The A Land Remembered Tour Is Over … For Now

Here I am with the crowd in Melbourne.

Kim and I are now home after six weeks on the road on our “Spring, 2017 Snowbird Tour” of my multimedia show about my father, Patrick D. Smith, his books, his life and “Old Florida.” I enjoy the shows and meeting people but as Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”

I truly do enjoy doing the shows and am so thankful for the people in my audience. We get die-hard A Land Remembered fans, real Florida Crackers, “Snow Birds” from up north, oldsters, youngsters . . . you name it, we have had the privilege of meeting them.

Adventures

Like all tours, we had our share of adventures on this tour. Luckily we didn’t experience anything as scary as the tire blowout we had on an insanely busy Fort Lauderdale highway last year!

• The day we left, we discovered that Kim had left her iPhone at our local American Legion. We had to have that shipped to us in Florida.

• I tried to learn how to crack a cow whip. That didn’t go well as you can see here.

Manatees in the Suwannee River

• We went to Manatee Springs State Park to see, well, manatees. And we did. But the coolest thing was watching a cormorant chasing a big fish under that crystal clear water, and catching it! That bird was going as fast underwater as that fish. It was amazing.

• We discovered, after a day spent enjoying Clearwater Beach, that we Kim again (!) left an iPhone at my phone at a Pete and Shorty’s restaurant in the Clearwater area. This time it was mine as she decided she couldn’t trust taking hers with her as she had left it behind a few weeks ago. So she took mine instead. When we got back to our room and discovered it was gone, she called and they didn’t have it. When we ran “Find My iPhone” it looked like it was in the middle of Tampa Bay. The next day we finally tracked it to the restaurant after we figured out that there were TWO Pete and Shorty’s in the area and Kim had called the wrong one.

Fixed our loud air conditioner problem.

• We encountered every kind of neighbor in hotels. Some were very, very noisy, some had screaming babies, some had barking dogs, some went in and out of the room incessantly and banged the door every time. Sometimes our room smelled “odd.” Once we had to rest the chair atop the air conditioner to keep it from sounding like a tractor. (It’s good to be home.)

• After a five hour drive in heavy traffic, we arrived in Macclenny, hungry and thirsty. We wanted a nice meal and a glass of wine. Surprise! Baker County is a dry county. Even the nicer restaurants that serve alcohol were closed. We ate at Burger King that night.

I spoke at libraries, schools, yacht clubs, retirement communities, golf communities, at the South Florida fairgrounds, at fundraising events, an art show in Lake Wales and even a Rotary Club luncheon in Chiefland (special thanks to Vivienne and Paul Worthington!).

A story I heard many times, especially from older men, was that they don’t read books much, if ever. They then go on to tell me that someone handed them a copy of A Land Remembered and once they started reading it they couldn’t put it down. Now it is their all-time favorite book.

A Land Remembered is my father’s best known work but one of my goals was to get people interested in the other titles like:
The River is Home
Forever Island
Angel City
Allapattah
The Beginning
The Last Ride
The Seas That Mourn
In Search of The Russian Bear
and
A White Deer and Other Stories.

I do get a speaking fee but that isn’t enough to cover the significant costs of airfare, weeks staying in hotels, van rental, food, gas, tolls, cat sitter back home, etc. We depend on book sales at each event to make it worth while, and they did.

One idea that works well is what we call our “Bag of Books.” It is our custom book bag filled with every book Patrick Smith published (10 of them) plus the DVD, Patrick Smith’s Florida, A Sense of Place. The is the best way (and really the only way) to get the complete collection of every book Patrick Smith has every published.

This has been a very popular item and saves about $40 off the individual book prices. We also offer it online and you can see more about that here. It is the ONLY way to get the complete collection of books written by Patrick Smith, along with this multiple award-winning DVD, Patrick Smith’s Florida, A Sense of Place.

I was flattered that so many people came to see my show, and yes it did make me feel like a celebrity, especially when Kim and I were treated as special guests at the wonderful Matt’s Kasbah restaurant  in Melbourne. After doing this for going on four years now, the show has continually evolved and is pretty darn good if I say so myself. My audiences will back me up on that.

We hadn’t even left home before getting requests for future shows, so it looks like we’ll do it again in November, 2017. We’re even booking shows as far out as next March, 2018. Several locations have asked us for a return visit, which I consider the highest form of compliment.

If you are associated with or know of an organization that would like to host a show, please let me know. Historical societies, museums, art centers, community centers, schools, colleges, clubs and libraries are all possibilities. I’m announcing this early to give the venue and myself lots of lead time to schedule and promote it. Good promotion is key to a successful show and we want to work with you to make sure than happens.

I’m a member of the Florida Humanities Council’s “Florida Humanities Series” and you may be able to get funding assistance from them.

You can reach me at rick@ALandRemembered.com to discuss a possible show.

How to Crack a Cow Whip

Here’s a funny video we shot of me trying to learn how to crack a cow whip. I was getting schooled by renowned whip cracker Judge Nelson Bailey. I guess I’m a slow learner because this did not start nor end well. I’ll keep trying. Enjoy!

A Road Trip Through Florida in 1933

In 1933, my father Patrick Smith, took a two week road trip through Florida with his family. It was truly a trip of a lifetime for an 8 year-old boy from a small town in South Mississippi, and even in his 80’s he remembered it like it was yesterday.

A few years ago, I was able to film him sharing that trip. I like to call it a Trip Down Memory Lane. It is one of the scenes in the DVD, Patrick Smith’s Florida: A Sense of Place.

A while ago I shared this clip on Facebook and it has now had almost a million views and has been shared over 26,000 times!

Here is that clip. Enjoy!

(If you can’t view it here, click here to watch it on YouTube.)

I’ve included this clip in my multimedia show and it never fails to get a huge round of applause and lots of praise. People always tell me how much it means to them and thank me for sharing it. It’s just a small part of that DVD, Patrick Smith’s Florida: A Sense of Place. Patrick Smith tells many more touching and funny stories in the DVD, so you probably will want to order one to share with your friends and family.

We’re right in the middle of that speaking tour now and are literally living “on the road.” I have plenty of the DVDs with me and will ship your copy out right away. You can also purchase the download and watch it today.

How the Award Winning Video Patrick Smith’s Florida: A Sense of Place Came to Be

Not long after I graduated from college in 1975, I ended up moving to California where I still live. I knew Dad wrote books, spoke at a lot of places and won a lot of awards, I wasn’t that involved in his life or know just how popular he had become. (That has all changed.)

One year when I was visiting Dad, he said to me, “If you were to make a video of my talk, I bet you would sell thousands of them.” As an independent videographer, that piqued my interest. It took a while to actually get him in front of my camera and then it took a few years after that to finish it all up. You see, I didn’t just want Dad on camera; I wanted to illustrate what he talked about with images, sounds, music, and video. A Sense of Place

Rick’s Telly Award for 2005 Documentary Category

Patrick Smith’s Florida: A Sense of Place was finally finished in 2005 and I thought I had done a pretty fine job with it. I decided to enter it into film festivals. I guess other people thought it was good too because I had it accepted in festivals in Florida and Mississippi. It was shown at the Oxford Film Festival and I came away with the top award at the Tupelo Film Festival. It also won a Telly Award. It was even shown on some Florida PBS stations.

And yes, Dad was right. I have sold thousands! And the demand is still going strong. (If you haven’t seen it yet, find out more about it here.)

Not only that, it changed my career.

After he retired from the speaking circuit there was still demand from people to meet him and hear him speak. To my utter surprise, people started asking me to speak to groups. I had never done such a thing and at first was very nervous about it. I didn’t like just standing in front of a group of people and talking and I didn’t want to use notes.

I drew on my background in media production to create a lively, very visual “show” that people watch as I speak. Because there’s always an image on the screen, I always know where I am and what I’m speaking about. That takes the stress out of it for me. Over the last few years it has continually evolved and people apparently love it. I’ve presented this show almost 200 times and I have 22 shows in March.

I use parts of that video to bring Dad into the show. My audiences tell me they feel like they’ve met him and know so much more about his life and his literary contributions. He’s also very funny.

Here’s one of the clips from that video:

I hope you can make it to one of my shows. You can learn more about it here. Just skip to the month of March to see my next speaking schedule.

The Great Florida Cattle Drive: Unbroken Circles

This past year I was contacted by Emmy award-winning father and son filmmakers Elam & Nic Stoltzfus who asked me to write the forward to their new book, The Great Florida Cattle Drive: Unbroken Circles. I was honored to do so. I am excited to let you know that it is now available!

This coffee table book chronicles the Great Florida Cattle Drive 2016 which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first Great Florida Cattle Drive ’95. This event allowed people to experience the life of a Florida cow hunter on a cattle drive in the mid-1800s. The organizers of the cattle drive strove to make it as historically accurate as possible. In fact, in one of the early years, Dad (Patrick Smith) rode along on one of the drives. 

You not only get to experience the riders’ adventures on this special journey, the book also tells the history of Florida’s heritage cattle breed and how they almost went extinct. In addition, it includes a section on the making of the Great Florida Cattle Drive 2016 documentary which is available on DVD.

You can purchase The Great Florida Cattle Drive: Unbroken Circle here or at Amazon here or from the store page on the website for the Live Oak Production Group.

There is also a companion DVD and CD also available.

Fort Drum Christmas Frolic

This is one of my favorite scenes in A Land Remembered. It depicts the Fort Drum Christmas frolic where Zech and Glenda get to know each other better.

For several years we printed Christmas cards based on scenes from A Land Remembered. When I asked Dad what scene we should use, without hesitation he said “the Fort Drum Christmas frolic.” He even got a pad and pencil and roughly sketched the scene out as he saw it, with Zech MacIvey standing outside with his sweetheart Glenda Turner, and his horse Ishmael standing close by. I hired an artist to execute his sketch and here is the end result. We no longer sell it as a Christmas card but it is available as a framable print.

Get the print for only $5.00. It is printed on 8 1/2 x 11 inch card stock, suitable for framing.

The Last Ride

Introducing The Last Ride … a real bull ride of a book. Get it today for $3.00 off.

When I unearthed “the lost books” of my father, Patrick D. Smith, I was able to make 3 more titles widely available for the first time. They are The Seas That Mourn, In Search of The Russian Bear and The Last Ride.

All three titles are fascinating books that deserve to be read. In this post I want to introduce you to The Last Ride.

Below is a short video to introduce you to the book. Click anywhere on it to start it playing.

The Last Ride is unique among the books written by Patrick D. Smith. It is the true story of a young man’s life and the unfortunate turn it took.

This story takes the reader on a personal journey with former bull riding champion Glen “Pee Wee” Mercer, who on November 11, 1995, at the age of 25, suffered an accident while dismounting a bull at the Southeastern Circuit Final at Brighton, Florida. This resulted in a broken neck and severed spinal cord, thus changing his life forever. The Last Ride is the dramatic story of his life both before and after the accident.

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Patrick Smith met Mercer following a speaking engagement for the Friends of the Library in Williston, where Mercer lived. The two struck up a bond of friendship. Mercer was unable to write but had a colorful life’s story to tell. Smith agreed to help Mercer share his story and so they collaborated on the book. The result seven months later was publication of The Last Ride.

Although this book covers Pee Wee’s rodeo career throughout Florida and many other parts of the United States, it is not just a book about rodeo. It is also the story of young love gone awry, of adventure, high humor, youthful exuberance during those years when people think they are indestructible, of hopes and dreams of the future and how those hopes and dreams are shattered forever in just one split second of time.

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This is also a heartfelt story of courage, of the determination to endure in a world few others can even imagine. Sometimes it is a very lonely world indeed, one peopled only with memories.

Smith said that “Working with Pee Wee on this book has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my lifetime. Sometimes the greatest gift you can receive in life is helping someone less fortunate than yourself. I will always remember with pleasure the road Pee Wee and I have traveled together.” Smith went on to describe Pee Wee as a “Profile in Courage.”

The Last Ride will grip the interest and emotions of all readers, young and old alike. It is much like taking a literary rafting trip down a turbulent mountain stream. You will become part of the action and will be there every step of the way.

I am certain you will enjoy this book. It deserves a place in the collection of all Patrick Smith fans.

SAVE $3.00  

The Last Ride is hardbound, 27 photos, 183 pages. $18.00 … but to help celebrate the release of The Last Ride here’s a discount code that will save you $3.00 off each copy. Use code “$3 OFF” and SAVE $3.00.

Click here to order The Last Ride right now!

Also please share this with others whom you think will be interested. Thanks!

Rick's Signature

A Land Remembered of the High Seas: The Seas That Mourn

When I go on my speaking tours people often tell me how much they love Patrick Smith’s A Land Remembered and wish he had written more novels. They are surprised to learn that he published seven novels, two non-fiction books and a collection of short stories.

Unfortunately, most of the other novels have lived in the shadow of A Land Remembered.

That’s a real shame as they all are outstanding, especially The Seas That Mourn. This novel was dear to dad’s heart as it stems very much from his own experience in the United States Merchant Marine just at the end of World War II.

The Seas That Mourn was actually dad’s second novel, written after The River is Home. He couldn’t get it published in the early 1950’s because publishers told him that the market was swamped with war novels. It languished in a box in his home until 2002, when a publisher picked it up. I love this novel so much that I acquired all rights to it, designed a new cover, reprinted it and am so proud to promote this book which clearly deserves more recognition than it has received.

I’m also excited to announce that it is also available on Kindle and NOOK

The Seas That Mourn is a moving tribute to the brave mariners who served in the Merchant Marine during World War II. It has been called “A Land Remembered of The High Seas” and it is an action packed book that has humor, war, love, romance, loss and much more to make it an exciting and memorable read. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you follow the main character through dangerous convoys that really happened.

The United States Merchant Marine provided the greatest sealift in history between the production army at home and the fighting forces scattered around the globe in World War II. The pre-war total of 55,000 experienced mariners was increased to over 215,000 through U.S. Maritime Service training programs. 

Some argue that without the Merchant Marine the Allies would have lost as there would not have existed the means to carry the personnel, supplies, and equipment needed by the combined Allies to defeat the Axis powers.

Merchant ships faced danger from submarines, mines, armed raiders and destroyers, aircraft, “kamikaze,” and the elements. About 8,300 mariners were killed at sea, 12,000 wounded of whom at least 1,100 died from their wounds, and 663 men and women were taken prisoner. Some were blown to death, some incinerated, some drowned, some froze, and some starved. Sixty six died in prison camps or aboard Japanese ships while being transported to other camps. Thirty one ships vanished without a trace to a watery grave. It is estimated that approximately 9,300 merchant mariners gave their lives in the war.

You’ll feel like you are right there on the open seas as you read The Seas That Mourn. Only someone who had been a Merchant Marine could write with such authenticity as Patrick Smith brings to bear in this novel. 

But you don’t have to take my word for it. I brought his words to life in this short video I created from the pages of the book. It powerfully illustrates how he came up with the title. You can view it below:

I know that you will love this novel. As I said earlier, it has humor, war, love, romance, loss and much more to make it an exciting and memorable read. Click here to order your copy. Or if you prefer eBooks, click here to get it on Kindle and here to get if for your NOOK.

A Land Remembered Tour Starts March 2017

I am heading back to Florida in March for what I like to call the “A Land Remembered Snowbird Tour”. I’m presenting my first multimedia show about my father, Patrick Smith, on March 2, 2017 at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring at 7 pm.  As we get closer to that date, I’ll share more details. If you’re in the area, please join me!

Below is my schedule so far. I’ll probably be adding to this in the coming weeks. Most of the shows are free so pick one near you and see me there!

PATRICK’S UPCOMING APPEARANCES

3/2/17 7:00 PM Highlands Hammock State Park
Sebring
3/4/17 10:00 AM South West Florida College
Lifelong Learning Institute [$]
Punta Gorda
3/9/17 6:00 PM Lake Wales Arts Center at Polk State College Lake Wales
3/11/17 2:00 PM Melbourne Sr High School Auditorium Melbourne
3/18/17 12:30 PM Loxahatchee Loxahatchee
3/23/17 7:00 PM South Regional Library Naples
3/25/17 TBD Yesteryear Village West Palm Beach
3/30/17 1:30 PM Advent Christian Village
Dowling Park
3/30/17 6:30 PM Suwannee River Regional Library Live Oak
4/2/17 TBD Museum of Arts and Sciences Daytona Beach

[$] = There will be a charge for admission

You can find more information about this tour and where I’ll be next at ALandRemembered.com/tour-schedule. Click to March to view it. (NOTE: If you are going, make sure to check with the venue for ticket and reservation information! We are not handling that, the places are.)

I’m constantly adding new videos and content to the show and am very excited to share it with you. It’s a mighty fun experience, if I say so myself… and I do! But don’t just believe me, here is what a few others had to say:

Thank you for such a wonderful presentation at the Cocoa Library. We happened to be in Cocoa Beach over the weekend and was able to attend with my mother. Having read your dad’s books with my seventh grade student several years ago, I was glad to relive parts through your talk. ~Kathryn Desmond, Tampa, FL

We love you here in Manatee County, Rick Smith. We knew it would be packed. Lots of folks that would have loved to have been there busy getting ready to ride the Florida Cracker Trail Feb.14th at Kibler Ranch. Your father will be thought of with every hoof beat across the state this year. Thank you for carrying on his legacy. ~Carol Billberry Felts, Bradenton, FL

Thank you, thank you for the wonderful show at the Ocala FL library!  I admit I was rather tearful but loved every minute. ~Betsey, Ocala, FL

If you are a fan of A Land Remembered I guarantee you will love it. You’ll also come away with a deeper appreciation for Florida’s history and my father’s work.

I will see you at the show!

The Christmas Platter – a story by Patrick D. Smith

It was the year 1935, the height of the Great Depression, and I had reached the ripe old age of 8. My knowledge of the world was limited to the lifestyle of a small Mississippi town, including corn bread, grits, black-eyed peas, and nearby fields and streams; but at the time, that was all I wanted to know. I was happy with what I had: a sturdy old wooden house, three meals a day such as they were, and a family overflowing with love and concern for each other.

A week before Christmas, my mother discovered that her serving platter was cracked, and she had no other dish that would hold a 20-pound turkey, a rare holiday treat. She asked me to go to town, purchase another one, and charge it to her. What she had in mind was a “ten-cent store” special, costing no more than a dollar.

After a thorough search of the “dime store,” I found that all such platters were long gone. Then I went into the junk store/antique shop, hoping to find a used one.

What I found was an antique serving platter big enough to hold the largest turkey ever hatched. It was a blue-on-white platter made in England, and it was priced at the staggering sum of $25 – enough back then to feed a family of four for three months. And I bought it.

My mother’s face showed concern when I handed it to her and said what I had done, but she did not order me to return it to the store. Instead she said, “This will make the most beautiful Christmas table we’ve ever had.”

During all my growing-up years, that platter appeared on the table twice each year – at Thanksgiving and Christmas. And what pleasure it brought to everyone, especially at Christmas – back in a time when Christmas was a joyous and loving season, not commercial in any way – times when an apple and an orange, a few Brazil nuts, a nickel bag of rock candy, and perhaps one little wooden toy would make the eyes sparkle with glee. And then that wonderful roasted turkey sitting on top of a blue-on-white platter, gracing the center of the table.

Two years ago my mother, the last surviving parent, died. When the surviving parent dies, it is more than just a human death – it is the end of the road, the final page of a way of life. Never again can you go back to an old house vibrant with parents and children and grandchildren gathered for a joyous occasion. The door is closed forever.

After the funeral, I brought that serving platter home with me. It sits now on top of a china cabinet, filled not with turkey but with memories, cherished memories that no one can take away from me.

As I look back at all those times – times so different from today’s hectic world – I am thankful that I was innocent enough to pay $25 for an antique serving platter. I would not sell it for its weight in gold. Someday, it will grace the table of my children, their children and grandchildren. Perhaps it will generate memories for them too.

Patrick Smith, 1986

If you enjoyed this short story from Patrick Smith, you’ll love Fried Mullet and Grits, yours free here.

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