Opinion Columns & Blogs

Writing about Gumbo and golf while trying not to kick the bucket

Two weeks ago, I traveled north to Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville. I took up residence for five marathon days of book editing. Last November, I wrote a small piece about my wife’s battle with lung cancer and my own health scare with accumulated blood clots in my lungs. I wanted to write something to my children with lessons in life I hope they know if I should die before they wake.

“Before You Wake” is now finished. I have never written a non-political book before and for once I enjoyed writing a book. It is part letters to my children, part theology, and part cookbook. It would be a shame if I kicked the bucket without leaving behind all our family’s favorite recipes, including how to make my gumbo.

I sat in a cabin at Barnsley Gardens finishing the edits to the book and, to celebrate, went out to play nine holes of golf. I averaged a lost ball every other hole. After nine holes, I decided to just drive the rest of the course and take pictures. The 14th hole at Barnsley Gardens is a par 3 that goes from the top of a mountain to the bottom. The car path snakes down the side at a 65 degree angle, complete with speed bumps to stop runaway carts.

I went down slowly as it started to rain. At the last speed bump, the cart’s back wheels came to a complete stop. I pressed the pedal. The back wheels got to the top of the speed bump and as they came down the cart fishtailed, flipped, and with my knee caught under the roof slid the rest of the way down. For more than a week my right leg read “Club Car” where the roof line had impacted it. Thankfully, only my pride and knee were roughed up. And yes, to answer the question everyone wants to know, only water had been consumed.

The funniest part of the story was I was all alone. I got my cell phone off the ground and called to get some assistance. I could lift the roof enough to get out from under it, but not the cart itself. As I was calling, the guys in the beverage cart came along. They nearly flipped their cart. Then the driver said, with a bit of disbelief, “This always happens when it rains.” I laughed, “I’m not your lawyer, but I’d suggest you not say that in front of people again.” We had a good laugh. I could walk. I was more concerned about the cart. They were more concerned about me. I’m just glad I finished the book in case something worse had happened.

The book comes out in October. I get to be the voice for the audiobook version. The writing process took four months. The editing process takes a month. Actually printing and binding it takes four months. I am proud of the endeavor and hope one day my kids will view it as a time capsule on a most interesting time in our lives.

As I went into the hospital last year with an accumulation of blood clots in my lungs, Christy flew to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona to find she has lung cancer. We had protestors show up at our house to threaten us. The political world turned upside down. And I just want my kids to know that through it all, we love them. If you might be interested in ordering a copy, you can text the word WAKE to 444999.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.