Reading Corner | ‘From the Fields to the Future’ tells centenarian’s guide to life

The idea of being able to talk with a person who was alive when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated has been impossible for more than a few decades. We can, however, now get to know one of these people through the words of Joyce Robinson and her extensive research into her great-uncle’s life.

“From the Fields to the Future” is all about Uncle Odrick Vaught and exploring the reasons that may have helped him live such an extensive life – the oldest estimate being 123 years old.

Uncle O died in 1968 with no record of when he was born, though he reportedly was around 20 years old when he heard of Lincoln’s assassination. He was born a slave to the Vaught family of Horry County, and long after slavery’s abolition, Uncle O remained in the area for the entirety of his long life.

Joyce Robinson was only distantly aware of her great-Uncle O as a child, and his long life fascinated her as an adult. Through years of research with what little there is to be found, she has put together what she calls Uncle O’s seven secrets to living longer. Nevertheless, this book is more than just advice on living a healthy life. This is a peek into one man’s life and the world he created for himself, all out of love.

Because Uncle O died long before Robinson began her research, much of what she knows about him came from friends and family still alive, and a handful of interviews from the 1960s, when local papers were interested in Uncle O’s longevity. But from the information Robinson has gathered about Uncle O, it would be difficult to find anyone who disagreed with these seven secrets.

Each chapter is dedicated to one of these secrets along with some input from Uncle O, and Robinson includes some recent research findings meant to back up the seven secrets. For instance, simply exercising every day, even just a short walk, can improve a person’s health. Uncle O also encourages not stressing out, being yourself and being with those you love, and indulging every once in a while. All in all, these are some good secrets to follow.

The book itself doesn’t quite reach 100 pages, so it can be considered quite short. However, keeping in mind Uncle O and his way of living, perhaps short, sweet and to the point is the only way this book should be written. Besides, everything that needs to be said is said. The writing is also simple and easy to follow.

Robinson’s dedication and passion to her great-uncle is impressive and compiled in a very charming manner. Secrets to a long life are made not only down-to-earth, but easily attainable through her research and writing, and it’s all thanks to a super-centenarian who didn’t actually care about living long – just living well.

Emily Smith, For The Sun News

Moveable Feast luncheons

The Moveable Feast literary luncheons continue for the summer, usually on Fridays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Each luncheon is followed by a book signing at Litchfield Books, 11421 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, for those unable to participate in the feast. Each feast is $25 (occasionally more); books are available at a 10 percent discount from Litchfield Books.

The next available luncheons will feature:

▪ Mary Kay Andrews (“Beach Town”), Friday, Kimbel’s Wachesaw, Murrells Inlet.

▪ Jane Green (“Summer Secrets”), June 23 at Inlet Affairs, Murrells Inlet.

▪ Wendy Wax (“A Week at the Lake”), June 26, Pine Lakes Country Club, Myrtle Beach.

If you have book- or author-related news, email Items and reviews run on a space-available basis.

At a glance

Title | “From the Fields to the Future”

Author | Joyce Robinson

Publisher | Excelovate

Length | 96 pages

Cost | $14.95