A Man for All Seasons

- by Bruce E. McKinney


In harder times

In all this he remains, at heart, a son of the Appalachians.  He grew up in Granite Falls, North Carolina, son of a shopkeeper in this mill town midway between Hickory and Lenore on Route 321, 261 miles west of Wilmington on the Atlantic and 353 miles east of Lexington, Kentucky.  On the map it’s a stony elbow just below the sweep of green that covers the hardscrabble that carries all the way into New England.   He would live in many places and always came back until with advancing age and medical uncertainty he settled north.   The roots though have long since hardened into certainty and the man, his history, and values long embraced, are with him and sustain him in his new career, the man and his Appalachian heritage long since inseparable.

His section of the Carolinas is the same area that constituted the bony impenetrable western border beyond which cartographers penciled in question marks during the first two hundred years of new world exploration.  The story, long told, is that the Appalachians were a barrier.  More than that they seem to have resisted change, even deep into the 20th century, regional stubbornness, optimism and independence defining traits that native sons like Mr. Yount absorbed with the sunlight.  These values serve him well and today define his relationship to books, their mending and sale.  We now know what lies west and we also have some idea why the explorers may have lingered long on the Appalachian border.  You stop when you find what you are looking for. 

Cape Cod turned out to be a wonderful place to find old books and people who appreciate them.  “Twelve years later I’m a binder and bookseller, enjoying the material, the searches and discoveries and selling on the Internet.  I’m a little hard of hearing so email suits me.  I can read, thank you Lenoir.”  In fact he’s just fine by phone, just a little self conscious about occasionally asking for a question to be repeated.