I spend most of my time helping my old high school buddy, Sparky Ellington, deal with life’s challenges. When he stopped by my garage, he was really missed up, but didn’t realize it. He’d lost Emily, his job, his only daughter was considering a job in Virginia. He was drinking too much and didn’t realize the source of his misfortune which was until age sixty, he’d led the perfect life. He met and fell in love with Emily Baker at Woodstock and their love grew over the years. I mean how many people experience that? After Emily passed away, he had no idea how to deal with the real world, until he and I reconnected.
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
Michael Murphy got me and Woodstock right, the three days of music, mud and mayhem. I’m portrayed as a fun-loving ladies’ man who enjoys an occasional smoke of weed and loves his Harley. Yeah, that’s me, though at the end of the story I come to realize that the importance of the love of a good woman.
What is your biggest disappointment in life?
Lost opportunities. Crystal and I first hooked up at Woodstock then didn’t see each other for forty years. If I’d had Sparky’s guts, maybe things would have turned out different, but he acted on his feelings toward Emily and went after her.
So you and Crystal are still together?
Oh, yeah, but we’re playing it one day at a time. Still not sure what’s going to happen with my garage or the bar she owns in Bethel, but for now, we’re happy.
What about, Sparky? At the end of the novel, he’s determined to focus on the future instead of the past. How’s that working out?
Sparky’s doing okay, man. I can’t take all the credit. The roadtrip back to Woodstock did him a lot of good. When we started out we both thought the trip would be our last, but now I think we both realize if we open ourselves up to life’s possibilities, life itself can be one big roadtrip.
What do you hope readers take from Goodbye Emily?
That baby boomers might be in our sixties, but we can still enjoy a little sex, drugs and rock and roll.
What about Josh?
It’s hard to talk about Josh, man. I might have implied earlier that it was me who helped Sparky get his life in order in Goodbye Emily, but really it was Josh and what I call a Woodstock miracle.
Do you ever think of your time in Vietnam?
I do, whenever I see a Vietnam vet struggling with issues that kept me down for half my life. We owe all vets a big thanks, but especially the Vietnam vets who never got their due.
How do you envision your future?
I don’t think about the future. I focus on the present. Like we used to say in the sixties, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” That’s me and Crystal and Sparky and Josh.
You did a lot of drugs after Vietnam.
Drugs almost did me in. The sixties were a time of peace and joy, but drugs killed all that, for me and for a lot of others. Now I can have an occasional beer and a little weed, but that’s it, man.
What do you miss most about the sixties, Buck?
Where can we find out more about you and Goodbye Emily