on the front porch.

I saw a car coming down the road trailing a cloud of dust in its wake. You couldn’t drive fast on the dirt road because of all the ruts and holes in the road. It seemed to take forever before the car slowed down and pulled into our driveway. The car was covered in dust and out came this gentleman in a Seersucker suit and a Panama hat. We all stared because that was Sunday dress to us. He asked me my name and asked if I liked to travel.

Well being six years old I told him that I didn’t talk to strangers and I traveled to my cousin’s house every day. He brought out these orange books called Childcraft books. They had the most amazing illustrations I had ever seen. My face lit up then dropped. Even at six, I knew we were poor and could never afford a book like that.

Daddy and the salesman walked down the road toward the tobacco barn and when the man came back his face was red and he was acting really happy. Even at six, I knew the barn was where daddy kept his lemonade which later in life I found out was really moonshine. The salesman left me the book and said I would be getting more monthly.

That night Daddy let me stay up late devouring the book from cover to cover. The book had stories, full-color illustrations, science, poetry and the books were made to make learning fun. Thanks to those books by the end of the first grade I was way ahead of my class in reading and growing in that skill daily. I read Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Aladdin, history, and more.

I would sit by the creek reading. In my mind, I traveled on great journeys, fought in great battles, went to the moon, and rode with notorious outlaws. I was hooked on learning and wanted more. I had a library card by first grade. By twelve I was reading Henry David Thoreau. By sixteen my quest for knowledge took me out of school and set me on my quest of learning. I spent five years on the road playing music.

I never lost my love for learning and knowledge. The most enlightening thing I became aware of is that learning requires engaged listening. While the books may inspire the urge to learn I have learned so much from practicing listening. Everyone you meet has a story and something that they can teach you. Everyone has a story to tell.

Point of View:

We should strive to learn something new every day. Knowledge is infinite and as long as we desire we can learn. Knowledge is awe-inspiring so as to keep us humble. Inspire yourself to learn something new every day then inspire others by sharing. Listen to others with an open heart and open mind and together you can do amazing things.

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. I hope they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind, lest they be forgotten.


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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  1. I treasure this peek into your life. I always enjoy your writing. I loved Child craft books too. I was not happy when we weren’t allowed to check them out like library books. My parents had no money for encyclopedias or childcraft so if we visited people who had them, you would find me reading from the moment we arrived until we went home. I wish I could find that passion for reading again. I keep promising myself I will read more. I’m getting better, but not nearly the rate I set for myself. Thank you for impressing on me the joy that reading and learning can bring.

  2. I’m in total agreement and I love this article. Thanks to Larry for encouraging us to share what we learn. I’ve often heard the statement, “Knowledge is power!”, but is knowledge really power if you don’t use or share the knowledge you’ve acquired? We should be open to learning until the day we die but please don’t die with all that knowledge in your head. The graveyard is filled with smart, knowledgeable people that died with books, poems, inventions, much-needed cures, etc. if they only would have shared the knowledge they gained with others, we would be a powerful nation. So, don’t just learn something new, share what you’ve learned for the benefit of others; in the end, we all could be knowledgeable and powerful and healthy and perhaps wealthy. Knowledge is not power unless you use it!

    • I agree with you. Our knowledge becomes more valuable, the more we invest it in helping others learn to. Each one, teach one philosophy.

  3. Knowledge is an investment in a very special good, human capital. Knowledge increases the ability to develop new technologies, new ideas, new products or production processes. The return on investment in knowledge is higher than that of any other investment. It is the root of human and social progress, the condition for economic development. Today, probably even more than in the past.
    The basic idea is simple: this investment serves to ensure that a large number of people can then contribute to the country’s economic growth: they represent fuel for innovation and economic growth. Critical thinking and innovation are two complementary aspects that form with higher education.

    • Thank you for your kind words. Yes we could do an interview would have to be next week. The retail weekends are like thunderstorms

    • Thank you so much Arlene I appreciate your feedback and I’m glad you like the story. Been a long journey from there to here.