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This Story About the Civil Rights Movement Had to be Told

Some of you know this, but my father, Patrick Smith, was never a full-time writer. He spent his working career in public relations.

In 1962, he landed his dream job as the public relations officer at his alma mater, the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).

Only two weeks later, he found himself in the middle of the violence of the civil rights movement when James Meredith became the first African-American to enroll there. Riots ensued and it took some 30,000 U.S. troops, federal marshals, and national guardsmen to get James Meredith to class after a violent campus uprising. Two people were killed and more than 300 injured.

It became known as the “Battle of Oxford” and is regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights in the United States.

Dad would walk Mr. Meredith to class, hoping nobody hiding behind a tree or bush would jump out and take a shot at them. That didn’t happen but Dad did suffer for the rest of his life from being tear gassed. His eyes were always red and irritated.

Having grown up in Mississippi and having both black and white friends, he had a unique perspective on the issues. Following that experience at Ole Miss, he wrote a novel that most people haven’t heard of. He titled it, The Beginning.

Be forewarned … this book is not suitable for younger readers. The language is harsh and some of the scenes are violent. He never talked much about this novel; I think he was afraid it would offend people. I rank it among his best.

You can read a synopsis and more about The Beginning here.

On this past Martin Luther King Day, we are reminded of the struggle against segregation and discrimination that is still continuing. My father’s novel, according to the Clarion Ledger in Mississippi, was “the most vivid and most violent and most accurate reflection of the time.”

Related Reading on the Battle of Oxford: The Battle of Ole Miss: Civil Rights v. States’ Rights (Critical Historical Encounters – an Ole Miss student’s perspective on the riots.

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A Look Back At Our Fall Speaking Tour

My fall, 2017 tour ended and I flew home to California on Thanksgiving Day. With 235 shows under my belt in Florida alone, I keep thinking that the well will run dry, but we’re already getting booked up starting in February and ending in March.

Here are a few highlights from this past journey:

First things first – one of my hobbies is playing the guitar. It helps me relax and gets my mind off business. I didn’t have a guitar in Florida so I started looking on Craigslist and found this beautiful Regal Resophonic Guitar. My obsession is playing Delta Blues, the early acoustic blues from the 1920s and 1930s, and this fit the bill perfectly. I couldn’t bear to leave it in my storage unit in Florida and brought it home with me. Guess I’ll have to find another guitar for the next tour. Right, honey?

We stayed in a very cute little cottage on Nokomis Beach. Kim tried to re-heat some tortilla chips in the oven and started a fire. The nosy neighbors across the road must have enjoyed watching us fan the smoke out the front door.

Over 1,000 students attended the show in Okeechobee. They bussed them in from all over.

 

 

Many schools in Florida use A Land Remembered to teach literature and Florida History. I was amazed at a show in Okeechobee when over 1,000 students showed up. They were bussed in from schools all around the area. That set a new record for me for audience size. I have to say that it was a very polite, attentive audience, especially since so many were sitting on hard bleachers. I don’t know how the people in back could see the screen.

 

Receiving the proclamation making it “Patrick Smith’s Florida Is A Land Remembered Day” in Okeechobee.

 

I was also presented with a proclamation from the Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners making it Patrick Smith’s Florida, A Land Remembered Day. I always feel like royalty when I’m in Okeechobee.

Cocoa Beach is usually our “home base” and when possible we enjoy catching a show from our friend Sybil Gage. We lucked out this time and brought some friends along for a great evening of good old New Orleans style jazz.

We spent two days participating in the Frank Thomas Florida Music and Heritage Festival. This is a great annual reunion with some very talented musicians from all over the state. I feel honored to be part of this.

Then we headed down to the Florida Keys. Have you ever tasted Hogfish? Me either, until we ate at Hobo’s Cafe in Key Largo. Hogfish is a type of wrasse and I’m a convert. Despite the name, this was one of the best fish I’ve ever tasted (I had it fried and loved their batter, too).

I presented my show at the Keys History & Discovery Center. They put us up for two nights in a fabulous townhouse type apartment. It was so comfortable, I could have stayed there a month. In fact, I’d like to do that sometime. Islamorada has a lot of restaurants and nice hotels but doesn’t have the throngs of tourists and the last night buzz of Key West. I like that. I want to go back, sooner than later.

On to Key West, I had the pleasure of presenting my show in a regular movie theater, the classic Tropic Cinema. I love Key West, but we had only one evening there. We enjoyed meeting some friends after the show at Louie’s Backyard, a wonderful restaurant and bar right on the water. It one of our favorite stops in Key West.

I have to say, they Keys were really walloped by Hurricane Irma. Key West was pretty well cleaned up, but throughout most of the islands, especially Pine Key, there were huge piles of debris along the highway. I think a lot of people were taking advantage of the situation to dump old furniture, mattresses, junk, and appliances, and cut down unwanted trees foliage to basically get free hauling. Many businesses were closed and may not re-open. It will take years to get everything put back together. I feel for the people there.

Then we headed to Everglades City. I did an evening show and an arts festival the next day. We saw the “Skunk Ape” while in the area, along with a lot of alligators. We went to the Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center. They had A Land Remembered displayed with a small collection of books for sale. I told the ranger that my father was the author and you would have thought Tom Hanks walked in. Everyone behind the counter wanted to shake my hand. The ranger said he used to teach and used my DVD, Patrick Smith’s Florida, A Sense of Place. He knew it very well, along with most of Dad’s books. It was gratifying to hear how much that book and my video were appreciated.

Just a couple of miles south of Everglades City is Chokoloskee, where you’ll find the Havana Cafe of The Everglades. If you are ever in the area, do not pass up the opportunity to eat here. It was fabulous, and the outdoor seating is divine.

 

We were thrilled to see that the historic old Rod and Gun Club had just re-opened the very day we were in Everglades City. This classic old hotel and restaurant is a throwback to earlier, slower times when people with money came here. It took a bad hit in the hurricane and was just barely open. I wish them well because this is really a unique establishment and I hope it survives for a long time. When I was shooting the video about Dad, he told me specifically that if we were in Everglades City, we had to visit the Rod and Gun Club.

I should also mention that Everglades City is ground zero for the stone crab industry. Of course, I had to have some. They were delicious.

Over the course of a month I did 16 shows, stayed in 17 different hotels, drove over 2,500 miles, ate about 80 restaurant meals each, spoke before thousands of people, made a bunch of new friends, visited with old friends, both of us caught colds, overall had really great weather, missed our kitty, lost things along the way … and are gearing up to do it again beginning in February. You can see that evolving schedule here.

As always, our biggest selling item was hardbound and paperback copies of A Land Remembered. A lot of people were buying them for Christmas gifts and wanted me to dedicate them to someone specific in the autograph. I am happy to do that for you as well.

With Best Wishes,

Rick (Patrick D. Smith, Jr.)

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A Land Remembered Shows Coming November 2017

The A Land Remembered Multimedia Show is going to be in Florida this month! If you haven’t been to one of my shows, now is your chance. Audiences all over Florida have raved about my show about my father, Patrick D. Smith, and his beloved books, like A Land Remembered. I call the show Patrick Smith’s Florida IS A Land Remembered. It isn’t a stuffy “lecture” or a “talk.” I call it visual storytelling and it’s a fun, fast-paced and entertaining “show!”

Interested in Florida history? Check out these other books.

While A Land Remembered is a key theme of my show, in order to understand what led him to write this book l also talk about the other books that were important steps in his writing career. In my opinion, every one of them is a gem and this is the best possible way to meet the author and understand his work more deeply as I take the stage with this multimedia show about him and the extraordinary experiences that enabled him to write such unforgettable stories about the “river rats” of Mississippi (The River is Home), the Seminoles of South Florida (Forever Island and Allapattah), the plight of migrant workers (Angel City) and ultimately, the pioneers so accurately portrayed in A Land Remembered.

I love taking this show on the road and I hope to meet you along the way in November 2017. Below the schedule of where the A Land Remembered tour will be. Be sure to click on the link for to get times, ticketing information, addresses and other details about a specific show. These are the public shows. There are several school presentations too.

RICK’S UPCOMING PUBLIC APPEARANCES IN NOVEMBER 2017

 11/1/17  7:00 pm  LaBelle High School, LaBelle
 11/2/17  6:00 pm  Osceola Middle School Gym, Okeechobee
 11/3/17  5:30 pm  Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast, Jensen Beach [FEE]
 11/6/17  11:00 am  Bradford County Public Library, Starke
 11/7/17  6:00 pm  Cocoa Beach Library, Cocoa Beach
 11/11/17  Noon  Frank Thomas Folk & Music Festival at Dade Battlefield, Bushnell [FEE]
 11/12/17  Noon  Frank Thomas Folk & Music Festival at Dade Battlefield, Bushnell [FEE]
 11/15/17  6:00 pm  Keys History and Discovery CenterIslamorada [FEE]
 11/16/17  6:00 pm  Tropic CinemaKey West [FEE]
 11/17/17  5:30 pm Temporary Everglades City Hall (Behind Fire Station), Everglades  City
 11/18/17  10:00 am-2 pm  Art in the Glades at MacLeod Park **, Everglades City
 11/21/17  1:30 pm  Rookery Bay Preserve, Naples [FEE $15 – includes lunch]

** There won’t be a show but I will be there signing and selling books

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A Land Remembered Tour Spring 2017 Schedule

Audiences all over Florida have raved about the A Land Remembered Multimedia Show about my father, Patrick D. Smith, and his beloved books, especially A Land Remembered. I call the show Patrick Smith’s Florida IS A Land Remembered. It isn’t a stuffy “lecture” or a “talk.” I call it visual storytelling and it’s a fun, fast-paced and entertaining “show!”

While A Land Remembered is a key theme of my show, in order to understand what led him to write this book l also talk about the other books that were important steps in his writing career. In my opinion, every one of them is a gem and this is the best possible way to meet the author and understand his work more deeply as I take the stage with this multimedia show about him and the extraordinary experiences that enabled him to write such unforgettable stories about the “river rats” of Mississippi (The River is Home), the Seminoles of South Florida (Forever Island and Allapattah), the plight of migrant workers (Angel City) and ultimately, the pioneers so accurately portrayed in A Land Remembered.

I love taking this show on the road and I hope to meet you along the way in March 2017. Here is where the A Land Remembered tour will be. Be sure to click on the link for to get times, ticketing information, addresses and other details about a specific show. These are the public shows. There are several private and school presentations too.

Sebring, March 2
Punta Gorda, March 4
Merritt Island, March 8
Lake Wales, March 9
Melbourne, March 11
Bartow, March 13
Jupiter, March 18
Naples, March 23
West Palm Beach, March 25
Advent Christian Village, March 30
Live Oak, March 30

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A Land Remembered Tour Spring, 2016 Schedule

Here is where the A Land Remembered tour will be in February and March of 2016. Be sure to click on the link for to get times, ticketing information, addresses and other details about a specific show. These are the public shows. There are several private and school presentations too. I still have a few available dates: if interested contact me through Facebook.

Ormond Beach, February 27
Dade City, March 210553413_10152926628893783_7401017545003393408_n
Oldsmar, March 3
Fort Myers, March 5
Punta Gorda, March 8
Hobe Sound, March 10
Fort Myers, March 14
Winter Park, March 17
Stuart, March 17
Pembroke Pines, March 19
Estero, March 22
Cape Canaveral, March 24

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Interview with Patrick Smith for FORUM Magazine

In 2013, the Florida Humanities Council interviewed Patrick Smith for inclusion in their May 2013 issue of their award-winning FORUM magazine. His words were in the feature story, Journey to the Heart of Florida. Recently, with the power of technology, the magazine is online and you can actually listen to Patrick Smith’s interview in its entirety!

How-to-listen-to-Patrick-Smith's-Interview

Here is how to listen to the interview – simply click on the listen button on the magazine page

 

If you want to know more about Florida, you’ll want to read the FORUM magazine. You’ll enjoy wonderful stories, beautifully illustrated, about the state and its people, past and present.

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The Last Ride… Rides Again!

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

We recently unearthed “the lost books” of my father, Patrick D. Smith. You are probably familiar with A Land Remembered, Forever Island, Allapattah, The River is Home, Angel City and The Beginning, but three of Dad’s books have been all but impossible to find, so few people are even aware they exist. That’s why we call them the “lost books.” They areThe Seas That Mourn, In Search of The Russian Bear and The Last Ride.

All three titles are fascinating books that deserve to be read. I love them all and I’m happy to tell you that I’ve bought the rights and all inventory from the previous publisher and am making them widely available for the first time. I want to introduce you to them one at a time, starting today with The Last Ride.

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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

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Patrick Smith’s “Lost” Books Found

GreatNews

We call these the “Lost Books” because most people have never heard of them due to poor distribution. We have now acquired rights to them and are thrilled to make these books available. We’ll have them for sale on our upcoming multimedia tour and soon they will be available here, online.

The Seas That Mourn

New-Seas3inchIn 1942 alone, German U-Boats sank almost four million gross registered tons of Allied ships convoying goods and war supplies to the war ravaged European continent, Britain and North Africa. That same year, 17-year old Jimmy Kendall leaves his small Mississippi town to join the Merchant Marine.

He soon discovers that supplying the troops in unprotected waters exposes him to some of the fiercest battles in WWII. The Seas That Mourn is a riveting story of unsung heroes who navigated dangerous waters and perilous conditions to provide American and Allied troops with critical supplies of ammunition, fuel and goods. These sailors, often overlooked for their service, were key in turning the tide of the war.

“In The Seas That Mourn, Pat Smith does for the Merchant Marine what his previous novels have done for Florida Crackers. Flourishing his decency and humanity, as always, he has come through with another fine book for Smith collectors.” ~Al Burt, Former Miami Herald Columnist & Award Winning Author

“Once again, Patrick Smith is back. This time, though, he has taken to the high seas in a novel based on his experiences with the merchant marine during WWII. This heartfelt work shows that Patrick Smith is a novelist who is never off his game.” ~ Anonymous

$14.95 (softbound) – Add to Cart

View a promotional video here.

 


 

LastRideSmallThe Last Ride

On November 11, 1995, at the age of 25, former bull riding champion Glen “Pee Wee” Mercer suffered an accident while dismounting a bull at the Southeastern Circuit Final at Brighton, Florida, which 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.

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.

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.

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.

$18 (hardbound) – Add to Cart

View a promotional video here. 

 


 

Bear3inchIn Search of the Russian Bear: An American Writer’s Odyssey in the Former Soviet Union

In 1983, Florida author Patrick Smith and his wife Iris traveled throughout the Soviet Union and Uzbekistan through an invitation from the Soviet Writers Union. Smith relates these experiences through fascinating stories and images in the fun, factual chronicle.

There is high humor in this book, as well as heartfelt moments. It paints vivid pictures of places few Americans have seen or will see. The descriptions are so real that readers will feel that they have been there. There is also much in this book for food lovers to enjoy. The descriptions of food, both Russian and Uzbek, are exceptional.

In Search of The Russian Bear is unlike any other book set in Eastern Europe and Middle Asia. It is unique and will take readers on a fascinating journey.

Softbound, 242 pages $12.95 Add to Cart

View a promotional video here.

 

 

Get All Three And SAVE 20%

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A $45.90 value, save $5.90 and get all three books for $40. Add to Cart

HOLIDAY SPECIAL!! GET 30% Off until midnight December 12th by clicking here.

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