The Bryans

Anyone who follows sports with some regularity will assume The Bryans refer to twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan who have dominated tennis doubles play for the last several years. But in this instance, it doesn’t. It refers to two very distinctly untwinlike Bryans we met on our recent road trip through the coastal South.

We encountered our first Bryan after ice cream cones on a warm afternoon offering horse-drawn tours in historic Wilmington, NC. Dressed in 19th century garb, he narrated at galloping speed our clip-clopping adventure along the picturesque riverfront and past stately mansions. Our carriage was powered by a rescued draft horse, a dappled grey Percheron, a muscular breed known for their intelligence and willingness to work. Eddie had been rescued from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania when he was deemed no longer suitable as a plow horse. Bryan explained there were many reasons why such a horse might be sold – old age, difficult temperament, or unbecoming qualities. He said one of their rescue horses can’t walk a straight line which, not surprisingly, is an important quality on an Amish farm. All in all, we learned lots about the drama and daily routine of being a carriage horse.

But we lingered to chat with  Bryan after our tour was over. Engaged on a casual level beyond the historic details of a tour, Bryan has a mind overflowing with interesting tidbits, idle observations and wry comments. Raised on a farm in upper New York, he is at home with horses, and attentive to the uniqueness of their individual personalities. Much to his mother’s chagrin, he and his brother have never married, have no children, and little that keeps them plugged into the trappings of the modern day world. By his own admission, he is an iconoclast, a man born several generations too late. He is proud of the fact that he has neither Internet or cable. Doesn’t own a cell phone. Goes to a bar to watch an occasional sporting event if he must. And reads at least fifty books a year, all of which he tries to incorporate into his breathlessly fast historic narrative. Bryan’s quite a guy.

Our second Bryan was the co-owner of Rouselle’s Garden, a charming bed and breakfast near the historic district of Savannah, GA. Born and raise in New Orleans, a stint in the military took him to Alaska where he stayed for the next forty-three years.  Tiring of the harsh winters, Bryan and his wife enjoyed the balmy ambiance of the coastal cities of the South. After purchasing an 1888 Queen Anne house six or seven years ago, they began the challenging task of restoring a house with great bones. Able to garden year round, Bryan enthusiastically shows off kumquat and figs trees, secluded patios, and a porch lovingly built to accommodate a state of the art barbeque grill.

Parts of the house are still a work in progress, especially the kitchen. One of my favorite moments was finding all the male guests out in the kitchen with Bryan “kicking tires” about the kitchen remodel that began when they bought a refrigerator 3″ too wide for the original opening. Let’s just say one thing led to another and those four famously expensive words were uttered – while we’re at it. Bryan’s excitement about this never ending creative endeavor just makes you smile from ear to ear.

How delightful it was to happen upon two Bryans, each distinctly different from the other, living a life that engages them, loving it, and sharing it with others. They may not be world champions like Bob and Mike Bryan, but they’re winners to me.

In your travels, or your life journey, who have you encountered who’s delighted you? Who’s given you a new perspective on something? How have they poured their enthusiasm into your life? What difference has that made?

Hope to hear your “Bryan” stories.




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