In Georgia: Plains Revisited

When I first visited Plains, Ga., in December 1976, a month after Jimmy Carter's election, the town was buoyed up by various brands of delight—a native son's handmade personal triumph, the daily spectacle of famous TV news faces bolting along the quarter-mile street between Jimmy's house and the heart of downtown, the onset of Christmas.

The victor's formidable mother, Miss Lillian, was freely available at the old railroad depot, dispensing her startling wit and candor. His brother Billy was cheerfully posing for snapshots at the gas pump, permanent beer can ominously poised. Even the...

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