Thornton W. Chaney is a compelling story-teller. Although he has lived his eighty-four years within a one mile area, he has many adventures to relate. When he entered the Navy in WWII, he had been a sheltered farm boy. His Christian upbringing definitely influenced his life as he sailed the seven seas and was introduced to the ways of the world. The Life of a Country Boy is a compilation of adventures and escapades while in the Navy, but the greater part is devoted to “Store Experiences.” In 1988, he retired after forty years of running a “country” store. Chaney’s Store was located in the Virginia community of Mountain Hill where, if you care to, you can step right into North Carolina. Farmers bought all their groceries, gas, and farm supplies there and then gathered around the pot-bellied stove on winter days weaving tales—true or not true. The Life of a Country Boy is the gathering of stories, some funny, some serious, some full of irony, that are the autobiography of my uncle Thornton as told to me, Janet W. Adkins. I have tried to tell these stories as nearly as possible in his own words, southern colloquialisms ringing through. His daughter-in-law said she could just hear him talking while she was reading it. When people in the stories are in negative situations, their names have been changed. But the real names of others are used as a means of honoring them.
Janet W. Adkins is a young great-grandmother who lives in Ringgold, Virginia with her daughter and her family. She also has two sons remaining after the deaths of two sons. She received her MEd. from the University of Virginia and was a fellow of the Central Virginia Writers’ Conference, 1980. She has taught English in local schools and part time at Danville Community College. She takes an active part in her church and is interested in Bible study, piano and bridge.