The Polk Gene

If unbridled storytelling is an inherited trait, Randy Neal has got it, no doubt passed down from his great grandfather Polk Miller. When I finally met Randy at the rural Virginia home of mutual friends Dave and Cat S., this aspect of his personality came as something of a surprise. It had taken about a year to coax him out of his shell and agree to meet me because in his words, “I’ve got nothing to add to the conversation.” In fact, he arrived with a briefcase full of private unpublished family papers and photos. On one hand, he is a no-nonsense man of few words. However ask the right question and he’s off, not necessarily answering your question but treating you to a colorful meandering monolog which, like the lectures of his famous ancestor, have “no beginning and no end.” A second surprise was his uncanny resemblance to Polk Miller.203

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