Mark Tucker : Journal

Mr. Sherrill, on a perfect spring weekend

Posted in Interesting People by marktucker on March 18, 2012

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.

7 Responses

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  1. Steve Burns said, on March 19, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Mark: To me that sounds like a day that could do no wrong. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. a great way to start the week said, on March 19, 2012 at 8:44 am

    […] a long time fan of mark tucker’s. and it’s posts likeĀ this oneĀ  that inspire me so much. the portraits he takes. the stories he shares. i love the way he really […]

  3. amy said, on March 19, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I have a great image in my head of a funny looking guy with one side short, one side long hair bolting out of his house, big camera in hand! As for these images, I love the tone and the dignity.

  4. Daniel Thompson Iii said, on March 29, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I love that feeling of scrambling to get my gear together.
    ~ thanks for the blog post!

  5. Jennifer Kley said, on April 3, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Ugh. It’s posts and photos like these that make me tell total strangers (like the one I met in Safeway last week who said she loves photography) about your site, Mark. This is deliciousness. I’m glad Mr. Sherrill has both his dog AND someone to care for him. The car parking style: classic.

  6. Craig Krizek said, on April 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    great shots! What is your definition of “the big camera”…. JUST CURIOUS……

  7. Amber said, on May 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Great story. Matthew is my grandpa. This story captured him perfectly. Him and Lacey are healthy and happy at my uncles house.

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