It's Fellerath's tribute that I just came across, one of those "wish I'd said that" moments, that now lets me grieve in public.
It was Bageant's 2007 book, "Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America's Class War," that made me a huge and endearing fan, though I'd run across some of his self-defined "redneck socialism" before.
We corresponded a bit. I invited him to come to Boone and give a speech. I didn't know at the time that he was already suffering from cancer. He never mentioned any illness but said this:
There's nothing I'd rather do more. I LOVE Boone! ... HOWEVER, please don't write me off. My new book, Rainbow Pie, is the last one I intend on writing. Then I'll have time to do things like go to Boone, Eastern Kentucky...and a whole lotta other places where a hillbilly can ease his troubled mind among kin and kilth. (My mama's people are from North Carolina)....
That last book, "Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir," was published in Australia late in 2010 and is now listed on Amazon.com.
I'll read that book, and I'll toast the memory of a great American hell-raiser who loved poor people and understood and sympathized with them like very few others.
I found what I originally wrote here about "Deer Hunting with Jesus" back in 2007. I don't take back a word of it.