My grandfather had a knack for storytelling. I’m not sure how he did it, but he could draw you into another world just by the inflection in his voice and the look on his face. Maybe this is why I was always fascinated by human stories from a young age. There’s just something about studying the human capacity for adaptation to events and other people that is truly powerful to me. I guess you could say that is why I’ve always been a history buff.
Growing up I would visit my grandparents farm on rural Sand Mountain and it was like stepping back into time. Life just had a different rhythm – there was no house telephone and the roads were so bad they were probably better when they were just dirt. Life was slower, things meant more because you actually had time to appreciate them. Even as a kid, I could see the difference.
Each day began early with my grandmother heading out before daylight to the small country store that my grandparents operated a few miles down the road. The door opened at around six a.m. and I was always determined to be in the car when she left. The warmth of my bed often prevented this from happening, but when I was able to drag myself out I really got to see the pulse of a small North Alabama farming community as another day began.