Will It Be A Third Time? (I)

(Part One of Five)


It is an odd question really. It infers that something has already happened or been decided or that something has simply just been stated. That’s where this story lands. Squarely in the lap of the: Stated

In this age of technology and cell phones and instant messaging and Facebook and well, it really never ends anymore, there are folks that find the “grid” to be very invasive. Most usually the decision to avoid the grid was made way before some young genius had to show up in Congressional hearings to answer as to the “whys” that His Thing has become so, unprivate. Somehow these grid-avoiders or, grid-ghosts, find ways to set their own overly inquisitive nature aside and just do as we all did for the decades prior-to this tekkie age. That would be to write or call on the telephone or, gasp gasp, make the trip to go visit. What a crazy concept that is now. (If you have grown kids then you probably understand that not so subtle attempt at feigned sarcasm.)

I met the young man in October of 1977. I’ll leave the particulars of physical descriptions for just a minute.

It’s now the late-fall of 1977. I’m attending Elkins Institute in Dallas. I had already been through the licensing class to secure a Radiotelephone First Class License. That was an item of importance, so I was told. It might guarantee you a bit more financial freedom someday. Okay, I’ll go for the “someday” effort and did the 2-month course. Got the license and then, a short break to go home before starting the FUN part of the playing, I mean Education. The Studio training. No paperwork to speak of, with the exception of a little writing project we each had to turn in before graduation. It was just an effort by the Instructor to make it appear as though he had actually done something more than let his students pretend they were already real live disc-jockeys which, I might add, happened daily in one of the five practice studios for the entirety of his 3-month class. (Sidenote: I still have that one writing effort required for that class. I have re-read it a couple times through the years. But now, not in a very long time. Although, as I remember? Well, let’s just conclude the sidenote with the facts that I had no spellcheck or backspace or even a typewriter. So, “handwritten crap” should about cover it.)

When I first saw him in class I would have bet all the money I would ever make that I would NEVER become best-friends with that 19-year-old young man. Long stringy black hair, thick lensed prescription glasses that were so black you could not see his eyes whatsoever and dressed as though he barely had enough money to afford the clothes he had on that day. Regarding the glasses, I learned later that he had gotten a little too inebriated the night before classes started and lost them at a bar somewhere in Dallas. He was very thin and about my height. He seemed to be extremely introverted. I can say the introverted element of his disposition never really changed, except for those considered close friends.

A three-month class and about a dozen guys in the class and one female who was the unfortunate target for every male’s attentions, muchly not wanted we all quickly figured out. So, with the time passing and being paired-up in the studios with one person doing news stories and the other getting to play d-j, the obvious finally occurred. He and I were paired to do our weeks training together. That’s when I really met the guy. By the way, this is still way before my (Paul Steele) era as we all just used our own real names.

His name: Mike Dry.

“Hey man, where are you from?” I only asked to find some way to see if we have anything in common. You know, like the English language.

“Winters. It’s close to Ballinger.” He might as well have said some remote town names in Montana or something. I respond with “Never heard of them.”

Okay, let’s be honest here. When you say you’re from Earth then I guess Winters and Ballinger really do make plenty of sense.

“It’s close to Abilene.” Now, me being a stickler for the specifics, I would have normally had him tell me exactly how many miles and in what direction from Abilene but, I let it go.

“What’s the deal with your glasses?” I was super curious about that because I Could Not See His Eyes At All! That really freaked me out after a while.

“I lost them.”

Okay, now we’re making progress. So, these are not his Only pair of glasses. Maybe he’s not as freakish as he appears. (Hey, I’m telling a story here. Yes, of course I still thought he was just as Very Freakish!!)

“Oh, okay.” I responded as though I probably knew that already and promptly walked into the little newsroom just off the studio. I would be newsman for Mike Dry today. Day One of our personal introductions were now concluded. I did notice that he had not asked me anything about myself. Oh well, I still might talk to him later.




Filed under Personal Stories

Will It Be A Third Time? (Finale)

(Part 5B of 5A/5B)

As the continued efforts of craziness transpired through the balance of summer and fall in 1980, which also happened to include my ambulance ride for what was thought to possibly be a heart attack but turned out to be an ulcer, some normalcy began happening. I had the station staffed with quality air-talent and we were the #1 Station in Borger, Texas as of the most recent Arbitron Ratings. We had created the cast of The Magic Stars! (I listed our names in writing IV but did not talk about this part. Too long for this time.) So, at this point all seemed fairly right with the world.

It was about two weeks before Christmas when the call came into my little office desk area: “Paul, Line 1 is for you. He says he is Scooter McDonald.”

Scooter McDonald? Now there is a blast-from-the-past name for me. Mike Dry, Scooter McDonald and I had become good friends back at Elkins in Dallas. However, Mike and Scooter (the only name I ever knew him by) proceeded with a different life course than myself. They both still had to go through Licensing Class and that meant more months together for them in Dallas. That happened in 1978 while I was off working at KMUL in Muleshoe.

Mike and Scooter’s idea of a good time included a good dose of that weed stuff folks talk about even still today. (Lollipop anyone??)

By the time Mike got to work at Muleshoe the ties between Scooter and myself had been dissolved. Nothing contentious or anything, just time and space thing. Well, also lifestyle. So, Scooter McDonald is on the phone for me and I have not spoken to him in almost 3-years. Hmmm…

We him-hawed around for a few minutes and I learned that he was working at a top station in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (I must say here that of all the guys at my Elkins Studio Training Class, Scooter was the only one of us that had a natural radio voice already built-into his system. I immediately remembered that when he began speaking.) As I mentioned, I had not spoken to him in years and he and Mike had also drifted apart so, I had not a clue how he found me or why he was calling. And then it came out: “How would you like to move to Fort Smith? We have a morning slot open and I thought of you.”

Yes, pride can runneth amuck. But, in this particular situation being stunned trumps pride, and I said “Are you serious?!?”.

Honestly, the only Arkansas city I had really ever heard of was that one where the Pigs play football, Fay sumthin’ or other. (No Glenn, You May Not Digress!! But I Loved Me Some 1969!!! Hook ’em! Right Dan?)

I asked Scooter if his station needed an air-check (an abbreviated recording that is taken from your shift on the radio). It was not needed and he asked how long it would take for me to think it over and get back. It took just over 3-days.

I immediately went into the studio there at KQTY and since Mike (Jim Wilson) was on shift we began talking about the call. Mike seemed stunned that Scooter knew where we were. I eventually figured that Scooter had probably called Mike’s parents in Winters and just asked. After all, he had been to Mike’s house during their time together. (I had been there too and it was one more impressive place. More like a really nice hotel.)

Okay, it’s time for a bit of reflection on my life at this moment in time.

I am 23-years old. I am Program Director at a #1 radio station. I am respected within the Zia Broadcasting Company. And… It is the dream of every aspiring air-personality to “Get The Call” for movement to a larger market.

Before that call from Scooter, I was enjoying life in Borger, even though there is the reality of someone else on the distance back in Clovis. And, after a few hours of my emotional high from the Big-time! possibilities? SHE became my 1st consideration. So, the next morning, a Friday when I was already planning to go to Clovis to see HER for the weekend as I did fairly often, I made the call.

“Jim, are you going to be around tomorrow? If so, I would like to come down to visit with you about some things.” Jim Davis still ran the Zia Broadcasting stations for Mr. Allsup and I knew anything I did would reflect not only on me but also on Jim. After all, he was the one who promoted me a year earlier. Jim and I met early the next morning, a Saturday when the station was vacant except for the d-j on the air.

I explained things to Jim. By now he and I were pretty good friends I felt. And when we got ready to leave he told me he would call me at KQTY on Monday morning. I arrived early that day.

I remember explaining to Karen what was happening and was happily surprised that, while she was not for me leaving, she did not want me to pass up the opportunity I had hoped for. As many of you know, it’s the same response she has given our whole married life. I mentioned that Jim would be calling and I would let her know what I thought was going to happen.

Back at the station on Monday in Borger, things were business-as-normal. The only person I had mentioned the details of that Scooter call to had been Mike and he had agreed to keep it between me and him. That was, of course, before I left Borger that weekend.

When the call came in from Jim I was very apprehensive. I had no clue how he would direct this conversation. Remember his “Now , what the hell do you want?” story I told? So, I was deeply hoping he remained friendly.

“Steelee, How about you come back to Clovis and take the afternoon drive shift and I will get you started in the money-making end of this business. I think you might do good in Sales.” A that was that. I didn’t even really think about it, I just said “Okay.”

To this day I have no idea what Scooter McDonald thought about my declining that opportunity. I have never talked to him again. Two weeks later I was back in Clovis, New Mexico and my newer life was reset to begin again. Mike stayed in Borger and worked and partied, probably should have put partied first there, and he met girls and then…

Karen and I got married in July 1981, about 7-months after I returned to Clovis. And before too long, we made a trip together to Borger. Mike Dry was getting married. (Say what??)

There is always a twist in the story when Mike is being discussed by me. Remember, I know him better than anyone at this point which means he will tell me anything and for the most part I reciprocated. Yeah, mostly I think.

I liked Mike’s parents. I had met them several times. They were the modern-day version of helicopter parents. They just flew in and out of Mike’s life at really random times. For example, they would come to Muleshoe and stay at one of the few and only hotels. None of them were really much to stay at. But, they did it to see Mike. And while they were there I would usually go visit them. Clovis to Muleshoe is a pretty quick drive and Mike liked me being around his parents. I think maybe it was because I was one of his more, dare I say normal, friends. Mr. Dry and I would visit like we were both real businessmen. Well, one of us really was. (By the way, Muleshoe has some nice hotels now.)

Mike’s Dad gave me a $100 bill when Karen and I met them in Borger for that pre-game thing that we folks do the night before the actual wedding. And, later that evening after the pre-game was over, Mike and I went back to the hotel and started talking, Privately. He did not really have a best-man for the wedding, just the cast of groomsman which included me. That all kinda fell in line as needed.

“Why don’t you have a best man?” I asked thinking he probably just forgot to ask me. The answer still bothers me.

“I had one. His name is **. He was here yesterday and while I was working at the station he and ** (Mike’s tomorrow to be wife) had sex. Then he left and went back to Winters.” His expression was devoid of any emotion except disappointment. And I sat there stunned while trying to figure out how best to respond.

“Mike, you don’t have to go through with this wedding you know. All these folks here won’t know what happened but you do and that’s enough.” I said it as seriously as I knew how. I never imagined myself telling someone to walk away from their wedding the night before it happens. Who does that?

After a bit we parted and I made my way to back to our hotel room. Then, I could not stand it anymore. I went to see Mr. Dry. Without revealing what I had been told, I expressed to Mr Dry that I really felt Mike was making a mistake and I asked him how disappointed they (Mr. & Mrs. Dry) would be if the wedding was called off. And then he stunned me too! A very short pause before he spoke which was usually the case. It was nothing like my usual rapid fire responses.

“I know he should not marry that girl. (Pause) If you can get him to call it off I am behind you. But, (Pause) if Mike decides to go through with it then tomorrow I will stand by my Son.”

That’s a conversation Mike never knew occurred. The next day the two were married and Mike’s troubled life began all over again. Within just over a year Mike and wife were living in Abilene, Texas in a place his parents bought for them. They were raising a little boy who had been born right at one year after they were married. (I am still really glad the child was born a year after that conversation we had that pre-wedding night.)

Karen and I would see Mike and his wife off and on. Then, when Mr. Dry got really ill in the mid-1980s,  Karen and I went to their home, now in Abilene on the golf course, to see him.  Well, to see them both.

At one point while Karen was visiting with Mike’s mom, I stayed in the private care area of the home with Mr. Dry. Just he and I. And the conversation came up.

“How do you think my son is doing, Glenn?”

That was a question I did not anticipate but, as always when visiting with him, I was honest. I explained that I knew Mike and his wife were having issues but that I always hoped for the best. I told him I realized that raising a little child had to be a hard thing for them to be doing. And then he said the most quote-worthy thing I have heard. Even to this date in my life I recall it as vividly as though I were right there sitting by his bed. The words came from a man who had worked hard to get what he had in life. So, while laying there in a hospital bed at his own home Mr. Dry says:

“You know, that baby was born to a silver spoon. I hate to think it will turn into a shovel.”

That, my friends, is experience and wisdom and… lots more of both. I hope and pray to never have to say that, even if only just to myself, about my grandchildren. That is a very, very hard statement. And, as expected, before too much longer Mike and his wife were divorced and the hell that is child-custody followed and the results haunted Mike for the next 16-plus years of his life. Neither he nor his wife got actual custody of that little boy. That went to the grandparents on the mother’s side. That was just more continued disaster.

Mike stayed pretty close to me and we visited each other’s homes from time to time. In 1988, while living in California with my wife Karen and 5-year old daughter Kristal, I got a call one evening. It was Mike. His Father had passed away of a stomach aneurysm while in the ambulance on the way to the hospital there in Abilene. Mike was very distraught. Then, before too many years passed I got another call from him letting me know his Mom had passed as well. Both Mike’s parents were interesting stories of money and parties and trips to Cuba before Castro halted that action and a daughter that had been kidnapped and held for ransom. After learning that last story fairly early on in my relationship with Mr. and Mrs. Dry,  I better understood the helicopter nature of their attentions with Mike.

Yes, they lived a life of opulence and of… sadness. Mr. Dry was a pretty serious alcohol drinker.

Life has a way of separating even the best of friends. Family too, I am afraid. But, through the years, the efforts to reach out are made and the memories and individual stories that only the two of you know about are reflected upon. Sometimes while laughing and sometimes in more somber tones. The relationship formed by two young men, who had met on a very chance occasion way back in 1977, somehow managed to create the very best of friends. Lifetime friends.

I got a call in early May of 2016. It was Mike. I had left a couple of messages on his home phone and, although he NEVER answered the phone, he was pretty good about calling me back. But, I usually waited him out a year or so before trying to reach him.

“Hey, I just got home from the hospital. The doctor says I have to quit drinking or my liver is going to quit working.” Mike was as chipper as always and I started giving him a hard time.

“You know you can’t keep taking all those pain pills (long story of illicit meds he was getting) and drinking. That will kill you for sure Mike.”

“Well, YOU know I am never going to quit drinking.”

Mike had several DUI charges during his life. Never a wreck that I am aware of. But, there were plenty of times when we traveled somewhere in his car where I insisted that I would be driving. He never argued.

In fewer than 3 weeks following the conversation over the phone that day, my friend  Mike Dry died. May 22, 2016.

Because of the relationship we both had with only each other, no one in his family knew me but his parents and they were both long deceased, I had not been made aware in any way of Mike’s passing. His ex-wife and child probably never even knew or remembered my real name. She only ever knew of Paul Steele.

In late June this year, 2018, I decided to make a serious effort to contact Mike. I had tried last year but got a “no longer a working number” and figured he had just changed the number as he was prone to do. He became very paranoid over the years and in the last decade or so would only make contact with me by phone. The last time I went to Abilene to check on him we stood on the front porch and visited for a while, but I could tell he did not want me coming inside the house and I never made an issue of it. After all, it’s Mike Dry.

Lots of alcohol. Lots more drugs of every kind you can think of. Lots and lots of money that created the hermit lifestyle of not needing to work outside the home. Some might say a great life. I know better. But, He Was My Friend!

When I first began writing these stories I asked: Why?

Of course the best and most simple response is: Why not. (A statement of resolved fact.)

Mike walked into class at Elkins way back in 1977. I too limped into the very same class. I was on a mission and really did not expect or want to make any close friends. But, that’s not how the Plan is set. It’s not by our wants that the events of life cascade from reality to reality like some never-ending waterfall. A waterfall that never splashes the same way twice, no matter how perfectly similar the effort may be to reproduce it. As I mentioned in the third writing: If you set into motion a single day, and then again tomorrow set into motion another single day with the precise same details as the previous day, the results will be: Different!

We are not living inside sterile test tubes of replication where the same things happen over and over. But, life does have its set of laws and we all must abide by them. If you do really bad things to your body for long enough there is no escaping the consequences. Even if those consequences don’t result in ultimate termination until you are in your fifties.

The title of these writings has been: Will It be A Third Time?

I now write the following only as an expression of my heart with a hope that anyone who reads it understands the unique nature we each possess. Some things are unique qualities while some are unique weaknesses. Many are common to all of us. Of what follows, you can accept and/or dispel whatever best fits you. I am not making judgement statements.

I have now conducted the Eulogy Services for more people than I can possibly remember. As a matter of fact, although I had told myself that I was done with doing eulogies, I very recently received a call asking me to perform one for a very special lady that I greatly admired here in Slaton. I did the Eulogy. And, that is the primary reason that so much time elapsed between these last two writings.

I have a folder in a mostly private closet that has almost all the written notes I have used to perform each eulogy service. I look at them from time to time and sometimes think…

“I really don’t remember doing that one.”

But then, I read some of the notes and my mind recalls a specific word spoken to me or an incident that was unique to that person’s funeral. And when that occurs, for me, only one of two things will happen. I will either smile and continue on or, I will stand there in that closet and reflect. I have discovered that it’s in the reflection where I discern some of the hard truths that fill my own personal life. Not bad things. Not good things. Just things.

The most relevant thing of reflection that I have realized is wrapped in the blanket of emotional separation. And then along with that separation, the consequences that result. So, here is the reason for the title of these writings: Will There Be A Third Time?

As of this date I have cried only twice in my life at the passing of another person. The first time was when my Grandad Maxcey passed away in December 1984. I was 26-years old at the time. His passing ripped my heart out and I literally cried for days. I still remember telling myself things like “I will never allow myself to become so close to another person ever again.” And I meant it! And for the most part I think I have done just that.

The second time I cried was so random. I have written about this before. It was at the funeral of a school classmate. When the whole thing was over the congregation filed outside to wait. The only remaining folks inside that church were the family and we who were singing. And then, I saw a Mother and Father who were so very close to my heart have their hearts wrought with agony as they walked hand in hand together to that casket. I was totally overcome with sadness and I cried uncontrollably for a bit. I had to sit down to compose myself but the crying had overwhelmed me suddenly. I performed the Eulogy for the Father only a few years ago.

So, that’s it.

However, that cannot be said to be the whole of the story.

For quite some time, as I mentioned, I have performed Eulogy Services as requested. And while most are not specifically tied to me in any way except through commonness of things like church, there can be times when the rules of my own personally initiated protocol of emotional expression must be placed under lock and key. It simply must. But, I have well learned that there is a serious consequence for doing this.

If ever I was going to cry again over the passing of someone I expect that it would have been when my Father died. But, knowing ahead in my heart and mind that I would probably be doing the Eulogy, the lock and the key and the chains of emotional bondage were pulled from whatever corners in which they resided and they were firmly applied to the emotional chambers of my entire being. Otherwise, I never make it through the Eulogy.

We humans are funny creatures. We most all handle emotional distress in a few limited ways. But, we handle it.

The lessons of binding my emotional expression carry within me a deep frustration. I would say guilt but, I will hold-off that indictment for a while longer I think.

The critical lesson learned is this: If you do not weep in the time allotted, the alloted time to weep passes with the deceased.

So very recently and within the first week or so after discovering, quite by accident, that Mike Dry was no longer living, I became aware that I had created a void inside myself. Something unlike I have known before.

While I have lost many of life’s friends to death, the impact here was totally different. And for days I kinda was just… whatever.

Then I asked myself: “How are you going to get over this constant feeling of sadness?”

The resulting answer has been presented from my thoughts through these writings.

No, it’s not been a eulogy. But rather, an opportunity for reflecting on the laughing and anger and frustrations and excitements that Mike and I shared together as the Best of Friends.

His life has been finished for a couple of years now. But the life ahead of me is still filled with wonder.

No more thoughts of tears and crying. It’s no longer an issue for me.

I suppose I will continue holding the Title of these writings within myself for a while longer. Though, I do hope it will be a lot longer.


So long my Friend.



Filed under Uncategorized

Will It Be A Third Time? (5A)

(Part 5A of 5A/5B)

Right off the bat, after posting the Part 4 of 5, I realized that I had thrown myself a curve ball by not progressing with my storylines as quickly as I had intended. So in fact, the Final-Final presentation regarding this specific topic, Mike Dry, will be delayed for another day or two. You know, it takes some time to type these stories out while making sure that anyone who drops by my office to visit is given my full and undivided attention. Perhaps I can reach a conclusion point no later than Friday, July 20th. After all, it’s kinda like what Red Pollard says in the movie Seabiscuit: “Yeah, well everything gets longer in the tellin’.” To which I say… “Amen Brother!” The longer in the tellin’ part of that sentence seems to be a motto by which I unintendedly live. Ugh, for others that is.

By the end of summer of 1980 I began to think that perhaps living in that trailer in Borger was becoming too comfortable. It seems to me that, although you still might be youthful, settling-in at work and life can become an impediment against youthful initiative that will eagerly search for pastures of the bigger and better things that might await. I guess it’s the we’re creatures of habit thing that can often deter us from seeking a better road upon which to travel. But by the winter of 1980, December 1980 to be more specific, I had a decision to make. It was The Decision that would direct the best parts of my life’s story right up and to this very day in good ol’ 2018. However, December does not come without first flipping the calendar through June and July and August and… here comes a rather long story that, in real time, evolved and concluded in less than 48 hours.

July 3rd, 1980: It’s funny how the mere possession of certain things can be such an attraction to others. These things may or may not be all that proper/legal to own but, if it’s the certain things that others are looking for themselves? Then it can become a daunting task to try and keep some semblance of order in your life while those others are constantly knocking on your door just hoping to attach themselves to those things you (you being Medicine Man Mike in 1980) consider to be “yours!”. This is especially true, the daunting task, if they decide to just walk in without so much as a courtesy knock.

Knock! Knock!! Knock!!!

“Dave’s not here man.” Oh, and neither am I.

By the time May of 1980 rolled onto the calender, Mike and I were living together in that newly leased trailer house in Borger. The both of us were very well acquainted with the other and, we were well acquainted with a fact that states: Sometimes you have to change your outlook on things. This becomes especially true if another life-experience has paid you a visit. However, changing your mind on something that has been at the core of your beliefs can indeed be a hard thing to see through to completion or, maybe a better word would be resolution.

“Hey man, Did you lock the door?”

I emphatically learned my lesson regarding this lock-the door debate which I had always seemed to carry within myself after leaving the farm. The lesson of this life-experience occurred on my last night before leaving Clovis and settling in Borger.

Let’s go back to December 1979: It was a “So long Paul Steele!” party. After all, I was leaving Clovis the following morning. This going away party happens inside my small Rent-house which is located several blocks north of the Clovis High School. This latest lesson of experience cleared the ground for a foundation upon which my better check again to see if all doors are locked mentality evolved into a serious matter of dedicated attention. So, even still today it occurs prior-to, make that, immediately prior-to exiting my home or office. Make sure ALL doors are locked. Why?

Someone rigged the backdoor of my small rented house that night. And then, when it was time for me to take Karen home for the night and, supposedly after all others had vacated the property, we took off to her house. When I returned I noticed a few items missing and I knew right then they had been stolen. I discovered that the back door was unlocked. Both the inside door and the screen door hook latch had been rigged. The front door was still locked when I arrived back after dropping Karen at her house. I always kept both the front and back doors locked. It only took moments for me to realize the how of how it had happened. To this day I still don’t know the Who of that night’s thievery. So, the double-checking of locked doors right before leaving has become an assured pattern of my life. Also, Mike had come over from Muleshoe that night to say goodbye. Then, on his trip back to Muleshoe it dawned on him. He had forgotten to take along some of his “medicine” that he had brought into my house earlier that evening. His ‘medicine’ and my Tootsie Roll canister filled with loose change along with a sentimental item that had been given me by the nurses at Scottish Rite Hospital were gone. It was an onyx chess set. Several of my younger nurses had gone as a group on vacation to Mexico and while there they bought and then brought that chess set to me at the hospital.

While things might be going great in Borger in May of 1980, Mike and I could still well recall that cold night only months earlier. We had both learned the same valuable lesson. And now we both ALWAYS locked the trailer doors in Borger, Texas.

That robbery in Clovis was done well on that cold December night. After all, I was only gone a few minutes but, that was all it took. The thief better be glad they did not leave any 8-track tapes at my house that night because I think we all know what those tapes would have had happen to them the following morning as I engaged my well practiced surgical art. It’s called: A Tapectomy. Traveling from Clovis to Borger would have given me plenty of enjoyable time to perform my little retaliatory procedure. I eventually concluded the following: At unsuspecting times some so-called friends who are in your home are not necessarily there for friendly reasons.

Work. Party. Play. Sleep. Party! Play! ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ work?

The Borger KQTY station manager (Bob S.) fancied himself as the Ultimate Promoter. And to be fair, he was very good at it. But the thing he most enjoyed was putting on a show for folks. Putting on a show meant aiming his attentions at whatever opportunities arose which could anticipate a large audience. That is exactly what was expected for the July 4th, 1980 fireworks celebration. At Bulldog Stadium in Borger there was scheduled a huge fireworks show. The primary idea was to strive to get the most mileage out of this opportunity while finding a way to be the Main Attraction. Bob had concocted such a plan. It included one of our KQTY on-air guys to dress-up as though he was the Iran Ayatollah. Remember that going into 1980 Ronald Reagan had just been elected President. And, at the very moment in January of 1980, as Reagan was being sworn-in as President, those hostages that had been taken by Iran while under the President Jimmy Carter era were being released. So, this was still great fodder for those looking to stir up the emotions of pride in this country. What better time for that than: July 4th! The d-j that was selected for Bob’s big show idea was our KQTY morning man, Michael John. The Ayatollah (MJ) was to run around on the football field and to go up into the stands and other seating areas to capture and detain various individuals inside holding pens that had been placed on the football field. After sufficient time had passed to be assured of crowd engagement, you could hear it. All those in Bulldog Stadium began looking up as the noise of the night air was becoming ever more noisey. In what seemed like hours, the noise of a US Military helicopter circled overhead while slowly descending toward the football field with each completed circle made. The people in the cage-like structures on the field began cheering at the presence of help from above while others grew ever louder in the chanting against the Iranian who had imprisoned our fellow Americans. Lots of action! Tons of effort! The help that came flying into the stadium is a huge military helicopter. A helicopter that Bob, the station manager, had secured from a long time friend he had made while fighting in Vietnam. He managed to secure a military helicopter that was fully decked out with soldiers standing outside on the copter rails. Some were hanging from the copter on ropes as they swooped down to rescue those Americans Held Hostage by our morning d-j, I mean the Ayatollah. The crowd chanting USA, USA, over and over. Many in the crowd were still booing and yelling at the Iranian culprit as the military help arrived to save the day and rescue those held hostages.

Soldiers piled out of that mighty helicopter. Then, when everyone assumed the show was over… out of the helicopter steps Bob, dressed just as though he were Ronald Reagan himself. He was wearing the Reagan mask. I was told his appearance that night as Reagan’s proxy caused an unbelievable roar of the crowd. Yes, I was told about this whole event. You see, while Borger’s event of the century was unfolding at Bulldog Stadium, both Mike and I were fast asleep back at our trailer. After all, we had just gone a couple days without sleeping. Sometimes things just happen, right? By the time the July 4th, 1980 evening began turning the night sky dark, and while the fireworks exploded overhead, two boys who had spent the previous 48 hours running around the northern panhandle of Texas were fast asleep. But, we were treated to that July 4th story over and again by the Ayatollah and President Reagan. I just called them by their reals names: MJ and Bob.

I made a couple trips that year, 1980, with Mike to see is folks in Winters. The home where Mike grew up was more akin to an overblown hotel than a typical fancy house. And, considering all the amenities that were inside that home, there was no excuse not to have an enjoyable time. I spent many hours splashing around their indoor pool. That room alone was larger than any home I have ever lived in. And, for whatever reason, Mike’s dad seemed to enjoy visiting with me. Mr. Dry was from the era of time that believed: Everything that should be done today, must be done today. And when that day ended, he would sit in his oversized leather chair with the news blaring while he drank his scotch. It was his life’s pattern, or so it seemed to me. But, more about Mr. Dry will be brought up later in the final posting of these writings.

There are many stories I could tell that involved Mike and me. Some, as mentioned in a previous posting, are best left in the cracks of earth where the details of youthful exploration reside to never be mentioned again. Well, at least we can hope that the cracks into which these details fell are left alone. Hopefully those cracks remained closed after a good rain occurs. Bury those details and then drown them too. Yes, I still like that idea.

1980. Borger, Texas. There were many unusual things that happened that year. And working at a radio station that broadcasts the National News and Local News almost every hour causes a knowledge of historical events to seep into the gray matter between our ears that contains a filing system larger than any man-made computer that will ever built.

An Explosion at the Phillips Plant only a couple miles from Borger. That explosion blew out the windows of Borger’s downtown buildings some 3 to 4 miles away. A church building in Phillips was leveled. The explosion happened a couple hours before Sunday services were scheduled to begin. That would have been a real disaster.

Mt. St. Helens explodes.

A Record Setting year in Borger of consecutive 100+ degree days throughout that summer.

Mike and I were candle lighters for a wedding that included a lady we worked with at the radio station.

Oh, and concerts. In 1979, 1980 and 1981 both Mike and I rode together to concerts held in Amarillo. AC/DC – Black Sabbath – UFO – Triumph – Van Halen – Def Leppard – and on and on. Yep, there were definitely concerts.

As Thanksgiving started making way for the Christmas season, I received a phone call. It was a call that I had hoped and dreamed might one day happen. When it finally did, I had the toughest decisions to make . But, that’s where we will leave off today.

Only one more writing left in this series. However, it might be a bit long.


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Will It Be A Third Time? (IV)

(Part Four of Five)

Chaotic Structure. That would be how it was at its best. But, a little preparation to get us there is required.

In 1979 Lonnie Allsup (Owner of Allsup’s Convenience Stores and Zia Broadcasting of which KCLV was the head) purchased a radio station in Borger, Texas. He had also purchased a station in Andrews, Texas around a year earlier. As with most every other thing in life that appears from nowhere, this next life-event came from “Who knows where?”.

It’s late 1979, maybe November or December. I am now the 3-7pm afternoon man for the station at KCLV in Clovis. Also, we had just received the Official Arbitron Radio Ratings for Clovis, New Mexico and the surrounding area. It was mostly used to determine the position of listenership at each station in town and then that info would translate into advertising pricing. Better the station rating, higher the station pricing. The second thing it determined, which is where D-J Ego-City is built and destroyed, is to rate the hour by hour strength at each station. Again based on listenership. And that information of the hourly ratings became the fodder for each and every d-j in town to lament or gloat over.

Chief Gloat Here! At this time the KCLV station was rated #1 and it showed that I was the highest rated d-j in Clovis, period. And when that information was shown to me? Well, “All Praise To Paul Steele!”.

Okay, let’s be a bit honest here. Paul Harvey being broadcast during my shift did not hurt my ratings, to be sure. Humility, now ended.

Well, only a few days after that report had been revealed I get summoned into the General Manager’s office. That was rarely if ever a good thing. So, before I went on-air that day I made the point to go face my doom. No matter the outcome, I figured as the #1 jock in the city the list of other stations calling my number would be long and profitable.

Here comes the unexpected!

His name: Jim Davis. Not any one of the d-j’s really ever wanted to get caught downstairs visiting with any of the female staff, most very attractive by the way, when Jim came through the back door of the building from where he almost always parked. That was just reality. But, Jim and I had kinda become friends. Of course that can be considered a matter of perspective. As I sat down in his office he walked in and shut the door. He sat down and lit a cigarette and then combed his hair as he said:

“Steelee, I need a Program Director in Borger.”

Okay, first off he always called me Steelee. I considered it a kind familiarity but was not sure for some time to come. Secondly, What did he just say??

Before all that info had fully registered within me the knock-out blow came.

“Are you ready to move to Borger?”

That was classic Jim Davis style. A master-manipulator of poor little aspiring one-day-to-be somebody’s. And that happened to be me right now. Here’s a little story he told me a couple years later in 1982.

“You know Steelee, I have the perfect solution for those hand-wringing jocks that come into my office to ask for a raise in pay. First off, I have them sit down in the chair. Then, I start looking real disgusted and leave the room for a moment. When I return I sit back down and say ‘Damn it! Mr. Allsup just chewed my ass about the money this station is losing!’ and I just sit there for a minute looking at a few papers on my desk. Then I look that little jock in the eye and ask “Now, what the hell is it that you want?” They will him-haw around and never ask for anything and just be glad to still have a job!” And he laughed. Actually, I laughed at that one too. And, I carried that little story with me for future use, if ever needed.

The momentary silence had to be deafening as I sat there with my mind totally fried. Only 5 months earlier Karen, my wife of 37 years this very day I am writing this, had become a main attraction of all my spare time. Especially after I got off my shift at 7pm. So there was that. And, “Where the heck is Borger?”. I wondered about that too. Then I thought, “A Program Director? Wow!!”

“I will be putting you on a salary of $750.00 a month and you will get a $35 Allsup’s gas card. How much time do you need to decide?” I wasn’t sure if Jim was being genuine or rhetorical.

“I will need some help to get there but sure, I’ll go.” The terms of timing were handled and right after Christmas, 1979 I left Clovis, New Mexico for Borger, Texas.

It all had happened in a matter of only a few minutes that my life had been changed. As Karen still had a plenty of schooling time ahead of her the concerns about our relationship would really not change in my mind. I would still come to Clovis from Borger all the time, right? After all, I’ll Have An Allsup’s GAS Card!

1980: I had been at KQTY in Borger less than a week when I got a call from the then long-time Program Director back in Clovis at KCLV. This is the guy that gave me the air-name of Paul Steele. And here again that prior question arose. “Paul, Do you know anyone that would fill the midnight to 6 shift here?”

So the Party Animal, Mike Dry, moved from Muleshoe to Clovis and began working the 6-hour midnight shift at KCLV. But only for a few weeks. I soon needed to replace and redo the staffing at that station in Borger where I am now Program Director (PD for short).

February 1980: Let The Chaotic Structure Begin.

I made the call to Clovis to ask for permission to hire Mike Dry away from KCLV. They had no issues with that and the second week in February of 1980 Mike moved into my apartment in Borger with only one bedroom and a one divan/fold-out couch located in the living rea. He slept on the divan of course. I am the PD after all.

I set-up the staff as follows:

Midnight to 6am – Captain Jack

6am to 11am – Michael John

11am to 3pm – Jim Wilson (alias Mike Dry)

3pm to 7pm – Paul Steele (alias… it depended on where I was)

7pm to Midnight – Jeff Olson

We took that horrible little nothing of a station into the Amarillo Arbitron Ratings about 8 months later. We were actually listed above several of the Amarillo stations and we were over 50 miles away. Chief Gloat strikes again. This time as d-j and PD!

Our Top 40 station rocked along without any real problems that I could not fix by simply doing it myself. Usually that meant filling-in on any air-shifts that someone failed to show for. That happened often on weekends. So, I was at work more than anyone including the Station Manager. One of my d-j’s would say to me one summer night while I was working a Midnight to 6am shift; “It’s no picnic being a Big Time PD is it?”  We both laughed at that one. However, he was right on target with the sarcasm.

Late March 1980: I got up to go to work at my usual time of around 7am. Got dressed and headed out when… “Ethel, Put Your Clothes On!”.

I had to walk through the living room to exit the apartment. Mike was sleeping there on that fold-out and someone else sleeping on that fold-out without a stitch of clothing on. It took only a second to notice that scene and I kinda smirked to myself as I looked away. No sheet on her and only a thin sheet on him. “Oh Brother.”

My exit was swift.

Her name was April. I soon learned that every guy in Borger knew about her or biblically knew her. Within less than a week they were both moved out of my apartment and into a newer place. Mike became the money man for this venture. Okay, that’s a given. She set-up house and, she did know how to spend his money. But, he had plenty of it, remember? How much?

I received a call from the home offices of Allsup’s with an inquiry that took me a day or two to respond back truthfully.

“We notice that Michael Dry has not cashed any of his paychecks for the last 60 days. Is he receiving them?” The lady on the other end of the phone was nice enough but, I knew she answered to Barbara Allsup, Lonnie’s wife, and I had already had my run-ins with her when I was working back in Clovis. So, I took the lady seriously and went to work trying to see what Mike had done, or was doing, with his paychecks. At least I knew there was no doubt that they were not being stolen as they had not yet been cashed.

File this next report under: That Cannot Be The Truth!

Mike had already gone home for the day when I received that Allsup’s lady’s phone call. So, I decided to swing by his new place with April, and find out about the checks thing. I arrived to find the driveway overrun with cars. So, I parked across the street and thought, I’ll only be a minute.

It was the first time I had been to see his new place. And, with me living in my Leave It To Beaver era apartment, I knew I would probably be a bit jealous. Wrong!

He met me at the door and as I walked inside I began being overwhelmed by all the noise and the noise was not a result of Mike’s latest albums buying ventures. The album that was playing? Pink Floyd’s The Wall. The music playing was almost just a faint noise when compared to all the racket that was happening in the other rooms inside his newly leased home. By the way, the Mike Dry purchase of 5 albums a week has been updated. He now has to buy 8 every week. Eventually it required making trips to Amarillo to find albums he did not already have. That was a perk of living with Mike. The music selection. I had complete access to the entire library and I took advantage of that.

The CA$H still flowed in weekly from his parent’s. Only more like $800 a week now plus everything already paid. He had a P.O. Box there in Borger but the only mail he received was from his folks sending money. All the home bills went directly to his parents in Winters.

Mike pointed to the couch that was only a few feet from his stereo. We sat down and I asked: “What is all that noise?” But before he could answer there were two girls, both looked to easily be in their mid to late 20’s, who walked through the living room where Mike and I were sitting. And, to top it all off? One of those girls was carrying a loudly crying child.

I knew by Mike’s appearance that he had already smoked a good amount of what we now call ‘California-legal medicine’. I decided just to sit there for a minute and see what happened next. Then, Mike got up from the couch and turned the volume up on his stereo so that Pink Floyd’s album was very clearly and loudly overriding the noise of anything else in the house. That’s when it happened…

April came into the room literally screaming at him. “Turn down that damn music!” She never acknowledged that I was even there. Mike just sat there as I began the process of exit. He grabbed my arm and asked me to stay until that side of the album was over. I did.

“Who are those girls?” It was still a mystery to me.

“Her sisters. They are both moving in right now.”

The album ended and as I left I thought “What a sad looking creature.”  He just probably needed more ‘medicine’. I knew he always had plenty. I did not mention the uncashed checks inquiries until the next morning at work.

“I threw them in the trash. They are not even worth cashing.”

That was his answer to me the next morning. My head almost exploded in confusion. I knew he had plenty of money but, who is crazy enough to just throw checks in the trash???

“Are you being serious? I have to tell that lady at Allsup’s that you are throwing your checks in the trash? Mike, they are not going to believe me! I have a bank account. I will cash them for you and give you the money. I can’t handle calls like that. Throwing your paychecks in the trash just does not make any sense.”

He just grinned and got up to go do his air shift. I waited until the next day.  I made sure this phone-call happened before Mike made it out to the station to begin his air-shift which began at 11am. So finally I got up the nerve to call that Allsup’s lady. If you think I was dumbfounded by Mike’s answer, try explaining it to some lady who has to make the books balance for a major corporation while some goof-ball is throwing checks in the trash. After several minutes of talking and then laughing, the phone call ended. I just sat at my desk thinking… “Mike Dry. What a life.” He finally started cashing his own checks.

Only a few weeks later and, following the April episodes, Mike agreed to split the rent with me and we leased a nice trailer house. It did have two bedrooms, one on either end, and that trailer became the place for all future developments. And trust me when I say   “There were plenty of those developments to still be presented.” I was working hard and playing hard and Mike did the same. Some trips to Amarillo to purchase albums with Mike and some trips to Amarillo because we were both awake after some things happened. At 2:45am we decide the trip would be great. Away we go to Amarillo. It was now already July 4th, 1980. We got back to Borger just in time for him to go on the air at 11am. Again, I went to my little office and just sat there. The world was flying past us both and we just kept working and playing and always playing music.

As for that gal April? She was moved in with another guy only days later.

Even for all the chaotic structure that I tried my best to control, there were still many things that found cracks to disappear into. I kinda hope they always stay there these days.

I lived there with Mike until I made the next big decision of my life. It’s really the one that led me to where I am now. Sometimes a clear decision can be made despite the volume of smoke that might be in the air. And trust me, in 1980 the air contained plenty of smoke!


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Will It Be A Third Time? (III)

(Part Three of Five)

If you set into motion a single day, and then again tomorrow set into motion another single day with the precise same details as the previous day, the results will be: Different!

And that is what we call life. The motions of each and every day that differentiate themselves from all others that have been lived. When the daily differences occur we most generally take note of some and never even notice the others. But, when the life-altering differences happen?

Back at the radio station in Muleshoe it’s 1978. December of 1978 to be more precise. I had been working at KMUL after leaving Dallas radio training for a little over 9 months at this point. And, as we often are prone to do, I decided it was time to go to bigger and better things. That was the opportunity that had presented itself to me by another friend I had made during those few summer of ’77 months while waiting to head off to Elkins in Dallas. My friend’s name is: Nick Black.

Now, I could easily get diverted here with the stories of Nick and his wife who I went to school with, but he might not appreciate that I am not telling the whole story as he remembers it. And, that would be fair as I always liked challenging him on most anything he had to say. So, as fate would have it, in December of 1978 I began working in Clovis, New Mexico with my friend Nick Black and at the #1 radio station in town: KCLV!

However, I created a pretty large vacancy in the staffing of the KMUL radio station by leaving and had been asked by Gerald Reid, a not so recent local Muleshoe graduate and the mostly top-dog of the station, if I had anyone in mind that might come to work to replace me. And I Did.

I called Mike Dry who was still unemployed and living with his folks back in Winters. Some of the details remain a bit sketchy even to me now, but Gerald, after having interviewed Mike who had driven up to Muleshoe that very weekend, had a question for me.

“Hey Slick. Are you really friends with that guy?”

When I left, I still had reason to keep seeing the KMUL folks on occasion as they were using my Radiotelephone First Class License which was required to be hanging on the wall somewhere inside the transmitter room. So, there was my license on the wall. And that little perk that had been told me back at Elkins that “it might someday lead to more pay” was indeed exactly what happened. As I remember, $150.00 a month, which worked out to $75 per trip. (For you math geniuses that’s 2-trips a month.)

And now we find a rich man on the loose and soon to be driving the streets of Clovis, NM and to top that: He works at the #1 radio station in town!!! (Okay, I was a small bit overly self-impressed in case you have not already figured that out. And I had not even worked On-Air at KCLV yet. Now That’s funny!)

“Yes. Why do you ask? Did he come up?” I thought I knew Mike had been up to Muleshoe but had not heard from him so was not sure if the interview thing happened or not. I looked at “Gentle” Gerald for his response. I expected it was going to be along the lines of the kind of thoughts like my first impressions of Mike back at school.

Side Note Time: Gerald was known to have a bit of a temper. He was not any larger than I was and me being the nice and courteous person I can be, I loved to provoke him to those little temper flashes. So, I called him Gentle Gerald. I knew he despised it, but after all, he called me “Slick”. Well, he called everyone Slick.

While I am on this side note I will give another example of my oh so kind methods of endearing myself to those for whom I worked. A couple years later in 1981 while I’m at the radio station in Clovis there was an older man who came to work as the Program Director of our station. His name was: Ben Noe (pronounced No). Now Ben would walk around and tell anyone that would listen, especially me for some reason, that he had been with KCLV in the 1960’s and again in the 1970’s and now once again in the 1980’s. So, the easy and obvious nickname for Ben was? “Has”. After a while I actually started addressing him as Uncle Has Ben. He just tolerated me. (Btw, I was still way too young and ignorant to realize that name I called him could have been construed as prejudicial. Hmm.)

“He was here.”  Gerald had responded with a tone that made me laugh. “Tell me how it is you know him again?”

I told Gentle Gerald the story and he asked me a question that made me stop for a moment. “Would you hire him?”

I suppose that never really crossed my mind. But then I recounted the story about how Mike grew up working and about his dad and the large manufacturing company. I never said yes or no.

My response was only this: “I know he is a hard worker.”

Mike Dry started working at KMUL the following week. And, he was once again driving after having served the DUI suspension time. However, that little respite of time away from driving did nothing to curb his indulgences. In just a couple of weeks Mike and I leased a trailer house just outside Muleshoe.

I can very clearly still recall going outside and packing my things into my brand new Burgundy 1978 Chrysler Cordoba. What a great car that was. I walked around and found my Dad working in the horse lot. “Well, I’m leaving. I got a place with Mike and we’re moving in this afternoon.” I suppose that was the toughest and yet most proper thing I had ever done that involved my Dad. To this day I remember the semi-stunned look he had as he said “Well, I guess you know what you’re doing.” He walked over and we hugged. I then drove away from my home at The Farm on that December day in 1978.

At this time, mid-December 1978, I was still commuting daily from Muleshoe to Clovis and would often ride with friend Nick Black, swapping out the driving efforts on a weekly basis. This continued for a few months. Going to Clovis from Muleshoe fairly early in the mornings and returning back to Muleshoe as evening set in. And life in the two places could not have been more contradictory. One was total work. The other was total…

I can have a temper. Truth be known, when still a lad while growing up at the farm I had to learn to deal with that temper. However, the best teacher of some things is forced experiences. That happened in 1974 when I remained at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas for almost 5-months. When you cannot do anything for yourself you rapidly learn that all the rules totally change and there is NOTHING you can do but get angry and get over it. Again and again and again. However, when the time comes once again when you can do something?

My Most Angry Night Experience Ever. Mike and I were having quite the time at that trailer house. Non-stop music and most anything (everything) else night after night. I would get home from Clovis to find the party usually going pretty strong already. Things worked well between us and although he had his quirks, which included doing whatever he wanted to, I knew there were still a few quirks I held as well. However, some things are strictly out-of-bounds. Or so I thought.

It was our scheduled time for me to ride with Nick to KCLV in Clovis. This meant my keys were left in my bedroom at the trailer. Since we never locked the trailer door it was not a problem for me. After all, that’s how things worked at the farm. So, if I ever did arrive back at the trailer and Mike wasn’t there the getting inside was not an issue. I saw Mike’s car when Nick dropped me off then drove away. I assumed all things were as normal.

“Where is my car??? Has it been stolen. What is he doing in there that he did not notice someone stole my car.” I stormed into the trailer and started yelling into the silence. That should have been the tip-off right there. However, in a rage I in went into my bedroom only to see that the keys were indeed missing. So, I look around the trailer for a note or something to clue me in. Maybe he made a trip to the store. But, his car is right outside. This makes no sense.

Call him on the cell phone? Well, maybe in 20 more years. After all, it’s still 1979.

I went out to find that his car was unlocked and the keys were in the ignition. Typical. So, I got in and started the engine. All good. I put the car into Reverse and….. Nothing. I revved the engine and tried over and over. Nope, not happening. Then I recalled seeing Mike laying under his car one day out in the driveway and only about ten feet off the road as he pulled into our trailer parking spots. I forgot all about that until just this moment and I began wondering what that was all about. I had never asked him. But, I will.

I killed the car and went back inside while struggling to think about my options. If I call the police and he gets picked up for stealing my car will he then be thrown in jail? Was he drinking and driving in my car and getting another DUI and my car would be who knows where and I would have to go get it and how much will that CO$T and when might that happen and… the phone rang. It was a friend of Mike’s who was asking to talk to him. Now, I’m not a brain surgeon or anything but it does not take long to figure out that some people’s friends have an elevator shaft that stops going up at the IQ charting of about 65. So, we hung up.

I called around Muleshoe to some different friends of mine and got a ride to another of Mike’s friends house only to be told by his Mom that he had gone downtown. “Okay, it’s Muleshoe. Will you please take me downtown and let’s find him.” Where did we find him?? At the stinkin’ laundromat where he was just sitting and ogling some cute teenage girl. Not all that bad I suppose but, not right now. And as I am walking inside he sees me and I immediately ask “Where is Mike and where is my car?”

We called him: The One Timer. His real name was Paul. I will leave the last name out in respect for his deceased parents. Well, he is also deceased come to think about it. But, I had my own experiences with The One Timer and he was one of the very few friends that Mike and I had in common. Still not a lot in common but, he was a local fellow so that made him more tolerable for me I guess.

We got into his (parent’s) car and went out to the trailer. On the way he began telling me that Mike’s car was having trouble and that Mike had received a call from a girl in Winters and he was going to go down and see if she would come to Muleshoe to live with him.


I slowly diffused enough to try and go to bed that evening. When I got up around 3:30am to the noise I knew that Mike was back home. So was she and… her baby. I didn’t even get into the living room area, filled with his albums I might remind you, when I heard him say “I’m goin’ to bed man.”

He handed me the keys and we all went to bed. The three of them to his room and me back to mine, alone. And that was super fine with me. It was finally the end of that day which had been set into motion at the start like any other only to wind up being: Different!

I got up again the next morning still angry. So, I decided to drive my own car to work in Clovis and, by myself. I let Nick know not to stop and take me today.

As I started my car I noticed that the gas tank was low. More anger. But, still enough gas to get to work.

I had a great 8-track tape player installed in my Cordoba and immediately noticed that it seemed a bit askew inside the dashboard. More anger as I drove west toward Clovis. It was then I noticed it. Mike had left his case of 8-track tapes inside my car. Down goes my driver’s window. Out comes Deep Purple into my hands as I pull the tape from the cartridge before tossing it out the window. Over and over again all the way to the Texas border town of Farwell.

Uriah Heep, gone! Led Zeppelin, gone! Foghat, gone! ZZ Top, gone! Mott the Hoople, gone! Thin Lizzy, gone! Jethro Tull, gone! The list is exhaustive.

I suppose there were farmers and ranchers who would find those destroyed tapes for decades out on the open plains of west Texas and wonder “How did this happen?”.

Well, there you have it. An angry young man with a tape in his hand can be dangerous.

Mike did not ask me about those tapes and I never told him what I did it. I felt much better that night when I arrived back at Party Central in Muleshoe, Texas. Home Sweet Home. Well, for just a bit longer because here comes the spring of 1979 and a move to Clovis is on the horizon.

And yet, for all the experiences so far with Mike? It’s 1980 that still awaits us both!


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Will It Be A Third Time? (II)

(Part Two of Five)

“Why Not?”

You can’t get around the obvious here. When that question is verbally asked it is clear that someone made a statement about… well, something or anything. If it’s a question you are asking yourself on the other hand, we apply the rules for finding an answer to be much more tolerant. I have a lifelong series of “Why?” and “Why not?” questions. I expect no one person with a mostly fully-functioning mind will get the opportunity to travel life’s road without having endured asking themselves these two little questions, quite literally I am certain, countless times. And when we eventually realize, much later in life I expect, that 99.999% of the time we will never really know the complete answers to either of those two simple little questions? Well, I am inclined to believe that life becomes a bit more lackluster.

On Day Two of the Mike and Glenn Studio/Newsroom tandem it became MY turn to be the d-j in the studio. It’s not like running a studio-board is rocket science or something but, when you are first introduced to that large piece of electrical equipment the sense can be a bit overwhelming. Buttons and switches and knobs and speakers and then, way more buttons and knobs! After a few passes at it the task of finding the simple and assured things required which allow records, commercials, the d-j and the newsroom broadcasts to be heard were not that difficult. I did have a bit of an unfair advantage. Prior-to going to that training school I had spent the summer of ’77 at the radio station in Muleshoe, Texas. And, as I was low man buried deep under the totem pole, I spent tons of summer hours at the radio station in Muleshoe. So the task of learning how everything worked at these Elkins Institute practice studios was a snap for me. It gave me an edge over most everyone else in the “I’m better than you!” department. And believe me, that was as much of the training as anything else: Battling the “Other D-j’s egos!” I’m so glad I grew up quiet and humble and quiet?

This is a story about Mike Dry and myself. However, I find the need to constantly interject these backstories about myself into this ever more convoluted writing. I will work on that, later. Just try and remember that every story I tell has a connection to the whole. (And you’re thinking, “Yeah, more crap writing.” Well folks, at least it’s in type this time.)

In the history of my schooling at Springlake-Earth I never read a library book completely. Why? I was a horrible reader. (There are what I consider to be legitimate excuses for some of this but, that is indeed for another time of writing, if ever.)

I remember in 8th grade having to do a written book report and we were permitted to select our own outsourced reading material. We were supposed to bring it to school for the teacher to glance at before it was given the scholastic stamp of approval but, with me being on and off crutches all through my school years I was given dispensations that other kids were not. So, I never took that book to school. At home I had a book I had read back when I was in 3rd grade. Actually, 3rd grade was probably my most healthy school experience. It was not good mind you, just better than all the rest. Anyway, it was a thin paperback book titled: Elbert, The Mind Reader! It was a simplistic and typically juvenile book about a junior-high kid who was mostly rejected by the sports boys and one day he went to the dentist, got a cavity filled and presto-zappo, every time he brushed that tooth, he could read minds. It came in very handy on the football field. Well, for a while at least.

I remember that I got a very low B on that report. But, that might have had to do with the fact that I still was not yet typewriter worthy. I still call that, “Crap Handwriting!”

So, Mike Dry is in the newsroom and I go in and out to visit and we begin the process of at least realizing that we were both still male and from way west of Dallas.

I do my little d-j introduction to Mike for the news and “Good grief! This guy has no trouble whatsoever reading!!” Now we have a problem Houston.

I began that very night practicing reading at my apartment that was only a block, make that city block, away from Elkins. The only thing I had in my apartment to read was the TV Guide and…

The King James Bible.

So, every night for the next 3-months while attending school and then for many more nights in the future I would spend about fifteen minutes reading out loud and to myself from the KJV Bible. I have become a much better reader. Not perfect of course, but better.

Over the next few days and weeks and then couple months Mike and I began finding ways to do our studio times together. And with that came all the things that can establish friendships. Now, I’m not saying there were not still things he needed to work on to be my friend but, at least he was starting. (I crack me up sometimes.)

I learned that Mike had grown-up a lot like me in this one sense; He knew how to work. And, of all the things about him that shocked me, I must admit it was the example of his youthful work ethic. But, when I met his Dad I understood. Mr. Dry had done very well financially in life and had a very large factory back in Winters. Mike had worked often at the factory for his Dad and that working aspect of life was well ingrained into Mike’s lifestyle. So, someone that’s not lazy when it comes to getting something done? I am totally on board!!

Paradox. When you saw Mike and myself doing things together the perfect word to describe it is paradox. And the reason for our spending time together outside schooling was as odd as the looks of us riding the bus together.

By 19 years of age Mike had lost his driver’s license privileges because of repeated DUI’s. No car for you! So, when he arrived in Dallas he was in the exact (kinda) same shoes as was I. We were both afoot. I had not yet been permitted to receive a DL because of my handicap and that would be almost 6 more months in the rectifying. So, long haired, dark glasses, “rich” hippie Mike and money pinching, cripple kid Glenn. I might pay money to see that movie.

Okay, this is crazy. Mike’s Dad would send Mike five brand new crisp $100 bills……….. every week! So, my whole thought in the beginning that Mike was a penniless whatever? The fact was that money was not anything he worried about. Mom and Dad saw that he had everything paid for and then on top of that they gave him $500 a week. If I had not already gone through the adoption process I might have applied at his home back in Winters. (That’s a joke Mom.)

Think about it. A young man with no responsibility financially who receives $500 every week. What are you going to spend it on other than, well since we are talking about Mike? Food and booze and the illicit. And, “I have to buy 5 new albums every week.”

I don’t imagine I will ever forget that moment when he told me that. I had been curious enough to ask what he spent all that money on and the primary answer was “Five new albums every week.”

And the insane thing about this is that I would go with him and every week we travelled back to his apartment, which was only about two blocks from mine, and listen to those five new albums. You know, Kiss Alive II and Jethro Tull and Rush (not Limbaugh) and April Wine and The Beatles and the list never ended. He had albums stacked out into his living room about 12 feet from the walls. Multiple stacks of 12 foot rows and he was only 19 years old. Good Lord! But, just wait until 1980.

At the time, even for all his money, I think the thing he most respected regarding me was that I never asked him to buy anything. Never! Not that he would have balked at it but, I got the impression that many of his back-home friends were more like mooches than friends. So the fact would be that he would from time to time buy something and bring it to my apartment and stay until we ate it. (Oh boy, I almost said ‘smoked it’.) Can you mention the KJV Bible and anything illicit in the same writing? Wait!!! I have heard plenty of illicit living preachers use the KJV Bible. Next debate at 10:00.

By the time I left Dallas to go back to Muleshoe to begin my career as a licensed and trained disc-jockey the friendship between myself and Mike had been formed in a way that I expect we both knew the future would find us spending time together again.

Man, oh man. If we had only known.



Filed under Personal Stories