Aunt Jennie proved to be a marvelous cook, and of course she had a special affection for me because I had been one of her pupils. She and Uncle Clyde eventually had two sons who grew up sharing the devout convictions of their parents. One of them, Ed, became one of the finest pastors I have ever known, with the largest Presbyterian in the western part of North Carolina. His older brother, Clyde, worked at Ivey's department store in Charlotte, where he was promoted a number of times through the years.

In the "Wild West" years, the eldest Graham brother, my Uncle Tom, went off to Oklahoma, where he married a full-blooded Cherokee woman. He did well for himself in cotton gins. Each summer when they came back to North Carolina for a two week-visit, driving the biggest car I had ever seen (with every kind of gadget on it), they stayed at our house. He was tall and heavy-set, and how he and the equally ample Aunt Belle could sleep in that three-quarter-size bed in our guest room remained one of the unsolved mysteries of my childhood.

Our barns had tin roofs. On rainy days, I liked to sneak away into the hay barn and lie on a sweet-smelling and slippery pile of straw, listening to the raindrops hit that tin roof and dreaming. It was a sanctuary that helped shape my character. Whenever I visit a bustling city anywhere in the world now, I like to retreat from noisy boulevards into an open church building and just meditate in the cool, dim quietness. At our home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, my favorite spot is a little path above the house where I walk alone and talk with God.