Thursday, April 12, 2012

bend in the road

Somebody in this post has talent.

We've discussed this. You know that I know that you know that I know very little about art. I can't draw, paint, sing, play a musical instrument, sculpt or even come up with any more traditional arts at the moment so I obviously have a problem with writing as well. So why, you may ask, am I showing you a photograph of art and that would be a very good question. You would win the question of the day and I would send you a grand prize of a piece of art if I could make art.

But I can't.

What I can tell you is that yesterday I visited a little town, community, stop sign or bend in the road called Taylor, MS. Taylor is charming and quaint and old brick and weathered tin and front porches and most known for a little restaurant called Taylor Grocery. Taylor Grocery serves up a fine catfish and a very rare hushpuppy. Please understand we do not fry up our puppies even when they won't be quiet. Rather we take some flour, cornmeal, onion, egg, sugar and sometimes even diced jalapeno and we drop the mixture by spoonfulls in hot grease. When done correctly a hushpuppy is just a tad bit smaller than a golf ball, brown and crispy on the outside with a warm and fluffy middle. Not a whole lot of people can get them right. My Mama can and so can Taylor Grocery.

We grow big puppies.

A fine example of a front porch, though Ken's photograph is much, much better.

I had seen and read about Taylor Grocery in Ken Murphy's second book, Mississippi, but I had never been there until yesterday. Debi took me, and I'd like to take a moment just to thank her for that. Thank you, Debi, you're the best.

Yes. Yes. You may ask what does this have to do with art other than the art of cooking catfish or those hushpuppies and again you would win a prize. Congratulations. That's another great question.

All I can tell you is that Debi was on that porch talking to a woman from Washington D.C. who was living in California for six months and here with her husband who was giving a talk at the University of Mississippi. That's a mouthful but anyway she was just out exploring and Debi is/was the most perfect person to tell her some great places to go. While Debi was representing I was walking that porch 'cause I had seen some weathered tin and old brick and interesting windows and heads within. I was peering through those windows trying to come up with a way to photograph the heads without a glare.

Closer and closer I got till I noticed the door was open.

I did what you would do. I peeked in.

This is me falling in love with a man.

Hello, I said.

Hello, he replied.

Are you open? I began to look around. May I come in?

Yes. He was beautifully calm and soft spoken.

I introduced myself with a handshake, saw a huge incomplete Elvis in the middle of the room and asked permission to take some shots. His name was Bill, his hand had the perfect grip and yes, I could take some shots.

Ohmygosh. his. work. geez. what?

Disclaimer: I don't know what to say other than I am going to display some photographs which will never be able to do justice to his work. Sorry, Bill.

Dear Bill, I am not worthy of your love.

Obviously Bill had to kill a person to create this dog.

And I'm okay with that.

I once knew a blues musician who toured with John Lee Hooker. He was from Oakland, California and had come to Mississippi to play the blues with the greats. What he found was there was not much pay to be had here 'cause so many were playing the blues.

At one time in my life I wanted to escape, go to UCLA or the American University in Paris. My Dad said, No way. It has taken me this long to find out what I could learn here by simply being curious and walking the length of a lovely porch.

You can see more of Bill's work here.

I told him to come to Como. He and Sharon have to meet.

Tonight I am grateful for warm days spent with cool friends, long drives, rare hushpuppies and beautiful finds.

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