Friday, September 29, 2017


The need for purpose can haunt you and follow you into retirement. Even after a great career, raising you kids, having grandchildren and many accomplishments, there still can be a need to have some type of purpose in retirement.

Much is written about this subject and how to find missing purpose. Hobbies, family and volunteering help for a time. However, it never seems quite enough. We lived such an A to B life before retirement.

How do we find that purpose again, or should we at all? Most articles will urge you to strive for it. However, there is another way. It is to look beyond the need for the type of purpose we knew in the past. 

At some point, you start to realize that the driving need for purpose limits your enjoyment of the wonderful gift of free time that retirement gives us. A time when you can explore the full range of senses of what it means to enjoy life and be alive. The fresh fall breeze, the sounds of the city and nature, the taste and smell of a well prepared meal, the warmth of friends and family. When you put traditional purpose in the rear view mirror, you find yourself more in tune with the world.

All these things have little to do with purpose as we knew it. They will, though, make you a better person. One who moves through life more gently. You become a more positive force in the world. You may also find that you will recognize small and simple things you can do to help others along the way. I am not sure there is any greater purpose than that.

David Young

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Ordinary Things

They are all around us, becoming the tapestry and canvas for our lives. Light plays with them, forming an origami of moods for us. We overlook and ignore them, but they wait patiently for our return home each day…

David Young
Studio Four Magazine

ORDINARY THINGS from David Young on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


“Your Days will go the way of Corners” …. Winston Churchill

There are corners in all our lives. Some just a place to pause and reflect, some full of drama, some that lead to bad ways or new starts. 

Some are well worn taken many times. Still we never know exactly what is around each corner, but still make the turn. Carrying with us the slight fear of the unknown and the imagined hope of something or someone new. 

David Young

Monday, July 17, 2017


Ezell Hardware in Chester SC is not just a hardware store, it is a work of art. Operating continuously since 1886, Ezell’s importance to this small town can not be overstated.

Chester is a picturesque place. It is known as The Town on the Hill. The colors of the buildings and winding streets please your eye and camera. Despite growing industry around the town, Chester suffers from many empty storefronts. Hope abounds through local businesses, civic leaders and a growing community of artists. The town will come back. Part of that comeback in anchored by Ezell Hardware. 

Its not often that you equate art with hardware. Ezell is not intended to be that way, but the building, rows of parts, the hard to find items, the bible book of fittings and the courtesy of Elizabeth the owner draw you in.

Here you will find artful doors, a thousand hardware items you never knew existed, a sense of wandering calm of yesterday and even a great cast iron pan. All this is wrapped in a wonderful smell trapped in the hardwood over time.

And if you grow tired of wandering Ezell. You can walk across the street to Gene’s Restaurant. A true southern restaurant serving simple honest food, often straight from the farm. Like Ezell, there is nothing fancy here.  You will, however, be surrounded by interesting locals, overheard stories and 4.5 star rated food. A spot not to be missed, especially for breakfast.

Small towns don’t need much to flourish once again. Just a few places like Ezell Hardware to fill your appetite for the unique new discovery.

I wish you great wandering…

David Young
Studio Four Magazine

Sunday, July 9, 2017


The South flourishes with small towns. The walls you find there have many stories, some told and others held close in mystery. They speak of the red of war both revolutionary and civil, of burning and rebirth. Walls may stand beside simple pathways. Some stand alone missing the building next to them, remembered only in marks on the wall. Many speak of happenings large and small. You can walk by them and not notice, or savor the textures and colors that they add to life in these small places.

David Young
Studio Four Magazine

Sunday, May 28, 2017



Small towns are away from the city and that is what makes them grand. I used to rush though these places, taking too much of the city with me. I did not realize their potential for discovery and interest.

This all changed when I moved to the South. Here there is wonderful wealth of small towns that beckon you to stay and savor them. Some are overblown with gift shops and fancy art venues. Some are raw bone with little on the surface to attract. Some are lovely with old architecture. Many have empty storefronts. You want to take them in your arms and make them right again.

I found myself making notes about these small places. Overtime, it grew into a journal and fostered a “Field Guide” of sorts to enjoying these special places. Here are some of my thoughts from wandering in small towns.

Before You Go
Study a map. You will not find many of these towns along freeways or even blue highways. Rather, it is good to follow highway signs reading 10 miles to Union or 5 miles to Ridgeway. They lead to two lane winding roads and the beginning of your quiet retreat from the City.

Take a camera. One that does not attract too much attention. Consider reading books like “Deep South” by Paul Theroux or “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat - Moon. They will set the mood and fuel your appetite for small town wandering.

Do a little research about the history of the town, why it even exists, and points of interest. Sometimes this leads to surprising finds. For instance, York SC was founded largely because of the Fergus Tavern located at a key crossroads. Inhabitants fiercely fought the British in two battles and remained the only area not defeated in the back and forth fighting of the Revolutionary War. It also played a key role in the civil war. The tavern must have served a good brew!

Challenge yourself to reach out and meet local people that look interesting. In Chester SC, I introduced myself to George Caldwell, an elegantly dressed black man, who was standing in front of his business. I learned that George is the town’s insurance agent and bail bondsman. 

He led me into his office filled with family and area artifacts. As we talked George paused and said, “He was not much for titles, but I might like to know he was also the Mayor of Chester. 

I figured if I was ever in trouble in Chester, George would be good to know.

The architecture in a small town is great visual art and the buildings have stories to tell.
Many small towns are like time capsules. The low profile buildings and Antebellum homes seem suspended in time. Their colors showing muted patina, hues, and patterns that delight your camera.

Small towns are a tasty break from McDonalds and Taco Bell. The centers of town often have eating places that have survived for decades on the “honest food” they serve. In Camden, Blackmon’s Little Midget will serve you a burger “all worked up.”  Don’t be surprised if Allen Blackmon, who's family has owned it for over 50 years, visits your table to make sure the burger is right. 

The Bantam Chef in Chester, The Wagon Wheel in Fort Lawn, and many other small eateries  abound. You will get a real flavor of the people and their lives at these places.

Some towns have become popular enough to afford the glitzy gift shop or fancy art venue. Even in these towns you can sometimes find a shop owned by a local winery or hardware store with deep history. 

More novel experiences can be found in less popular small towns. There you may find the fixer of old clocks, locally craft makers, a record store, or stamp collectors nook.

Libraries, Art Councils, History Museums and Civic buildings are often fun and always informative to visit. The Native American Studies Center in Lancaster SC features Indian artifacts, pottery, and craft. Extensive study and research areas for the different tribes of the Piedmont Region are housed in the back of the Center. The York County Library holds many documents and photographs from the Civil War. Some small towns are also county seats. You can see small town dramas play out in court rooms deep in history.

Some Final Thoughts 
There are great small towns all over this country, not just in the South. The important thing is taking the time to enjoy them.  Maybe even developing your own “field guide” to them.

You will undoubtedly come across towns that puzzle you. They will have growing industry around them and modern outskirts, but the core downtown remains much as it was, with empty storefronts. You will ask yourself why?

Part of the answer is that many longtime residents and civic leaders don’t want it changed. They remember how it was and want to restore it to then. Thus, buildings and storefronts languish in a never-never world. They are not viable for large retail or services. 

How do you fix them? Art and antiques are one way, but not the only one. The unique is what attracts visitors and vibrancy to a town. It may be as simple as a record or used book store. More ambitious might be a store helping people do things. For example, a small electronics store focusing on the computer hobbyist, a local fashion designer, an art store with a studio area for demonstrations and locally made art paint. Disheveled also works. There is a bit of explorer in us all. The collector stamp store or antique shop that looks unorganized is a magnet for these adventures.

Small towns remain a wonderful retreat from busy everyday urban lives. A place to slow down, soak in the locals, and enjoy life. Try taking that two lane road to one of them, you will find rewards in many ways and always new discoveries.

David Young
Studio Four Magazine

Quotes about Small Towns:
“My plan is to have a theatre in some small town and I’ll be the manager. I’ll be the crazy movie guy.”  - Quentin Taratino
“Living in a small town, one of the keys to survival was your imagination.” - Nick Note
“Fame is only good for one thing: they will cash your check in a small town.”  - Truman Capote
“There are things about growing up in a small town that your can’t necessarily quantify.”  - Brandon South

Saturday, May 13, 2017


"You have to go into the mess of the world to accomplish things, but always retreat to a peaceful place and strive to write a perfect sentence or paint the perfect painting" - Gustav Faulbert, writer and philosopher, author of "Madam Bovary"

Studio Four Magazine