Throughout my life I have been richly blessed to know extraordinary people, but never more so than in putting this book together. It was a six-year odyssey, and during those years, I experienced a number of life-altering experiences. But through the years, those involved in helping me assemble this book have been a constant source of friendship, love and support, and for that I am deeply appreciative. I used to tell artists who were nominated for awards not to try and thank a laundry-list of people if they won, because in the excitement of the moment, they were certain to leave off someone who had been crucial in their career success. The same applies to this book. There were so many people who generously shared their memories with me and encouraged me to write this book, that I cannot possibly mention everyone by name. You know who you are, and you have my heartfelt thanks. There are a few people I feel compelled to mention, though:
Judi Turner – what can I say? I don’t know whether to thank her or not. But I can say the book would not have been written without her. She encouraged me to write this book, and when I became frustrated and would want to give up, she literally made me forge ahead. Through the years, she has been a true friend and kept me focused and nudged me when necessary. I very much appreciate her dedication to this project, and will always be grateful to her.
Also, my faithful assistant, Darlene Fort for her organizational skills and for putting up with me all these years. Special thanks to my former law partner Kathy Woods, who survived most of the events of this book and sometimes had a better memory than I. Also, thanks to Jim Bessman for all the encouragement through the years. Bruce Phillips provided legal assistance and friendship, and I appreciate his assistance. as well as that of Jacqueline Landis did a masterful job for her great work in editing the book and really made it sing, and Leland (Lee) Raymond took the rough manuscript and really created the book. Every author needs professionals such as Jackie and Lee to make their words come alive in readable form.
Karen Cronin has my gratitude for her usual expert job in designing the cover. Mike Vaden has been my business manager for two decades and a valued friend as well. Judi Turner and I spent a Saturday afternoon in Little Rock with my long-time friend, Judge Lindsey Fairley, laughing at his recollections of the Keith Richards’ incident in Fordyce, Arkansas, and he was very helpful in providing his own insight into that hilarious event. Other friends from Arkansas such as my former law partner, Paul Henson, and Judge Bill Wilson, also helped fill in gaps in stories.
I am deeply indebted to my long-time friend and advisor, John Harricharan, and his assistant of many years, Anita Bergen. Because John is the author of several best-selling books, he was invaluable in helping me navigate the tricky waters of the publishing world. He spent countless hours counseling me, working on polishing the finished product, finding people who are tops in their fields to assist us, and being endlessly patient with the million questions of a novice author.
I have to thank Jan Carter for our wonderful years together, for being my friend and for raising my two daughters, Julia and Joanna, while I ran around the world experiencing the events of this book.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Bill and Gloria Gaither and Barry Jennings. Thanks to you for having confidence in me and providing an environment for spiritual growth.
Lastly, I am especially grateful for my angels for sending me a Polish lady on a white horse (literally) who I recognize as a soul mate who became my wife and I look forward to sharing an eternal life of love.