(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.