Tuesday, January 31, 2017


 As stated earlier, I worked in the Record Dept. at Sanger Harris.  Our department sold a lot of records and tapes.  So much so that we were one of the top record stores in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. 
 One afternoon, I was on my way to the store, and I heard on the radio that Elvis Presley had just died.  I was on the freeway, and I just floored it.  When I got to the store, there were hundreds of crying women trying to buy Elvis records.  I should note that when Elvis was alive, we couldn't give his records away.  No one wanted to buy them.  Even when he came out with his last album (Moody Blue), we were stuck with the copies.  In all, we had 60 Elvis albums that no one wanted.  Now, he had died, and everybody wanted Elvis.  We quickly sold out of all that we had and began taking special orders for his music.  It was quite a scene to see some many distraught women that we had to call security to help disperse them.
 Of course, it was not just our store that experienced this onslaught of Elvis fans.  Every store in the country had the same kind of riot.  In one afternoon, just about every record store in the US had sold out of Elvis.  I called my record distributor with our special orders, and he said he thought he knew where some records were in a warehouse in Oklahoma.  Since we made a lot of money for our distributor, he offered to take his truck up there and get what they had in the warehouse.  So, that night he drove up to Oklahoma and picked up what they had to bring them to us.  By the time we opened the next day, we had 200 Elvis records.  We were able to fill most of our special orders, and then we sold out again.
 RCA took three months to replenish the nation's stores with more records.  They had to reprint everything.  They put out special commemorative records to try and ease the demand.  They sold out quickly, too.  Then the Elvis frenzy was over.  All of the records that they printed up sat on our shelves, when they came in three months later.  I had never seen anything like it.  Other artists died later like John Lennon, Whitney Houston, Prince, David Bowie, and others.  And yes, there was a certain amount of frenzy for them, but I never saw anything like Elvis.  I hope I never do again.

Friday, January 27, 2017

2 Presidents

 One thing you should know about me is that I am a political junkie.  I love politics.  I love being around politicians.  It is just something I love.  I know there are those who do not share my love, and that's okay.  Another thing you might know about me is that I have seen every President of the United States that has served during my lifetime, except for Kennedy.  Everyone from Eisenhower through Trump.  So, this story is about close encounters with two of them.
 It was the 1976 campaign for President between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.  I was living in Ft. Worth.  Gerald Ford was visiting one Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  W. A. Criswell was the pastor, and that church was one of the largest in the country at that time.  Ford wanted the endorsement of Dr. Criswell, so he came to that church for the worship service.  I drove over from Ft. Worth to try and get a seat in the church, but I wasn't able to do that, so I stood outside near the limo to get a glimpse of the President.  A few others did too, as well as some TV folks.  The road next to the church was narrow, so the limo could fit into it, but not much else.  Across the street from the church was the YMCA.  I looked up and saw a window open on the front across from where we were standing.  I called over a Secret Service agent and asked him if that window was supposed to be open.  His eyes got big and radioed someone.  A few minutes later, the window got closed.  He came over to me and thanked me, and then said:  "We don't want to lose another President in Dallas."  The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I got goosebumps.  After the service was over, the media went running out of the church to try and file their stories before the motorcade left.  Ann Compton and Ed Bradley asked me where the nearest phone was.  Even though I was not a member of that church, I knew where the church office was, so I steered them in that direction.  Ann was nice.  Ed--not so much.  Ford came out and waved at us all.  He seemed nice.
 The other close encounter was Jimmy Carter.  He visited the University Baptist Church in Ft. Worth on the Sunday before the election for President in November.  The church was the one I attended, during my time in Ft. Worth.  I was on the committee to welcome all of the visitors that would come for this event.  We were to say to everyone "Welcome to University Baptist Church".  The press bus pulled up, and the reporters started running toward the front door to get a picture of Carter and his wife arriving at the church.  As they were running across the lawn, we were welcoming them to our church.  They ran over the bushes in front of the church.  It became kind of funny and surreal, as we welcomed them, and they were destroying property just for that shot.  The Carters arrived, and we shouted our welcomes.  They didn't acknowledge us.  They just walked on into the church.  I wasn't able to get a seat in there either, but I did get to see them.  The next Tuesday, Carter was elected President.  Did my welcoming committee have anything to do with the outcome of the election?  I hope not.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Texas Snow

 One thing everybody knows is that Texas is hot in the summertime.  One summer, it was over 100 degrees for 21 days straight.  The tar on the roads melted.  I still have a pair of shoes with tar on them. 
 But, one thing they don't tell you is how cold the winters are, and that it snows a lot.  One winter, it snowed six times in five weeks.  It didn't melt.  It just piled on.  I lived 2 blocks from a grocery store and needed food.  The temperature had gone down to 30 below zero.  It took me twenty minutes to walk two blocks, because I couldn't breathe in the cold.  I did get pretty adept in driving in it later on.
 However, one snow was especially hard.  I lived about 5 miles from my work.  It snowed a lot, and I couldn't get my car out, so I called my work and asked them if they were open.  They said yes, and for me to come on into work.  I had to walk.  The snow drifts were up to my hips.  The cars weren't on the interstate that I would normally take, so I walked on that highway.  It took a couple of hours to get to the mall, and my store.  I finally got there around 2:30 and found that they had closed 20 minutes before I got there.  This was long before cellphones.  Maybe someone thought to invent them because of an event like this one.  I was pretty mad, so I went into a restaurant in the mall that was open, and ate something before trudging back home.  One of those life lessons--if the snow is too deep, don't go to work no matter how much you love your job.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Freeway Stop

 You know those new cars that can sense danger and will stop for you without you reacting?  Well, boys and girls, there was a time when cars didn't do that.  You had to react on your own to avoid hitting someone. 
 One Saturday in Ft. Worth, I was driving down the I-35W freeway toward downtown.  Along with me were a hundred of my closest friends in their cars.  3 lanes of traffic all speeding in one direction.  Two cars ahead of me, a situation developed.  I was in the far left lane.  A guy in the middle lane decided to move into my lane without looking.  He clipped the front bumper of the car in my lane.  They both jammed on their brakes.  Instead of a massive pile-up, everyone behind them jammed on their brakes in unison.  We all came to a screeching halt, and no one hit anyone else.  It was truly amazing.  I looked over at the guy in his car next to mine, and he had his mouth open and his eyes bulging out of his head.  My heart was pumping out of my chest.  We smiled at one another and breathed a sigh of relief.  The two cars in that were in the accident moved to the middle median and out of the way of the rest of us.  Gingerly, we all began to roll forward again toward our destinations.  I got off of the highway into downtown and thanked God that I was still alive.  I am sure many others did too. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


 One great thing about living in Ft. Worth was the concerts.  A lot of big names came there to play.  Paul McCartney came just before I moved there.  The Rolling Stones came, but I didn't get to go, because I had to work.  I had a connection who was going to get me backstage, but that didn't work out.  She told me afterwards about all the things she saw backstage.  I wished I had called in sick to work.  One of life's regrets.
 I did get to go see George Carlin.  He was very funny, but he cut his set short, because he got sick.  Some said it was heart related.  Others said it was drug related.  I don't know which, but I did get to see him twice years later.  Another concert I went to was a Beatles tribute band called Liverpool.  They were good.  I also went to see the musical play "Oh Calcutta".  (Yes, a seminary student went to see that play).  Don't chastise me.
 One band that came to Ft. Worth was Heart.  They were promoting their single "Barracuda".  I didn't get to go to their show, but I found out where they were spending the night after the show.  The hotel was near the convention center.  It was the same hotel that President Kennedy spent the night before being killed the next day in Dallas.  All of the acts spent the night there.  I saw Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes checking in before.  But, this was Heart.  I hung out in the lobby of the hotel until they came downstairs to leave.  I said hello and helped them load up their van.  They were heading to Houston for their next show.  I met Ann and Nancy Wilson.  They were both nice, but I liked Ann better.  I also liked their lead guitar player, but I especially liked their drummer.  I have found that drummers are funny people.  I guess because they are mostly in the background and don't get much press, so they don't take themselves too seriously.  I like drummers.  I tend to gravitate to them.  I think that's why I like Richie from another band that some of you know.  I guy who played in Wings was in that band. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Lynda Carter

 Lynda Carter played Wonder Woman on TV.  Six Flags over Texas booked her to open a new ride of theirs called the Spinnaker.  She was to appear on a Saturday and sign autographs.  What could go wrong?
 First, it rained a lot.  Second, it was a cold rain, which made it a raw day.  Third, Six Flags had set her up to sign autographs under an open-air shelter.  And, Fourth--she was late getting there.
 I went to the event.  So did about 150 other people.  The shelter was about 10'x8', around the size of an average bedroom.  150 people crowded into that space.  As it was raining, no one wanted to stand outside the shelter, so space was at a bare minimum.  No one wanted to lose their place, so we all stood in our spots that we had carved out for ourselves.  It was so tight that one could not breathe.  Then, the trouble started.
 People started pushing others to get space to breathe.  No one would budge.  Small children began getting on the floor to be able to breathe.  Adults fainted standing up.  When that happened, they were hauled up in the air and passed overhead to get away from the crowd.  The fire department showed up and tried to get people to move.  No one did.  However, when someone fainted and were moved, everyone else got that much more room to breathe. 
 Lynda got there 30 minutes late.  Several people had passed out.  She was with some friends from Arizona, where she grew up, so she was more interested talking to them than interacting with the fans who were still standing.  She was much more beautiful in person than on TV.  When it came time for her to sign my autograph, she glanced up at me and then signed "Peace, Lynda" on her picture.  I got out of there and stood in the rain to breathe and cool off from the heat of all those people crammed into that small space.  I got sick from that experience, but it was worth it.