Susan Seals of BoneZones.com asked me to arrange for “one of my Catholic people” to surprise Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass at the New Hope Center in Oak Ridge last night. Susan wanted a member of the clergy to give a blessing to the authors as they embark on the publicity tour for their new book, “The Inquisitor’s Key.” The plot of the seventh Body Farm novel involves religious artifacts, 14th century Popes and a zealous evangelical preacher.
Choosing from among the priests whose numbers are stored in my phone, I called Fr. Christian Mathis, the pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Lenoir City. He is a blogger and podcaster in addition to being active on Facebook and Twitter. When I introduced Fr. Christian at the end of last night’s presentation, I told the audience that Thomas was the apostle who wanted to forensically examine Jesus’ wounds after the Resurrection. He needed to see and feel the nail marks of the crucifixion before believing.
Jennifer Alexander and I were the co-emcees for the fundraiser. We introduced representatives from United Way of Anderson County and Friends of Literacy before introducing the authors. Jennifer also handled advance ticket sales through her website. I arranged for a few members of the FBI Knoxville Citizens Academy Alumni Association to serve as ushers. During the question and answer period, we took our wireless microphones into the auditorium.
One of the attendees was Walter Lambert, who is now known as Chef Walter on WVLT-TV. Instead of a question, he recounted a story from his days as a University of Tennessee administrator. When President Ronald Reagan visited the campus, the administration chose three people to have lunch with him. The lucky ones were the student body president, the student newspaper editor and the faculty member of the year, which was Dr. Bass. The three were told to arrive one hour early in order to pass through the Secret Service checkpoint and to be in place at the table before Reagan arrived at the building. Dr. Bass told Lambert that he couldn’t make it because he had a class to teach. When Lambert informed the Secret Service that the teacher of the year refused to miss class just to be an hour early for the president, the conversation was overheard by a reporter for Newsweek. The Secret Service made whatever arrangements were necessary for Dr. Bass to arrive after class and for him to be whisked to the lunch table before the president arrived.
In our recent radio interview, Jon Jefferson mentioned that he will fly to Phoenix today for a book-signing event at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore. Dr. Bass will join the fun via Skype and the event will be webcast on Livestream starting at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.