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.
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.
• 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.
• 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
The Last Ride
The Seas That Mourn
In Search of The Russian Bear
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.