By Pam Horne, Managing Editor
Lucas G. Boyd, Jr., a.k.a. Dr. Boyd to hundreds of former students and as many parents, just released his third volume of Coon Dogs and Outhouses to a loyal audience of readers.
He will be a featured author at Landmark Booksellers in downtown Franklin on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 3-5 p.m., when he will sign copies of his latest work.
Boyd recently talked frankly about what would be considered the “hardships” of growing up in the Mississippi Delta in an era when abundance was scarce among the families that helped shape this agriculturally rich region.
His father, Luke, Sr., managed cotton plantations that were 2,000 to 3,000 acres in size during his eldest son’s youth.
Mr. Boyd grew up in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi. a rural community near McComb, He spent his final years managing a game preserve for the affluent Carrier family.
His eldest son Luke, a scholar, gentleman and athlete truly is a man of letters, wit, and wisdom. Because he is especially fond of the pen and paper method of writing, his faithful partner, friend and soul mate Sara Boyd works diligently as his personal scribe, transferring each handwritten word onto the computer.
Luke and Sara Boyd have called Franklin home since 1979. Prior to that they resided in Bedford County, where Boyd served as supervisor of secondary education. He had been a teacher, coach and principal of the Webb School in Bell Buckle for fifteen years before that.
When he accepted the principal position at Battle Ground Academy it was during a tumultuous time in the institution’s history. This period is marked by the arrival of females who began matriculating again for the first time after 50 years.
|Luke Boyd, the son of a Mississippi Delta sharecropper, grew up in the Depression-era with limited means but an inquisitive spirit.
Asking Boyd to reflect on his early life, the Herald unveils the unedited transcript from an interview with one of Franklin’s favorite writers, a true son of the South.
“When I was born in 1932, he was a sharecropper. My father had been to college for two years. He had a good job, but the Depression took it away and he had to go back to the land to feed his family. He was a traveling salesman with the Wrought Iron Range Co. They made stoves, cook stoves, and heaters.
“I grew up on a farm in Mississippi. When school wasn’t in session my brother and I could be found playing around the barn—catching a couple of mules out of the barn and riding them around the place. Or we might be fishing on the bayou or down in a pond somewhere.
“We’d get a couple of little black kids, ‘cause they’re weren’t any white kids, and we’d make us a rag ball. We’d find a round rock, put rags around it and tie up a string. We’d get a piece of board or a stick and make a bat. We would have two or three fielders and chose up sides. We didn’t have any gloves. It was the late 30s and early 40s.
“We just played until we got tired. It would get hot and we would go out to the pump and throw some water over our heads to cool off and go back to playing.
“We went to town on Saturday. We lived in several places near little Delta towns. Daddy worked ‘til dinner and then we’d get a bath. Mama took the washtubs down and we’d get a bath and go town. It was the day we took a full bath.
“We didn’t have a camera. If we got any pictures taken Mama would say I’ll borrow somebody’s Kodak and I’ll take a picture. We didn’t have a camera until I was in high school.
“We were poor. It was the Depression. We weren’t as poor as some.
“As a teenager, I lived out in the country. I couldn’t get to town. We just didn’t go. It was wasteful to go to town during the week. It would take gas. It would take time. Daddy was always working in the fields. Mama was always caring for the house and taking care of things.
“I never got to play summer ball. We’d shell peas and pick corn and help put the produce up for the winter. I did play ball in high school at Batesville High School. I played baseball. I was a catcher. I always played with older kids. I found out if you’d catch, you’d get to play.
“I made the team as a freshman. I had to hitch a ride. I lived about nine miles out in the country from town. If I got home, and it was dark, I still had to milk the cow.
“I didn’t grow up with books. The only books we had were the King James Bible and the Sears Roebuck Catalog. I didn’t own a book until I was 12 years old. My parents never read to me, but I was fascinated by that stuff on paper. When I learned to read, I was fascinated by the places you could go when you read.
“National Geographic, The Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker, Colliers, Life – After Mr. Carrier would read them, he would give them to Daddy and he would bring them home. It was good reading. You learn a tremendous amount just from reading.
“I was a pretty good student in high school. I wanted to go to college. Carrier, he was a big supporter of Ole Miss athletics, so he got me a job as equipment manager of the Ole Miss football team in 1950.”
(Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part piece about the life of Franklin author and scholar Lucas G. Boyd, Jr. His third book Coon Dogs and Outhouses is available at Landmark Booksellers, where he will appear on Oct. 26 from 3 to 5 p.m. during Pumpkinfest.
Posted on: 10/16/2013