R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Author: R.S. Williams (page 1 of 67)

Wednesday Photo: 9/19/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 22”
Nashville, Tennessee – 2018

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Somewhere in Harris County, Georgia

Driving down Georgia Highway 219 to Columbus, I saw the broken, furry heap slumped at the edge of the asphalt, just beyond the white line. It was a long-haired miniature Dachshund. Someone had loved it enough to dress it in a little Christmas sweater.

You could’ve heard my heart shatter from ten miles away.

As the car and I zoomed past, I made plans for the trip home. On my way back to LaGrange, I’d pull over and see if the dog had a collar and tag. That way, I could call its people with the sad news. If not, I’d move the poor little thing off the road, so it wouldn’t get mashed and scattered about by the tires of passing cars and log trucks. That was the least I could do: give a helpless creature the bit of dignity in death that had escaped it in life.

It was almost dark when I returned. I stopped the car on the side of the road, about 75 feet from the pitiful carcass. That was the safest place to park on the curvy, hilly two-lane road. I walked back to where I’d seen the little dog early that morning. The knot in my stomach grew. It always does, when I stop to move dead animals out of the highway.

And there it—wait. What?

Nope, no dead weenie dog in a fancy sweater. Instead, there lay two beautiful ceramic dolls. Both were a little scraped up from the fall onto the pavement, but still in good shape.

I peered down the bank into the ditch. Strewn for maybe 50 yards were all kinds of items: a few household gadgets, some discarded clothing, pieces of children’s toys, a little garbage. All of it, dolls included, must’ve flown unsecured out of the bed of someone’s pickup truck.

Funny what we think we see when we’re moving by at 70 miles per hour.

All I could think of was some little girl—or maybe a not-so-little girl—sick with panic over her missing dolls. I gently picked them up and carried them back to the car. They looked so sad lying there in the passenger seat. But I thought it a shame to leave them lonely and abandoned by the side of the highway.

That was eight years ago.

I never found the dolls’ little girl.

Photo: Roadside Dolls (17 September 2017)

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Hillside Monday: 9/17/18

“Roof and Sky, Two Days Before Disaster”
LaGrange, Georgia – 26 June 2018
In memory of John McNamara (1961-2018)

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Caturday: 9/15/18

“Suspicious Gray Tabby Cat”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015
Model: Buddy

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Friday Photo: 9/14/18

“Sunset, Yellow Jacket Creek”
Troup County, Georgia – 2014

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Wednesday Photo: 9/12/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 21”
Hogansville, Georgia – 2018

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Prelude to a Hurricane

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in coastal South Carolina. My late father worked as a golf course irrigation contractor. Many of his projects were in and around places like Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Hilton Head Island.

By my estimate, between 1972 and 1997, my father installed systems on perhaps as many as 100 courses in the area. Over those years, I got to know coastal South Carolina pretty well. And I love all of it—from Little River all the way down to Daufuskie Island.

In September 1989, my dad and his brother were working on a project in Charleston when Hurricane Hugo arrived. They almost waited too late to secure the larger construction equipment on site, load the 18-wheeler lowboy trailer with smaller items, and drive inland back to their company base near Athens, Georgia. It was a harrowing drive, Daddy said. Even with all lanes on Interstate 26 designated westbound-only, the six-hour drive still took a miserable 14 hours.

Daddy told me how, from his seat high in the cab of the truck, he could see people’s entire lives crammed into their cars. Children’s toys, photo albums, color TVs. For the lucky: suitcases for clothes. For the not-so-lucky: garbage bags for clothes. Some people, he said, had thrown into the back seat whatever shirts and pants they could grab as they fled the storm.

Weeks later, Daddy and Uncle Joe returned to the job site. Despite some equipment losses, everything was in relatively good shape. The surrounding area, however, was almost unrecognizable. Hugo came ashore as a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 140 mph.

As Hurricane Florence nears, I remember my dad’s Hugo story. I think of all my friends who live in Florence’s path. I hope they know I love them. I hope they can stay safe and dry, away from harm.

And I think of the South Carolina coast—the Lowcountry, the Grand Strand, the Sea Islands, the Pee Dee, the Waccamaw, US Highway 17, the Intracoastal Waterway—all of it. And I hope it knows I love it. Even though I fear the worst.

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 9/10/18

“Clark Street Laundromat”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2014

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Caturday: 9/8/18

“Caturday Study in Cream and Black Fur”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017
Models: Miller (solid black) and Otis (flame-point)

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Friday Photo: 9/7/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 3”
Anniston, Alabama – 2016

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Wednesday Photo: 9/5/18

“Sunset on the Chattahoochee”
Franklin, Georgia – 2017

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Hillside Monday: 9/3/18

“Self Portrait with Guitar and White Shirt”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

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Caturday: 9/1/18

“Saint Clark of the Kitchen Floor”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015
Model: Clark

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Thank you, patrons!


Many, many thanks to the following for their patronage!

Amanda Guyton
Bill Brown
Allison Fix
Kweilin Wilson
Lisa McGovern
Kelley Frank
Ali Lauer
Grayson Hugh
Nicole McLaughlin
Emily Katzenstein
Dana McGlon

Crystal Woods
Syd Mooney
Kit Ketcham
Cheryl Lougen
Carole Thorn

Scott Johnson
Kenny Gray
El Queso
Greg Clary
Marlena Frank
Danny Alexander
Dann Brown
Molly Kay Wright
Charlie Bruin
Eric Woods
Connie Frank

Val Williams
Gina Adamson-Taylor
Steve Taylor
T. Westgate

These folks’ monthly contributions help me produce more of the stuff they enjoy. They get my original photos, short stories, and creative nonfiction series not published anywhere else. Thanks again, y’all!

You, too, can help support my work. Even $1 a month earns you special patrons-only content. Find out more on my Patreon page.

Image: “Self-Portrait: Rabun Gap, Early October” (2017)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Friday Photo: 8/31/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 2”
Anniston, Alabama – 2016

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Wednesday Photo: 8/29/18

“Traveling Shoes, Part 2”
Columbus, Georgia – 2017

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Hillside Monday: 8/27/18

“For Wes, Part 5”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

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Caturday: 8/25/18

“Black Cat with Quaaludes Jar”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015
Model: Lucinda

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Friday Photo: 8/24/18

“Magnolia in Black and White”
Heard County, Georgia – 2017

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Three years ago today…

Grayson Hugh‘s newly-released album Back to the Soul arrived in my mailbox.

It’s still surreal to see my words on the inside of a CD booklet. Writing those liner notes remains my proudest achievement to date. I am also proud to call Grayson and his wife/co-producer/art director Polly Messer my dear friends.

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