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Opinion: Beware of Friday the 13th

This has been a good week for me. Not only do I get to celebrate the only Friday the 13th in 2021 but I had Stephen King latest novel, “Billy Summers,” to read. When a new King book comes out, I always promise myself I’m going to read it slowly in order to savor every word. Not sure if it’s sin to lie to one’s self but I always break that promise.

King’s latest volume is about a former U.S. soldier, who is offered $2 million to kill a man in handcuffs as he is walked up the courthouse steps to an arraignment hearing. The hitman has a strict policy that he only puts his military sniper skills to work if the mark is a bad person.

That’s all I’m going to say here. If you’re interested in the rest of the story, you are going to have to read the book.

I am a huge Stephen King fan. I once planned a trip to Nashville because he appeared at a reading at the Ryman Auditorium. Actually, I had planned to visit my family in Nashville; his book tour just selected the date. A few days after I returned home from Tennessee, he did a reading at a bookstore in Reno. I got Fred to take me to that one, too.

The ticket price for his readings required the attendants buy his latest book, in this case, “End of Watch.” The Ryman Auditorium, home to the Grand Ol’ Opry, seats 2,362 people, and the event sold-out. At the end of the hour reading, each person received a copy of his book as we exited the building — only 400 of which were autographed.

Neither my cousin Lori “Kirk,” Woody nor I received one of the signed books. We had an agreement if she got the signed book we would swap. The following week, when I attended the Reno reading, they sold 400 only tickets, so I did get my signed edition.

Those trips to Nashville and Reno comprised my best summer vacation ever! King hasn’t done a nationwide promotional book tour since. If he ever goes to Nashville, or anywhere on the West Coast again, I’ll do my best to be there too.

I have another story about the publication of one of his novels. When “Duma Key” came out, I left the Tribune building on Falcon with the quip, “I’m calling in sick tomorrow to stay home and read my book!”

Bad move. By the next day I really was sick. So sick, that about three days later, I was admitted to Madera Community Hospital and stayed there about six weeks. The doctors were stymied with regards to a diagnosis. I later learned that every doctor on the MCH staff consulted on my condition. They loaded me up with antibiotics and about week five I started to improve. They never did figure out what was wrong with me.

The late Chuck Doud told me that I was in the prayers of every church in town. That is probably a bit of exaggeration on his part, but I finally got well. Please don’t ever try to tell me the power of prayer doesn’t work.

The number 13 is supposed to be major bad luck. I have read that the reason for that is Jesus was the 13th guest at the “Last Supper,” as depicted in the painting by Leonardo de Vinci.

Many hotels don’t have a button for the 13th floor in elevators. Sounds silly since that makes the 14th floor the actual 13th floor.

I read that Stephen King is superstitious about the number 13. Supposedly he will not stop a day’s writing if he has written 13 pages, he will power the 14th page just in case. Considering how many millions of books he’s published, he is allowed his eccentricities.

Personally, I am extremely fond of the number 13. I play the number on the Lotto and every other chance I get. If everyone else is afraid of the number, I think it’s a good idea to make friends with it.

I guess my favorite author isn’t the only one with eccentricities.

Have a blessed weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.



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