Mina & Conroy Fitness Studio

My Desk

Hey out there

I’ve just opened a place of business in downtown Port Royal, South Carolina. It is an odd thing to be doing at my age. There is nothing on my resume that indicates I’ll be successful in this unusual endeavor. But I’m doing it because there are four or five books I’d like to write before I meet with Jesus of Nazareth – as my mother promised me – on the day of my untimely death, or reconcile myself to a long stretch of nothingness as my non-believing friends insist.

Three years ago I nearly died from my own bad habits. At my lowest point I made an awkward vow to myself that if I could survive the crisis, I would try to improve my complete lack of dedication to my own health. I stopped drinking at that moment, told my splendid doctor Lucius Lafitte that I was going to do what he told me. I hired my next door neighbor, the fetching Liz Sherbert, to be my nutritionist, and for two years I’ve tried to satisfy my great interior hunger with a diet that would satisfy a full grown squirrel, but did little to conquer the hippopotamus that lives within me. Still, I lost a quick twenty pounds and have learned to put up with Liz’s surprise commando raids on my household to check on forbidden foods she finds in my refrigerator. When she spies me grazing on my front lawn, she shouts encouragement from her deck, “Greenery. Salads. That’s the way to weight loss, Pat.” Liz has encouraged me to shun all the foods I love and eat plentiful amounts of the things I despise. My lesson from this is never to hire a nutritionist who lives next door.

Dr. Lafitte also ordered me to exercise. In my youth I walked around disguised as an athlete, especially to myself. When I quit playing basketball at the age of 40, my weight increased every year until I turned into a southern fat boy, to my utter horror. Over the years, I’d hired personal trainers to abuse and shape up the fatted calf I’d become. From Europe to San Francisco, I hired a series of good men who were skilled practitioners of their art. But after a year or so, I grew bored, and then had a back operation that affected my mobility for a long time. In 1996, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, which I call “The Fat Boy’s Disease.” The doctors are too kind and diplomatic to call it that, but I believe it’s an accurate description in my case.

I joined the Beaufort YMCA a few years ago. It’s a terrific place founded by the actor Tom Berenger and ex-his wife, who is a well-known Beaufort beauty. Three times a week I would meet my friend, the novelist John Warley, at the Y and we would exercise together. While exercising, I noticed a young Okinawan woman working with her clients and had never seen a physical therapist work with such dedication and compassion. With all her clients, including some who were elderly and some in wheelchairs, she gave her full attention and never looked around when someone was in her care. I hired Mina

Mina in a Nike shirt

Truong as my personal trainer and went to see her twice a week. She was both a wonder and a stern taskmaster, so I started to feel muscles in places I forgot I had them. Then, on a book tour, I hurt my back getting out of a car and did not see Mina for an entire year. It was at the end of that year that I nearly died in a Charleston hospital.
When I recovered from my illness, I signed up with Mina at the Y again. At first, I went once a week, then three times, and then five times. I had marvelous fun with her, even though I could barely walk to the car after she had finished with me. But I started feeling better – much better than I had in years. Her skills in English are limited, and she’d apologize almost every time I saw her.

“So sorry, Mr. Pat. English very bad,” she’d say.
“No problem, Mina. My Japanese is much worse.”
“No, no, Mr. Pat. My English should be better,” she’d say.
“Could you stop calling me Mr. Pat? It’s driving me nuts. I feel like Marlon Brando in The Teahouse of the August Moon.”
“No, I must call you Mr. Pat. Out of respect. When you come to me, I did not know you. I not know you are very great man. A writer.”
“Give me a break, Mina. I write pornography.”
“What is this word? My English not good, Mr. Pat.”
“I write dirty books. Naked men and women doing unspeakable things to each other.”
“What is this unspeakable?” she said.
“You’re not supposed to say it out loud.”
“Dirty books? Bad books?”
“Yes, that’s what I write. Now hurt me some more. Our time is not up.”
“Mr. Pat, I never hurt you.”
“You hurt me every time I see you,” I said.
“No, I help you. I make you strong.”

So, without my quite knowing it, I became Mina’s unpaid English teacher over the past year, making certain that I brought in a few new words for her to learn each day. Because I lived in Italy for three years and never came close to grasping the language, I know that a sense of humor from a native speaker was a difficult, if not impossible thing to master. If a single Italian ever told me a joke, I can assure you I didn’t get it. At some point, I realized that poor Mina often had no idea I was kidding her. I know better than anyone that a Conroy sense of humor is not everyone’s cup of green tea.
In the middle of doing leg lifts, Mina would ask me, “How do you feel, Mr. Pat?”

“I feel terrible,” I’d say, gasping.
“Terrible. That is bad to feel? Terrible?”
“It’s awful to feel terrible,” I said.
“How can I make you feel better, Mr. Pat?”
“Call 9-1-1.”
“Why 9-1-1, Mr. Pat?”
“I need an ambulance.”
“Why you need this ambulance?”
“Because I’m dying. You’re killing me, Mina.”
“No, Mr. Pat. I help you.”
“Tell the crew I need a wheelchair.”
“The men and women in the ambulance. They need a wheelchair because I can’t walk.”
“Why can’t you walk, Mr. Pat?”
“Because you hurt me.”
“Ah! It’s a joke. I hear you are a funny man, Mr. Pat. How you feel?”

Pat, Mina and Bernie Schein

Each week I could feel my body changing, hardening, growing stronger. Finally I came to a wonderful conclusion that I was feeling much better than I had for years. My friends and family and long-suffering wife all told me I was looking better, but to be truthful, I still look like a linebacker who has gone painfully to seed.

But I give all credit to Mina Truong, who has inspired me to work harder than I ever have before.

This past January, my beloved brother Mike went into surgery for a quadruple bypass that terrified the entire Conroy family because Mike is the only one of us who knows how to get things done.

He’s the anchor to our whole family, so I can’t imagine how complicated our family life would be if he was not around. But Mike is also tough as a walnut and he came through the operation and never complained to a single person about the pain he endured. The operation was a complete success and Mike came home several days before his release date. I was as joyous as I was relieved when I went to the Y and sweet Mina was there with a worried look in her eyes.

“How is your brother, Mike, Mr. Pat?”
“Mike . . .” I said (and this next part of my personality is irritating and inexplicable even to me, but it is my personality and this is how I answered poor Mina of Okinawa), “The operation didn’t go very well, Mina.”
“What do you mean, Mr. Pat?” she asked.
“Mike’s dead. But we can’t let that interfere with my workout.”
“Your brother? He is dead? You must be very sad, Mr. Pat. You must go to his wife. To comfort her.”
“Naw, I never liked her much.”
“When is brother Mike’s funeral?”
“It’s going on right now, Mina. I knew I couldn’t miss my workout. And there’s a sale on tulip bulbs at Lowe’s,” I said, and by the look on Mina’s face I knew I would have some trouble bringing this subject to a close.

Mina helped me by starting to cry. Large, heartfelt tears fell from her eyes as she wept at the death of my un-mourned brother. I tried to figure out a graceful means of exit from a joke that offered few avenues of escape.
Finally, I said, “Mina, I forgot. I got a call on my cell phone before I got to the Y. Mike didn’t die. They made a mistake.”

“Mistake?” she asked in tears.
“Yeah, they got him confused with the guy in the next room. He looked a lot like Mike. But my brother’s fine.”
“You told me lie. About your brother’s death, Mr. Pat,” Mina said.
“It was a joke. But it must not translate well into Japanese,” I said.
“Joke? You make joke about your poor brother. He die. That is a terrible, terrible joke, Mr. Pat.”
“Yeah, it is awful, Mina. I apologize,” I said.
“You are a very, very bad man, Mr. Pat.”
“Yes, I knew you would find that out one day. Now hurt me,” I said.

Mina then put me through the toughest regimen of exercise His Fatness had experienced in a long time. I knew that there was some kind of subliminal punishment involved, but I felt I deserved it. The next day when I walked into the Y Mina said, “How is your poor brother, Mike, Mr. Pat?”

“Very bad, Mina. Mike died last night. I’m very sad.”

Mina burst out laughing and a fellow employee at the Y walked by at the time and asked her what was so funny.
“I told her my brother died last night,” I said.

“It is a lie. Nothing he says is true. No word is true. Ever,” Mina said.
I said, “Mina, you’ve got a great sense of humor.”
“No, Mr. Pat. You turn me into a terrible person. Today, we do aerobics. Fun, yes?”
“I hate aerobics,” I said.
“It help you not be sad, Mr. Pat,” Mina said. “Over poor Mike dying.”

But there was trouble in paradise. The YMCA was one of the happiest places I’ve ever been in Beaufort. I fell in love with the women at the front desk and took great pleasure in getting to know various people who worked out at the same time I did. But one Friday, Mina told me she had been suspended for ten days. When I asked why, she told me she could not discuss it with me because of YMCA rules. I went down to discuss it with the director and he told me he could not talk about it because it was “a personnel issue.” So I’d hit upon the bureaucratic world I despise and knew it was a lost battle even to enter that strange, octopus-armed world. My friend Aaron Schein, who had also fallen in love with Mina, resigned from the Y in disgust.

Mina returned, but I could feel her tension every time she worked me out. Finally, two weeks ago, I asked Mina to lunch and she brought her two best friends Lin Pope and her husband Bruce. It seems as though Mina was to be fired that Saturday. I suggested she resign and she did so that very moment in the restaurant Moondoggies. Within seconds, not minutes, she received a reply: “accepted.”

Mina & Conroy Fitness Studio

“Now, Mina, what are you going to do?” I said. “I need you to keep me alive. So I’m real interested.”
The following day, we rented a small office at 832 Paris Avenue in Port Royal, a town that includes Parris Island in its district. Ten days later we opened shop at Mina & Conroy Fitness Studio. I warned Mina that if my photograph ever appeared on any advertising, she would not have a single client.

“I’m not a good walking advertisement for a fitness studio,” I explained. Mina & Conroy is small, intimate, and a perfect place for me to spend part of the day for the rest of my natural life. We are having an open house on April 3, from 4 – 7 in the evening, and I’m inviting anyone who’d like to come to be Mina’s and my guest. Cassandra King and I will be signing books and I might invite some of my other writer pals to come as well. There will be wine and cheese and we’ll try to have a ball. Mina calls it her “castle,” and I like the sound of her voice when she says it. I’m trying to get my brother Mike to come down. Mina’s dying to meet him.

97 Responses to Mina & Conroy Fitness Studio

  • Molly Quinn Misko says:

    Enjoyed this story so much, Pat. Please stay healthy as all in our 1963 class turn 70 this year! We want more stories from you!

  • Jennifer M says:

    Oh I wish it were 1-2 days later. I arrive in HHI the next day and would give my left arm to meet you and have a book or three signed. I’ve been reading your stories since I was a teenager living in Summerville. Plus, I’m a converted couch potato who took up running a couple years ago – still don’t look the part and certainly not fast however I can appreciate the time and effort attempting to stay healthy. Best wishes on your new fitness studio.

  • Gayle Caruso says:

    Someday I am going to get to meet the great Pat Conroy. I am sorry I live so far away. Congratulations to Mina and Conroy.

    • Julie H says:

      I’m so glad you’re taking care of yourself Mr. Conroy. Your books have meant the world to me and I hope to read many more. Good on you!

  • Eileen Donohue Estes says:

    You crack me up, Conrack!

  • Ginger says:

    What a beautiful story! I wish you and Mina much success! I will try to make it that night.

  • Linda Brackett says:

    Sad to say our southern lifestyle…..wonderful food and libations daily eventually catch up if we live long enough. I am delighted that you are on this happy pathway to health. Quite certain Cassandra is more so. Aged 74 and definitely not ready to go….I have an illness that keeps me trim if not exactly healthy, I have of course learned to eat healthy and no matter how long or how you season it…Kale is not my favorite food. Cheers to a long and healthy life, and you will eventually like if not love fitness training. I definitely wish to read as many books as you pen to paper…

  • Chris Assaf says:

    What a wonderful thing to do. God Bless you Both,

  • pat roberts says:

    Congratulations! Do you think you could convince Mike to join?

  • Kansasblond says:

    Oh, how I wish I could be there. As a high school English teacher, your books were a reminder that our language had the power to leave me breathless with its beauty, a necessity after reading too many essay-assaults on my mind.

  • Jayne Hughes says:

    We are buying a winter house somewhere around the Beaufort/HH area…we will make a beeline to your Fitness Studio as soon as possible…we can’t wait!! I already have several signed books but you can sign the rest when we get there! Good Luck!

  • Lisa Coston says:

    if I didn’t live 5 hrs away, I would come hang out with you Pat, and of course, you too Mina. Sounds like the perfect place to exercise and torture Mina with the English language! Hehehe

  • Jim VanOpdorp says:

    Great story and a wise move by my favorite author. 47 million Americans are pre-diabetic and while we spend $3 for every $2 spent by the next most expensive healthcare systems, our lifestyles and diets mean healthcare outcomes no better than average in a study of 34 developed countries by the OECD (and we spend twice the average of the group taken as a whole).

    I expect many more books and wish you well.

  • Katie McGuirl says:

    Hi Pat I met you at the B@B in Savannah about 3 years ago. I was concerned you weren’t taking care of yourself . You were drinking sherry at the reception desk, and the receptionist was transferring your college roommate’s vodka to your room from after your not eating ALL day and you a diabetic. I was in the hotel’s bathrobe and we sat and talked. I went to ETSU (you had played basketball there). And you wrote part of a book in Coral Gables Fl where I grew up? Probably don’t remember any of this trivial stuff but I certainly do. My favorite book, Prince of Tides, and all the others I have read and was waiting to read MORE. Like many of your readers. But your coloring was terrible. Not pink like you do now an ash gray. SOO happy you are opening your “studio” and saving sweet Mina’s job. I am SURE you both will be very succesful. And ALL of your readers SO happy to be able to look forward to new adventures in our future with you! Hale to KALE! .

    • Celeste Prince- Brown says:

      I definitely want to be there! May not, as it’s a 3-day weekend for me and I may go out of town. But if I’m here, I’m there!

  • adelaide mcgill says:

    Congratulations!!, Pat. That is terrific news. It is never too late! I would give anything to get over there this summer and bring my late husband’s ashes to the St Helena Sound.. He lived in Port Royal, and we lived in St Helena, and then in Galveston. I am still living in TX, and it might be just too difficult for me to get to SC this year, but I’m working on it. The stars have to align! Actually, I have the fabulous job of taking care of my grandson, Martin McGill, and I have to figure out his schedule. I have made the drive many times.

    I last saw you at the Hall of Fame celebration 2010 in Athens, the year my son Ralph McGill III and his dad died. Rick Whitaker, my husband, died in 2013. That all sounds gloomy. Anyway, I’m happy to see that you are taking such good care of yourself. I’d love to see your studio. Now I gotta go read more about this new direction in your life. Best of luck and warm regards, Adelaide (Lady) McGill.

  • Karen Nickles says:

    This is absolutely hilarious! Best of luck and wonderful health as the Mina and Conroy endeavor unfolds.

  • Lynn Pinckney says:

    Pat, I loved that sweet Mina when she was at the Y and I love you and your incredible sense of humor and gift of words…this is such a great story…What a great business combo you two will make…what a beautiful friendship…keep working out! That basketball body is still there! Congratulations to you both!

  • Lori Ross says:

    Hello Pat,

    I am a huge fan and have read almost every one of your books. I started with your newer books and am working my way backwards. I Especially loved Beach Music, the Great Santini, and the Return of the Great Santini. There are Many parallels in your family history and mine. I swear my stepfather, who I disliked immensely, took his parent training from the Great Santini book. He did so many if the same things as your father; it was eerie and scary to me at the same time. I am from Philadelphia, but have lived in HHI for the past 12 years. My husband and I are planning to come to this open house. Questions. Can we work out there? Second, can I bring my books for you to sign? You are a hero to be and I cannot wait to meet you!! Lori Ross

  • Barbara Freemal says:

    Pat that was so sweet of you th help out Mina . I wish you both much success. I’m currently reading The Lords of Discipline. I like to support banned book writers. The Prince of Tides was a huge favorite. Stay well my friend. Looking forward to your next great novel. Poor Mina….

  • Marilyn Austin says:

    My mother stills live in the house she was born in, not far from Callanwolde. Yours are amongst the books I love to read several times. I would so love to meet you. Best wishes to you and Mina, what a great new venture.

  • brendagael beasley-forrest says:

    Congrats on your new venture, Mr. Pat! I am inspired by your intention to improve your health. Something I need to do as well. I need to lose 50 pounds, and I’m just not motivated. I always seem to have other things to do. I may stop by during open house.

    Thanks for the hours/days/weeks/months of enjoyment I’ve had reading your books.

    All best wishes,

  • carlotta says:

    You can do it Pat!

  • Marylou Turpin says:

    This entire article had me in stitches! My husband nearly died in January from not wanting to go to the doctor. (side note….he is a doctor) He is finally in rehab and hates the PT. He acts like his mother in that she would say she had to “take” exercise…..as if it were a pill. I love that you have your personal place to “take” your treatment! Please achieve your goals…I love to read your books and Cassandra’s as well. Write more and more.

  • Paige says:

    Good stuff, as always.

    One day, you will wake up and say to yourself, “Self, you need to write this girl’s biography.”

    Don’t say I didn’t give you the heads up

  • Trish Grisham says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Good luck with your new venture, somehow I don’t think you’ll need luck with your sense of humor.

  • Arnett M. Peccini says:

    So glad you are working on getting fit. It gives me courage to do the same. Good luck in your dual ventures!

  • Sue Bennett says:

    Pat Conroy, you are a good man for saving Mina. I knew from the very first book I read, you were my favorite. Your style of writing is like no other, brilliantly penned. Thank you for hours of fine reading. Please take care of yourself!

  • Lynda Camp says:

    Sounds like a great plan to me. I also have health issues that have lessened my desire to exercise at the Y. Knee replacement scheduled on April 27, 2015. after procrastinating for about 8-10m years. I would love to bring my Conroy books to be signed and let Mina give me a “painful” workout. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

  • Patzk says:

    Listening to Beach Music, on my way to Virginia Beach, was my introduction to Pat Conroy and I have enjoyed your “words”.through these many years
    Recipes From My Life ,on CD , is always my companion on the road and is one of my favorites.
    Lyon, you do The South proud
    Next book…..?

  • Bill beltz says:

    Sounds like a great idea. I’ll try to be there for the open house.

  • Caren Witt says:

    Only Pat Conroy could make working out, health scares and lifestyle changes such an entertaining read! This is so exciting; not only are you embracing your health (because we do need 10+ more books from you!) but joining together with someone and helping her dream come true! Don’t play it down, she called it her castle! We would fly in from Nevada (again) to join you and say hi but this time I can’t pull it off.

    As a dialysis social worker I have seen the effects of a chronic illness, and it has motivated me to take ownership of my health (I need a Mina for-sure), so way to commit!

    We are going to make Beaufort our home one day; and YOU are to blame!

    Best of luck and success to you and Mina!

  • Heather B. says:

    I’m selfishly very glad to hear you’re working on your health so you’ll be writing for many years to come! I can highly recommend the documentary Forks Over Knives (and the website & cookbook), and Dr. McDougall has a lot of information about how to regain your health through a low-fat plant-based diet. Keep up the good work! Wish I were closer to meet Mina and you and your lovely wife!

  • Nancy Roper says:

    What a wonderful story! Best wishes to all of you in your new business. We all need someone like Mina in our lives and if I lived closer I would be signing up. After years of exercise and a path to eating healthier I still suffered a massive heart attack and had a defibrillator implanted. But I bounced back and within 2 weeks was back on the treadmill and out line dancing and hope to be kayaking soon. Diabetes is a constant battle. Hope you keep up the fight!

  • mary spearman says:

    I am happy you plan on writing more books, because I have read and even reread all the others. I wish there was a way this upcountry teacher could spend summer getting fit in Beaufort with my favorite writer!

  • Lynn Carrington says:

    I am 76, like the trombones but too far away to play. Would that I could! Wishing you both great success and give our friend a hug.

  • Paige Greene says:

    Great story! Your fluency in sarcasm has further confirmed my love for all things Conroy. Periodic updates may prove beneficial for fans near and far as I’m always in need of a laugh or two. Blessings to you and Mina on this new adventure!

  • Lisa says:

    Mr Conroy needs to hook up with fellow South Carolinian Jimmy Moore and also Dr Eric Westman who lives nearby in NC and give a low carb/high fat a whirl….fat is not his enemy….all those carbs are. Good luck to you and waiting anxiously for those four or five new books!!!

  • Frances says:

    Hi Pat,
    I have always been a huge fan.
    What a great story. Isn’t it wonderful where life takes us!
    Good luck and kick some butt while you are at it!
    I lost 40 pounds and 6 sizes 8 years ago and love working out. I am now a certified yoga teacher. If you ever want a guest teacher let me know. I have some great ideas how to get older stiff guys into yoga class!
    Franny Tutt Yoga

  • Madonna Montgomery says:

    I’ve been in love with you for so many years. I have a fantasy of moving to Buford where I ‘ll be meandering along and you’ll see me and be so stunned by my beauty that you will immediately sweep me off my feet. Oh I’m also neurotic, and (depending on what doctor you’re talking too), Bipolar I remember reading in one of your books that you love the walking wounded. I have every book you’ve written, including The Boo. I know you say it’s your first attempt to write, and its still your favorite book. It was entertaining, however I feel your writing has improved greatly since then. But then I think we’re all proud of many of our first anything. Wish I had a Mina. Stay well. Even though your’e just my fantasy, I don’t want to loose you.

    Oh and don’t worry. I won’t start stalking you. I’m not really as crazy as I sound.


  • Charlene Shufelt says:

    Even your blog is a literary masterpiece! We are so fortunate to have you, Cassandra, and now Mina in our Beautiful Beaufort! Jim and I look forward to your open house.

  • Claire says:

    I so need a Mina in my life. Thank you so much for sharing your story & new adventure. I will be seeing you soon!!

  • Courtney Horton says:

    Hoping the good nutrition and exercise takes. You are a national treasure. Read “South of Broad” straight through twice. Once for the great story and a second time to enjoy the beauty of your prose.

  • Ronnie Gunn Tucker says:

    What a kind and wonderful thing to do for a friend.
    Continue your fine work, Mina! Long live Pat Conroy.

  • Mr. Pat, Congratulations on your business and most importantly your renewed vow to get healthier! It takes daily work but there is no work that is more important. As a Nurse Practitioner and Health Coach myself, I know that without health, we really have nothing. You are an inspiration for many people out there! We live in Germany now but I will be “Home” in May and will stop in to see you. Give my Mom Mary a big hug for me next time you’re in The Chocolate Tree (which better not be too often or you’ll be in big trouble with Liz)! Best wishes, Heather

  • Leard Huggins says:

    It was a pleasure to read your FB post. It was particularly pleasure to hear or your friendship and support of Mina and her future. My recent trip to Port Royal to support Mike Harris (The Shark Tooth Fairy ) fo his Kids Fussil Hunt rekindled my affection for the place. We returned two weeks later to purchase an aluminum Oyster Cooker And Shucking Table. The best I have ever seen.
    As you are aware most than more. One’s schedual is often either uncontrolled or controlled by OTHERS. Most of us Nazarenes are over booked on Good Friday. Pat an I will be with in Goldsboro NC with our daughter’s and Son’s families 3 & 4 grandkids repectively. This causes us to miss your introduction of your new endeavor. We wish you a long and successful run with it. I will make it a point to visit M&C Fitness Studio soon to meet Mina and hopefully get to reconnect with you as well.
    The Best of Luck With It.

  • The slim, svelte, unbelievably handsome guy in the photo with Mina and Pat above is Yours Truly. I went to watch fat-ass Pat work out, got involved myself, and frankly have never experienced anything like it. Mina’s just so exciting, so fun, you forget she’s working your butt off. I signed up that day. For one thing, Pat has gotten to the point where he can beat me up. I need to be able to defend myself.
    Kick his ass, Mina!

  • Judith Adkins Thompson says:

    My dear Pat,

    Even with the “untimely death” of brother Mike and Mina’s job loss, you always “have me” in your first written sentence! I sincerely thank you for doing this for yourself, your family and your dedicated readers. Your books are priceless to your many fans.

    Best wishes from North Carolina!

  • Olivia Stiffler says:

    Way to go, disguising your kindness with first-rate humor. So pleased you are joining the ranks of old writers who exercise so they won’t get stale. Congratulations to you and Mina for recognizing that wine and cheese are health foods.

  • Robert Erdeljac says:

    Pat – I feel you pain regarding the loss of your brother. I lost three brothers that way. (LOL). This retired college quarterback struggles with weight issues also, but I keep working out at the gym. We can’t give in or up. CARRY ON ! Rob

  • Barb Zeak says:

    Pat, as always, love to hear from you. Love and read all your books, waiting for more to come.

    So sorry for the loss of you brother – God bless him and you for eternity.

    Exercise is a great medicine – keep it up.

    Good luck on your new venture – it will be a great success!

  • Don Kehoe says:

    My wife and I caught you recently at the Beaufort session you held with other authors. Been a fan since finding The Great Santini. Loved the Pat Conroy Cookbook. I’m a Type 2 and it shows. Taking a cruise starting 4/1/15…hope I make it back alive.. Please keep me posted and hopefully it will stir the juices. DONK

  • Susan C. says:

    Oh, Pat. You are batting 1000 with this one. I have been hiding from exercise but I would love to help Mina (and you) have a successful business. I love a Cinderella story (not sure who is Cinderella in this one). I am sure Mina & Conroy will be a great success. Maybe M&C is just what I need to get up and get to exercising.

  • Terri Stokes says:

    What a neat little story of how your new pursuit has come about! I’m looking forward to your open house since I’ve never been a fan of large exercise/fitness places even though I was a charter member of the YMCA. Your Mina sounds perfect – I’m not in good shape and she doesn’t speak good English – so we will be equals!

  • I am the one who is dying here over this news post! I wish I could be there on April 3 and join in the aerobic activities, however, it is my Mother’s birthday. A visit to Mina & Conroy to get in shape is most definitely on my personal Bucket List! Cheers!!

  • Nancy Manis says:

    Hey Pat,
    I love this pairing of personalities. you have such a powerful gift for storytelling and now someone can bring you to your knees while improving your well being. I love your humor and rereading your works is a treat. Keep up the goid work and send us a daily dose of ‘Conroy’.

  • Anne says:

    Best of luck. Love your books and your sense of humor. Stay healthy. I need a Mina in my life! Wish I lived nearer.

  • I am loving it and wish Pat all the best. I look forward to your success and much more books, I know its hard but you can do it because you are a winner. From Pat favorite student from Daufuskie Island Lol

  • Linda (Snell) Munroe says:

    Best wishes with your newest endeavor ~ i too am embarking on that journey (getting back in shape) it is difficult ~ guess it is gonna be hard work getting rid of this extra weight that is taxing my body…. I too am waiting for the next book ~ as all your other books are awesome I am sure whatever you write about will captivate even more people…

  • Pam Russell says:

    Dear Mr. Pat,

    Congratulations on opening your very own fitness salon with your dear friend, Mina. What a hoot you two will have!

    I’m so happy that your desire to write more books overcame your fondness for South Carolina cuisine and drink, and your desire to be a couch potato. You, sir, are a very smart – and hilarious – man.

    I, too, am fighting the “good” fight against gained weight, fondness for ice cream and mashed potatoes, and pain while exercising (I am 71 with quite a few sports injuries slowing me down). But, like you (except for your talented writing), I have a desire to live a relative number of additional years while feeling fit and well; so, I will persist in a fairly regular workout routine.

    Wish I could go to SC for your par-tay, but I live in Colorado, so can’t make it. Gonna tell my daughter in Anderson about it, though. Maybe she and hubby can get down there. Hope so!

    Good luck to you, Pat, and have fun!

  • Laura Masters says:

    Pat and Bernie,

    You better be working out. One day I will come back to Beaufort, and when I do, I want both of you there, healthy, happy and able to freely have a Manhattan with me. You guys are the best!! Pat, so so touching and funny and inspirational. My goal is to be there before the end of 2017, so you have little time…


  • Harriet Green says:

    Would I come to Mina and Conroy to exercise? Heck yeah! Exercise is almost fun with a group of people to share the pain. I am in PT right now trying to get my back back post fusion surgery in order to prepare for a knee replacement. Congratulations!

  • Lee Pirozzi says:

    I am the nut down the street in Charleston who sculpts fabric brains – I will try be there with one in tow – I always carry an extra.

  • Wolf of Rome says:

    We are coming to my grandparent’s house March 27 for a week. We would love to come see your new place!

  • Frank Lourie says:

    Pat, Your health history and mine are so much a like. I live in Birmingham now helping to raise my granddaughter, but never will forget meeting you about 10 years ago as you spoke at a school in Marietta Georgia. You are my favorite writer and “Beach Music” is my favorite novel. I wish you well in your efforts for better health; I will try to be inspired by your example. Take care…

  • Penny butler Rossiter says:

    Will definitely be there. Pat Conroy, you are my favorite author on earth. My Dads family, the Butlers, are all from Port Royal. For years, my great grandmother, Alice Exley Butler, was the oldest living resident of Beaufort County. Your friend, Hilda Upton, is married to my cousin Bob Upton. His grandmother was my great grand. Their son Bob is now a bar pilot in Savannah where I live. My Dad was a Citadel man. Your books kept me sane when I lived in N Ga. Your wonderful descriptive passages about the low country made me smell the salt marsh and vision the creeks and marshes in my then land locked mind. Glad you are getting healthy. I just couldn’t make it without looking foward to another Conroy book. What a privilege and honor it will be to meet my literary idol. Hold down the fort in Port Royal!!!

  • Colleen Lahey says:

    Wish I lived there! I’d join just to meet you and your wife as I adore all your books. What you did for Mina was a wonderful thing. God Bless You.

  • Beth Anne says:

    Oh Pat Conroy, I love love love reading your work! After reading a paragraph on social media I had to go and read a lot more! You and Anne River Siddons the best authors….what a gift to be able to put your thoughts together in a amazing, thought provoking and entertaining way….a true gift!
    I completely love Hilton Head and am considering moving there in a few more years.
    Your blog is funny, motivating and heart warming. I do hope I have the opportunity to meet and talk with you one day!

  • Maureen Vande Beek says:

    Stay healthy Mr. Conroy! You are my favorite author! I fell in love with your writing in high school. My English class was reading something boring about bears or something and the other class was reading The Lords of Discipline. I caught people sneak-reading it in other classes and had to check it out. Glad I did! I am so thankful for you.

  • Ruby Rowland says:

    Well Mr. Conroy,
    I just had orders from my doctor to exercise more because I had some blood work that didn’t turn out so well. I’m always hesitant to go to the gym because I am not a skinny little thing, and I don’t want the skinnies to look at me while I work my big behind out. I’ve been injured before when a trainer forgot that I’m too out of shape to do the same exercises she does, so there’s anxiety over that as well. But, reading your blog gives me faith that Mina may be the answer. I will be coming to the open house and hopefully, I’ll find the same success you did (exercising, not writing, cause God knows I can’t do that)!

  • Kim Nelson says:

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog about you and Mina, Mr. Pat. I stay busy, too busy I must say, so I do not keep up with “gossips” around town, especially the ones manufactured by some staff members at YMCA. Yesterday, however, I ran into one of the active members from YMCA and this member was very excited to share this delightful information about Mina. Indeed, I took time to read this blog. I observed Mina’s suffering from discriminatory treatments by her supervisor numerous times while I was a member at YMCA. Just like the member I ran into was very excited for Mina, I too am very thrilled for her. As you wrote, Mina has been very dedicated to her clients and she deserves this recognition. Kudos to you both for making a lemonade from sour lemon!

  • Angela Peery says:

    Am excited that you’re involved in this new venture. As a teacher and a writer who travels constantly, I find it so hard to keep myself in good shape. I look forward to dropping in Friday to see this wonderful place and perhaps I’ll consider working with Mina too.

  • Carolyn Ruckman says:

    Just picked up a copy of My Losing Season..should have known from the Converse on the front that it was about basketball, but I didn’t make the connection…just knew that I loved the books I had read previously and bought it based on the author’s name..certainly wish I had read this before March Madness..great insight into the game and locker room trash talk. The Prince of Tides is one of my all-time favorites and so glad Nick Nolte was chosen to play one of the leads…your book was much better than the movie, but I loved both. Thank you for all the hours of most enjoyable reading!!

  • Pat and Mina,
    I volunteered with Mina at the Beer, bands, and BBQ on a rainy Saturday right after she moved into her location. I wasn’t sure what the Conroy meant, so now it all makes sense! She has great energy, I know she will do great!

  • Meg Harman says:

    Congratulations on your new venture Mr Conroy! I wish I lived in Beaufort now. I would visit often. I was blessed with 18 months of living in Port Royal and working in Beaufort as a nurse in the early 90s. I cried for months when I had to return to the north. The home of my heart and soul is in SC. I hope to visit your new center when I come this summer. Do you offer massage? I hope you and Mina are as very successful and you continue to improve your health status. I can totally relate to your story as I too battle with my weight and making good food choices. Why is the most delicious so bad for us?

  • Larry Dupree says:

    Your writing is beautiful, you capture Southern military families in a way no other author ever has. I grew up in Georgia, my dad died in Vietnam. I am 70 years old, my dad was 46 when he died in that damned war in 1969. My brother and I both served in Vietnam, he was in the Navy and I was Air Force. My dad was in the Army, during our childhood we were always moving from military post to post. You caught all of that in such a way I thought I was reading my own life. I have read everything you have published. Just now reading your workout stories, once again I thought I was reading my own life. thank you Mr. Pat.

  • Dave Keyser says:

    This story about Mina is fantastic. You are here, as usual, the big hearted human being that I remember so fondly. I remember when I had you grade my American history papers when I was practice teaching as a senior. Before long I could stick my head into your room and ask you how they were doing and you would call them by name and tell me who’s grade had gone up or down. For old times sake I would greatly value an email from you.

  • Judith Vidal says:

    Thank you once again Pat Conroy for a wonderful read “The Death of Santini” You said that this was your last novel. I surely hope not. I have read everything you have written and have had many hours of enjoyment. You are such a talent!! I have had issues with weight my entire life but found Weight Watchers 15yrs. ago and that saved me. Stay healthy so your fans can have you around for a long time!!!

  • Judith Vidal says:

    sorry that I put in the incorrect email address. Please correct this. Thank you, Judith Vidal

  • Hi, Pat — I can see from this that you’re as irreverent as ever! But also just as wonderful! I’m sharing this with my husband Tim who needs to do some of the same things (he’s part way there, as he stopped drinking quite a while back). And I’m delighted to hear about your new found health, dear friend.

  • Sterleen Bryson says:

    I certainly enjoyed your story; gave me a good laugh on this Monday morning. Wish Topsail Island was closer to Port Royal. Would live to meet your Mina!

  • Amy Wolff says:

    Pat Conroy I just love you. You made me LOL, and I mean that literally. Not much happening today in this po-dunk town of Possum Trot, Kentucky. So thanks for entertaining me yet again. Best wishes for you and Mina on your new endeavor!

  • Margaret Jean Stewart says:

    You are doing THIS tomorrow:
    Pat Conroy will host a panel discussion featuring four authors whose works are recently released by Story River Books: John Lane, Bernie and Maggie Schein and Mary Hood. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

    Monday, May 18
    7:00 p.m.
    In the Sanctuary at First Baptist Church Decatur

    For crying out loud, I live right across the street. Your books have infected me. Single images…porches…Live Oak trees…small boats…I associate with courage, fear, unmanageability, rage, redemption. Thank you, so very much for deepening my life.

  • Melissa Harwin says:

    Stay healthy. I missed out on meeting you / getting my books signed when you got sick a few years back. I am happy you are taking the steps to get well so that maybe one day I get to meet you. I have a big fan since I was eight years old (and probably to young to be reading your books but I was anyway)! Much love!

  • Linda Fowler says:

    What a wonderful story… the character you show here is the reason I love you so much. Thank you for the honesty that is always in your writing. I’m an Alabama gal and it makes me so proud that you have found love with “the finest thing ever produced on an Alabama farm.”

  • Steve Gould says:

    I have been a fan of yours for a long time, and a naturalized Southerner. However much I would like to travel and workout at your exercise studio, I did move to the frozen north, and won’t be able to do so for the near future. Favorite book: Beach Music, wbich I am rereading for the “xth” time.

  • gary franzen says:

    Dear Pat, At age 63, I have finally discovered your writing and am binge “reading” (that’s what my kids call audio books) anything you write.

    I am extolling your talents to my eldest daughter – an English teacher.

    You, sir, write the way Sandy Koufax pitched.

    A fan,
    Gary Franzen

  • Tink Feagans says:

    Dear Pat,
    I am so fortunate to have met both Cassandra and you (on separate occasions). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You, sir, are an American treasure! (And your wife isn’t so bad either.)

  • Terianne Smunk hudson says:

    So glad I found your blog. You are so much a wonderful part of our past at Beaufort HS and subsequent life experiences . So sorry to learn of Tim Belks passing. Your tribute was so endearing. Best of wishes to you and Cassandra.

  • hanlie.wroth says:

    Hi Pat, good on you….now when are you fit enough to write those four books ? Waiting in anticipation !

  • Cheri Faith Spicer says:

    Mr. Conroy, you have made my life so much richer through your writing – and I have no way to tell you how much that means to me except to say thank you for being willing to open your heart and soul and share your life and thoughts with us. OK! I feel better now!!! :-)

    So happy you are taking steps to enhance your health and well-being! I need to take a page from this story and put the same concept into practice myself!!!

    You have given me another great gift that keeps on giving!!! Thank you so much for sharing your favorite southern authors with us!!! I have become totally besotted with Anne Rivers Siddons, Dorothea Benton Frank, Patty Callahan, Mary Alice Monroe, Josephine Humphreys and Rebecca Wells! Their books are a part of my library now! Your lovely wife’s work was how I found you, so I really, really need to write her and thank her for that!!! I adore her books and love how her most recent showed anther aspect of her gift!

    I also want to thank you for encouraging us all to read Look Homeward, Angel! I am in the midst of it now and cannot imagine how nor it has taken me so long to find it – but I am thrilled I have!

    THANK YOU, Mr. Conroy! You have given me a great and wonderful means to peace and comfort. And it means the world to me!


  • Shirlee Lamb says:

    Have read all of your books and all of Cassandra’s. When are we going to get more from both of you? I am 80 and go to the Gym. So glad you have chosen the good life.

  • Leo Chen says:

    My wife is the family Reader and she’s also fit and trim, and a devoted fan of yours. Her husband is neither fit nor trim and does most of his reading on the www. Thus I was so pleased to stumble onto your Blog. Your kindness, your humanity, your reaching out told me that you’re an author whose books I should read.

    Plus, I can tell that you’re a great raconteur.

  • Bob McMillan says:

    I found your site through Nora Krug’s article in the August 18th Edition of the Washington Post. I used excerpts from the article for my own blog and linked to this post. It is fascinating story and relates directly to what The Come Alive Project is all about. Thanks for a great post as well as a great message of health and fitness for active older adults. Bob Mc.

  • Mark Johnson says:

    I wrote you an email about Vietnam after I read “My Losing Season” and you wrote me back! Of course I had no idea you actually lived in Beaufort three weeks ago when my wife and I came over from Athens for a visit! We wandered from the City Loft over to the Waterfront and walked smack into the Welcome Home Vietnam Vets event. The world keeps on spinning.

  • brittany kletter evans says:

    “Estranged mother” of author Kerry Kletter “The First Time She Drowned” here…checking out your blog after your kind gesture to my kid.. having a Carver sensibility, I have not read your books but your blog is so endearing and human and hysterical, I cannot wait to discover more.

  • Vicki Bauer says:

    Mina, I hope you carry on as I’m sure Pat’s spirit will always be with you. If I ever get to Beaufort (Port Royal), I’ll stop by for inspiration and to meet Mr. Pat’s fitness guru. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

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