March 25, 2011

The house of John

If there is one thing about this whole trip that has surprised me, it's the people. We have said it before, and I will say it again; The people we have met are wonderful. They span from bikers in sunglasses and leather vests, to the sweetest old man in a not-so-good part of town who's been cooking barbecue for thirty years. They are all great. They all want to hear about our trip, and all say they want to come with us.

John is just another example of one of the most amazing and intricate people I have ever met. He is somewhere in his early forties, originally from Mississippi, and has the greatest southern accent imaginable -- long and drawn out. He is also one of the smartest and passionate people I have ever spoken to. One of the things that makes him so impressive is that he is not the stereotype of an "art collector".

We met him through the friends we were staying with in Memphis yesterday, since he is also in the antique business. I was taken to his house because it was "something I just had to see". And sure enough.

John is a collector of art and artifacts. His house is literally like being in a small and unassuming museum, with every single object selected perfectly. And he knows every name of every artist of every object and painting in his house, and can tell you when, where, for how much, why he bought it, who made it, and their entire life story. That is what distinguishes him from everybody else: he loves his collection. He never chooses something because it is a well known name, but only because he adores it.

Sadly, our camera battery died as we walked through the door, so we only got to take a few phone photographs in just one of his beautiful rooms.

His house is the most beautiful combination of art, from primitive folk-art from Mississippi and Tennessee, to old master oil paintings done in the 1800's.

We spent about an hour in his house, in awe and listening to his explanations and stories. When it was time to go, we could hardly make ourselves leave. He ended up coming out to the truck with us, and brought out a beautiful, old, black painted rocking chair to donate to us for the restaurant. All we could think about on our drive out of town? What an amazing man.

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