Rick Smith put on his popular show on March 19 about his late father Patrick Smith’s book, “A Land Remembered,” at Sunrise Theatre in downtown Fort Pierce. With well over 1,000 people attending, it’s Rick’s largest audience yet out of his 269 performances to date.
The book is fast becoming famous in Florida-native circles especially, and among new residents alike, as a preeminent novel about the “real” Florida.
As Florida keeps urbanizing at a fast pace, more people are finding the book as a way to remember or discover what really used to be in Florida. As many multi-generational agricultural families know firsthand, the “real Florida” is quickly vanishing as urban development continues to change and challenge the state’s environment.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Rick’s dad years ago, shortly after “A Land Remembered” was published back in the mid-1980s. He had spoken at the Florida Cattlemen’s Association convention in Marco Island and afterwards commanded a crowd as he signed hundreds of copies of the book until it was sold-out.
Interviewing Patrick that night after he spoke was the first of numerous times we worked with him to help spread the word about this novel that has grown to hold a very special place with agricultural people statewide. It was great to catch up with Rick again at this week’s event in Fort Pierce, to reminisce and discuss how the book continues to grow in popularity. As hoards of new residents keep flowing in to call Florida their new home, many of them are finding that the image of what they moved here for can only truly now be found in the pages of this novel, aptly titled, “A Land Remembered.“
Gary Cooper is the founder and president of AgNet Media, Inc., based in Gainesville, Florida.