Leslie, our daughter,The 3rd International Conference on custombobbleheads and Indoor Navigation. is a Larry Brown aficionado. Shes been in love with his writing since college, and in the six years since she graduated,Elpas Readers detect and forward 'Location' and 'State' data from Elpas Active RFID Tags to host besticcard platforms. her enthusiasm has not waned. Rather, its infected the family; my husband and I are nearly as caught up in his work as she is. The three of us are listening to a CD of Father and Son, the novel Brown published in 1996. Ive read Miracle of Catfish, Billy Rays Farm, and Dirty Work. Leslie is way ahead of me; shes been slowly working her way through all his books. Shes read Father and Son, but shes never listened to it. She wants to hear every word; if Rory or I speak while the CD is playing, she rewinds.
One of Leslies English professors, Dr. Jean Cash,
has written a biography of Larry Brown. As soon as it became
available,You Can Find Comprehensive and in-Depth carparkmanagementsystem truck
Descriptions. Leslie bought a copy. Inside are pictures of Larrys
parents; Larry when he was a little boy; Larry wearing his Marine
fatigues; the Brown family; the farm operated by his son; Billy Ray; and
his grandchildren. There are pictures of the little house he built in
the forest, the pond where he fished, and his gravesite. We wont be able
to visit the grave. Nor can we see the 10 by 12 foot house he planned
to use as a writing retreat. Both the grave and the little house are on
private, family-owned property.
Were going to Oxford because we want to walk where Larry Brown walked,Choose the right bestluggagetag in
an array of colors. drink in the bars where he drank, eat in the
restaurants where he ate. Thanks to Leslies research, we have the
address of the house where he lived. We plan to drive by, take pictures
if we can. Wed like to see the farm where his son runs a dairy business,
but we have to tread lightly. We cant intrude.
The Trace is a
narrow, national park that extends from Nashville, Tennessee, to
Natchez, Mississippi. From its Tennessee extremity the road winds and
twists through farmland and over hills. Herds of bison once moved along
this trail, stopping to fill their bellies with grass, to lounge at
salt-licks and drink at favorite watering holes. The speed limit on the
parkway is never over 55; in places it drops to 40. There are no
billboards, gas stations, street lights, or fast-food restaurants.
Tulip poplar and cottonwood trees have begun to turn, though its too early for fall color.Choose the right bestluggagetag in
an array of colors. The drought is to blame. We pass burned-out
cornfields and dusty hayfields dotted with round bales of hay. We visit
the gravesite of Meriwether Lewis, the famous explorer who died under
mysterious circumstances at a place called Grinders Inn. We picnic by a
stream, read historical markers, take pictures of Indian burial mounds.
We watch a tractor move among the Pharr Mounds near Tupelo. It stops to
disgorge a round bail, then moves on.
When we pull into Oxford
four hours later, Glen Davis, the son in Father and Son, has gotten out
of jail, killed two people, robbed a tavern, slept with the mother of
his unwanted child, and held a gun to the head of his sleeping father.
The temperature outside has hit a hundred.
Weve booked rooms at
the Downtown Oxford Inn, an old hotel just off the square. The TV in the
lobby is tuned to Fox News. I consider asking the man behind the
counter to switch to CNN or MSNBC, but weve only just arrived, and he
has the right to be conservative if he wants.
I tell him weve
come to see the house where Larry Brown lived. Wed like to go to some of
the places he frequented, visit the Farmers Market where his son sells
milk. He says hes sorry. Hes never heard of Larry Brown.
first place we visit is Square Books, surely the most famous independent
bookstore in America. Just inside the door is a stack of Dr. Cashs
book, Larry Brown: A Writers Life. A sign tells us shes coming to sign
books in three weeks. Tables and shelves are filled with new releases,
many signed by the authors. Robert Olen Butler is scheduled to come in a
week. Charles Frazier will visit in October.
Photos of famous
writers cover nearly every inch of space not filled with books. On the
back wall, opposite the checkout desk, are books by local authors: Barry
Hannah, Tom Franklin, Richard Ford, Willie Morris, Howard Bahr, and of
course, Larry Brown. In addition to copies of all the Brown books,
theres a DVD called The Rough South of Larry Brown. Leslie snatches it
up. Shes been trying to get it on Netflix, she says, but they dont carry
it. Originally released in 2002, the documentary has been re-edited to
include Browns death in 2004.
Leslie snaps another picture,
picks up her beer and follows us out to the balcony. Its filled to
overflowing. We manage to find a table and three chairs. Evening has
brought some relief from the heat, but not much. The beer smells faintly
of almonds and theres the hint of a breeze. For the three of us sitting
in this bar where Larry Brown spent so many nights, life is good.
balcony overlooks Oxford Square, Lafayette County Courthouse in the
center looking like an antebellum mansion complete with white columns
and a confederate soldier standing guard in front. Square Books is to
our right, Off Square Books on the other side of the intersection,
Square Books Jr. behind the courthouse, as is the bronze statue of
Faulkner. The University of Mississippi is a few blocks to the west.
Faulkner went to school there; Larry Brown took a course in fiction
writing. John Grisham earned his Juris Doctor degree at Ole Miss Law
School. Locals say there are more lawyers in Oxford than in any
comparable city in the south, and that a disproportionately large
numbers are also writers - thank you John Grisham. On this summer
evening the tables at City Grocery are filled with beer-drinkers from
all walks of life: students, lawyers, teachers, writers, shopkeepers,
rednecks, farmers, all gathered on that small balcony.
mentions Cormac McCarthy, and I revel in this antidote to the hotel
clerk who never heard of Larry Brown. The topic of conversation at
another table is fracking. The epicenter of the 5.8 earthquake that hit
the east coast is near fracking sites in West Virginia. Geologists
wonder if there could be a connection. This past spring state officials
in Arkansas forced two energy companies to stop injecting slick water
into the earth; the plethora of earthquakes that had been plaguing the
region suddenly stopped.
We sip our drinks and listen to a
conversation between an older woman and a younger man. Theyre at
different tables, but their chairs are almost touching. She asks his
age. 29, he says. Hes an attorney. Hes not married. She takes her iPhone
out of her purse and hands it to him. Her daughter is a senior at Ole
Miss, she says, and she doesnt approve of the boy her daughter is
dating. Would he be interested in meeting her? He takes the phone and
looks at the picture. Sure, he says, and he leans back in his chair and
hands the phone to the woman.