Found out late Tuesday night that my great, good friend, Jerry Barksdale, lawyer emeritus, raconteur, historian, humor columnist, fellow novelist and Great American, died.
A friend Jerry introduced me to, Bill Swindell, messaged me about Jerry’s death while I was reading about John Prine’s passing. A dark, double whammy.
Don’t know the particulars about Jerry’s death but do know he was having some serious heart problems. He was just a great guy whose generosity and friendship I cherished. So happy Pam and I got to see him a few weeks ago at a birthday party for his lady friend, Pat. My heart goes out to her and Jerry’s daughter, Shannon, who I was glad to meet several times on her visits to Athens.
Jerry and I always had a great time sharing a table at some event and trying to hawk our books. Always touted our appearances as the return of The Big Show. And I will never forget how Jerry came up with the brilliant idea that saved the book launch event for my second novel, THE RIGHT WRONG NUMBER, suggesting we get a small panel together to read short passages from the book in character and ask me questions about why I wrote what I did and other topics of the writing game rather than just sit up there and bore the audience to death with another dull reading. “Folks want to know how writers think and how we write, so give them that.”
The picture you see above this post is from that event, which Jerry, in the hat and leather jacket next to me, also MC’d. Truth be told, people came because his name was on the program, not because of me.
On the other side of me is my publicist for that book, Maryglenn McCombs Warnock, with Bill Swindell on the far side, which is pretty much his permanent state of mind. The photo below where we’re both wearing straw hats and are manly visions in turquoise shirts was from a Big Show sighting at the Athens-Limestone Public Library.
Damn, I miss my friend.