There are days when it’s good to be a photographer, when the camera puts one in a very special moment.
In April of 1991 I traveled to Oxford Mississippi with talented writer (and great baker) Joe Rada. While there Joe arranged for us to meet with fireman turned novelist, non-fiction and short story writer Larry Brown, winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award for fiction, the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Award, the Mississippi’s Governor’s Award For Excellence in the Arts and two-time winner of the Southern Book Award for Fiction. Larry was getting a lot of national press for his gritty Southern literature.
We arranged to meet at Square Books, an fabulous book store on the square in Oxford. When Larry arrived we went upstairs to a porch/balcony, ordered coffee and talked. Larry, who died in 2004, was a quiet, soft-spoken gentleman and a pleasure to hang out with. As we talked people came and went, often saying hello to Larry. It seemed like everyone knew him. Larry invited one young man to join us. He introduced us to John Grisham who’s new book “The Firm” had just come out.
Larry wanted to hear about Grisham’s visit to the Today Show, his first national TV appearance. Grisham was very excited about the book and the appearance but was pretty drained by all the sudden celebrity and it’s attendant travel. I sat and listened as Joe, Larry and John talked about words, writing and Southern Literature. Before Grisham left I went downstairs and bought a copy of The Firm to get signed. Glad I did. I also had Larry sign a couple of his for me.
Later in the morning Joe and followed Joe to Tula Mississippi to Larry’s home place and photographed him there. That evening we went to a local watering hole for an after-work beverage and ran into Larry again and continued that special day over a couple beers. Not too bad a day.