Cal – Back In January of this year I was out sailing in a 50 ft mono hull out of Tortola. One of my bags had been misplaced before we left the docks, the one with several books along for the ride.

I love to read, “ as RAH once wrote, “I would read in my sleep if I could keep my eyes open”. I grew up in southern Missouri in the 1950’s without TV. We had books and radio and plenty of imagination coming from both. Anyway, tucked into a corner of a locker was a copy of “Reading for Survival” which made me laugh because I was going through the boat hoping to find something to read.


I have always liked a variety pack of series works and when I got back to NYC I went into B&N and found the Travis MacGee series. I am one book away from finishing only because it was not among the others. They carried the first several and then I had to turn to a local Mystery shop, Partners & Crime, to find a few more but even they could not find Copper Sky and Lonely Rain, which I have found through the internet. I am halfway through Copper Sky and expecting to come home to find Lonely Rai wedged in my apartment door by Wednesday.


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Hi, I just read your "meeting Travis" story.  I was crushed when I read that you had the opportunity to meet him.  This is how life often is.  Many times we are not at the right point in our lives when opportunity knocks.  Though living with regret is pointless, I believe I both envy and pity your experience.  At least you had the chance to meet one of .. if not "the" greatest author of that century. 


I met JDM for the first time after he passed away.  I was offered "A Key To The Suite" by a librarian whom I had come to know over the years. He gave the book to my wife and told her that he recommended the "book".  Not the author .. .the book.  I read it and instantly loved everything about JDM's style.  My next book was "Slam The Big Door" and I was encapsulated with a heavy melancholy even before I finished the book because I  had  read in another source that JDM had passed away .  

I am a lover of boats, and I knew that JDM was going to be a part of my life from that point forward.  My greatest regret is that I never had the chance to meet the man whose books I know collect.  I love many authors, Neslon Demille probably being my second favorite, but I only collect JDM's writings.  I do not normally like series type books, but figured since Travis was a boat lover as well, I would give it a try.  Well, it did not take me long to move through the colors.  I have read them all twice and am desperately trying not to read them as quickly, savoring each book and saving each book for summer months and occasions when I am next to the sea. 


My wife and I are also teachers and plan to retire in a few years. I plan on living aboard a boat full time (though my wife will probably want a house or apt of some sort in some port).  I plan on re-reading every single color several times starting with my first day and continuing until I am finished with this life. JDM has enriched my life, my imagination, and my longing for boats and the sea in general. I'm always glad to meet someone with equal appreciation.  


Perhaps one day we might meet over a glass of Plymouth .. .(or Boodles if Meyer's taste suits you), and a Charatan (I have several in my rotation)... or even an ice tea as truth be told I am not much of a drinker these days.


I am in Pennsylvania, and we keep a place in Delaware on Indian River bay.




Brian Kinn


I met Travis McGee in a literature course at the University of New Orleans in 1982.  I needed an elective and there were two courses available in the time slot I needed.  They were Classical English Lit and Detective Fiction.  Guess which one I selected?  That class introduced me to an entire genre of literature that I have loved to this day. 

 It started slow (The Gold Bug, The Moon Stone, etc.) but picked up rapidly.  I met Sam Spade (Hammett), Philip Marlow (Chandler), and the detectives of the 87th Precinct  (McBain) among others in that class.  But the most memorable character I met was Travis McGee .  

We were required to read The Green Ripper and I remember reading it almost at one sitting (I’m a slow reader).  I have read all of the TM series I can find – over and over again.  It almost feels like I know Travis, like I could sit on the Busted Flush with him and Mayer and hold forth about the sins of land development. 

 I, too, have lived in Florida and even as a child, felt it was being destroyed (I returned to central Florida a few years ago and cried at what I found there).  It leaves me with a melancholy feeling to know that Travis died in 1986.  I’m sure there is sweeping narrative or a gripping plot in that thought for someone with the skill to develop it. Alas he died with Travis…




John Spencer


I I was 17,  living in Wichita Kansas, dreaming  the life of the seas and the mountains, I knew I did not belong in some mid-western state! Picked up my first T. McGee paperback with no cover on it at some thrift shop. Yes, I was reading my perfect dream life in all the following adventures of T.M.. Each volume just fueled my need for the boat life, beach and sea. I have been a South Floridian for many years now, Thank you very much John D. I never regretted moving here, Now 60 years of age, and having gone down some pretty rocky paths in life myself, I have always treasured the escapism, the cleverness and wisdom that John D. infused in the T.M series. These are works of literary art to be read over and over when the spirit calls. Between Travis McGee and the Jimmy Buffet songs, I was gladly doomed to a life on the seas and shores of South Florida.

                                                            Jack Nichols

                                                             Cape Coral, Naples Fl.


© CAL  2012