As I've said many times , Few people on the planet could tell a story like Shelby. If you're interested in reading more Shelby, you need to pick up Saddlebags: A Collection of Columns and Stories. Thank you.
The Season wouldn't be complete without a story by Shelby Strother. As a journalist, and as a writer, Shelby shared his gifts with folks all over the place, and we're all better for it. This particular piece--a Florida Christmas memory-- is something I've been sharing with friends and family for years. Hope you like it half as much as I like reading it.
Few people on the planet could tell a story like Shelby. This one is The Storied Past of Honest John Smith, the legendary Florida homesteader. His sanctuary on the north bank of Mullet Creek still bears his name. The stories of Florida "come like waves," as Shelby said... "of a life commandeered by an irascible soul, a pirate, a cowboy, a free spirit who survived the rocks and the sandbars..." If you're interested in reading more Shelby, you need to pick up Saddlebags: A Collection of Columns and Stories. Thank you.
The story about the tropical shirts dates back long before Brian and I. Way Back to another Satellite Beach boy, Shelby Strother, a great sportswriter who celebrated his love for Florida by wearing those prints through the cold winters of Denver and Detroit. The shirts became sort of a Remembrance for me—Brian never told me how his fashion statement started. I never asked. It seemed to fit him. But Once, I made the mistake of going non-Tropical two days in a row and he called me out—right there in the hall. “What’s going on with you? You tucked in your shirt two days in a row? You selling out?” Lord, I think I had socks on, too…I didn’t tell him that. But I untucked my shirt right then and there! I did not wish to be a cultural infidel!
I believe that this was Shelby's last Florida column before he and his family moved on to Denver and ultimately, Detroit. Florida was always in his heart. "His whole life has been a play on words...I thought as the editor of a Florida Daily called TODAY, that the day might come when Shelby Strother would be the best sports writer on any newspaper in the country. The day came, but I can't give you the when and where of it. The who and what are a lot more important anyway. His talent wasn't limited to the games people play on fields and courts; he also was at home telling you what the political social and economic games they play...what else is there to say? Style can be taught. Soul cannot." -Buddy Baker