Here’s a baby boomer’s “life-story” we like: five years ago when Tom Winton of Dahlonega, Georgia, was sixty-three years old, he had his first book published. Since then he has released six more novels, all best-sellers and all geared towards baby boomers. The newest, A New Dawn in Deer Isle, is about a man who decides to take the trip he and his beloved wife had dreamed about before she passed away. So he sets out in his old van across America, following the same route John Steinbeck took in 1959 with his pet poodle Charley. Here is an excerpt:
“For thirty-five months my life had been a living hell. Every morning, noon, and night relentless flames ravaged my mind, my spirit, and my soul. You see, in 2011 my wife and I moved to that blazing-hot inferno they call Florida.
And by the time we’d made it just halfway through the first nine-month summer in that overdeveloped, sub-tropical jungle, we absolutely hated the place. Then in September of the same year, with our hearts broken because we had made the move and couldn’t afford to go back to Long Island, my Lorna began to weaken.
It had come on suddenly, and I told her to see a doctor. But Lorna insisted it was only because she was a little tired. She was wrong. And she’d only been feeling that way for three days when, on the way home from shopping at Wal-Mart late one morning, she suddenly felt a vice-like pressure and tremendous pain in her left shoulder and arm. Groceries in the back of the van or no groceries I rushed her straight to Martin Memorial Hospital. But by the time we pulled up to the emergency entrance, Lorna’s breathing was labored. Three days later the woman I’d loved for more than forty years was gone.
I’m afraid I can’t tell you where I am as I write this story because that would give away the ending and it’s far too good a story to let that happen. I can’t tell you if I’m in heaven, hell or anywhere in between. I may still be alive in Podunk, Alaska or living in a chalet atop the world’s most scenic mountain.
My mind could still be knotted in the same dark state of irreversible sadness it was three years ago, or it could have finally found its way to that most joyous of all destinations they call “nirvana.”
No, I can’t give away any of that right now. But what I can do is start at the very beginning of my amazing journey. And if you want to come along you’d better buckle up. It’s going to be one heck of a ride.”