Driving into Greenwood after dark, we pull into a gas station and ask directions to a late-night grocery store. ‘Sir… I have a suggestion,’ says a young man in the queue. ‘I’ll be going that way in this big old box.’ He waves towards a magnificently clapped-out Chrysler at the fuel pumps. ‘Y’all just follow me.’ Our convoy proceeds to the store at 25mph with no turn signals. Then, with another wave, our Good Samaritan turns and rumbles back towards the gas station. He wasn’t really going our way at all.
A little later the Crystal Rooms restaurant reopens its just-closed kitchen for our small party. ‘We’ll feed y’all… come right in,’ says the owner Johnny Ballas. Next morning Howard Smith, part-time country singer and full-time proprietor of Smith and Co.