Randy Bayne

A Big Sign

Brooks antique store

Last fall I grabbed my camera and a tripod and went to see what I could find to shoot. My first stop was at Starr’s Mill. It’s an old historic mill at the intersection of two main highways not far from home. From there I decided to stay off the main roads. Off the beaten path is where the best pictures are found. The only plan was to go out and see what I could find, and see what interesting images could be made. I found a few. They are posted here.

I was headed to Haralson. A small town where some of the television series “The Walking Dead” is filmed. There is an area just off the highway with several old buildings used in the show. I thought they would make interesting images. On the way is the small town of Brooks, Georgia, and the abandoned, at that time, antique shop pictured above.

A Big Sign

When I go on these little trips to find photographic treasure it is never to bring anything more than images on memory cards home with me. A major point of photography, to me anyway, is to record moments in time and to visually preserve what is. To take more than a digital image away seems wrong to me. Besides, I couldn’t think of any place that sign could be used at my house, had no way to remove the sign, and didn’t know who to ask about it.

It’s big. Twenty-four inches tall by one hundred inches wide. The boards are three two by eight pieces of who knows what. Heavy and thick. There are three 24-inch two by sixes attached to the back holding the three long boards together. At the time, there was no thought of bringing it home.

Instead, I made images. That’s what I do, then continued down the road to the next subject, which was an old barn. I could at least put images on my wall.


The Homecoming

What I didn’t know then is that the sign was going to eventually come home with me.

Almost a year after this little trip Marcie was browsing through Facebook Marketplace. She likes to do her garage shopping from the couch. Scrolling though, she saw this sign for sale, and thinks to herself, “Huh, that looks like one Randy took a picture of. I think I have to have it.”

Marcie contacted the seller and found out that the once abandoned antique store had been sold and was getting new life. The new plans did not include the old sign, but rather than throw the sign out, which is probably what I would have done, Lieze, the new owner, decided to sell it.

Lieze, a fellow photographer, was more than happy that the sign would find a home with me. Especially since I had made this picture and presumably cared about the sign. It’s an artist thing, I suppose.

We drove to Brooks to pick up the sign, wrestled it into our SUV, and drove home with it wedged between us.

The Rest of the Story

As we got out of the car in Brooks we immediately recognized who we were dealing with. Turns out, we had met Lieze about two years ago at a craft and art festival where we were buying and she was selling. I think she was just getting started with photography at the time, and we were just getting started in Georgia. We talked for a while about stuff that photographers talk about. Then we lost contact with each other.

It seems, however, our paths were meant to cross again. I can’t help it….this must be a sign. Perhaps we will do better about keeping in touch now.

Lieze and her husband plan on living in part of the old antique store after they renovate it. Part of it they plan on using for their business, Creative Home Store. I can hardly wait to see how it turns out.

As for the sign.

It will soon be up somewhere in our house with a print of its old home nearby. It will make a great conversation piece.

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