Wednesday I had an interview with a local newspaper, The Coastal Star. Steve Pike called out of the blue on Monday and asked if we could meet before his Thursday deadline. Tuesday I was working in Pompano all day. Wednesday I had a bookkeeping appointment with a new client that wasn’t going well. A fussy man who likes to stand over my shoulder while I work, questioning every debit and credit I make.
I had already decided the job was not going to work out. I have better clients, fun and interesting people, like the builder in Pompano who likes to argue politics. People who go about their business and trust me with the bills and the bank reconciliations.
I didn’t sell everything I owned and move to Florida to feel tense and nervous over the classification of an Amex expense. I told Steve I could meet him at ten on Wednesday at Good Vibes, my favorite coffee shop in Lantana then called the client and rescheduled. I have books to sell. At fifty-seven there is no time to waste.
Finn and Tara were happy to see me. They were excited about a visit from a newspaper reporter. It was an unusually gray, cold day in Florida, temperatures in the low 50’s. Finn got out the broom and swept the leaves that kept blowing in the door with each coffee drinker’s arrival.
I recognized Steve immediately. He was carrying my second novel, Take Me Home. The cover was bent, a good sign he was actually reading the book. We got right into the interview. I told him my story; the old house in New Hampshire, the dead end cubicle job, the empty nest. How the idea for The Reverse Commute came to me during my long forty-five minute commute.
He asked where the idea for Take Me Home came from. I told him about the trip to Yellowstone and the Snake River in Idaho, how the breathtaking scenery inspired me. We got off on a tangent, talking about the Great American West and road trips. We’d both been to 29 Palms and Joshua Tree which led us to U2 and rock ’n roll.
Steve had written articles for Rolling Stone. He interviewed Johnny Cash, he’s visited the famous Muscle Shoals recording studio in Alabama. Do you remember the Lynard Skynard line? Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers/And they’ve been known to pick a song or two. That’s the place we were talking about.
We moved on to the history of music and artistic inspiration, including musicians who influenced other artists which brought us to Gram Parsons who is at the intersection of country and rock. Countless musicians from Keith Richards to Emmy Lou Harris have credited Parsons for influencing their music.
Our conversation was an endless loop. After visiting Johsua Tree, Gram Parsons happened to die of a drug overdose in a hotel room in 29 Palms.
As we began to talk golf, I realized Steve could talk as much as me. He now writes about golf. From rock ’n roll he moved on to golf which is not as big a leap as you might think. Steve has golfed with Bruce Springsteen, Glen Frey, and Alice Cooper who is a very good friend of his. There are many other rockers who live in Florida and have golfed with Steve. I can’t remember all their names. I wasn’t taking notes. Neither was Steve.
Later that night, after a late afternoon round of golf, my husband and a friend arrived home hungry so I made them turkey burgers while they discussed the perfect chip shot and the lost balls and the $1.25 beers. Over dinner I told them about my interview.
“What’s he going to say about your book?” my husband asked.
“I don’t know,” I said, a little worried about how far we had wandered from the subject of the interview. Me and my book.
Later that night Steve e-mailed me a rough draft of the piece he was submitting. Somehow he captured the essence of me, Take Me Home, and the third novel I am working on. I liked his take away from our hour and a half conversation in a coffee shop in Lantana. I hope to meet him in Delray to catch some live music.
What was my take away from the day? Whether you’re a guy like my husband or more like Alice Cooper, at some point towards the second half of life’s journey you will find yourself on a golf course in Florida.
***My interview with Steve Pike will appear in the December issue of The Coastal Star. You will certainly hear about it here and in all the places you will find me from Twitter to Facebook and everywhere in-between. Take Me Home is on sale until November 30th for $1.99 at Amazon.
This piece also appears on the Huffington Post.