Happy Anniversary to me. Monday will be the second anniversary of my arrival in Asheville. Yep, I moved here two years ago on May 9. I – and Asheville – haven’t been the same since.
I was sitting at what used to be my favorite table at Firestorm Café and Books thinking about all the changes that have happened in my life since arriving in town. There’s been many. But first a little background.
I came through Asheville in 2007 on my way to D.C. I had planned on just spending the night in town, but ended up meeting some pretty awesome folks and hung around for about 10 days. Over the months, we stayed in touch by email and a couple phone calls. When I made the decision to leave Georgia, where I was living, I started throwing darts at the map and Asheville always seemed to be at the bulls-eye.
I gave my friends a call and told them I was moving to town. When they found out that I didn’t have a place lined up to live, they graciously offered to let me stay at their place while I looked around and scoped out the territory. Since I had just had quadruple bypass surgery two months earlier, I accepted their offer and moved into their spare bedroom.
A couple months recuperating at their place and then a six-week shooting trip to New York and New England and I was back. (“Shooting,” as in photography). When I found an apartment just off Charlotte Street, I was ready to start exploring my adopted hometown.
Since moving to Asheville, I’ve been blessed. I’ve gotten to know people from the boardroom to the street. I’ve camped out beside the French Broad River with the homeless and fallen asleep at Grove Park Inn. I’ve had breakfast in the BB&T with the suits and dinner with the homeless at The Mission.
My photography has been seen across the nation in USAToday and around the world on CNN. I can’t walk from my apartment to town without at least 10 people stopping and chatting or rolling down the car window and waving.
I’m the shooter for Shindig on the Green, Asheville Downtown Association and Pack Conservancy. Some of my shots of Pack Square have ended up being submitted by the landscape architect as part of an international contest. I shoot buskers, street people, yuppies in shirt and tie and hookers. The cops all know me by name – for all the right reasons — and some of the gang bangers call me a friend.
Since coming to town I’ve loved and lost – and loved and lost again. If I’m able to stick around town long enough, I may love again.
Yah, Asheville has been really good to this ol’ boy and to show my appreciation, I’d like to buy each of you a cup of coffee and a hot dog, but that “ain’t gonna happen.” Here’s the next best thing. Firestorm Café and Books and Avery’s Hot Dogs are helping me celebrate our two-year anniversary Monday. Mention my name and this article and Firestorm Café and Books will give you 50 percent off drip coffee (or tea) and Bill at Avery’s Hot Dogs will give you a free lemonade if you purchase a dog. Just tell them that Jerry sent you.
It’s been a great two years here. While I still have some traveling to do, I’ll always be looking forward to getting home to Asheville.
PLEASE NOTE: This article is NOT meant to be a “wow, look at me”, but rather a WOW…how great Asheville has been to me.