With no living relatives left in Cowden, it is rare for O’Kelly to come back home. He has lived on the same farm in Terre Haute for the last 40 years and owns a private cattle and swine research farm ;Boot City western wear, and Boot City Opry.
After moving around some in Cowden, O’Kelly’s father family bought the family farm in 1948. “It was plainer than a broom, and stayed that way into the 70s.” He also learned that “BBQ raccoon is greasy – it ain’t good.” (p7).
His farming background paved the way for O’Kelly to attend SIU and study agriculture. “From the earliest times, I remember being surrounded to some degree by the presence of livestock, mainly cattle and hogs.” Later, Rod earned his PhD in Animal Nutrition at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1969.
“Comin’up Country” chronicles life through O’Kelly’s eyes and takes us all the way through his college years into his first business endeavors—many of which prove to be humorous as well as frustrating.
For a lot of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s, O’Kelly’s trip down memory lane will prove to be heartwarming of simpler times. For those who came along in later generations, reading “Comin’ up Country” may lend perspective of how we evolved from a mostly agrarian society into a more industrialized nation.
If you missed the book signing, it sells for $15.00 and is available through Amazon or by contacting Rod at: Boot City Inc., 11800 S Us Highway 41, Terre Haute (812) 299-8379.