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Stories From The Road...

The Real Jack Aitken...

Earlier this week a reminder popped up on my phone, "Poppy A's Birthday."

Readers of my novel Route 666, know that the protagonist of my book is named, Jack Aitken. While much of the character is my own creation he is named in honor of a real person; my grandfather.

John Aitken, or as my grandmother affectionately called him, Jack, was born more than a century ago in Scotland. He emigrated to the U.S. after World War I and had a deep love for his family and our country.

He passed away when I was in grade school, far too young for the both of us. He was only in his 70's and I have just a few memories of him. He loved to play card games, such as Crazy 8's, enjoyed vanilla ice cream for dessert and allowed me to blow out the match after lighting his cigarette.

One thing I found out as an adult, from my mother, was that he was an accomplished runner and won medals.

It probably is no accident that in Route 666, Jack Aitken does a lot of running,

After what seemed like an eternity, the figure said something to the two animals, who slowly walked in Jack’s direction. Their red eyes glared at him, and they each let out a low growl as they continued to move forward. Jack knew all along that attempting to fight them off was not an option, so he took off running at full speed. The hounds immediately took off in pursuit.

Jack felt like his chest was going to explode, and if he did not find his car soon, then to say this was going to end badly would be an understatement. He could hear the beasts barking, which meant they were closing in on him. Still running as fast as possible, Jack checked his pockets and was relieved to find his car keys.

One of the "writer's rules" I follow is to write about what you know. I only wish I had more of an opportunity to get to know the real Jack Aitken.

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