Inside are half a dozen wooden chairs in a circle about the room, with men sitting in the chairs and discussing things in general. The scene is not unlike that in Bible class; but chewing tobacco is allowed, and the subjects being addressed tend to be somewhat more earthy.
The next stop is Yarborough's carpet-yarning company. It is a small factory in an 11,000-square-foot white concrete building just outside of Timmonsville. In chipped paint on the outside of the building is the crossed-flags emblem, over the words CALE YARBOROUGH DISTRIBUTORS. Yarborough first rented the building to the carpet yarners, who were just starting out, but the next week he bought a major interest in the company, later a controlling interest. "Now I'm in the textile business," he says. "This looks like it's going to be a winner. We've got to expand here, too; we're going to double the size of the building."
As he is leaving the plant, two black women enter and meet Yarborough at the door. He greets them cordially. The plant is hiring, and they seem to be looking for work. The women ask Yarborough where the office is. "It's over there in the corner at the other end of the building," he tells them. "You'll find the bossman in there."
Yarborough drives to the Timmonsville post office next, waving a greeting to many of the cars he passes. "I guess I know everyone in town," he says. At the post office, a customer in line behind Cale, a man of about 70, says, "You doing all right with the Oldsmobile this year." A heavy, cheerful black woman asks, "Why you left Florence County? We're jealous you left us." Yarborough is turning his head left and right to talk to both of them, because their comments come virtually at once.
The eyes of the people in Sardis light up, and smiles come to their faces, when they see Yarborough on the street. It is appreciation their expressions reveal. Yarborough is one of them. He is their boy, or as one young Sardis farmer referred to him at church, "our prize onion." There is pride in Yarborough's voice when he says, "I've lived here all my life.
"Sardis is an old community. It's the kind of place where when someone needs help, everyone comes together," he says. "I've been almost all over the world, there are very few places I haven't been through, been over or been around, and I've yet to see any place I like better than Sardis." Yarborough's roots are deep, and his people show him they are proud of him every day. A man would have to be crazy to leave such applause.