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Ava Gardner
Sands of time: From the farm to the city

SMITHFIELD, N.C. — This used to be tobacco country. Still is, but the demand for tobacco is down, the demand for soybeans and sweet potatoes is up, and the farmers have adjusted accordingly. This is not a land of pretense. On the highway leading into town, a small green sign celebrates a hometown star. The star is not Ava Gardner — the Hollywood glamour girl who was born nearby and was buried here, the legendary actress and onetime wife of Frank Sinatra. The star is a guy who made it to the major leagues and hit .230. "Welcome to Smithfield," the sign reads. "Hometown of Barry Foote, major league baseball player and coach." Smithfield also is the...

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