Rod pushes back against the assumption that there has been no racial progress in Dixie:
Yesterday he discussed how people should put down roots wherever they live. Before that, he explained why we should follow the example of his late sister, the subject of his new book, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life:
[The book] follows Rod Dreher, a Philadelphia journalist, back to his hometown of St. Francisville, Louisiana (pop. 1,700) in the wake of his younger sister Ruthie’s death. When she was diagnosed at age 40 with a virulent form of cancer in 2010, Dreher was moved by the way the community he had left behind rallied around his dying sister, a schoolteacher. He was also struck by the grace and courage with which his sister dealt with the disease that eventually took her life. In Louisiana for Ruthie’s funeral in the fall of 2011, Dreher began to wonder whether the ordinary life Ruthie led in their country town was in fact a path of hidden grandeur, even spiritual greatness, concealed within the modest life of a mother and teacher. In order to explore this revelation, Dreher and his wife decided to leave Philadelphia, move home to help with family responsibilities and have their three children grow up amidst the rituals that had defined his family for five generations – Mardi Gras, L.S.U. football games, and deer hunting.
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