His youth unfolded in extremely rural western Alabama beginning about a decade before the Great Depression. He lived in the bosom of extended family, with everyone who lived within five miles in any direction being kin (as he liked to say). In his immediate family, three older brothers and a sister (and eventually a younger brother) competed with each other and with Sam in a rough-and-tumble environment. The boys seemed constantly tussling—to the point that a favorite family story has a female visitor exclaim to their mother “Julia, come quick! These boys are killing each other!”
The family’s life proved equally rough-and-tumble. About the time that the Great Depression struck, Jack Granade moved his family from Frankville to Leroy for its educational opportunities, but his sons, like their father, turned their hands to whatever would support the family. They farmed, timbered, and even helped put US Highway 43 (AL 13) through the community with a mule and a slip scraper. At school, Sam proved adept enough at the game to earn a football scholarship from Auburn. As each son graduated high school, “Mr. Jack” provided forty acres, use of a mule and equipment, and seed for a growing season. Whatever that son could earn from the land that year provided the family’s investment in his education.
Granade, S. Ray, "Grackles in Montgomery" (2020). Creative Works. 74.