by Dan Smith
Recently I was invited by Maggie Thompson to talk about fishing at the Daytona State College Wisdom In Senior Education program.
That group consists of people over 50 who pay a small annual fee to take part in non-credited classes and presentations on the Florida lifestyle and folklore.
The W.I.S.E. Program is ably headed up by hard working Kent Ryan, a dean at the college. On Feb. 5, I schlepped my briefcase and a box of books to the News-Journal Center in downtown Daytona Beach. As some of you who follow my scribbling know I am asked to speak quite often, but seldom in such a nice setting. The large auditorium on the second floor of the center is a first class facility that hosts impressive acts. Undaunted, once the hundred or so W.I.S.E. members had found their seats, I went right into my "aw shucks" delivery of some of my more favorite stories from my book "I Swear The Snook Drowned."
Pretty quickly I found the group was receptive and there to have a little fun. A show of hands told me most were readers of my columns in The Hometown News, so I knew that I was among friends.
I began with the story of The Red Man, a hermit who lived a naked existence in the mangroves of Port Orange and then went to The Thinking Man tale about a fellow who had figured out a way to catch 20-pound redfish on two- pound test line.
By the time I got into The Lowest Tide Of The Century, I knew that I had them. You know whenever I appear before a group, I wind up having more fun than the audience and this was no exception.
Like most old guys, I enjoy retelling my own stories. To finish up, I read them a few jokes I included in the book and left everyone laughing (me most of all). The question and answer period that followed was interesting as the group asked for fishing tips to help them ply the local waters. That's a subject I never tire of and the discussion was lively. I closed by shamelessly plugging my new book "The World's Greatest Beach." It was a fun afternoon and I thank Maggie and Kent for having me with them. If you would like more information on the W.I.S.E. Program, call Kent at (386) 246-4801.
Speed Weeks usually gives me more opportunity to rattle my gums and tonight (Friday, Feb. 15) I will be at the Anderson Price Memorial Building in Ormond Beach to help with a racing presentation for The Ormond Beach Historical Society. At 7 p.m., we will show "The Great Sand Speedway" a film directed by Virgil Taylor and narrated by Preston Root. Both will be on hand along with local historian Suzanne Heddy to discuss the one hour film. As a racing historian I have been involved with many pieces that attempt to cover the story of our early racing. I have been a part of productions for most of the Scandinavian countries, Germany, South Korea, Great Britain, Speed Channel and even did an interview for a Los Angeles PBS station that came here to film. "The Great Sand Speedway" is by far the best of them all.
Local racing history is filled with myths, and half-truths and many of us who care about such have worked hard for many years to set the record straight. Virgil got it and did a great job of telling the true story. Anyone who likes history will love this piece.
Admission is $5 and $3 for Ormond Beach Historical Society members. The society will be selling my book and lots of racing history related items, including the new William K. Vanderbilt T-shirt. Come on out and spend a little time with us and let's have some racing fun. Call (386) 677-7005 for more info.
Dan Smith is on the board of directors for the Ormond Beach Historical Society and The Motor Racing Heritage Association and is the author of two books, "The World's Greatest Beach" and "I Swear the Snook Drowned." E-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (386) 441-7793.