In February of 2018, I bought the book, Widow of the South after taking a tour at the Carnton Plantation. Someone on the tour had mentioned the book, and I was very curious to read it.
When I was a child I loved to read. My love for reading grew through my teenage years, and I always had a book in my hand. After I had gotten married and had kids, I felt like I had no time to read anymore because of being busy with my children and taking care of my daily duties. My love for history had always been strong, but I never felt I had a very good attention span. It seemed that my mind would always wander off, or maybe I truly wanted to know the story of the person being talked about beyond the historical facts that surrounded them. See, I am already wandering from the facts!
So after reading Widow of the South, I felt like my tour of Carnton Plantation came to life for me. It was like walking through the book. I couldn't leave it at that, so I looked up the author, Robert Hicks, and I realized he also lived in Franklin, Tennessee. After finding this out, I friends requested him on FaceBook. Of course, after reading the first book, I had to order the next two books, A Separate Country and The Orphan Mother. All three books were amazing, bringing me back to the love I had lost of reading and the curiosity of history. In all this, I am a people person. I wasn't just happy reading the books since I knew the author lived a few miles down the road from me, and we were also friends on Facebook. I wanted to know him personally. Even with my photography, it is more than just taking someone's picture. I want to know and capture who they are; I want to tell their story. So, I sent a few messages to Robert Hicks, and he answered me with a genuine thanks to my praise of his books and answered that he would be glad to meet in the future. In the next few months, Robert's life changed paths and our meeting was delayed. As he began to battle with cancer, I watched his posts from the sidelines and prayed for his health and recovery. I couldn't even imagine...
Fast forward to May of this year, Robert was doing great on his recovery and agreed to meet Bruce and me for dinner. It was fascinating listening to the stories of his first book being written and what led him to write the book in the first place. Carnton Plantation is now a thriving historical part of Franklin's history because of the book Widow of the South being written and read around the world. People wanted to visit and see what they had read about just as I had experienced. Of course, there is never enough time to ask all the questions and truly get to know someone over one dinner. We said our goodbyes and spoke of doing this again in the future. After more correspondence over the following months, we finally made plans for a photo shoot and dinner at our home studio here in Franklin.
Tonight we enjoyed our second visit with Robert. We talked about our dogs. We talked about losing dogs in the past and the pain that surrounded that. We talked about all three of his books, and the history that made them possible. We talked about life and blessings from God.
In all of this, my conclusion is that it all comes down to the heart. The heart of a man that could write books from all different perspectives. A heart that loves people and loves history. I am glad to have spent time with him and listen to his stories, and I am very glad to call him our friend!