Articles duJour

Men From Earth...

They were exciting times. It was a steamy summer of 1976, and the Ozark Mtn. Daredevils were in the process of recording their fourth, and, as of yet, untitled album for A&M Records. With some moderate success under their belts, things were on the upswing for this group of young musicians from southwest Missouri.

    The band had already resisted attempts from the record company to relocate to Los Angeles. We were doing everything we could to hold onto our families, our friends, our homes, and all of the other things we deemed valuable, and had helped us get to the point we had reached.

    When the topic of the album cover arose, we, stubbornly, insisted on including the Missouri mule into the artwork. Everyone, to a man, agreed this was an excellent idea, and must be pursued.

    Rehearsals for the record had just concluded in the rehearsal hall behind my house, the famous Nixa Trout Farm (see back cover of "Time Warp, the Very Best of ........"). Many were the afternoons, where I would quietly sit on my front porch, whiling away the day, playing my guitar. I often saw Clarence, and his son Roscoe, Jones ride by on their horse-drawn wagon on their way to, and from, town. They never failed to return my wave.

    Being from a bygone era, these two men, Clarence, in his 70's, and Roscoe, in his 50's, lived alone near Clever, Missouri, in a two room shack with all the windows boarded up. They farmed 40 acres of, nothing but rock and cedar trees, and were just as recognizable as our band to the local people of Christian County.

    As the racket that often emanated from our music room would waft through the valley, the Jones boys, neither of them standing more than five feet tall, would stop, and appear in the doorway, their curiosity getting the best of them. Never once, did they get in the way, or hinder the proceedings (Unlike some of our other friends).

    Roscoe always carried a harmonica with him, and loved to play along. Of course, you couldn't hear him, due to our amplifiers blaring away, but you could see the exhilaration in his eyes, as he was made to feel like one of the guys. We never discouraged their presence, and when we would take a break, they would hoist my daughter, wide-eyed, onto the back of their horse.
In a nut shell, they were friendly, though strange, neighbors.

    When the topic of mules, and album covers, re-arose, these gentlemen's names did the same, as they were the only ones in the area, we knew of, who had mules. It was decided that I would be the spokesman of the group. After all, I lived closer to them than my band mates, knew them better, and dealt with them on a day-to-day basis.

    I consented in a minute. I had nothing to be afraid of. I liked them. I had their neighborly respect, as we'd always treated each other cordially, and fairly.

    We employed local photographer, Jim Mayfield, to take the picture. As he, and I, drove over to the Jones' farm on that humid summer morning, I told him to make sure all of his cameras were loaded, and to be ready for anything.

    When we pulled up to their house, Jim's eyes grew, as Roscoe and Clarence emerged. It was the middle of July and these men were dressed in work boots, long sleeve shirts and heavy overalls (See the cover of "Men From Earth"). 

    I didn't feel comfortable coming right out, and asking them if this stranger could just start taking their picture. I had a plan in the back of my mind, though, as I stated my motive, asking if we could photograph their mules.

    They recognized me immediately, and realizing that my intentions were honest, consented. I wasn't going to say anything, but when, in passing, Roscoe mentioned that, maybe, they could be in one of the pictures, I scratched my chin in mock contemplation, and told him that that was a great idea. A quick glance, and an inconspicuous wink of the eye, to Mayfield sent his camera shutter into high speed.

    The entire photo shoot only took thirty minutes as Jim, quickly, shot several rolls of film. This didn't seem to matter, for, when the proof sheets came back, we had 100, or so, pictures, each one, eerily, the same. As the two men, stoically, stood in the exact same position for the entire time, the only difference in any of the shots was the expression on the mules.

    The album cover was decided upon, long before it was titled. It was determined, though, that the picture would be in color, so as not to be mistaken for just another old black and white photograph someone found in their grandmother's attic.

    There was to be no writing on the actual cardboard cover. The title logo was to be a sticker, pasted onto the outer shrink-wrap. When the record was purchased, and the cellophane removed, a striking, color photograph, suitable for framing, remained. I know several people who didn't own a stereo, who bought the record, just to stare at the cover.

    Eventually, though, the album had to be titled. This occurred later that same summer, during the actual recording at Caribou Ranch in Nederland, Colorado.

    A typical work day at Caribou consisted of a full day of recording, and after a break to eat dinner, a return trip into the studio for the entire evening. After one particular afternoon session, and a nice dinner, the microphones were turned off. Clarence and Roscoe's photo was propped up on the recording console, a bottle of cognac opened, and a 'name-the-album-party' broke out. As the cognac disappeared, titles began to fly through the air fast, and furious.

    This went on for several hours, until, from the back of the room, someone (can't remember who) yelled "Men From Mars". This brought a cautious hush over the proceedings, as we all knew we were close. The next suggestion, "Men From Earth" (also can't remember from who), brought the curtain down, and the party to an end. With a collective sigh of relief, the album was named.

    When we finished the final mixes, and turned the album in, we thought everything was over, and done with. That is, until I received an early morning phone call from the A&M offices in Hollywood. It seemed that, in order for us to use their picture, Clarence and Roscoe would have to sign a release form, and be compensated in some way.

    Once again, I was the designated messenger. I tried to explain to Hollywood that these men could barely talk above a mumble, no less read, or write. How was I to get their signature on a contract?

    When I was told that it was a signed contract, or another cover, I knew I had a job to do. That album cover is a very good one, and well worth the effort it took to ensure it's being. I was also informed that the contract needn't be anything more than a sheet of paper with their mark on it. 

    I considered forgery, but instead, ripped a piece of paper from my spiral notebook, and headed back to their farm. I quickly formulated a plan, as I knew that they had just had their shotgun and chainsaw stolen. On the paper, I wrote:    "We will let you use our picture on your record in exchange for a shotgun and a chainsaw".    Thus, comprised a contract, and compensation.

    I hadn't been nervous, at all, about asking them to take a picture of their mules, but to ask them to sign a legal contract was a mule of another color.

    I went prepared, carrying the sheet of paper, two pens (in case one broke), and a hard surface to write on. Once again, when I pulled up to their house, I was, warmly, greeted. When I explained the situation to them, and how they were going to receive a new gun and a new saw, they understood, immediately, and were more than happy to comply with my request.

    Roscoe, eagerly, grabbed the pen and paper from my hand, and ran fifty yards down the lane, where he proceeded to jump into the weeds and hide.

    Clarence, and I, pawed at the ground and talked about the weather for a few minutes, until Roscoe returned, signed contract in hand. When I glanced at the paper, I could make out the first letter. It was definitely an "R", but the rest of the page was filled with illegible scribble.

    I handed them four, one hundred dollar bills, and they thanked me for helping them out with their stolen property. I thanked them for helping our band out.

    Being the liaison between the Jet Set and the Stone Age, represented to me as wide a culture gap as humanly possible. I feel fortunate to be able to move, comfortably, between the two.

    Returning to Nixa, from Clever, I telephoned Hollywood with the news. They assured me this was sufficient, and the album was released. To this day, that scribbled-upon sheet of paper/contract hangs, framed, in producer, David Anderle's office.

    After all, we are all men from earth.

My Friend, Sid

I don't remember what it was I was dreaming about, but I do remember how I was awakened. It was not a rude awakening. It was laughter.

    As a loud, spontaneous thunderclap of laughter ripped through the air, it became quite apparent, quite quickly, that I, still quite spaced out, was the focus of the merriment. As the cobwebs began to clear, it became obvious that no one was laughing at me, but at what had just happened to me.

    The sign in the reception area of London's AIR Recording Studios read as follows:
    Studio A: Ozarks
    Studio B:
    Studio C: Pistols

    Everyone entering AIR must pass through a common reception area before heading to their respective studios. It was in this reception area that I had fallen asleep. It was in this reception area that I was awakened by the guffawing of the handful of Englishmen who were also using said reception area to sit around between overdubs, read magazines, take naps, etc., and it
was here that I first met him.

    Well, to be perfectly honest, I didn't actually meet him, for, by the time I'd come out of the fog, Sid Vicious had already yanked on my beard (which, at the time, I wore quite long), and run down the hallway into the sanctuary of Studio C.
    "You're going after him, aren't you mate?"
    "You're not going to let the bloke get away with that, are you?"
    "He's an arshole."

    Groggily, I strolled down the long hallway, past Studio C (as well as Studio B) on my way to the bathroom, which just happened to be located at the end of the same hallinary cul-de-sac. As I passed by the door to Studio C, I was tempted.

    The door was tightly shut. I didn't knock. Judging by the racket coming from within, they wouldn't have been able to have heard a knock on the door, anyway. I was not worried. Nor, was I angry. I knew the Sex Pistols would be in Studio C for the entire week.

    And, what a week it was. Elvis Presley had just died, and Elvis Costello's first record had just come out. While we were comfortably nestled in the studio, on the street, record companies were in a feeding frenzy, and the media was, maniacally, elbowing each other, trying to cover this crazy little thing called 'punk rock'. England was definitely swinging.

    It wasn't until early the next afternoon that I actually met him. Once again, it was in the hallway, the same hallway where, just moments earlier, I'd run into Sir George Martin on his way back into Studio B, cups of coffee in our hands.

    Being the proprietor of AIR, Sir George was aware of our band, our music, and our presence in Studio A. After a warm, introductory handshake, he asked if I had a minute to spare. Of course I did, and we ducked into Studio B, where he was mixing Paul McCartney's latest record (thus explaining the blank space behind Studio B on the sign in the reception area).

    After a brief social visit, and with empty cups, he asked if I'd be interested in listening to the song he'd been working on that morning. He also asked if I thought the guitars were too loud in the mix. During the playback, I couldn't believe my eyes, my ears, or any other part of my absurd life. THE George Martin, asking me if Paul McCartney's guitars were too loud.

    Of course they were sparkling, and mixed perfectly, an opinion I expressed with a series of stammers and stutters. He thanked me, told me to stop by any time, and I continued on my merry way to the restroom.

    Leaving the cozy confines of Studio B, where I'd just been face to face with the quintessential English gentleman, I hit the hallway, where I stood face to face with Sid Vicious. Can you say 'dichotomy'?

    Sid, and an equally strange friend of his, had emerged from Studio C, and began walking up the hall toward me. I had no intentions of bringing up yesterday's antics, but, sure enough, when we got close enough to each other, as if some strange urge overtook him, his hand went right for the bottom half of my face. It was not a punch, but, merely, another frontal assault on
facial hair.

    This time I was awake, and grabbed his hand before his hand could grab my beard. He tried to pull away, but though I am not a big, burly guy, it didn't take much, and the firmness of my grip was too overpowering for him. He was helpless until I decided to let loose of his hand.

    The conversation, if you can call it that, did not last very long, for it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Sid could not comprehend what I was saying. Nor, could he talk (grunt is a better word).

    Had I had my wits about me, I could've (and should've) become nationwide, making the front pages of music tabloids everywhere with headlines like "Country Rocker Pummels Punk Vicious" or "Rival Bassists Square Off in REAL Battle of the Bands".

    I just held onto my handshake grip until he looked me into the eyes and got my unspoken message. Then, I let go of his hand and chuckled as I watched the two of them make a mad dash up the hall and around the corner. They vanished in a matter of seconds.

    George Martin and Sid Vicious in the same breath. I told you my life was

    AIR Studios is located on the third floor of a beautifully ornate building, directly overlooking Oxford Circus. Right outside the aforementioned reception area stands the elevator that transports passengers from the tranquil quiet of the recording studio to the hustle and bustle of downtown London.

    I had already pushed the 'down' button when I heard that familiar grunting coming up the hall, and out the door. He was alone this time and we immediately became just two guys waiting for the elevator.

    No big deal, you say? Not when you're waiting for an elevator with Sid Vicious. There was, once again, no real communication between us, just my eyes keeping an eye on his hands, and my amusement gland holding it's side.

    Eventually, it had to happen. The elevator cometh. A handful of people already occupied the car as we got on. I immediately blended in and became the 'normal' guy, as Sid grunted, sniffled, flung his head and shoulders about, and, in general, took up more than his share of space.

    Eventually, it had to happen again. That's right. We reached the ground floor and the doors opened. I don't think Sid liked elevators much, for as soon as the doors did open, he rushed out as if he were escaping a burning building.

    I was in no big hurry, so I decided to continue on with my 'Normal Man' character, and follow Mr. Vicious, just to see what he was going to do once he hit Oxford Circus. Of course, Normal Man can exist quite easily anywhere within a two hundred yard radius of this guy.

    He stumbled through the lobby, and out the door, with Normal Man, inconspicuously, trailing him, bought an ice cream cone from a sidewalk vendor, and caromed off into the crowd. I was disappointed.

    But not for long !!!!!!!!!

    It was back upstairs into Studio A, and the work continued. Later that same afternoon, during a lull in the action, I took the opportunity to, quietly, daydream out the window at the rush hour scene, and the ant-size people, below.

    My trance was interrupted when a startling flash of viciousness flew through my field of vision. There was my friend Sid, running around right before my very eyes. I would've normally thought nothing of it, except that I was safely inside the building. He had climbed out of a window in Studio C and was running along a narrow cat walk that encircles the entire third floor
of this grand old building.

    I rubbed my eyes, for I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Yes, he was out on that ledge, and out of his mind. When I turned my gaze back towards the control room, the rest of my band mates were beside themselves with laughter. Pete Henderson, our English engineer was not amused with his fellow countryman.

    That was the last time I saw my old friend Sid. He laid down his bass parts (or so rumor has it) and split. I heard their record. I love their record. I bought their record. Every well-rounded record collection has a copy of "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols" in it's midst.

    I also recognize it's place in history as, not only, one of the greatest rock-n-roll recordings made, but one of the greatest rock-n-roll swindles of all time, and because A&M Records, one of their victims, was also our record company, Sid and I were label mates for, literally, hours.

    They followed their record with a tour of the United States, but I was not interested. I had been friends with Sid for only one week, and that was more than enough. They'd swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars from several record companies. They weren't going to swindle me out of five bucks.

    I knew it was a hoax. I saw it first hand. I loved every second of it. I have a very healthy amusement gland.

        Yeah, Johnny Rotten was there at AIR, too. He was a good guy, and sharp as a tack. He could, at least, hold a conversation. We talked about Elvis as we sat around, passing the time between overdubs.

    It was in this reception area..........

If you'd like to read about baseball...

    The memories are as vivid, and clear, as the St. Louis summer air was hot, and sticky. Grandpa’s chair sat right by the window, in order to catch any glimpse of a breeze. Air conditioning was still a far fetched idea, as soft summer winds, gently, pushed Grandma’s white laced curtains away from the window sill, brushing them up against Grandpa’s radio, that was, religiously, tuned into 50,000 clear watts of KMOX radio. 

    As Harry Caray and Jack Buck, effervescently, welcomed everyone to Cardinal baseball, I grabbed my baseball card collection, and camped at Grandpa’s feet. For the next few hours, the only thing in the world that really mattered to us, was how many hits Stan was going to get, how many bases Brock was going to steal, and how many strikeouts Gibby was going to record. 

    Grandma knew not to disturb us, except to bring me a bottle of Coke, and Grandpa his bottle of cold, frosty Budweiser. It was a simpler time. There was no Sport center. There were no tales of the tape. There were no slow motion instant replays. Grandpa didn’t even own a television. In those days, if you missed the game on the radio, you missed it, period. 

    The only game that was televised was ‘Game of the Week’ on Saturday afternoon. If you missed that, you were shot out of luck. Baseball was a radio game. For some of us, it still is. 

    Though my boyhood memories are still as revered as my love for Cardinal baseball is unconditional, today, the road my adult life has taken, has lead me just out of the range of KMOX. It has deposited me in Dixie, where, while I want news about pennant races and home run chases, I am forced to endure gaudy displays of affection for SEC football and NASCAR. 

    There is no Fox Sports Midwest. I am forced to watch Fox Sports South, which provides me with everything I want to know (or not know) about the Atlanta Braves (yuk), the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (who?), and Billy Joe Bob Earnhart, Jr. Since my move south, if I wanted to listen to a Cardinal baseball game, I would have to wait for the sun to go down, get in my truck, drive to the outskirts of Nashville, and try to tune in the game. 

    As the 1998 baseball season began to unfold, I knew history was in the making, and something drastic had to be done. As Mark McGwire began his daredevilesque assault of Roger Maris’ home run record, it became very apparent, very quickly, that I needed to buy a new, and better, radio for my house.

    In a manner, not unlike Richard Dreyfuss’ obsession with building a mountain of dirt in his kitchen in the classic scene from ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, I raced to the radio store. I explained to the man behind the counter that I didn’t care what color is was, what size it was, or how many doo-dads and thingamajigs it had on it.   All my new radio had to do, was be strong enough to pick up the Cardinal baseball game. Enough said. End of report. 

    For the past several years, I was content with sporadic coverage of the Cardinals. Sports center was watched at night, and USA Today was read in the morning. That was the extent of it. This year, though, I had to re-establish contact with my inner child, and listen to every pitch of every inning of every game. While my television sat idly in my living room, filled with Braves, Devil Rays, and rednecks, I sat out on my back porch, my new radio tuned into Jack, Joe, and Mike’s account of Big Mac’s progress, a cold, frosty one at my side. 

    While football and basketball have adapted the pace of their game to accommodate the television format, baseball continues to be ‘radio friendly’. Listening to a game on the radio forces one to use their imagination. Because there are no instant replays, you must pay attention the first time, and picture each play on the inside of your eyelids as it unfolds. You can walk into the next room, and still be tuned into the game. You can cook dinner in between pitches. You can water your garden to the roar of the crowd. Just the sound of the game on the radio, wafting through the air, makes everything right with the world. St. Louis has often, and appropriately, been dubbed the best baseball city in the entire country. 

    As each game transpires, those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to have been able to have gone to the game in person, hang on every pitch, as it spews from our radio speakers. When Mr. McGwire steps to the plate, time stands still. McGwire is a throw back, in a game that could use a few more throw backs. He laughs. He talks, candidly and intelligently, about things. He pokes fun at himself, as well as those around him who need a little fun poked at them. He speaks in complete sentences, using correct grammar. He isn’t short with people. Nor, does he berate them with long strings of obscene expletives and gestures. He is the topic around breakfast tables in kitchens and coffee shops all over the country. 

    After everyone finishes talking about last night’s game, and marveling at his prodigious home runs, everyone agrees that he’s probably an everyday Joe, and if he were sitting there, he’d probably fit in nicely as just ‘one of the guys’. He’s a breath of fresh air in a sport in dire need of a breath of fresh air. He is the smell of hot dogs, and popcorn, as you walk up to the park, and the crack of the bat, as it echoes around an empty stadium during batting practice. 

    In a world where baseball is beginning to take a back seat to basketball and soccer, as well as Nintendo and the internet, he is the spirit that is inspiring kids to return to the sandlot. Those same sandlots that we, as kids, would play pick-up games every day, that ended only because it got too darn dark to see. 

    As the ‘98 season rounds the far bend and begins heading down the home stretch, my daily routine revolves around that 7:05 game time. It’s at this time of day, I revert to being a nine year kid again, sitting at his Grandpa’s feet. While the players are limbering up their arms and legs, and the announcers in the broadcast booth are limbering up their voices, I limber up my imagination, as well as my disposition. I can close my eyes and still see Grandpa sitting in his chair, beads of sweat soaking through his undershirt, actually standing up and hollering “Wa-hoo” when the Cardinals made a good play. I can still hear his words of wisdom, like “Never miss the first pitch of a baseball game. 

    The score could be 1-0 before you know it. That could be the final score, and you missed it”, and “I’ve never seen a bad baseball game, just some poorly played ones”. 

    I carry these adages with me in my back pocket to this day. I still remember him, telling stories of Dizzy Dean, Enos Slaughter, and his favorite player, Pepper Martin, while admiring the play of Ken Boyer, Tim McCarver, and Orlando Cepeda. I can’t wait to tell my grandkids about Big Mac. 

    In this, the age of ‘Helmet Cam’, ‘Catcher Cam’, ‘Overhead Cam’, and ‘Whatever Else They Can Find to Attach a Camera to Cam’, Mark McGwire is a radio star in my household. When he breaks the home run record, there are only going to be so many people inside the park to see it. The rest of us will be tuning in on our radios. 

    Cardinal fans, everywhere, can tell you where they were when Jack Clark hit his historic homer off Tom Niedenfeur. We will also be able to tell you where we were when McGwire hit #62. I’m going to camped out on my back porch, my new radio blurting out the good news. Visions of Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, and my Grandpa, will be replaced by a 460 foot homer, followed by a historical 360 foot trot around the bases. When this happens, the entire baseball world will stand up and applaud. I will stand with them and holler “Wa-hoo”. The best part about the whole deal is, after the season ends, and the dust finally settles, I’m going to have a really cool radio to listen to. 

    Thanks for the memories Grandpa, and thanks for the radio Mark.

Or maybe you'd prefer something a bit political...

    As a traveling musician, I’m often asked where I come from. I use two major signposts: (1) It is located halfway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and (2) It is located halfway between Canada and Mexico. 

    Pressed further, I use the following simple description: During the Civil War, Missouri was a neutral state. Let’s start there. Living in the “middle of nowhere” has both advantages and disadvantages. 

    Of course, there is the clean air and the clean water, but, unfortunately, along with this pastoral beauty comes an attitude among many of people that I will describe only as “less than open-minded.” After all, Springfield, Missouri is the world headquarters of the Assemblies of God churches, making it the “official buckle” of the Bible Belt. 

    It was this attitude that prompted me, a lazy musician, to get off my couch and do whatever I could to help stem a very gaudy display of ‘less-than-open-minded’ extremism that was being exhibited in the Missouri House of Representatives. Rep. Jean Dixon and her ever-growing group of God-intoxicated followers were not only offending my sensibilities, their stance on censorship could directly affect my livelihood. 

    Having spent the first 39 years of my like paying little, or no, attention to the political arena, I hadn’t the slightest idea about what could be done. Nor, did I have the slightest clue about how to go about doing it. I picked up my phone and dialed the number of the representative from an adjacent district, who just happened to be a music fan and younger than I was. Through him, I found that all a citizen of Missouri has to do to run for a seat in the House of Representatives is make a personal appearance in the Office of the Secretary of State, prove you reside in the district in which you intend to run, and pay $50. Other states may require additional criteria. In Missouri, it is absurdly simple. 

    The 135-mile trek to Jefferson City was made on a sunny spring day, the kind of day that makes one glad he lives in Missouri. After a leisurely three-hour drive through the beautiful Ozark countryside, the actual filing procedure took all of three minutes. The time was well spent, and the 50-dollar bill I took out of my pocket was a small price to pay for what I thought I must do, and in order to say what I must say, as a responsible citizen of this state AND this country. 

    Objections to music are nothing new. My father hated the Rolling Stones, as they sang about spending the night together, probably as much as his father complained about Frank Sinatra singing about getting drunk and getting laid. Modern day music, and its message, isn’t any more of a threat to us now than it was to the caveman who objected to the racket his neighbor made while banging two rocks together. 

    My decision to run for office was sane and sober. I wanted to use my name, and what status I had acquired in my community, to represent those of us (middle-aged lovers of rock ‘n’ roll music) who are intelligent enough to make decisions for ourselves and our children. 

    To allow people like Dixon to decide what my kids can and can’t do, or listen to, was too much for me to take lying down. When the media got wind of my actions, I was caught up in an immediate whirlwind of activity. My phone rang off the wall; everyone wanted to know why I was doing what I was doing, and was I really serious about it. 

    In a matter of days, everyone in Springfield was aware of what I was doing. I had no huge aspiration to be elected to office. What constituency would willingly elect a musician with a studio tan and hair to his waist? My only object was to inform as many people as I could that the incumbent’s views were dangerous and that we should think about not making the same mistake twice, and re-electing her. 

    I’m proud to reside in Missouri. The people are aware of the country we live in, as well as the planet we live on, and I was insulted as my representative depicted us as a group of simpletons, unable to think for ourselves. The right of all candidates to ‘equal time’ was afforded me, and every time we were warned of satanic intervention by Dixon, I was able to represent the other side of the story; the side that says the world isn’t going to end just because someone, somewhere, wants to rant and rave into a microphone. 

    As I conducted my campaign, prominent people of the community came out of the woodwork to congratulate me on my actions, and pledge their support and money. I was also warned of the age-old political practice of ‘voter pool dilution.’ I entered the campaign as an intelligent person, and immediately realized that if I were to capture a mere 200 votes, allowing Dixon to win re-election by a margin of 150, not only would I have defeated my own purpose, I would have come off looking like an idiot, having just shot myself in the foot. 

    Before I’d even entered the second week of my campaign, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to continue to the end. On the last day for a candidate to officially withdraw his name from the ballot, I called a news conference. I alerted all the media in town that I was going to issue a statement at the very traditional “high noon in the rotunda of the court house.” I considered it quite a compliment that they deemed my actions worthy of their attention, their time, and their presence. 

    I carefully prepared, and read, my statement, so as not to stumble over words or thoughts, leading to misquotation. I kept the statement quick and to the point, informing everyone that I was driving back to Jefferson City, where I intended to withdraw from the race. I urged all those who supported me to throw their support to Connie Wible, a third candidate, and a fellow opponent of Dixon. Through the course of the summer, I kept a high profile. 

    The outcome was the successful ousting of Jean Dixon. In the process, I taught myself a valuable lesson; I learned that every little bit helps and even though my contribution to the cause may have been quite minute, that gulp of champagne on election night was mighty sweet. Yes, you can make a difference.


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