Mr. Sherrill, on a perfect spring weekend
This weekend was perfect — rented a giant tiller, and cut up my front yard, making borders for mulch and bulbs.
And then, about sunset, we’re sitting on the front porch, and I see my neighbor across the street, shuffling down the sidewalk with his dog. But this time was special — he was in his church clothes, and I’d been waiting this for months. I lurched up out of the chair — haircut half-finished — one side long, the other side short, and ran inside to grab my big camera, find a card, and grab the right lens, before they made the corner. The light was perfect — golden sunset and saturated.
They make my block most every afternoon. His full name is Mr. Matthew Sherrill, and he was raised outside of Pulaski, Tennessee, (and original home of the KKK). He’s now either 96 or 97, depending on which day you ask him. He moved to my street, Bradford, in the late 1960′s, when this street was very rough. He raised a family here.
Today, he told me the story of Lacey, his dog. He had rushed to the vet one day with his old Bulldog, because the dog had overheated. The dog didn’t survive the night. But the next day, the vet called him and told him about an older lady in the neighborhood who’d had a heart attack, and she’d died, leaving this white/yellow mixed breed. The vet offered her to Mr. Sherrill. She was named Lacey, and she went home with him that afternoon.
He also told me today that he was leaving the street, and moving in with his son, out on the river. His house had been sold. It was time. He needed someone to check on him a bit more often. (Mr. Sherrill still drives, to this day — a giant, gold Lincoln Continental — and you see him coming down Bradford, at about 15 miles an hour, and then he finds his house, drives the car up on the curb, and then drops it back down in the street, perfectly in front of his house).
Note: He still sings in his church. Here is a video that I shot of him and neighbor Julie Lee, singing in his driveway, last year.