Sunday, November 19, 2017

Goodbye Old Friend

Farewell Georgia Dome. I will always remember:

--Circling high above you in the Goodyear Blimp when you were just a big hole in the ground.

--The “Good Times and Great Oldies” we shared at the, oh so many, Fox 97 Ultimate Oldies Concerts.

--That special moment at the 1993 concert when your big screen read … “This show is dedicated to the memory of Duffy Janssen.” (My late wife, who had passed away just four months earlier.)

--The incredible experience of the 1996 concert when over 40,000 friends celebrated the happiest day of my life … Janet and my “wedding reception.” (Janet still wishes we had done the dollar dance that evening.)
--Super Bowl XXVIII in January 1994 when a small group of us from Fox 97 were midfield anchoring a giant, inflatable Vince Lombardi Trophy as the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys rushed past us during the opening ceremonies. (Also standing along the sidelines during the first quarter and meeting Joe Namath, Jerry Jones, and OJ Simpson (who may have borrowed my gloves even though they were too small for him.)

--The 1996 Olympics when I took my oldest daughter to watch the gymnastics competition.

Yes, Georgia Dome, as of 7:30 Monday morning you will be gone. But for me … never forgotten.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Detour

Wednesday, July 1,1970. The day that changed the direction of my life. I had graduated from high school the previous year, I was working my dream job at a radio station in Peru, Illinois (WGSY) and I was feeling pretty darn good about my future. And then … the Vietnam draft lottery happened. I was on the air at the radio station when the lottery numbers were being drawn. Our AP (Associated Press) teletype machine was spitting out the lottery numbers between the “more important” events of the day. (Kids … this is how radio stations received the news back in the day. Sort of like receiving a one-way text, on paper, from a big, old clunky typewriter.) Clank-clank-clank with the teletype. Thump-thump-thump went my heart as I anxiously waited to see what my draft lottery number would be. In the radio studio, I introed a song (CCR – “Fortunate Son”), quickly popped out of the room, rushed down the hall to the teletype and began to scan several yellow pages of the latest news to see if I could find my birthday and the corresponding draft number. As luck would have it, my birthday was being typed as I stood next to the AP machine. April 16 … clank-clank-clank … 3 … clank-clank-clank … 1 … clank-clank-clank-clank-clank … carriage return … April 17 … clank-clank-clank … 2 … clank-clank-clank … 6 … clank-clank-clank … 4 … clank-clank-clank-clank-clank … carriage return. WAIT A MINUTE!!!! Why did my birthday only have TWO numbers! This can’t be right!!! Seriously, 31 is my draft number???? My head was spinning … and “Fortunate Son” was ending. I rushed back to the studio just as CCR was fading to start my next song … Country Joe & the Fish “I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag.” (OK, the part about playing Country Joe is not true. But that’s what I should have played.) The fact is … I can’t remember much of anything that happened that Wednesday after my draft number of 31 appeared on the teletype. However, I do remember the next day. (To be continued …)