The Writing Traveler: The best of them all


Jerry Flemmons was one of the nation’s most acclaimed travel writers and turned down a job at National Geographic because they wanted him to wear a tie.

Jerry Flemmons got an early start as a writer.

He was writing as early as the third grade.

We know because of some information that came to us some time back. It came over the transom, so to speak.

The packet that was dropped off to us included a poem Flemmons wrote in the third grade.

There also was a photo of Flemmons after he “got big” and was traveling the world writing stories for the Big City Daily.

All of this happened long ago. Being a journalist, we had to confirm the poem was written by Flemmons.

We got confirmation from three people whose credentials are sterling.

So . . . to the poem:

“Our Teacher”

“By Jerry Flemmons”

“Our teacher a good friend,

“Thow (sic) school is about to end,

“She taught us and taught us all the year,

But, she is still a teacher dear,

“She taught us English and spelling, too,

“And worlds and worlds of things to do,

“We’ll study year after year,

“Just because of our teacher dear.”

Roger Summers

After Flemmons went from third-grade poet to writing travel stories for the Big City Daily, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, one of the Big Bosses at the Big City Daily “volunteered” me to write a house ad about Flemmons.

Maybe the reason I was given the house ad assignment was because – not long before – I had gone on a travel writing tour of Mexico with Flemmons in his Volkswagon Beetle, taking along a week-long supply of food – saltine crackers and Vienna sausages.

Just enough food for seven days, the duration of our trip.

On the seventh day, though, we ate only crackers. Somebody stole our last can of Vienna sausages from the Beetle. But that’s a story for another time. (Coke, I might add, is ubiquitous in Mexico, so that was our drink each day.)

In the newspaper house ad, I posed the question:

“Where in the World is Jerry Flemmons?”

As I recall, Flemmons was in Israel at the time.

So when I looked at the photo of Flemmons in the packet that came over the transom, I wondered if the photo had been made in Israel.

Don’t know.

Information on the place where the photo was made did not come over the transom.

What I do know is that the photo sure as shootin’ was not made in Cowtown.

And, dollar to a dime, it also was not made in Wizard Wells – a Texas Town where it has been said, “magic flows in the water” — from which Flemmons was known to, on occasion, file a travel story for the Big City Daily.

Please click HERE to find Heart Songs from a Washboard Road on Amazon, a collection of wonderful short stories penned by Roger Summers.

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