As a reporter – print, radio, television and personal appearances – Derr created essays bringing us face to face with heroes of the last 80 years. Derr interviewed Hall of Famers from almost every sport. He also knew world leaders, royalty, industrialists, entertainers and retained friendship with his favorites – plain ordinary people, like himself.
His contacts included Presidents Hoover, Nixon and Eisenhower, a golfing friend, also golfers Bob Jones, Babe Zaharias, Donald Ross, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, E. Harvie Ward and Tar Heel Johnny Bulla. He had tea on visits with Mohandas Gandhi, whose son, Devandas, arranged their meeting. Baseball friends included Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth, whose obituary he voiced from Paris. CBS colleagues included Red Barber, Edward R. Murrow and Arthur Godfrey.
Derr’s reports were never sensationalized or exaggerated, which was the mode for reporters during his career. He loved reporting, “telling the story” and he loved people as a two-way street. Their emotional response showed the lasting friendship of those who passed by his Place at The Table in the press boxes of the world.
As he neared 95, John still shared his history, wit and wisdon. Almost daily he stopped by the Old Sport Gallery and Bookshop in downtown Pinehurst, NC. When not on a speaking tour he’d visit and with very little urging would tell about his 128 yard hole-in-one at the age of 91. None since, regrettably, but worth trying.
"I heard it coming a mile away, chasing chickens and scattering hay. Through Uncle Ben s General Feed Store, (lucky for him, he had opened the door). Over the fence, the airplane appeared, driving a stampede of panicking steer". Thus begins this delightfully illustrated children s book Barnstorming, The second of the Uncle Tom books by Uncle Tom Merriam. Full of rhythm and rhyme, and just plain fun, Barnstorming is great to read to younger children and just as much fun for older children to read aloud.
This is the endearing story of Little Chief, a young bison, who is chosen to replace a retiring elder at Beech Hill Farm and Bison Ranch. He is unsure about leaving his friends, moving to a new place, and coping with the journey. To his surprise, Little Chief is warmly greeted at his new location by a chicken named Abigail Frizzle. He is put to ease by her kindness and desire to make him feel welcome. Little Chief quickly learns that it only takes on friend to make you feel at home! Parents and educators will enjoy discussing this story by award-winning children's author, Robin Taylor-Chiarello and illustrator, Lisa Bohart.
Written by Robin Chiarello, illustrated by Steven Lester "Limbo" has already won the Mom's Choice award. It is a great and simple book for children. Speaking of some of America's darkest history, the simple text helps children visualize and see the challenges one can over come and how a lovely woman from our local Fryeburg can provide grace and honor in the end. The illustrations are beautiful. The message can teach the next generation.