I’ve lied and I’ve cheated. Contrary to what the cover indicates, this book is not “by” me at all, but is by me and a crowd of others. Since there’s no way that this would all fit onto the cover, let me make it plain right now … I did not accomplish all of this by myself! Now that I’ve explained my lie, let me clarify my cheating.
I’ve used an endless number of proofreaders and editors, and I’ve solicited help from everyone I could find. Anyone who would go over what I’d done and would offer an opinion, I’ve paid attention to them. From “I like that” to “You can’t put that in there!”, I’ve listened to all of them, and I treasured every criticism they gave me … But then I turned around and did it just like I wanted to.
I’ve paid them. I’ve begged them. I’ve threatened them. Even total strangers, I’ve pestered to death. Just as soon as I would write a story, I’d shove it in somebody’s face. Some helped me more than others but they all helped me some … But it’s those who made discouraging remarks, questioned my capabilities or wouldn’t even look at my work that I thank the most. Thank you, thank you … You just drove me harder! I didn’t trust your judgment anyway. Then comes my brother…
Of all, my younger brother, Bill Gregory, was of the most value to me. As he has done throughout his life, he has constantly encouraged me and whenever I’ve asked him, he’d have something to say. Without him, his ear to listen and his calmer nature than mine, this would’ve been an absolute disaster and I would’ve made a complete ass of myself. As always, he has been right there with me every step of the way. Thank you, Bro … For always being there with me. Then comes Levi…
When I first started this project, I knew I wanted Levi’s work to enhance it. Levi Powell retired from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol in 1985 and about ten years before I did. I’d never met him until I started this mission and that’s when I looked him up. But I remember back when we were working, every once in awhile, one of his cartoons would appear. His work has been such a colorful part of our organization that I knew I could settle for nothing less. I just knew it … It would be either his cartoons, or nothing! I don’t think Levi ever accepted payment for any of his work until I suckered him into this. Thank you, Levi. I know your health hasn’t been the greatest and you didn’t complete as much as you wanted to, but you did the best that you could and I appreciate all that you did … As will everyone else who reads much further than this.
If you’re a member of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol or ever have been, you’re in for a disappointment … Don’t expect to find your name here. The rest of this book is about you and for you anyway.
And the rest of you… Well, you may be disappointed too. I’m just not very good at remembering names anyway. And for those that I could remember, there’s just no way that I could do it without hurting somebody’s feelings. In what order would I put them and who could I say had helped me the most … But I had to come up with something to fill up this space and to not recognize anyone would be a total disgrace. So included below are just some of the voices that I’ve listened to. These are just some of those who when I sought their help … Have prodded me, prompted me, prepped me and pumped me up. And they’re not listed according to importance … They’re just thrown in here in a random way.
- Mark Frederickson (For opening a door for me)
- Nicole Kaylor (My first decent proofreader and editor … Not bad-looking either)
- John Cashier (One of my best critics. I didn’t listen to him much, but he kept trying anyway)
- Eddie Cathy (For making a priceless connection for me)
- Kelly & Denise Borrell (For not slapping my face)
- Paul Avenick (For picking me up when I fell)
- Tyler Schock (For taking up where I left off)
- Ernie Oppenheimer (For having enough sense to beat me in a fighting hairs contest)
- Kate Fine-Harth (For just being there)
- Coyt Atkinson (I loved to listen to his words of wisdom, but never believed a word that he said)
- Vinnie Romanille (Another redneck like Coyt)
- Big Jim Benedetto (Always read my stories and never tried to get away)
- Rifka Keilson (For being the first true professional I would deal with)
- Don Hurst (For believing in me even more so than I did)
- Noemi Lazares (For putting a song in my heart and zest to my step)
- Victor Cozzone (For keeping me busy and throwing peanut hulls on the floor)
- Quilt Patch Fabrics (They’re going to sell a ton of books for me)
- Walt Venator (Took a big chance by first publishing my work)
- Joe Yakonowski (For laughing at all of my jokes)
- Myah Russian (For cleaning up after me)
- Heather Thompson (For living a story that will now be told)
- Terrell Blackbat (I’m sure he did something, I just can’t remember what)
- Andrea Fleming (For providing me with a place to contact so many proofreaders and editors)
- Bill Funderud (Oops, I didn’t mean to put his name here! Where’s that damn delete button?)
- Donald Honeycutt (He didn’t do anything either. I just thought his name would look good here)
I give up. I’m getting tired and I’m not even going to try anymore … It’s just too much! There’s just no way that I’ve covered all the bases. But know that although your name doesn’t appear here, if I could remember it, I would certainly appreciate all the work that you did. And last of all…
I will acknowledge myself. I think you’ve done an okay job, ole boy. I think you’ve lived a pretty good life and I think you’ve now expressed yourself fairly well. I’ll bet you’ve proofread this damn book more than a hundred times and for a year and a half now, you’ve allowed it to consume your whole life. Because of it, you’ve put everything else on the back burner and you’ve allowed your relationships to suffer. But there comes a time and that time has now come … You’ve done the best that you can do, ole boy. Put it down now. It’s time to move on.