A Slice of My Life from 1960 Until 1963
DURING MY SIMPLE YEARS OF 1960 - 1963 most of my time was spent thinking of what I wanted to be when I became a man. This was scary thinking, I tell you. I had a dark, frightful dream that mom and dad would someday disappear leaving me all alone and I would starve to death and not have a place to live.
ONE WINTER EVENING while sitting near our fireplace, I gathered the courage to ask my parents what they seen me doing when I grew up. As fast as the question left my lips, two "I don't knows," came from their lips in mutual-harmony.
I QUICKLY CAME UP WITH being a truck driver. A good job and steady too. But my heart was set on being a smokehouse manager. You might be laughing, but I loved our smokehouse and loved assisting my dad prepare and hang the meats to smoke for the winter. The work of a smokehouse manager was very appealing and very isolated. No time clocks and no real bosses (except myself) to answer to.
* after 1963, and I grew up, my dream of managing my own smokehouse (pardon the pun) "went up in smoke" . . .when I first
My Next Dream
or illusion, I learned to call it, was being an artist. In school or at home, I loved to draw with a No. 2 pencil or ink pen. Woody Woodpecker was my favorite character to draw. I loved Woody thanks to a lecture I heard on television from his creator, Walter Lantz.
Then I waded through reality's gates and found out the cost of attending art school, supplies, rent and food. My artist days were sadly over right about then.
heard the now-late George Harrison of the Beatles playing his guitar
on our designated "young people's Top 40 Rock and Roll radio station: WVOK 690 AM with 100,000 watts, located in Bessemer, AL. I was hooked like a hungry bass on fishing legend, Bill Dance' fishing show. I loved the song, "Paperback Writer." The more I heard the song, the more I fell in love with Harrison's guitar. And the various smooth licks that he got from this instrument.
I CAME BY THIS LOVE FOR MUSIC honest. My dad was almost a professional fiddle player and had won a lot of fiddling contests as a young man. But when he married my mom, his role went from a carefree fiddler to a family man. But now and then he would get out his fiddle and play for us. But personally, I believe that he was going back into his younger years as the strings obeyed his every command.
MY DREAM OF GUITAR-PLAYING started and stopped in 1974 when I dedicated myself to learning the basic chords from a Mel Bay "E-Z Play Guitar" book that I had bought in Hamilton, AL., my hometown. For six months straight I would sit on our front porch (where we lived at this time) grinding off the ends of the fingers on my left hand doing my best to learn one song. Then I realized that anyone can strum a guitar, but I wanted to learn how to pick a guitar, but now I had spent money on strings, books and only got as far as strumming.
This is my next to the last dream
I had as a "job" when manhood came knocking. A professional hobo. I read about hobo's in the Great Depression "stealing" rides on trains headed to other towns looking for work. But these guys, real heroes to me, never had bills, taxes, or an empty stomach. That all sounded fine until I learned the other thing they didn't have: a paycheck each week.
This is my last dream
and that is being a late-night radio DJ. I could work alone, drink my black coffee and if my owner wanted, answer my phone between records. Yes, records, not CD's. I would love to give FM radio a massive comeback. This has been a part of my soul since all of the dreams and youth both drifted away. I cannot say enough praise for radio DJ's and the great work they did. I wish even now that I was one of them.