Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tracking Jack

The most amazing people have been happening to me since I became Jack’s publisher. Mrs. Mary has speeded up the process of these happenings, and now I have a really wild tale to tell.

Friday morning I got a frantic email saying, “Would you help these people please??” It was from Betty, the president of the Coker Creek Heritage Group. She had forwarded an email that read, “I am on a mission to find Jack Darnell, the author. A friend sent me an article and a video of Jack Darnell. I too am a writer, and would like to meet the man whose name I have been using for over 70 years. I noticed the article said he lives on Coker Creek. I will travel back down 68 to see if I can locate him.” The email was signed Jack Darnell.

I immediately answered that I was Coker Creek Jack Darnell’s publisher and that I’d attempt to set up a meeting. I gave directions to Jack’s home on Coker Creek with instructions to “Look for the banks of daffodils. If you get to the bridge over Coker Creek, back up; you’ve found Jack’s house.” Today, on Jack’s front porch, we had that meeting of the men who have shared a name for seventy years and a passion for writing for much of that time. We were all like kids at Christmas; we were so excited to make each others’ acquaintance.

What a study in contrasts were these two Jacks! The visiting author was extremely gregarious with a bald head covered by a skipper’s cap, while our Jack is soft-spoken and shy with a beautiful head of neatly combed hair. Coker Creek Jack is clean shaven while our visitor was well-whiskered. Our local author is a dedicated homebody while this fellow scribe definitely loves to travel; he and his wife Sherry live in an RV. Before retirement, RV Jack spent his career traveling with the Navy; our Jack’s only time living away from here was his two-year stint in the Army.

The total tour was in order from drinking water out of the spring to explanations of the various types of kerosene lamp wicks in Jack’s room-lighting methods. Roving Jack even insisted that his wife take a picture of him sitting in Jack’s outhouse (fully clothed). The two men autographed books for each other, and laughed a lot at each others’ stories.

Both write, and both are published through a division of Amazon called CreateSpace; although, unlike our Jack, “Jack the Younger” writes a travel blog. Much of traveling Jack’s work is non-fiction; all of our Jack’s work is pure fantasy. I can’t wait to read some of “Jack the Younger’s” work, but it is kind or eerie to see the same name on two such different types of writing.

As usual, Jack Darnell of Coker Creek’s Appalachian Folktales The Book That Jack Built can be purchased at local retailers or ordered through Amazon. To check out traveling Jack’s blog, see


  1. Great Entry. It was such a joy to meet you and the Real Jack. Thanks so much for taking the time to meet and talk and most of allfor arranging for our meeting with Jack. Such a prince of a man. I have red one or two stories by Jack, published in the local paper in Tellico Plains now I am looking forward to the book itself.
    Interesting Blog, I have read back through several entries. will continue to read as we wind down our tour here and head for North CArolina.
    Take care,
    Jack Darnell, the other one!

  2. I have been following Traveling Jack and Sherry since this past fall, and what an interesting fella. Your Jack sounds just as intriguing. I have an Alladins lamp just like his, an outhouse, no water or electricity, all at the cabin, so am familiar with some of the way he lives. Now that I'm older, I wish to get 'back in the woods' again, away from this faster pace of life.
    In reading some of your other entries, I'm afraid you will be stuck with me from now on.
    Have a blessed day and stay heart healthy. Looking forward to more of Cooker Creek Jack stories.