"A Mountain Pearl" follows the adventures of a young, Appalachian girl as she grows up in the secluded valley below the Gravelly Spur Mountain during the Great Depression. She and her family and friends experience the ups and downs of pioneer life in a beautiful valley almost forgotten by time. The stories were inspired by Pearl Franks — late mother of Hall of Fame music legend and actor Randall Franks, who played "Officer Randy Goode" on the television series "In the Heat of the Night." Illustrated by award-winning artist Cathy Cooksey, the collection includes 39 authentic mountain recipes and 55 country funnies sure to bring a laugh.
In the valley below the Gravelly Spur Mountain, author Randall Franks spins the tales and adventures inspired for “A Mountain Pearl: Appalachian Reminiscing and Recipes,” by his late mother – Pearl Franks.
“My mother was a wonderful storyteller,” Randall said. “From my earliest bedtime stories, she mesmerized me with mountain legends, struggles for survival, leaving me often hanging waiting for what the next installment would hold.”
Franks, who played "Officer Randy Goode" on the television series "In the Heat of the Night," shares stories spanning over a century of Appalachian reflections and experience much of it intertwined hopes and dreams in the almost fabled valley where the tales were spun from the people that called it home.
“In this book, I play tribute to my folks who came before and endured the hardships that came from carving a living out hills and hollers of the mountains,” he said. “It reflects on my mother’s life and the lessons she shared with me that she learned in that valley and applied to life when she left it.”
The 202-page softbound book is illustrated by award-winning Catoosa County artist Cathy Cooksey featuring a variety of full color paintings and black and white drawings.
The collection also includes 39 authentic mountain recipes, most from his mother and grandmother’s favorites.
“Whether it’s a snack like Honey Tastes, Pearl’s Fried Chicken or Oatmeal Pie, there is a recipe here that cooks will sure want to try,” he said. “The featured recipes often reflect something interwoven within the stories.”
Randall also features over 50 lighthearted country funnies depicted through some of his best-known comedy characters such as Uncle Elige Doolittle and his twin boys Will Doolittle and Won’t Do-a-Lot, he said.
“These reflect the spirit and whimsy of Appalachian humor that have made generations crack a smile,” he said.