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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.)

June 15th, 2017...

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.

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...

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.

"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...

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.

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...

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.

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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