News Article Details

Author shares life lessons in new book

Brunswick News - 1/30/2018

Jan. 30--Cal Duke's life hasn't always been easy. His father left the family when he was a young child and did not reconnect until 20 years later. One of his children was born autistic and he endured the pain of divorce.

But through all of the challenges, the St. Simons Island resident has sought to find the silver lining. It was his ability to find the positive in trying times that inspired him to pen his memoirs. The resulting book, which was recently released, is aptly titled "Keep On Smilin', the Life and Adventures of a Road-Hog Publisher."

For Duke, who spent decades in the publishing business, sharing his story came naturally.

"It's been a longterm goal to do a book. I had written songs for a long time and I traveled around for 41 years publishing catalogs for different chambers of commerce in Georgia and Alabama," he said. "But I always wanted it to be a feel good story. I didn't want to depress anyone. I wanted to uplift people."

That's what he set out to do in his book. In addition to sharing his life, he inserts a "life lessons" portion at the end of each chapter that outlines precisely what each experience taught him.

"The life lessons were things I learned the hard way. Some of it was fun and some not so fun. There are also a lot of things that are pretty unbelievable that happened but they're the truth," he said.

One interesting tidbit is that Duke attended Albany High School with none other than Paula Deen, the queen of Southern cooking.

"She was a cheerleader and back then she looked a lot like Elizabeth Taylor. She had dark hair and bright blue eyes. She was really outgoing and just very sweet," he said. "She was actually nice enough to read my book and write a little something about it, which we put on the back cover."

In addition to growing up rubbing elbows with celebrities, Duke played baseball and football as a youth. He went on to have three children and after his divorce, remarried his wife, Patty. Together, they have traveled extensively, spending a considerable time in Italy.

"Part of the book talks about travel and Patty shares her insights about traveling. We love Italy. It is very special to us. We met a family from there when we were lost once and they took care of us. We kept in touch with them and they kept asking us via email when we were going to come back and stay with them ... so we did," he said. "They have since come to visit us. We took them white-water rafting, which I think scared them to death."

Aside from Italy, they have also enjoyed trips to Portugal, Spain, Germany, Ireland and the Caribbean. They are currently planning a trip to England.

"We haven't been to London yet so we are going to go there," Duke said.

But before he jets off to Britain, he plans to make a couple of local stops to share his memoir. Duke will appear first at a book signing from 5-7 p.m.Feb. 2 at the King and Prince Beach Resort on St. Simons Island.

"We're calling it a Groundhog's Day celebration. It should be a lot of fun ... and of course afterward people can enjoy the restaurant or bar which will have live entertainment," he said.

He will also visit with the Chamber of Commerce during its Business After Hours event from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Feb. 22, at Ember on St. Simons Island.

Regardless of where Duke pops up, he hopes those who buy his book will have some laughs and perhaps gain a little bit of wisdom.

"My point was to present something that might be helpful to someone else," he said with a smile.

Coastal People appears Tuesdays. Contact Lindsey Adkison at or at 912-265-8320, ext. 346 to suggest a person for a column.


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