Tough runs

THIS STORY APPEARS IN GARY LLOYD’S BOOK, VALLEY ROAD: UPLIFTING STORIES FROM DOWN SOUTH. GET IT HERE. So much about that high school football season was tough. A player dying during a gym workout prior to the season kicking off. The small town's grocery store, which produced a quarter of a million dollars in annual tax revenue, … Continue reading Tough runs

Paying it forward

This story appears in Gary Lloyd’s book, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. Get it here.  He remembers that the 6-foot-5, 220-pound lineman always looked sad. He was always so quiet. Once he found out the lanky lineman’s story, he knew why. The lineman’s mother was killed in a murder-suicide by his stepfather when he was … Continue reading Paying it forward

Unlikely stories

This story appears as the prologue in Gary Lloyd’s book, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. Get it here.   Prologue: Unlikely stories Many crime-related articles become commonplace, when you are a newspaper reporter. You grow accustomed to dialing the phone number of a sheriff’s office, texting with a police captain, refreshing your email waiting … Continue reading Unlikely stories

The shop

This story appears in Gary Lloyd’s book, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. Get it here.   I was legitimately terrified. It was my first summer job, and I was ill-prepared. I knew nothing of carburetors and SAE-30, and I wasn’t strong enough to lift close to a hundred pounds of metal alone. A buddy’s parents … Continue reading The shop

Weatherman

This story appears in Gary Lloyd’s book, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. Get it here.   Still eyes were all around us in a dark living room on Main Street, in a house that smelled suspiciously like mothballs.  They were the eyes of recognizable men in history, such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Their … Continue reading Weatherman

Austin Way

This story appears in Gary Lloyd’s book, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. Get it here.   My grandmother lived in the greatest place when I was little. It was perched atop a small hill in Birmingham, near Ruffner Mountain. The backyard was a dream. It was wide and deep, and when we weren’tt smacking around … Continue reading Austin Way

The youth director

This story appears in Gary Lloyd’s book, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. Get it here.   I’m not a big believer in the accuracy of first impressions, but I have one perfect example of it being true. I was in junior high, and beginning to get involved with the wrong crowd. My friend and … Continue reading The youth director

Professor Pulitzer

This story is the epilogue to Gary Lloyd's book, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. Get it here.   Most people know him through his poignant books on his family, his longform stories on New York bodegas under siege, a bomb in Oklahoma City, a South Carolina mother who drowned her sons, and an … Continue reading Professor Pulitzer

Pride

This story appears in Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. Get the book here. Pride is a difficult thing to find when you're staring at a building overcome by cracking mortar, "No Trespassing" signs, weeds as tall as a grown man, rusting handrails, doors spray-painted with "X" and shattered windows. It is unsightly and … Continue reading Pride

Carolina

By Gary Lloyd The following story is a chapter in Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. Get it here. For a year, all I heard about the state of North Carolina was that controversial bathroom law, the one that upset the LGBT community. High-profile musicians and bands canceled their concerts in Charlotte, Greensboro and … Continue reading Carolina