Phillip Burgess' New Book

Phillip Burgess has written a new book about growing up on a farm in rural Marshall County.

Author Phillip Burgess has just released a book on "the good ‘ol days of life on a small farm midway between Boaz and Douglas. 

“Rural Route Four, The Good ‘Ol Days Were Never Better” is a compilation of stories from Burgess’ childhood in the 1960s-70s on Rural Route Four, Boaz.

Burgess, a former reporter for the Sand Mountain Reporter and WAVU-WQSB, has spent the last two years penning the book, which is published by Christian Faith Publishers. He retired as vice president of communications and government relations for the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA) in Chattanooga, TN in 2018 and now lives in Gulfport, MS.

“Rural Route Four is never far from me,” said Burgess. “In my mind I walk the fields and woods of my childhood. It is comfortable there, and unlike today, offers a peace and contentment I think many are seeking,” he added.

In his stories, Burgess spends time at Rip’s Needmore Grocery, a country store on Highway 168. There he listens to local farmers tell tall tales as they eat parched peanuts while sitting around a pot-bellied stove in the rear of the store. He remembers playing in freshly picked cotton. There are trips to Boaz for haircuts, hanging out in the dime store, and picking off peanuts on autumn afternoons.

“Our house was in the curve of a dirt road, about two-tenths of a mile from New Hope Primitive Baptist Church. The paved road ended there, and every time a car passed our house, we were treated to a dust bath.

"Daddy Grand, my father, owned forty acres of land, with most of it in cultivation. Surrounding the fields were old-growth forests that served as my playground.”

Burgess remembers hauling hay and stacking it in the barn loft, meeting the peddler while he parked at the church for lunch, and staring at the Sears “Wish Book” for hours on end before Christmas.

“My goal in writing these memories is to keep alive the traditions and way of life country people had before modern technology took over,” said Burgess. “I hope my grandchildren will appreciate the way I was reared in a time that is so foreign to them.”

“Rural Route Four, The Good ‘Oil Days Were Never Better,” is available from Amazon in both soft and hard cover formats. It is delivered free with an Amazon Prime membership.

Burgess will have a book signing on Saturday, May 21, in his old neighborhood. Residents on Rural Route Four are hosting the book signing  at the old Pine Grove Schoolhouse, just off Highway 168, between 1-3 p.m. Autographed books will be available.

"I look forward to talking with residents about Rural Route Four," Burgess said. 

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