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NEW JACK AND MISTY LOGO UPDATE! Thanks to Ann Collins for smoothing the edges! :) --Jack and Misty. (P.S.: Click on logo to see it at full size! -- Jerry.)

December 18th, 2017... Okay, let's see... 2 weeks to go until 2017 is over? Check. 1 week to go before Christmas? Check. New column from our fearless leader? Check and triple check...

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CHRISTMAS WEAKNESS. Some of my friends don't like Christmas music. I love it. I can understand how certain Christmas songs could seem corny to some people, but they have melody, harmony, and words, which is more than a lot of today's popular music. Anyway, I love Christmas music for completely different reasons. This is the most emotional season of the year, and those songs bring back powerful memories, both happy and unhappy, but packed with emotion. The ghosts of past Christmases often blur my vision in December. My family was a partying bunch... each holiday an excuse for all the relatives to get together and have a special time. Even my grandparents would dress in outrageous costumes on Halloween, and on July 4th's we would drive the neighbors nuts with fireworks. New Years Eve meant champagne and "blind robins". .. and on and on. Later in my life I experienced some very rough Christmases, some even tragic, and also some wonderful times with Misty and the small family we had left. Every experience at this time of year is magnified and extreme in my memory. Hearing the old songs at Christmas makes me happily sad. They evoke feelings I don't even understand, and yet it's my favorite time of the year. My steady guy cracks right down the middle, and my sentimental guy takes over. "It's a Wonderful Life" was on TV the other night. We watched something else because we've seen it so many times. The show we were watching ended early and Jimmy Stewart was still on, so we decided to see the last hour of it. We both sat there like idiots with lumps in our throats and tears in our eyes when George Bailey got his life back. Christmas makes me weak, I guess. A good kind of weakness. Copyright © December 17, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


December 1st, 2017...

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A PAIR OF CHRISTMAS SHOES. A long time ago Misty and I took a holiday season job in a Miami department store in a poor neighborhood. She was the photographer who snapped and sold the pictures of the children on Santa's lap. I was Santa. The Santa suit and the whiskers were hot, but it was an unforgettable experience. Little poor kids would tell me their dreams, which I knew could not come true for them, at least this year, but they had faith in Santa, and even a "maybe" from me made their eyes sparkle. Somehow, I felt guilty. One little boy asked me how come Santa Claus is white. I told him I hoped he wouldn't hold that against me, and he assured me he wouldn't. There were always a few raggedy strays wandering around the toy department, giggling and touching all the magical things that would soon belong to someone else. Some of them laughed and pointed at me, but never came too close. Others showed off to their pals by climbing right up on my lap, as if they weren't scared at all. One little girl, dressed in filthy rags, was too small to climb up on my knee, so I lifted her up. She weighed nothing. I wondered if she was old enough to talk, as she just smiled at me. Obviously, she was alone and uncared-for. I asked her where her mommy and daddy were and she said, "Drunk". Then she confessed her love for me. I asked her what she really wanted most for Christmas, and she lisped, "New shoes". She wasn't wearing any this winter. "Merry Christmas! Ho-Ho -Ho", I choked, as she climbed down to be replaced by the next in line. When business tapered off I searched the whole store for the little girl, to buy her a pair of new shoes, but I was too late. She had disappeared and I never saw her again, except in my mind every Christmas. Copyright © November 28, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


November 16th, 2017... And now, a few words from our assistant webmeister, Lee: "Nothing says Christmas like... December!" (end quote) And on that note, here's more than a few words from our fearless leader...

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AS CHRISTMAS APPROACHES. Merry Christmas all you Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, rich, poor, and let's not leave out the fringe weirdos. Merry Christmas I say, to all humans, dogs, cats, and miscellaneous living items. Warning: I am armed and extremely jolly. Christmas has been my favorite holiday my whole life, and I want to share it with you. You don't have to buy me anything but it wouldn't hurt my feelings.. Join me in toasting old Saint Nicholas if he will fit in our toaster. (Haha. I do get jolly at Christmas.) Cry with me at the ending of "It's a Wonderful Life". Let's boo and hiss together at Old Mr. Potter. We'll get sentimental listening to the Christmas carols at Walmart. And let's all pray for snow even if we're in Florida. What time is Charlie Brown on? Enjoy new times with old friends. If we don't have any friends, let's make some. Find somebody who looks down in the dumps, give them a big smile, and toss them a "Merry Christmas". If they just look at you funny and walk away, so what? There are other people waiting to be annoyed with our Christmas glee. Think about your home town and try to recall the good times. I think about Buffalo this time of year because that's where I got all my Christmas spirit to begin with... shopping downtown, and trimming the scotch pine with people we loved more than we knew at the time. I laugh and cry a lot as Christmas approaches. I even cry at commercials. I laugh easily at funny remarks, especially mine. It's embarrassing but I don't care. Ten minutes after a joke has slipped into the past, I think about it and start laughing again. Everybody tries not to notice, but the more I try to stifle it, the more I laugh, and tears come out of my eyes. Christmas makes me weak. So, whatever your religion or non-religion is, Merry Dang Christmas! You don't have to go to church if you don't want to. I probably won't, but I might watch Midnight Mass on television, and I'm not even Catholic. It's all part of the pageantry that is my holiday, and I plan to eat too much, mellow out, and enjoy the feeling. I'm working on my new song, "Pat, The Christmas Rat". The other reindeers won't let him play any reindeer games. He can only play rat games, and yet, he's full of Christmas cheer. One Christmas Eve Pat slinks down a chimney with his bag of presents, and is beaten to death by a couple of toddlers. It's a sad story, but there's probably a moral in there somewhere. Call me on your holiday and I'll join you, but listen... What I'm saying to you right now is this: "Merry Christmas to all good people." Copyright © November 13, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


November 10th, 2017... HA HA HA!!! A "PICK" TODAY IN "INDIE WORLD"! :)

October 31st, 2017...
BOO!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!
No tricks, but a couple of treats from Chairman Jack. Enjoy...

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CAREER ADVICE. Misty and I had a steady job with our band in a classy Coral Gables supper club, playing light jazz dance music, and occasionally slipping in one of our own songs. We had made a couple of records that got local airplay, but we were getting nowhere with amazing velocity. Dick Gillespie was a regular customer. He was witty, in the Robin Williams style, and owned a local country music radio station. He had won an Emmy for producing the Colgate Comedy Hour. An intelligent guy. I asked him one night why we weren't getting anywhere. We were good musicians, I said, we sang well, looked okay, and made nice records. Why didn't he see that, and help us? His answer hurt our feelings and saved our life. He said, "You have nothing to sell. Nobody is interested in the things you mentioned. People won't walk across the street to see a good-looking musician, but they'll stop for an auto accident." More importantly, he said, "Go home and develop an unusual style, costume yourselves to attract attention, and change your name if necessary. Try singing different ways until the style is pronounced. Style is more important than good singing. Good singers back up artists with style. Change your attitude. Go for stage presence. Be whoever you want to be, but be unique." Then he added, "You can't do this here in the town where they know you. They won't accept it. Go to a new place and walk in the door in your new way, no matter how self-conscious you feel, and they will think you were born that way." Misty Morgan changed her name from Mary Blanchard, we dressed pretty wild, worked up a lot of new material and attitude, and went to Key West to try it out. We thought we'd be laughed at, but they not only accepted us, they packed the place to see and hear us. We had a recording contract within two weeks, and a Pick in Billboard within a couple of months. We found out that the roles we were playing were more real than playing dinner music in suit and gown. Now we can't think of ourselves the old way. We've been who we are now over half our lives. It's us. Dick Gillespie gave us the best advice we ever got, so we pass it on to other striving artists. It works. Copyright © October 31, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.



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A Small Story for Halloween. THE VOICE. We saw a candle in the window of the chapel in the graveyard, and it flickered as it slowly moved away. Was that the wind in the pipes of the old dusty organ, Or just howling down the hill among the graves? Then lightning struck the steeple, and it rang the chapel bell That's been rusted into silence many years. Then the thunder rolled away and the organ starts to play And we heard a voice that filled our hearts with fear. Then the voice called through the night so loud and clear, "Is there anything at all you'd like to hear? Though my bones are old and moldy, I just love to pick them oldies. Is there anything at all you'd like to hear?" So we dug up some requests for him to try. We shouted, "How 'bout 'Speckled Bird' or 'Jambalay'?" He said "Maybe I'll ad lib a chorus on my ribs". Then the voice sang all the songs that made us cry. Well, the three of us, we sang the whole night long. He kept pickin' funky organ until dawn. Till the morning mist was rising on the lawn... When the sun came up, we knew that he was gone. Now the first red rays of sun begin to creep, And the shadows of the graves are long and deep. We smile and wonder when we'll hear that voice again. Then we close the lid and sing ourselves to sleep. Then we close the lid and sing ourselves to sleep. Copyright © October 24, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Lyrics Copyright © 2017 Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author. Here's hoping you have a safe and happy Halloween, and stay away from anybody who offers you gluten-free hambones. YFNW™, Jerry.


October 16th, 2017...

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BEING DIFFERENT. This is about entertainers in general, and mostly about music professionals. Most major stars have had something new to offer, but there is a level of show business where "different" is a liability. Nightclubs, hotels, RV resorts usually want cover acts. A cover band plays other people’s music to sound like the hit recordings. The audience pretends they are hearing the real thing. It's a way the local musicians can earn a living. I've played in those bands. Misty and I have always been warmly received by audiences at auditoriums, fairs, and other places where we were advertised and the people bought tickets to see US. In off times, when we would take a booking where they just wanted “a band” or “a country show”, we had problems. We were told things like: “You’re not what they’re used to here.” Why did they ever change bands at all, if they wanted them alike? These situations are worse on the road, because the owners and the audience live there, while the agent sits home in his comfortable office. The musician has traveled hundreds of miles to get rejected in a strange town, with no friends around for moral or financial support. We could never compete in this area of entertainment. We have sometimes sung other people’s hit songs, but we played them a new way to fit our own style. We have just never been good at copying other artists. Sometimes we’ve wished we could, to prevent on-the-road nightmares. We have many wonderful memories of standing ovations, and some not so wonderful of being fired without pay, many miles from home, because we were “different”. If we could have been a “Tribute” act, basking in the glory of, say, Sonny and Cher or Captain and Tenille we’d have worked forever, but probably wouldn’t have been successful recording artists, at least in the 1970’s, when the labels wanted something new and different. Lately, even the record production has a narrowly defined sound that the major labels want on all of their product, and the radio programmers demand. Consequently, a lot of the music and artists sound alike and the audiences are conditioned to accept that. Style has become a liability. Conformity is in demand. This may be a symptom of what our society has become. Our many musician friends who do sound-alike music are working much more than we are, but that’s okay. Good for them. Faron Young once sat here at our breakfast table and said this about our music: “Three seconds into the record you know who it is.” Good for us. Copyright © October 15, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


October 12th, 2017... Well, they never said putting together these website thingies would be easy, now, did they? :/ If it isn't the internet going out, it's a recalcitrant mouse. But, as Jack will tell you, it's worth it. Speaking of which...

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BEING ALIVE IS WORTH THE HASSLE. For some people the world changes so slowly they hardly notice it. Things happen on a small familiar set, like a stage play. For others of us, our horizons have grown so far apart it's hard to get our bearings. If I ever do get back to my old neighborhood I'm sure I'll run into a guy I used to know for whom nothing much has changed. Reality is fluid. The scenery of life changes constantly. There is only one thing we can depend on, and that's the thing we fear most: Change. Relationships change, that's for sure. If we're lucky they change into something better... different, but better. Misty is my full time family. After all these years we still have lots to talk about, and we make each other laugh.. Our occasional arguments last only minutes. When I was a kid, somebody put up strange billboards. The first said "IT'S COMING!", the next said, "WATCH FOR IT!", then "IT'S ALMOST HERE!", and the last one said "IT'S GONE!" Christmas is a little like that. We were in a bad hurricane in Miami in the 60's The metal posts holding our carport were banging up and down in the 135 mph wind. A guy on the radio yelled "Holy crap! The back door just blew off!" I said, "Isn't he supposed to cheer US up?" I was sitting by the window listening to the sound of emptiness. This is not like listening to no sound at all, because the sound of emptiness contains all the things you hoped would be in it, and all the sounds that once were. ROGER MILLER. Roger Miller walked in on our session at Columbia. I stopped everything and went to meet him. I put my hand out and was going to say "I'm a fan of yours." Before I could, he said "I'm a fan of yours." A high spot of my life. RAY STEVENS. I was turned down by Ray Stevens at Monument Records when I first went to Nashville. It was OK because I didn't know who he was. Years later, on the road, we became friendly. Still later, he started a standing ovation for us at the ASCAP awards. You should see the tangled web of wires under my computer desk. I went down there to plug something in and I'm never going back. I think there's something living in it. My grammar school was pretty strict, but they gave us education on par with today's colleges. In seventh and eighth grades all us boys had to wear ties. The result was grotesque but funny. The most popular style was this: A blue flannel checkered lumberjack shirt and a bright red rayon clip-on tie with a picture of Popeye on it. God made me a musician. When I was a teenager He looked down and said, "Looks like you need some help getting girls." I'm writing a jazz song on the catatonic scale. I'm getting a backache from walking upright. Evolution is killing me. If you sign up for the Platinum health care plan, you get to drive the ambulance. I recently returned to Buffalo, my home town. It's nicer than I left it. Like somebody cleaned up after me. The sinking of the Titanic must have been a miracle to the lobsters in the kitchen. Make the days a little longer. I don't know where the time has flown. Lord, I'm having such a good time, I don't want to go home. Jack Blanchard Copyright © October 5, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


October 4th, 2017...

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TRANSITIONS. (A Memory from 2015.) It's a cool gray rainy day here, a transitional day, with the remnants of Winter and early signs of Spring. Standing under the edge of our carport I can see almost a mile of tan fields and lines of trees, until the landscape gets lost in the mist. The trees and Spanish moss are moving with the breeze, as are the flags on our street. These are mostly World War Two people and that kind of patriotism doesn't go away, even though the nation has changed over their lifetime. I didn't like Florida for a long time after I landed here. The palms annoyed me. They were foreign and reminded me that I wasn't home; that this was all temporary and I didn't belong here. I could go to almost anywhere up north and not feel like an outsider, but Florida felt unreal... like a movie. As I stood just out of the rain today and took in the palms, the giant oaks in rainy-day colors, and the Spanish Moss like graceful fringe on a gown, it occurred to me that I like it. When did that happen? I still love Buffalo with it's four seasons and the energy in the air, but it's mostly the Buffalo in my memory. The last time we visited there, I enjoyed it, but I had a sense of being outside looking in. The world has changed so much that maybe we all feel a little like strangers at times, but this subtropical place has sneaked up on me and it's started to look right. Maybe I'm home... or as close as I'll ever get. Copyright © October 3, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


October 2nd, 2017... We're back! (Anything else I could add would just be superfluous.) That said... here's Jack...

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SEASONAL THOUGHTS. Autumn is my favorite time of year… a season of moods. The first chill after summer has worn out its welcome... That’s when I start to feel the holidays coming on. Not that we do any big celebrating these days… but it’s the remembering of celebrations past, and those who were with us during good times. The empty places at our table. I write more songs during the remnants of the year… when emotions are nearer to the surface, the past is just over our shoulder, and old voices whisper in our ear. ONE WINTER, when it was minus 35 degrees and windy in Minnesota, Misty and I stayed in a cement floor cabin on a lake shore. I heard what sounded like whale sounds. It was the frozen lake groaning as it expanded. We had recently had such bad times that we were thankful to be there with friends close by at Christmas. We didn't mind the cold. When we played Walt Disney World Roy Clark and Hank Williams, Jr. were at the ends of the park, and we were at the center stage. We were assigned a guide for the day. He looked 12 years old. Misty thought he was a boy and called him honey and sweetie, and he liked it. Turns out he was a Disney Vice President. He must have started out as a duck and worked his way up. After the week's shows Boots Randolph threw a party for the artists. Later in the party, there was some excitement going on at the ballroom door when some medics rushed in with a stretcher. Roy Clark grinned, raised his glass, and said goodbye to everybody. Then he made himself comfortable on the stretcher, and was carried out to the ambulance. He was late and had a plane to catch. FOLLOW THE BOUNCIN' BALL. Got no reason, Got no rhyme. Kickin' a can down the road o' time. Follow the Bouncin' Ball, Sing an old song. I don't mind if you tag along. Saturday matinee, give away a funny book, free of charge. Also a CrackerJack. Read "Red Ryder", "Little Beaver". Trade it for a Dizzy Dean baseball card. Down to the roundhouse, Look at the trains. Up on the rooftop, spottin' airplanes. Follow the Bouncin' Ball, Sing an old song. I don't mind if you tag along. (Words & music by Jack Blanchard.) CHRISTMAS ENOUGH. 'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the park, One trailer was leaky and covered with tarp. On the wall were two cards where you taped them up. By the light of a candle I poured us a cup. Our tree on the table was scrawny and thin... A foot and three quarters of plastic and tin. The carolers sang on our clock radio, It's the thought, after all, that counts, as you know. The snow on the window, the smell of the pine, Were sprayed from a can, but we didn't mind. No money, no shopping, no last minute rush. Christmas with love is Christmas Enough. Copyright © October 1, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


August 21, 2017... The new single is off to a good start...

August 19, 2017... Well, THIS is something you don't hear everyday... but you CAN hear it tonight! Courtesy of our friends at Airplay Express...
And if you want to download it, click HERE! Thanks again to our friends at Airplay Express. (P.S.: Jack had a bit of laryngitis when they recorded this. He says it made him sound like Grandpa Simpson. All right... ;) )

July 23rd, 2017...
NUMBER ONE ON SOUNDCLICK CHART TODAY! Garrett Punch's voice. My song. :) CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13603772

July 21st, 2017... They say that what goes around comes around, or something along those lines. With that in mind, here's... Jack!

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THE NEWS. (From 2005.) Disease of the heart, Prices get higher, Porno called art, and your Ford is on fire. Sniffing of glue, And food that is bad for you, Chickens with flu, And cows that are mad for you. Heating oil, Global warming, Depleted soil, And tropical storming. Acid rain, Crashing planes, Crack cocaine, And shooting pains New commies and predators Tsunamis and senators Bombs that are nuclear, How high the gas is, Bombs that are nucular, Destruction of masses. Air pollution, prostitution, And how to interpret the Constitution Kids grades, Terrorist raids, and AIDS The hopeless and the hopers. The homeless and the dopers Take some pills, Learn new skills, Pay your bills, And write your wills. No wonder we've got the blues. It's THE NEWS! Copyright © July 19, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


July 10th, 2017... Just announced...
10% OFF ALL CD SALES!!!
You read that right, folks! EVERY Jack & Misty CD is now 10% OFF!! Replenish your collection now, for less! Click HERE to see what's available!
June 25th, 2017... Well, here it is, it's officially summer. I can tell because all the disk jockeys are melting. And now, here's Jack with an essay that's the complete opposite of whatever they're saying in D.C. right now...

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SIX TRUE STORIES AND ONE LIE. THE BALLET EXPERIMENT. Business was off at the ballet. The theater manager was sharp enough to realize that not everybody likes the ballet. Some people like trombone playing. He did an extensive talent search and found a ballerina who could play the trombone. He offered her big bucks if she could learn to do both at once. The house was packed on opening night. The ballerina danced "Swan Lake" brilliantly, playing the trombone all the way, until the last act which called for a pirouette and a seventh position trombone lick at the same time. She tripped over another swan, blew her teeth to the audience, and did an ad lib five minute pain dance. I know this story is true because I was that ballerina. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ When Misty Morgan was Maryanne Donahue, and six years old, she sang "Cabin in the Sky" on a radio talent program. That's a tough song to sing even for an adult. The winner was a kid that tap danced. On the radio! The announcer, Colin Male, later became her brother-in-law, and he was the announcer on The Andy Griffith Show. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ PIRATE RECORDS. We've found pirate versions of our recordings in gas stations, truck stops, and convenience stores all over the country. One was an 8-track cartridge with a collection of some of our singles that had never been on albums. They just took our 45s and put them on tape. On the front cover they had bad drawings of Misty and me. They had her hair drawn high enough to stop a ceiling fan. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ FROM STEVE HALL/SHOTGUN RED: "I did a show years ago in Minnesota with Jack & Misty and I was just a kid so I got a real lesson on how to entertain a crowd. Not only were their songs cool but they had the crowd eating out of their hands with comedy... I know it has been 30 years but I still remember Jack telling the crowd that he doesn't touch anything in the bathroom... he flushes the toilet with his foot... he turns the water on and off with his elbows ... he said he doesn't even touch the door knob on the way out... he opens it with his teeth! I talked a lot with Jack because he wouldn't let me near Misty! I don't blame him!" Steve Hall / Shotgun Red: Nashville, Tennessee. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ STARTING OUT. Misty and I and a drummer once played on a three hour cruise. We spent the whole evening chasing the drums and piano around the dance floor. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ON THE ROAD. We were doing a Southern tour with Leroy van Dyke, and one place they didn't have enough electricity to run to the flatbed for our show. Leroy offered to let us plug in to his bus generator. Worked fine. People share on the road. Merle Haggard used our PA system when his wasn't working. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ONE NIGHT. Misty and I were on the road in our motor home. It was about 2 AM and we pulled into a Walmart lot and turned out the lights. A watchman pounded on our door and yelled, "YOU CAN'T SLEEP HERE!". We both shouted, "WE'RE NOT SLEEPING!" Copyright © June 25, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


June 15th, 2017...

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THE OLD SCHOOL BUDDY. There was this kid in grammar school... I’ll call him Rick, to protect the guilty. He beat me at everything. In the 100-yard dash I outran everybody except Rick. He had the top grade average of all the boys. I was in there somewhere close. In the graduation picture, guess who sat front and center. Rick was Class President, a job nobody ever considered me for. I was too weird...always making jokes. I was in the back row looking at Ellen Weinheimer’s boobs. The trouble is, we were friends. He was a really nice guy, humble and friendly. He seemed to take second place to me socially. Things change. A few years ago, I called another school buddy I got from Buffalo Information. He had died. I talked to his son and he gave me Rick's phone number. I figured I'd brag about my musical career, the Grammy nomination, and the millions of record sales. Maybe before we both kick the bucket I could get JUST ONE over on him. A woman answered and I heard her say: "Some guy wants to talk to the doctor." He came on the line and it took me about five minutes to explain who I am. He hadn't been thinking about me. He said, "I went to Notre Dame on an athlete's scholarship, and became head professor at Harvard Medical School, and invented a whole new school of medicine." He then told me that his offspring were all doctors, lawyers, or something equally annoying. I was just happy mine were out of jail. He said : "Let's keep in touch" and I said: "Sure". I didn't mention my music career. After all these years, he got me again, and I'd asked for it. He wrote to me once on Harvard business stationery. He never gave me his home address. I never contacted him again, but he later contacted me by email. He was very friendly this time... the old Rick. He even sent me a picture of us together at graduation. We emailed back and forth a few times, and then my messages to him started bouncing back. Rick has disappeared again. I have a feeling he volunteered for the Witness Protection Plan to get away from me. Copyright © June 14, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


June 6th, 2017...

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"BACK IN MY DAY" By Uncle Goopy. You kids are a bunch of sissies. Back in my day we didn’t have hurricanes. We just had storms called “What the hell was that?!” Our houses didn’t blow apart. They were held together by mold, mildew, and asbestos. And we LOVED it! We never wore helmets when we rode our bicycles, and our bikes were seven feet high and made out of lead. We fell directly on our heads and were damn proud of it! You young folks have to wear a helmet when you eat peanuts. We didn't have rocks. We had to take the laundry down to the creek and beat it against our heads. We couldn't afford shoes. In the winter we wrapped our feet in barbed wire for traction. When I was a kid we ate nothing but gluten. Fried gluten, baked or boiled gluten. At breakfast we all said, "Gluten morgen!" My dad thought we were German.” We didn’t have sex back then. We had neckin’. If we did have sex, they’d have told me. My Aunt Maude could jump three feet straight up in the air, without bending her knees. You don’t see talent like that these days. So, eat a peanut, sniff some mold, take off your knee pads, and wear a lead watch. You’ll LOVE it! I hope I can get this childproof cap off my Viagra. Love, Uncle Goopy. Copyright © June 6, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


May 27th, 2017... Hey, gang, YFNW™ Jerry here. I'd wish all of you a happy Memorial Day weekend, but that would be wildly inappropriate considering what it's actually about. And no, it doesn't have anything to do with barbecues, mattress sales, or the hoohas foisted upon us by your local hyped-up car dealers. And it isn't really a holiday, either. It's a day of remembrance, in which we pause and remember those brave servicemen and women who gave their lives to defend this country. So that we may have barbecues, mattress sales, and the hoohas foisted upon us by our local hyped-up car dealers. Just a thought. Now, to lighten things up a bit, Jack & Misty have a new Airplay Express single, "I'm Hung Up On You". See the front page if you missed it. And speaking of our recent birthday celebratees (Yes, that is a word. That I just made up myself. Proper grammar be darned. :-) ), or at least, one of them... Here's Jack...

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ROAD DREAMS. I hate dreams. In most of them I'm trying desperately to get to Buffalo. I don't know why. I haven't lived there since it was a stagecoach stop. The roads all wind up going nowhere, and the people are usually crazy. Those that I know have been dead for years, but don't know it. Often I'm riding in a bus at night watching for the lights of a certain street or town, so I can ask the driver to stop. When I do get off there's nothing but a dark empty crossroads with no signs of life. The insanity always seems explanable to me at the time. It never occurs to me that it's just another stupid dream. I'm stuck in cities or towns that look slightly famiiar, but that I can't pin down. I'm confronted by old enemies that I don't recognize, but whose presence means danger. Indoor settings are always dumps that change shape when I try to find my room. Misty is a recurring character that slips in and out of scenes. Sometimes I'm trying to call her on a pay phone. I've considered that some of my dreams could be the result of living on the road for so many years through strange territory, not knowing what was ahead.. I wonder if the things I see at night are what the mentally ill see in the daytime? Copyright © May 27, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


May 23rd, 2017... Just for the record...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISTY!!!
...and of course, many more!
May 20th, 2017... Apologies if this one ran a bit late...

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THE LITTLE BROWN BOTTLE. Rulan Spinkter was losing interest. His gaze wandered out the window even during the goriest parts of the 6 o'clock News. Beauty and nature were okay, but they didn't rouse him from his apathy. TV violence wasn't as much fun as it used to be. His wife said this to him: "That Viagra must be growing mildew by now." He didn't believe in happy endings, and didn't worry about bad ones. He was a lump of cells taking up space that could be used for parking. He read the obituaries, looking through the death notices for people he didn't like. He felt let down when they didn't accommodate. Rulan wondered idly how long he might live... not that it mattered. He knew he was going nuts, but it was too much trouble to think about it. The top button on his pants was open and he didn't shave much any more. A television commercial came on and told him to ask his doctor about some pill. He wasn't sick, but he didn't feel great. Anyway, he already had some pills upstairs, but he didn't know what they were for or where they came from. He got the pill bottle open, cursing at the child-proof cap. They were yellow and about the size of aspirin, and seemed to glow a little. He thought "What the hell" and swallowed a handful. An hour later he was jogging toward town, looking for excitement... an illegal grin on his face. He bought a new convertible, put his new baseball cap on sideways, buttoned up his pants, and roared down Main Street, singing songs of questionable taste. That's when he noticed the patrol car flashing behind him. He stepped on the gas. Thirty-seven police cars were pursuing him on the Interstate. They were going ninety-three miles an hour, when Rulan and his convertible vanished. The head cop barked "Spread out." into his radio: That's what police are trained to say when perps disappear into thin air. Rulan was never seen again except on Dateline, and 60 Minutes, where he was the Mystery of the Week. His wife was going through his things for The Good Will when she found a little brown pill bottle. The label was dirty and unreadable. The pills had a funny Day-Glo look. The label was too dirty to read, so she spit on a Kleenex and rubbed it until the letters became clear. These words were printed on the label: "Do not ask your doctor. Take a chance." She tossed the bottle into the pocket of an old jacket, and put all of Rulan's stuff into the Good Will box at the mall. Later that night, Quince Duckworthy, a homeless wino, found some free pills in a pile of old clothes, and soon became a successful motivational speaker. The theme of his Duckworthy Self-Improvement Program was this: "Take a chance." Copyright © May 17, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


May 14th, 2017... Just for the record...
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
And in that spirit, here's Jack...
THE TEAR. There's something about a photograph. Many people believe that having your picture taken steals some of your soul. I look at pictures of friends and relatives who have died, and I can see that soul, especially in the eyes, the expression, and even the body language. I have a picture of my mother taken at a holiday gathering during her later years. She was smiling, and seemed to be in the Christmas spirit. I've looked at that picture many times, but a few weeks ago, I enlarged it, and thought I saw something. I hit the 200% button, made it really big, and zoomed in on her face. The smile was still there, but in her eye I saw something unexpected: A tear. I sat back in shock and took a deep breath. What could she have been thinking? Was it a tear of joy or sadness? Did she know that it may be one of her last family moments? I asked her that question aloud, but the photograph didn't answer. I'm sure we were all enjoying the moment together, but at the same time, taking it for granted. You always think there will be many more. Now I realize my mother was not taking that moment for granted. I keep going back to look at the photo, even though it's burned into my mind, and my heart. When I discovered the tear behind her smile, I had tears to match hers. We spoke to each other beyond the limits of time and space. There is soul in a photograph. Copyright © 2017, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 8th, 2017... Just for the record...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JACK!!!
And best wishes, to boot! - Jerry.
April 21st, 2017...
HOT LONG FOOT DOGS. Almost every morning when we wake up, I say something like this to Misty: Do you come here often?" Today she said... "Not if I don't have to." She had some Strauss waltzes playing on a CD. I didn't comment. After about ten minutes of Strauss' three-quarter time, she got up and changed the CD, saying... "I want some music where I don't have to count!" Anyway... A lot of people make me laugh: Stephen Wright, Bob Newhart, Mark Twain, Homer Simpson... The list is endless. But the one who makes me laugh most often lives right here. At first I thought it was a tendency toward spoonerisms, years ago, when Misty read a roadside sign to me as "Hot long foot dogs", and "Look at the Clydes up in the skow!" (Clouds up in the sky.) After a while I began to notice the little smile she had when saying one of these things. She knows she's funny, but she doesn't care if people think she's mixed up. Mixed up like a fox! Over the years I wrote most of them down for posterity on the inside covers of legal pads. I now have hundreds of these which I plan to go through someday to put her sayings into a book. In the meantime, here are a few I can remember: "He's watching me like I'm a hawk." "Bleeding like a stuffed pig". "Life is a three-way street." "Let the guy without sin pass the first stone." I said "Who's that singing?" She said "The Elderly Brothers." She once said to me: "You could charm the women right out of the trees." "Running around like a chicken with its hat off." A woman on TV was using a lot of big words. Misty said. "Go play with your brain!" We were mixing down a recording session and she picked out a little flaw. The engineer told her she could really hear well, and she said, "Like a mink". Misty was telling me a story from her childhood, and after a while I jumped in. She said "I'm still talking." I said "I've been trying to get a word in for three days." She said "I was just trying to finish my paragraph." We laughed, and then she finished her paragraph. Copyright © April 20, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 18th, 2017... In times like these, I think it's a good idea to remember the words of that famous Indy car driver, Parnelli Schmidlap, who once said, "Nuts to turning left! I'm gonna turn right and see what happens!" (Once.) Or, you can forget him and follow our fearless leader instead. So, here's Jack...
A STRING OF COINCIDENCES. Misty and I were both born in the Millard Fillmore Hospital, in Buffalo New York, in different years. We both had blue eyes and brown hair, parents named John and Mary, and we each had a sister named Virginia and called "Ginny". We both played piano and sang in clubs in Western New York. sometimes with the same musicians, but we never met. We were both married to other people when we were young, and lived for a while in Southern Ohio. We finally got together in the Miami, Florida area, and worked in music there. We were married by a Justice of the Peace in Kingsland, Georgia, on the way to a gig, and lived reasonably happily ever after. TIME QUAKE. I was sitting in a Lazy-Boy chair after a walk. Misty was talking to me from over the kitchen bar, her red glasses on top of her head and she was smiling. At that moment she looked to me exactly as she did in her twenties. A time quake. OLD SONGS. Mrs. Miller is singing the OLD SONGS With the nurses at afternoon games. She remembers the words to the OLD SONGS, But forgotten her family's names. The past is just over her shoulder And the music can turn back the years. Old times flicker by at the corner of her eye When the OLD SONGS ring in her ears. So bring up the band and give them a hand. While we can, let's all sing along And maybe we'll find lost love in the memories That live in the heart of OLD SONGS. Copyright © April 18, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 3rd, 2017... We thought you might like to read this short article about us that just came out. http://www.wideopencountry.com/might-bizarre-no-1-country-hit-time/ Jack & Misty
March 25th, 2017... Or, in the immortal words of poet extraordinaire Randolph W. Goon, "Spring has sprung, The grass is ris, I wonder where The flowers is." (Apologies and credit to Ed Walker and The Joy Boys.) And with that styrofoam-plated introduction, here's Jack with some Short Snorters. Really...
SHORT SNORTERS. Willie Nelson is the star of The Florida Strawberry Festival this year. We were the Strawberry Festival stars 40 years ago. Willie's coming up in the world. I was talking with Grandpa Jones about a mutual friend, a country music star. Grandpa was worried that our friend was taking a lot of drugs. I said, "He takes drugs?" Grandpa said, "Why, he'd take an overcoat button!" Dick Clark spent a lot of time hanging out with us. I said, "You really are a nice guy", and he said, "That's all I've got going". Back when we had the million-seller Tennessee Birdwalk there were only a million people in the world. THE LIMO. Misty and I once bought a raggedy old limousine for $90. We needed transportation and would rather look eccentric than poor. To add to the effect, we colored it powder blue with house paint and a brush. At a gas station two tough guys said they knew the car and that we owed them big money. We'd never been there before in our life! I floored it and sped away at four miles an hour. A former associate of ours once kept our new Corvette locked in his garage in New Mexico, and wouldn't let us have it. We called a friend in Massachusetts and he flew out there, broke into the garage, and stole it back for us. We have always gotten by with help from our friends. My dad said, "I'd like to purchase a chicken." The farmer said, "Wanta pullet?" Dad said, "No. Just put it in a bag. I'll carry it." Misty called me from the library today and I said "What are you wearing?" A BAD HAIR DAY... Misty just said, "My hair looks like a drowned rat." I said, "No. It looks like a nice rat." She laughed. A Wendy's cashier demanded that I prove that I'm NOT eligible for a senior discount. Copyright © March 25, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 11th, 2017... A reminder... Sunday at 2:00 am is Daylight Savings Time. Don't think of it as losing an hour of sleep. Rather, think of it as losing an unwanted hour of the Tr*mp administration. (Sigh) I feel so much better now. And now, a different reminder of how time flies. Here's Jack...
LESTER PARKER. We lost track of him for many decades, and recently read of his death in the Boston area. A musician that knew him wrote this in his obituary: "You always knew Lester was in the building when you heard the sound of a saxophone emanating from the men's (or sometimes the ladies) room. The next thing you knew he was strutting towards the bandstand all hunched over with his right hand doing that shaking thing of his, playing all the way. He didn't seem to care if the guys in the band welcomed him or not." Flashback to Miami, 1960s. Misty and I were taken by a friend to meet a sax player for her combo, and when we knocked on the apartment door, this Dustin Hoffmann guy answered in his boxer shorts. Our friend said to Lester Parker "Go put your pants on!" He was an unusual character, the best sax player in Miami, and a pretty good chess player. We became close friends. The Misty Morgan group, with Lester Parker, packed 'em in at a popular Miami club, and they had fun working together. He could be gruff with other people, but not with Misty. The name Lester Parker was a combination of Lester Young and Charlie Parker, jsax legends. "Swing like Lester, burn like Parker", said Sam Rivers, famous jazz bandleader and arranger. The following writings from various other musicians seem to tell this story best: "The first time I saw him, with his King Super 20 tenor....Black shirt, Black tie , slicked back hair....he looked like something outta the 1940s." "Educated musically on the bandstand via the school of hard knocks, Lester had a rough as nails front. He could verbally level ya in a heartbeat, but once you got past that....he was a good guy... all about the music." "In the 50's Lester traveled with George Wallington, the bop pianist. Lester worked the joints in Boston, but more importantly.... he was a master of the standard song form. He practiced at least 4 hours a day, sick or not." "He came to NYC lookin' for an old metal Berg (saxophone). He was told by a shop outside town that they had drawers full. So....we trecked out in my car... Lester was smokin' so much that the Lincoln tunnel smelled good." "He'll tell ya.....' Look ...its either 4 hours minimum or I ain't bringin out my artillery.'" "He'd pass out lead sheets. As the song was goin' he'd pull the sheet off the stand and yell "PLAY!" He had an odd way.....but he was real. Lester would throw a kid's "REAL BOOK" on the floor and say..... " your not playin WITH the band..you're relyin' on that book." Old school yea...but.......the results were there, if you tried. He cared." "He bought a mint condition King Super 20 (sax) as a back up. It was amazing. He had the bread saved to buy a newer car, but he went for the SUPER 20. His comment was... " Hey......the sled (car) I can get any time... those pieces of junk are everywhere... The Super 20....is ART" . "His was the first Christmas card I'd ever recieve. ( over...30 years of them too !!!) When I wasn't home he'd talk to my mom or in later years my wife. A different kinda cat." "I never knew him well. In fact for the last thirty years I avoided him because everyone I knew would never go to a gig or session if they even thought he was going to show up because he "terrorized" the bandstand.The very least we can say is that he was a legend here in Boston. Characters like him are getting rarer and rarer." "I never met Lester personally, but spoke to him many times on the phone. He'd call Ralph's shop, rather regularly--- and I'd know it's him--- He'd snarl into the phone "Tell Ralph it's his brother-in-law!" lol- of course they weren't related First time I ever talked to him, scared the crap outta me! Yeah, he had that gruff exterior, in your face and the language, but I soon came to know him as very generous and very knowledgeable and we've got this recent picture of him blowing his horn on the wall, black hair still slicked back." And another musician wrote this: "I told Roberto today...about Lester and his eyes teared up." Where ever Lester Parker is I'm sure there is a song in the air. Copyright © March 11, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 8th, 2017...

Magazine cover, March 2017.
The label we're now with.


February 22nd, 2017...
A MEDICAL MYSTERY. Written after a hospital visit in 2008. Here's a weird little episode from my recent week at the hospital. I was told not to eat or drink anything for twelve hours before checking in. After checking in there was a six hour delay before my surgery, and then more hours of no eating or drinking during surgery and after it was over. I woke up starving and thirsty, but there was a sign on my room door that said "NPO". NPO is an abbreviation of the Latin "Non per os" or "Nothing by mouth". This is like the Catholics calling the Bingo numbers in Latin so the Protestants can't win. I had a new nurse who was friendly enough, but not the type who would sneak you stuff. She said I would probably get food and drink soon, but not to have anything until she found out for sure.. A few minutes later a tray of beautiful food was wheeled in. I thought that maybe the nurse had worked it out for me, but I also thought that it might be a mistake. I put that out of my mind and began eating. Just then the nurse walked in and said "Who gave you that food?" Between gulps I said "Didn't you order it?" She raised her voice and said, "I gave you specific orders not to eat..." I started eating faster. She was getting louder when I noticed a huge cherry cobbler on the far side of the tray and went for it. She yelled and I ate at full speed ahead. She threw up her hands and stormed out of the room. Speaking of "threw up", later that night I barfed up something that appeared to be extra-terrestrial, and the whole hospital went into red alert. They rushed samples of my output to the lab, and somebody thought I was poisoned. Someone else mentioned carbolic acid, and others suspected internal bleeding. I had a crowd around my bed and staff members running in and out of the room. Then the news came back from the laboratory: "No sign of poison, blood or anything harmful." I guess the lab technicians weren't looking for cherry cobbler. Copyright © February 22, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
February 8th, 2017...
MARIE AND BOBBY. Marie and Bobby are two of the best people we know. They are old and close friends, like family. Musicians in their fifties, they were coming home from a job when they were involved in an auto accident, and injured. During their recovery they got hooked on pain pills. These are not dopers. They are wholesome people, who play fine music, and always keep a nice home. Marie speaks six languages. They got a doctor who always had a waiting room full of people, coming from miles around and waiting 5 or 6 hours for the pills he so liberally dispensed. Marie and Bobby went on tour and had doctors all over the country. They lost their home, their health, and got old before our eyes. They went into deep depression. I got a phone call late one night from Bobby. He said that he and Marie were sitting in their car, in the closed garage, with the motor running. They'd had it! They wanted me to explain to their kids, who were grown and had families of their own, that this was their only way out. They didn't want to be any further burden. That was the reason for the call. Or maybe it was a call for help. They lived 70 or 80 miles from us, so I couldn't get there in time to do anything, and I couldn't reason with him, so I tried this: I told him that if I didn't get a phone call from him every ten minutes for the rest of the night, I would call 911. It made him mad. He pleaded and cursed, but it worked. They stayed alive and got off the drugs. Copyright © February 8, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 30th, 2017... THIS JUST IN! The label we've been with for a long time discontinued releasing compilations. I was told that today. We liked being associated with our friend Gary Bradshaw. Luckily we have new friends at Airplay Express to help keep our music out there. -- Jack.
January 16th, 2017...
SNAPSHOTS FROM LIFE. AUTUMN. Autumn is my favorite time of year… a season of moods. The first chill after summer has worn out its welcome... That’s when I start to feel the holidays coming on. Not that we do any big celebrating these days… but it’s the remembering of celebrations past, and those who were with us during good times. The empty places at our table. I write more songs during the remnants of the year… when emotions are nearer to the surface, the past is just over our shoulder, and old voices whisper in our ear. SCHOOL DAYS. Sammy Becker was the neighborhood bad boy. He wasn't really bad, but he was in constant hot water. He often stole stuff and brought it to school for show-and-tell. One day he brought a case of white powder in small corked bottles. Sammy showed us a trick. If you spit into a bottle, replaced the cork, and shook it up, the cork would pop and shoot about fifty feet. I later learned that the powder was called Eno Salts, and it was a laxative. Apparently a good one. TIME QUAKE. I was sitting in a Lazy-Boy chair after a walk. Misty was talking to me from over the kitchen bar, her red glasses on top of her head, and she was smiling. At that moment she looked to me exactly as she did in her twenties. A time quake. OLD SONGS. Mrs. Miller is singing the OLD SONGS With the nurses at afternoon games. She remembers the words to the OLD SONGS, But forgotten her family's names. The past is just over her shoulder And the music can turn back the years. Old times flicker by at the corner of her eye When the OLD SONGS ring in her ears. So bring up the band and give them a hand. While we can, let's all sing along And maybe we'll find lost love in the memories That live in the heart of OLD SONGS. ONE WINTER, It was minus 35 degrees and windy in Minnesota, Misty and I stayed in a cement floor cabin on a lake shore. I heard what sounded like whale sounds. It was the frozen lake groaning as it expanded. We had recently had such bad times that we were thankful to be there with friends close by at Christmas. We didn't mind the cold. At this time Misty made little socks for our two little dogs so the cold snow wouldn't burn their feet when we took them out. THE LIMO. Misty and I once bought a raggedy old limousine for $90. We needed transportation and would rather look eccentric than poor. To add to the effect, we colored it powder blue with house paint and a brush. At a gas station two tough guys said they knew the car and that we owed big money there. We'd never been there before in our life! I floored it and sped away at four miles an hour. AT HOME. Almost every morning when we wake up, I say something like this to Misty: "Do you come here often?" Today she said... "Not if I don't have to." LAST WORDS. We were on TV with Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Mike Douglas, Tina Turner, and others, and on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. We met Richard Nixon and he played the piano for us, and I had dinner with Joe DiMaggio. If they make a movie of our life, it better be a talkie! Copyright © January 16, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 6th, 2017... If you'd like to hear a 20 minute radio interview I just did with DJ Scott Wikle, click here: http://www.fishcreekradio.com/the-vault/2016/ -- Jack.
January 4th, 2017...
POTSO. Potso lived in the gray shingle house two doors up the street from me. His real name was Robert Stanley. I don't know how he got the nickname "Potso". He was Potso when I got there. He was a couple of years younger than the rest of us neighborhood kids, and not very good at sports, but he tried. His cheeks were red, and his nose ran a lot, especially in the winter. It's hard to be cool when your nose is running. I don't know who tagged him with "Potso", but I don't think any of us meant it in a mean way. Mr. Pennell, a neighborhood dad, made a rock garden in his backyard, and decorated it with cement imitation stones. Each stone was engraved with the name of one of us kids. "Potso" was there in a place of honor. I can tell you this: If anybody picked on our "Potso", they'd have to deal with us. As a couple of years went by, Potso began suggesting that we call him Robert. I think it was his mother's idea. She was a pretty and intelligent lady, but I didn't realize that until later. We tried to remember to call him Robert, but habits are hard to break. Robert's father was everybody's handyman, doing simple chores up and down the street. My parents said he was "shell-shocked". He was a sweet, childlike man, who smiled, but never talked much. He walked with a slightly unsure gait. The Stanley's were the object of quiet sympathy. Sympathy can hurt. One day we were all shocked to hear that Mr. Stanley had died. Kids aren't used to death. I don't remember when Robert and his mother moved away. A few years later, I got a Christmas season job jumping on and off a delivery truck while the driver sat in the warm cab, smoking cigars and drinking something from a bottle he carried in a paper bag. One cold afternoon, we were delivering in a section of town that was a step or two classier than where I lived. I went up the porch steps of the two-story brick house, and rang the upstairs doorbell. Robert Stanley answered the door. He looked different. I think he was on his way out because he was wearing expensive looking clothes, with a camel hair fingertip length topcoat. He still had the rosy cheeks, but his nose wasn't running. I was happy to see him, and started a conversation. His mother came down the stairs behind him and told him he'd better hurry. She was polite, but I could feel she wasn't really glad to see me. I felt a little slighted, but after I thought it over I realized this: They had their new life where nobody felt sorry for them. She didn't want him to be Potso anymore. Jack Blanchard Copyright © 2012, 2017 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 1st, 2017...
This might not be the smartest time to start a year, but... HAPPY DAMN NEW YEAR ANYWAY!!!! _____Jack & Misty.
Well, here we go again, folks. If you get the feeling you just missed last year (what was it called, anyway?), you can now find it here! (And also on the Old News page, of course.) Here's to a safe and happy 2017! Happy New Year, everybody! Jerry D. Withers, Your Friendly Neighborhood Webmeister™
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