Updated: Jan 18
Author Jeff Dawson was our guest on The Best Ever You Show to provide us with a more in-depth look at his book True Loves Second Chance. The show is available on free replay here or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m sixty years old. Turned that ripe old age on November 3, 2019. I was born in Toledo, Ohio. I moved to Wilmington, DE then moved to Tulsa, OK, when DuPont transferred my father after a plane crash in Salt Lake City, Utah.
I graduated from high school in 1978 and went on to attend Oklahoma State from 78-83. I missed graduating by five hours - anyone who has taken Engineering Calculus II knows the pain. I mean seriously, someone define positive and negative infinity to me. How can it exist when it doesn’t? Still grappling with that one...
Married in 1983. Moved to Dallas, Texas. Had three children and began an exciting career in road construction. Divorced in 1992 and believe it or not, kept the kids.
Fast forward. In 2010 I underwent major back surgery and decided it was time to think about a different career while I was convalescing. I have always been an avid reader and World War Two history buff. Why I did not study to become a history professor still eludes me. I even asked my Dad why he didn’t encourage me to pursue that career path. “Well son, I thought you’d make better money in construction.” Hmm. He did have a point but when one looks at my transcripts, math was not my strong suit while History, Music and English were all A’s. Hey, we live and learn, don’t we? Back on track. I wrote a play when I was fourteen. Despite it being a comedy on the “Last Ten Days of Hitler”, the school opted not to produce it. Shocking. Therefore, my writing skills were put on hold for a few decades.
I need to back track a few years. In December of 2008, I reunited with my high school sweetheart. The spark we shared so many years ago was still smoldering. Our relationship quickly rekindled. I must mention this, she was still recovering from a mastectomy in May of 08. Chemo treatment was done and she was on the downhill side of radiation treatment. She tried everything to keep me from coming to see her: bald, divorced, cancer. I didn’t care. I waited thirty years to see her and wild horses weren’t keeping me away.
We shared a lifetime of love in seven short months. Her cancer returned and she passed on July 20th 2009. Her passing is what triggered me back into writing. I asked her daughters if I could write a story about the love their mom and I shared. They unanimously agreed.
Okay, time to wrap this up. I currently live in Dallas, Texas running a construction company, writing and hanging out with my children and grand-children. Life is good!
How did I get to where I am today?
Good, Lord. This is tougher than the first question. Where does one begin? It hasn’t been the easiest of rides: divorce, gone broke twice, buried my partner, father and fiancé from cancer. Despite the set-backs, each situation taught me a valuable lesson that has allowed me to grow and deepen my faith. Several times I contemplating ending it all, but talked myself out of the easy. I couldn’t saddle my children with that guild and would have missed out on so many wonderful experiences.
Have you ever been fired?
Which time? The first time was in Tulsa, Ok. working for John Gowin. He asked me to go pick up an employee from a jobsite. I had just left it and told him I asked JR if he needed a ride. “No, John is going to send some one to get me.”
“Junior, I’m the last one out and John isn’t sending anyone else.” He declined
When I told John, I wasn’t going back to pick up JR, he fired me. So, I dropped off all of his tools. The next morning, he called me wanting to know where I was.
“You fired me yesterday.”
“If you aren’t on the jobsite in thirty minutes, I’ll fire you again.”
Yep, I went back to work for him.
The second time I was working for a railroad contractor in Dallas. In one day, I was fired, rehired and promoted. Why, because I was the last one standing who spoke English.
The last one that comes to mind is when I was a foreman building a box culvert. The company sent out a track loader that had been rebuilt despite my telling them not to do it. Well, we needed to move to the other side of the creek. See, the water was about six feet deep. After repeated requests to have the haul truck come out and move the machine, my requests were denied. Well, we need to move the machine so we did what we could and drug it across the channel. The engine died during the move and unbeknownst to us, there was a small exhaust line on the pan. When the engine died, it sucked up mud and dropped it on the cylinders. You can image what it did to the engine? All those people I called to have the machine moved finally came out to the jobsite to investigate. In the end, I was fired.
There were others, but in the end, each one led to a new opportunity and challenge.
What are your real passions?
Baseball and umpiring. Before my back surgery I couldn’t get enough of it. Another would be teaching history to today’s youth and challenging them to not believe everything they see or hear on TV or the internet, but to research the topic so they can make an informed decision.
If you won the lottery, what would you do?
Buy a modest home, new truck and set-up endowments for my children and grand-children. The remainder would be gifted to charities I support: Breast Cancer, Woodall Foundation for the Deaf.
What to you do to help others be their best?
Encourage them to never give up even if the future doesn’t look bright.
How do you help yourself be the best you can be?
I walk at least a mile day. This is my down time and I spend it mediating and talking to God.
What do you like to do in your personal life?
Hands down, Baseball. Can’t get enough of the sport whether it’s professional or Little League. I love the game at all levels and learn something with each game I watch.
Next would be reading. Nothing is better than a good book.
Cookouts. Nothing is better than getting together with friends and family and cooking up some goo grub!
How do you feel about people taking a Second Chance at Love?
Go for it or you could miss the most amazing relationship in the world. When I went to meet Debbie, all those feelings from so many years ago surfaced: hurt, anxious, giddy, nervous. You name it and I was feeling it. You would think at 49 I would be able to keep together. Nope. I planned on getting a room that night and driving back to Dallas in the morning after our meeting. We both realized there was something still there. She suggested I stay the night at her house. I agreed on one condition that her daughters didn’t have a problem with it. They agreed. No, we didn’t sleep in the same bed. Since she was still going through radiation, she camped out on the couch and I went upstairs.
If I wouldn’t have taken the chance and gone to see her, I would have missed out on the most wonderful and fulfilling relationship I could have imagined. I did ask Debbie why she thought we finally got back together, “Unfinished business.” I couldn’t have agreed more with her statement.
Do you plan on remarrying some day?
Yes, but only if I meet the right woman. I also know I cannot compare them to Debbie. If I do, the relationship will never have a chance for no one can replace her and I am not trying to. But that woman is going to have to accept her memory.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
To help as many people as I can who are coping with the effects of breast cancer or cancer in general.
What is a book or two you recommend?
Love’s True Second Chance and Why Did Everything Happen.
Give us one or two shameless plugs?
Have you ever wondered what happened to your high school sweetheart all those years ago? In 2008 I would get that answer. I left a business card in her parents mail box not knowing if they still lived there. Two weeks later I received a phone call that would change my life and answer that question: divorced, two children and breast cancer. And, she only lived two and-a-half hours away! The next seven months would introduce me to a level of love I have never encountered or could have imagined in my forty-five years. Debbie would pass on July 20,2010 when her breast cancer returned with a vengeance.
Our story isn’t about her dying, it’s about us living each day to the fullest while dealing with a crippling disease. If I wouldn’t have taken a second chance at love, I would have missed out on the most wonderful relationship in my life. When you pick up a copy of our book, Love’s True Second Chance, you will see that true love is still out there if you’re brave enough to take the chance.
Are you ready for vampires to regain their standing in the genre? Are you ready for them to return to the roots of Bram Stoker’s vile creatures? Wait no longer. Occupation is a travel through the dark days of WWII. The Germans have conquered Poland and implemented their plan of “Occupation.” As the local inhabitants are rounded up, the Germans have no idea they are shipping off the food supply of rivaling vampire clans, The Romanovs and Boirarskys. They have fought for centuries with neither dominating the other. That is about to change when they realize there is a new threat to deal with —The Third Reich!
What are some of your favorites?
Books A Bridge Too Far, Patton, Story of Wake Island, Arsenal of Democracy, Elizabeth Smart, One Damn Island after Another, Willie Nelson, Hunt for Red October, Red Storm Rising Last stand of the Tin Cans, Shift, In Such Good Company and so many more.
Why do you do what you do?
Because I love it! Construction, maybe not so much, but it does pay the bills. Writing because I get to meet a lot of interesting people and share mutual stories. We’ve all heard the saying, “never judge a book by its cover,” yet we still do it. When I talk to strangers, they are no longer strangers when we wrap up our conversation.
What are a few of your goals?
Touching as many people as I can with the stories I write.
Retiring and building an HO train set.
Having one of my books turned into a movie.
Spending more time with my adult children and grand-children.
What do the words “Best Ever You” mean to you?
Letting your true talents shine through and sharing them with as many people as possible. If we can help others achieve their “best ever you” I would like to think it assists us the same way.
Loves True Second Chance book is the recipient of the Elizabeth's Best Award for January 2020.
For more information and books written by Jeff Dawson, visit https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Dawson/e/B0054DRYIO