Martha Stewart Calls Shannon Scott “The South’s Greatest Storyteller”

As a former chef and current green thumb with his own penchant for decorating, I can now say that life is a little greener with Martha Stewart being such a good sport when signing her book, “MARTHA’S FLOWERS”  to me as if “The South’s Greatest Storyteller” were my middle name! Its actually Spencer but for the sake of this moment, let us all pretend.  Martha’s “people” were made curious by it for sure and to be completely honest — its true — Martha has yet to tweet her whimsical compliment or say it anywhere else publicly to my knowledge, but hey, I’ll take what I can get inside of a book flap from The MacGyver of Home Economics! 

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Martha thinking about her Bonaventure picnic…dreamy ain’t she?

Martha doesn’t know it yet, but one day we’re going to do a show where we cook and prepare a picnic, and then embracing the tradition of The Victorians and their Rural Cemetery Movement, we’re going to head out to The South’s Most Famous Cemetery, Bonaventure! We will dine on biscuits with Green Pepper Jelly and I will tantalize with both my gazpacho and my tales of those gone by and if we do it up right, we’ll start a whole revival craze of picnicking in cemeteries! Then we’ll text each other months later about the good times we shared! Oh wait — I’m sorry — was I getting carried away there for a second?

Perfect time of year to picnic in Bonaventure, jus (2)

Photographer Jerome Wilson & Friends In Bonaventure 1860s

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Oh Martha, you shouldn’t have! (Special Thanks To My Accomplice, A.N.)

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Go Buy This Book! Its a stunner!

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The Bird Girl Guy…A Reflection

By Shannon Scott

This writing is a little something I’ve read at Jack’s grave during my tours of Bonaventure. Its fitting he’s buried near the entrance of the place that his photograph immortalized for the rest of time. I avoided telling his story grave side because it was too emotional. In fact the first time I read this, a group of 30 people basically saw me cry, pause and then cry some more. I didn’t see it coming but it was like I could process his loss doing that there. I’m sure I’ll cry again there some night. I don’t mind. I think it adds to the storytelling and is fitting of his memory to show people how he was admired and loved. I think this is the role of story teller at times. You become a vessel for such spiritual feeling and its personal but more than that too. With the recent passing of another friend and recent burial in Bonaventure, I was reminded of this writing and wanted to share it.

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I lived on Jones & Abercorn for 14 years, and Jack Leigh’s studio & home was at the corner of Oglethorpe & Abercorn Street. We shared more conversations in that stretch of city life than I can count. He was a sage soul. Quiet & reserved so it was hard to “know him.” He spoke worlds in a chuckle, nod or smile and not sure if he was conscious of that or that was just “him.” Me, I just talk a lot. His ex wife, Susan Patrice spoke to that in regard to his taking the famous photo of “The Bird Girl” for the dust jacket of “The Book.” She told me that Jack told her he “courted the fog” in order to get this shot. Yes, perhaps in his quiet reserve, he could siphon such moments with the energy he didn’t spend speaking. Anyway, Jack always showed real appreciation for other artists and people doing their thing and always wore black jeans, black shoes and a black t-shirt like some college kid in art school. Its been weird, following his death, to have watched his prolific studio go from convenience store to Thai take-out. His ex-wife, mother of his children, one aptly named Gracie and you can guess why, is a dear friend of mine & photographer too. As Jack was dying of colon cancer, the theory being the exposure to dark room chemicals, he turned very yellow and Susan, his ex, my friend, would walk with him up and down Abercorn. Of course he was dying and so the looks we all exchanged were what they were, but he seemed like same old Jack, not bothered by too much, even dying. But his eyes also said to me he didn’t want to leave the world, especially for his children. Even so, The Bird Girl became their angel and my guess set them up for life financially and has helped them go to college and much more. The memory of him evokes a big sigh from me as I sit here…. I know Bonaventure Cemetery was famous before him, but how famous would it be now without that photo? The book was good, but the photo was what sold it all the way around and everyone kind of knew that. It made Bonaventure famous in the way Jim Morrison made Pere Lachaise a worldwide, household name. I mean only so many know Jean Paul Sartre right? Anyway, Jack would appreciate us thinking of him and me bringing him back to life a little here today. I’ll tell you something that I don’t always share with folks. The magic of Savannah is that even if you don’t know the local characters in depth, like you grew up with them, or sat at their dinner tables or shared a beer with them? Doesn’t matter. What you do know of them, makes you love them like they were your dearest, and when they pass on, it tugs at you just the same as if you had done all of that and more with them. And THAT is what makes Savannah so magical. Visiting Bonaventure is kind of like getting a free moment inside of Heaven. You get to visit old friends for a minute. Sure you have to go after a bit, but its like having a pass to the place that you can use time and time again.

Jack Leigh November 8, 1948 to May 19, 2004. My friend.

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