Thursday, September 24, 2009

Interviews/Miami Book Fair and a Championship Fight

I had my first two inerviews the past few days, the first one with Dave Lewis of Davy Crockett's Almanack (here and the other one with Lacey McMurry, who works for the Uintah Basin Standard newspaper in Roosevelt, Utah, the locale of The Stranger from the Valley. I haven't seen Ms. McMurry's article yet, but I very much enjoyed reading about myself (tsk, tsk) on the Almanack. It was a fine posting, and I'm indebted to Dave for having undertaken the project.   

I get a newsletter and notices from iUniverse off and on, and the last one was a reminder of the Miami Book Fair coming in November, 8-15. It is billed as International and thousands of booklovers are expected to be combing the aisles. I would like to go back there and see what it's all about, but it's not on my schedule. In fact, there isn't much of anything on my schedule. If I had two or three more books published, I would think twice about attending, maybe.

I spent a good couple of years living in North Miami Beach back when the sand was still fairly plentiful on the beach. It was the time of the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston fight. A funny thing happened on the way to buy tickets for the big deal. Brad (a sailor buddy) drove his little Nash Rambler station wagon to the auditorium to see if we could pick up tickets for the fight.  I was climbing out of the car when the rear end of my trousers ripped from top to bottom. I yelled at Brad, who had already taken off, and he came back to see what was wrong. When I told him, he cracked up, laughed his head off, and I joined in, thinking it was pretty funny. Anyway, he took my $20 and went to the box office to inquire about seats. He came back and told me it was all sold out. Big disappointment.

Around that time, we learned that an exhibition fight card was taking place in North Miami Beach a couple nights prior to the big fight. On the card was Earl Atley vs Mike DeJohn, light heavyweights (I think, my memory isn't too clear), as the main event, and a half-dozen lesser fights, including Champ Fontaine vs Willie Jackson, lightweights; Johnny Hobbs vs Kid Casey, welterweights, and Willie Cadilac James vs Nat Wright, welterweights. The next show held about a month later, featured heavyweights Cleveland Williams vs Billy Daniels. Cleveland at the time was a popular and great boxer, but couldn't win a title. My buddy and I saw both of these cards. Willie Pep was refereeing the bout with Atley and DeJohn. Sonny Liston was there, too, and afterward hung around and signed autographs. Of course, we all know the outcome of the Liston-Clay fight, with the sore shoulder of Liston and the great career of Muhammed Ali. Liston passed away a few years ago in Vegas, I think it was, and Ali has Parkinson's. My heart goes out to him and all others who have to suffer with this illness. They are making progress on finding a cure, but so far it hasn't happened, although some new drugs help to reduce the involuntary movements. If you have an extra sawbuck lying around, you might donate it to the National Parkinson's Foundation, Inc., Office of Development, 1501 NW 9th Avenue/Bob Hope Road, Miami, Florida 33136-1494.

At the time, I had an old Lincoln two-door sedan that I picked up at the corner lot for around $600 on installments, and it wasn't long before the transmission went kapoo-ey. The problem was, it wouldn't go into reverse, and with no money for repairs, I had to be careful parking, making sure I could always go forward. At times, I was stuck waitng for someone to move their car like at the dog track or a restaurant, so I could go home or wherever. We got a lot of laughs out of the situation. When I left Miami, I sold it for $75 and thought I came out on the good end of the deal, not exactly smelling like a rose, but maybe a gladiola. I was certainly glad to get rid of it or I would have had to abandon it, since I was leaving the country. No, I would've given it away to somebody who didn't want it either and let him worry aobut it. Father Joe wasn't around then, at least I had never heard of his program.

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