I stand at the threshold of the old Belk-Tyler’s store, my hands wrapped around the lens of my camera, my eyes centered on the cracked tiles.
I’m looking for whatever I can see because seeing is the way I change how I think.
“Hey. You taking pictures of stuff?”
I hear him before I see him and his presence throws me off my seeing.
“You taking pictures down here?”
I turn to meet the voice calling to me and I grin when I see his face.
“You know, I used to come to this store when I was little. I stole a stapler one time and then I ran back and turned myself in. And that lady I stole it from bought it for me. I ain’t never stole nothing else.” He pauses in his storytelling, but his hands never stop gesturing to the buildings lining the street.
I watch his hands. I take in his slender fingers, his clean nails, the way his veins are raised. His hands look younger than his face and I tuck that thought away.
“My name is Guerney Walker Talker. I talk a lot. I guess you know that by now,” he grins this time and I smile big and wide.
It’s my turn to share and I answer him with just a nod. I know he just wants to be heard.
“Can you take my picture?” he asks. “I worked in Greensboro when Reagan was running for president and I had my picture taken with him but nobody mailed it to me. Reagan, he was a good man. I liked him. I just wish he had mailed me the picture. You gonna take my picture and mail it to me?”
I pose him in the good light and I take 4 pictures. “I’ll mail them to you if you’ll give me your address,” I say.
He opens his wallet and pulls out a scrap of paper.
On the front of the paper, he scrawls his address.
And on the back he writes Jesus loves you.
I’m joining Lisa-Jo and the Five Minute Friday community this week. When I saw the prompt, I knew I needed to tell you about Guerney. I met him on Saturday while the Man was writing a sermon and the kids were tearing up my yard. I could write you a 2000 word post about the 87 things I learned from this man, but alas, I only had 5 minutes.
And honestly, I took quite a few more than 5 minutes tonight.
But I’m not sorry.
Guerney is precious.