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Meet Bert Goolsby
South Carolina writer



C. Tolbert Goolsby, Jr. (or, more simply, Bert Goolsby), earned an undergraduate degree at The Citadel, a law degree at the University of South Carolina, and an advanced law degree at the University of Virginia. He is a former chief deputy attorney general of South Carolina, having once headed the criminal division of the South Carolina Attorney General’s office. He is married to the former Prue Fraser of Walterboro, South Carolina. They have one son, Philip Lane Goolsby, M.D., a physician practicing in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Prue and Bert make their home in Columbia, South Carolina, where Bert is a member of the Inkplots, a writers group.

In addition to Sweet Potato Biscuits and Other Stories (Cork Hill Press, 2003) and other published works, Bert has also authored Her Own Law (Xlibris, 1998), a “Southern” novel written entirely in Southern dialect.

“I tried to emulate Mac Hyman’s style in No Time for Sergeants (Random House, 1954),” he said recently. “Whether I successfully did so or not, I leave for the reader to decide.”

Her Own Law, a story told in Southern vernacular by Delaware Huggins, an uneducated, good-hearted 4-Fer and would-shipbuilder, is set in the South during World War II. The story centers upon Delaware’s wife, Tweeve Huggins. Although not a lawyer, Tweeve defends Delaware, an outsider, when law enforcement authorities charge him with having murdered a local movie theater operator and his ticket seller. The theme of the story concerns the measure of justice we accord those deemed as outsiders.

An early scene, which occurs shortly after Delaware marries Tweeve, involves his attending the trial of Winkie Skinner, a man accused of having shot and killed Goot Riddle when Skinner caught Goot in his chicken yard stealing chickens.

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About six weeks later, they tried Mr. Skinner down at the courthouse. They didn’t waste no time doing it. Tweeve told me it was all right for me to go and watch some of it, since she’d run outta things for me to do around her place for the time being. I was there at the courthouse when the jury went out to the jury room to decide the case. They couldn’t been out no moren five minutes. When they come back in the courtroom, they was all laughing and joking with one another. The foreman, he handed the clerk of court a paper what had the verdict wrote down on it. He read it to hisself and then looked over at Mr. Skinner and told him the jury’d done found him not guilty. After that, near about everybody what was on the jury, they run over to Mr. Skinner and slapped him on the back and told him how he oughten to be off fighting Tojo, or Hitler one, being he was such a good shot and all.

I come home after the trial got over with. I knowed Goot was wrong to have been in Mr. Skinner’s chicken coop stealing his chickens, but I kinda felt like Goot paid a mighty high price for taking them. It looked to me like Mr. Skinner coulda shot up in the air or something. He didn’t have to kill him, I didn’t think. I mean, they was just chickens he stole. I said to Tweeve when I was telling her about it, “I don’t think the jury shoulda let Mr. Skinner get off scot-free for what he done. It ain’t fair.”

Tweeve said, “Fair? ‘It ain’t fair.’ Is that what you said? What’s fair got to do with it? As far as that jury was concerned, Mr. Skinner was one of them and the Riddle boy wasn’t. It’s as simple as that. If you’re a ‘them,’ you lose. And if you’re a ‘us,’ you win. That’s the way it is in everything. In politics, in business, everything. I don’t care what it is.”

“Everything, Tweeve? Even the law?” I asked her.

“Especially in the law,” she said.

“I reckon, then,” I told her, “I’d best be real careful to stay out of trouble around here, being I’m from Georgia.”

Tweeve said, “You got that right.”


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To order Her Own Law, telephone 1-888-795-4274 or go to amazon.com.

To order Sweet Potato Biscuits and Other Stories, telephone 1-866-688-6225 or go to CorkHillPress.com.

Both books may also be ordered at most bookstores.




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