My Father's World: Parables from the Red Star Grocery
My Father's World is a medley of memories centered around the small credit grocery operated by Mr. and Mrs. James "Red" Rutland. Little did they know when they opened their doors shortly after WWII, that the Red Star Grocery would also become bank, wedding chapel, and community center in one of the poorest interracial neighborhoods of Columbia, SC. A small child growing up in the violently changing Deep South of the 50s and 60s, the author relates hilarious and riveting parables of the customers who came to the family's store for friendship and compassion as often as they did for the groceries they charged to "The Book." A classic in the Faulkner tradition.
Back Cover: By the Author
Located in a poor interracial neighborhood of Columbia, SC, the Red Star Grocery was one of the region's last small credit grocery stores. It battled for survival in a time when people were not yet concerned with political correctness. The family-run business survived mill strikes and the great racial upheaval of the 60's only to be displaced by a parking lot, through the law of eminent domain.
My Father's World follows the lives of two farmer's children through the Great Depression to their first big-city jobs, where they meet, court, and begin to build a family and a business. Together, they become enmeshed with the lives of their customers in a shared struggle for survival. Along the way, "Mr. and Mrs. Red" encounter failed vacations, unkempt patrons, untrained horses, hungry bears, live outdoor Christmas pageants, and the dark and sometimes violent undercurrents of the changing times.
Humorous and heart-rending, this nostalgic medley of parables describes a world now forgotten--where people were more important than the bottom line, and the corner grocer became the community banker, guardian, counselor, lifeline, and friend.