Category Archives: Personal Stories

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!

glb358

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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.

“WHAT???”

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!

glb358

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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.

glb358

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Will It Be A Third Time? (I)

(Part One of Five)

“Why?”

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.

glb358

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