"I grew up near Sylva in the North Carolina mountains. It was very rural. We were not poverty-stricken, but we had no indoor plumbing and no electricity until I was seven or eight years old. We could see the stars through the roof at night.
But there was a lot of love, and I would call it a Christian home. It was especially Christian when my grandmother was there. I have a mental image of her kneeling and praying beside the couch, which was an army cot, in our living room.
My parents had like two families. I have two older brothers and a sister, and then there was me and my younger brother. I didn't play any organized baseball until I was 12 because there were no other kids within five miles of us. There were no Little Leagues. We honed our baseball skills playing catch with each other on the North Carolina hillside. The field where we played had a branch at one end and a cabbage patch at the other. The branch was full of snakes, so you learned not to miss many.
My father, the youngest of eleven children, had been a sandlot player and played for a cotton mill team. He did anything he could to make a living. He and Mom cut cabbage much of the time. He would cut it with a butcher knife, and Mom would follow along behind with a bag and carry it to the end of the field. He finally decided he wanted to do something different and began to make and install downspouts he made from oil cans he got from a service station. That got us out of the mountains. He went to work at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., and I was introduced to baseball on a Royal Ambassador team."
Source: Baptist Standard (Toby Druin, 09/03/2001)