Karl Merritt wrote a book based on his daddy’s life. It is called From the Rough Side of the Mountain. Karl will be at Sweet Palette on Nov. 15 for a book signing and meet and greet.
understand the book and why it matters, it is important to understand a little bit about Karl’s daddy. Karl is the oldest of Milton W. Merritt Sr.’s six children.
The world Milton grew up in was nothing like today’s world. Milton’s dad (Karl’s grandfather) was a poor man. He was a sharecropper in rural Georgia where he and his wife and children worked the farm together to make ends meet. When Milton was 12, a man walked into his family’s home and shot his father dead. Milton’s mom was left with seven kids to raise, including Milton.
Fast forward several decades. Milton had served his country in World War II, he was college educated and he was a husband and a father. He’d been a building contractor, a pastor, a civil rights activist, a teacher and more. He overcame obstacles. He worked hard. He didn’t give up. He counted his blessings and pondered his decisions. Milton lived a full and exciting life, and he loved to share his experiences with others, especially if what he shared could help someone else. That could have been enough. Until it wasn’t.
“After a speaking engagement in Macon, Ga., several people came up to my dad and said, ‘you cannot carry this to your grave. You need to write it down,’” said Karl. He agreed to help tell his daddy’s story. For more than a decade, Karl recorded conversations with his father. He accumulated more than 20 hours worth of conversations, lessons, insights and memories. By now Milton’s health was failing. Still, Karl had not started on the book.
Then Karl’s wife asked, “How will you feel if your daddy dies before you write this book?”
She had the tapes transcribed.
Karl wrote the book.
“I went through and took pieces and made that the basis of each chapter,” said Karl. “One of the chapters is about friendship. My dad treasured friendships. I am more of a lover and I didn’t have those same experiences. I didn’t invest in friendships for a long time. I think that is the value of the book. It helps people live life to the fullest by looking at what he did right and never claiming to have done everything right.”
Other chapters in the book include topics like determination to succeed, facing life’s disruptions, the power of example, family experience, making time to assist, genuine concern for others, taking advantage of opportunities and counting the cost of decisions.
The meet and greet is from 5-7 p.m. Not only is it an opportunity to meet Karl and learn more about From the Rough Side of the Mountain, the Up & Coming Weekly writing team will be in attendance as well. Come share your opinions, suggestions and story ideas. Karl’s book is also available at City Center Gallery and Books. For more information, call 484-6200.