Daddy used to have breakfast at Hardee’s every morning, kicking his day off by leisurely sharing coffee and swapping stories with friends. Yesterday Alison and I had breakfast at Hardens, and sitting at the table right next to us was Bobby Kerlin and his wife, Jean. As we stood there swapping stories, Bobby told me a story about my granddaddy . . .

When Bobby was a younger man, Sam Jones was selling a car, and Bobby wanted to buy it, but he didn’t have the money, so he walked across the road to the bank and said to my granddaddy, “Mr. Crawford, I want to buy a car.”

“What car?” Granddaddy asked him.

“That red and white car right over yonder,” Bobby told him, pointing out the window. “Sam Jones is selling it, and I’d like to buy it.”

“How much does he want for it?” Granddaddy asked.


“How much do you need?”


“Well, okay. How do you want the money?” Granddaddy asked, and Bobby, who was taking out his first loan ever, said, “Cash.” After Granddaddy counted out $900 into his hands, Bobby went across the street, paid for the car, and drove it home.

About two weeks later at the supper table, Bobby’s daddy said, “I got a call from Mr. Crawford at the bank today.”

“What did he want?” Bobby’s mother asked.

“He wants me to come by and sign some papers for the money he loaned Bobby to buy Sam’s car.”

Two weeks later – did you get that part? Granddaddy loaned Bobby the money then called to get his daddy to come sign the papers two weeks later. That’s the way banking was done back then: people did what they were supposed to do. Folks helped each other out. A person’s word and their name and their reputation meant something. People felt a responsibility to maintain the family’s good reputation, too. And trust ran rampant.


That’s Granddaddy there on the far right in the photo above. For all you Fayette County natives, bonus points if you can name the other folks and tell me where the picture was taken.