Dusty also introduced me to H. Lea Lawrence and, later to David Dickey, who I was only around a couple of times. Lawrence was constantly flamboyant to the end while, as best I could tell, David Dickey was pretty much the antithesis. David launched his career as a talented photographer and contributor to sporting journals but, like I did later in my career, he chose to ghostwrite and do similar, lower profile scribe work, which produces a more reliable income than even the most successful freelance writers can ever hope to achieve. The last time I saw him was at Dusty’s funeral, where he sat with Lawrence, who delighted in taunting the Baptist preacher delivering the eulogy. They were mischievous, 70-year-old boys.
Lawrence’s writing career, like his mentor’s, began with loads of “where to, how to” articles, and for many years they were his forte. Late in his career he undertook what he referred to as serious writing, authoring A Hemingway Odyssey: Special Places in His Life and Prowling Papa's Waters: A Hemingway Odyssey, with the latter book featuring a foreword by his friend, baseball great Ted C. Williams. A talented wordsmith and an even more gifted conversationalist, who seemed to know everyone in the world, Lawrence was often defined by his mood swings. When in a friendly mood, he was unsurpassed company. When in one of his negative moods, he was a real shrew.
Lawrence did me many wonderful favors. At the 1982 SHOT Show in Atlanta, he escorted me around the packed convention center, introducing me to his contacts with Ruger, Browning, Remington, Winchester, Leopold, and Weatherby. Lawrence knew them all and, when introducing me, would say, “He’s solid. Give him whatever he needs.” These were good people to know. Within a year I had so many guns in my office (an enclosed, one-car garage) that the following year Lawrence made a point of introducing me to all of the makers of home safes. Insofar as I was pretty much amoral in those days, I acted like a starving kid in a candy shop, taking whatever I was offered. Trust me; it’s not that way these days—no, no, no.
I am sure many of your have his excellent fly fishing guide to the park, The Fly Fisherman’s Guide To The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Cumberland House, 199. He died a couple of years ago, and with him went the perhaps best part of that gang.