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Misty welcoming friends to our motorhome.
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 13th, 2019... How's THIS for a way to end the year?
Here's what Frans Maritz of Airplay Express has to say about it: "Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan's 1970 Billboard Number One, now available re recorded and remixed for a new generation on AirplayExpress. The "Tennessee Birdwalk" available on this link to Radio and DJ's for airplay as a Golden Oldie or a New Release. Either way it has Hot Pick written all over it, lets make it number one again. DJ's let's make the Tennessee Bird walk Again." Couldn't agree more! If you'd like to hear it yourself, go here: https://preview.mailerlite.com/s4p5g1/1309638962997888671/j4k4/. And enjoy!
December 9th, 2019...

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ANTS. Ants are called "social insects", but when they take over my bag of cheese puffs that's too damn social. They are fast, and too small to get a good look at, but I think they may be driving little cars. When I first started killing them I had too much empathy. I put myself in the ant's place. I'm innocently driving around on this huge white sink, and this big thing comes out of nowhere and squishes the guy right in front of me. I can see the story in the ant newspaper: "LOCAL ANT MURDERED ON SINK! Witness claims a giant thumb came down from the sky! Ant police are trying to figure out what a 'thumb' is." Now I'm more callous about killing the little wankers. I wipe them out in large groups, laughing like Vincent Price. I pay the rent here, buddy! Last night I thought they were on my monitor screen, but after repeated efforts to clear the screen, I realized that they were running around on my reading glasses. When we use bug spray they come right back with new troops, while we're still trying to cough up Linda Blair. I've learned that Lysol spray kills them and doesn't kill us. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. and when I set my toothbrush on the sink a herd of them rushed for it. I grabbed up the toothbrush, shouting "AHA!", and sprayed them all with Lysol. All except one. The surprised survivor drove around in frantic circles, thinking he was the next victim. My finger was poised to spray him, but I stopped. Before I let him go I smiled and said to the ant: "Tell your friends." Copyright © December 8, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


December 2nd, 2019...

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MERRY CHRISTMAS ANYWAY. 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. 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. Join me in toasting old Saint Nicholas, if he will fit in our toaster. (Haha. I 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. What time is Charlie Brown on? Let's all pray for snow even if we're in Florida. 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. Not necessarily the real Buffalo, but the one that only I remember. That's where I got all my Christmas spirit to begin with, shopping downtown... a lost art, 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 much care. Ten minutes after the joke has slipped into the past I think about it and start laughing again. Everybody tries not to notice, and the more I try to stifle it, the more I laugh. 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. 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 © December 2, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


November 25th, 2019...

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A PECULIAR TALENT. One of my strange abilities is this: I can stand or sit for long periods giving no indication of being alive. It's sort of a self-imposed coma. I seem to use it when I'm thinking or bored. When I was a department store Santa Claus I tried not to cough or blink when anybody was around. I knew they thought I was a life size Santa doll. One lady had been browsing through the candy and toys at my feet. When I moved a little she froze and stared at me for a long moment, and then went back to looking at the toys. I coughed and she did a fright dance. Another time, in another department store, I was waiting at the bottom of an escalator for Misty to return from shopping upstairs. I was bored, and drifted into one of my catatonic states. I was wearing jeans, cowboy boots and hat, a denim shirt, and a leather vest that was made for me at an Indian reservation, on one of our western tours. A lady was looking at some dresses on my right, and happened to glance in my direction. She casually came over and examined me. I knew what was up and came back to reality, but I was afraid to move. She reached out and felt the leather of my vest between her thumb and fingers. I guess my eyes moved in response to her familiarity. She seemed to go into shock and levitated a few inches straight up. She put her hand over her heart like Fred Sanford having the big one, and said, "Oh, my God! You're alive! I'm SO sorry!" I smiled and said, "No problem." I was beginning to enjoy these weird episodes. Is that sick or what? So, if you happen to come to my funeral, do me a favor... Poke me a couple of times just to make sure. Copyright © November 24, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


November 18th, 2019...

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THE CHRISTMAS TOWN. It was the day before Christmas. We were road tired and traveling westward through Illinois or Iowa... on our way to another show somewhere. We tried to cheer each other up, and said we'd celebrate our Christmas at a later date. The countryside looked like a Christmas card through the windshield of our motor home. Fine dusty snow was starting to whirl around. and the Interstate Highway was just about deserted. It began snowing harder. We needed a place to pull in for the night, but we hadn't seen anything open for miles. We started to get worried. It was getting dark, and the wind was blowing the snow into drifts. We pulled off at the next exit, but there was no sign of life except for an old barn. There was a wooden sign over the door, and Christmas lights were on inside. It turned out to be a little store with a few groceries, and some antiques for sale in the back. The owner took us to a little room where they kept boots and snow shovels. That's where we plugged in our electric line. Misty made a good deal... One night, two dollars. I dragged our small artificial Christmas tree out of the trunk. She had it trimmed and lit in about ten minutes. We'd been on a long hard tour and we didn't have any presents for each other, so we looked around at the antiques and things in the store. We picked out a few gifts, but we didn't have any way to gift wrap them. Two or three at a time people from the town came into the store, stomping the snow off their shoes and saying "Merry Christmas" to each other. They were smiling and friendly and offered to take our gifts back to their homes and wrap them for us. When they came back a while later our presents looked beautiful. They brought along some cookies and eggnog, and we had a little party with these unusual strangers. We wanted to cancel all our future bookings and live here. In the morning we woke up to snow covered cornfields and a sparkling forest of winter trees. An old rusty plow and a wagon were half buried in the snow outside our window.. It was a perfect Christmas. We don't even know the name of the town, or which state it's in. And we haven't been able to find it on any map. We just think of it as our Christmas Town. Maybe it's in the twilight zone. Copyright © November 17, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


November 11th, 2019... Hi, folks. Your friendly neighborhood webmeister Jerry here. As you might have noticed by now, the news section here (on this page, anyway) seems to have gone belligerently centered. I was trying to correct the code, and... well... I screwed up. And for the life of me, I can't get the columns back to the left (typographically speaking). So, I guess it's going to stay belligerently centered for the rest of the year. With any luck, it'll be back to its proper alignment next year. Cross yer fingers. And today being Veterans' Day, please do me a small favor, if you would -- Thank a Vet. And with that out of the way, here's our peerless, fearless leader...

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IN ONE YEAR AND OUT THE OTHER. Another year is quickly losing steam because like toilet paper, life goes faster near the end of the roll. Even though we don't take autumn in Florida, the northerner inside me struggles through the annual November self inventory. I've been busier this year, but less creative. I've become our agent, manager, and promotion department, which doesn't leave time for writing songs or playing music... the things that I think are the essential me. I didn't know I was going to write that, but now that I've brought it to my attention, I plan to drag out the old keyboard and guitar and get back to basics. As soon as I finish this mastering project promised to a client. I'm going to write a song even if it's bad. I need the writing part. I need the music. I've been worrying about losing those ten pounds all year. Worrying has kept from gaining more than a couple of pounds. We don't know of any good bands playing around here, and we don't like those cheesy new movie theaters, so we went to the grocery store and back, and pigged out on Italian food and ice cream. The life of the recording artist is pure excitement. I've learned a few small things this year: 1. You can't own a computer. It owns you. 2. There seem to be a lot more people younger than me now, and less people older than me. 3. You can get immune to political news. I'm relieved...that the worst of the hot weather is behind us, and thankful...for no hurricanes at our house this year. I'm blessed... to have Misty as a life partner, and hopeful... that we make our music together for some more years. I'm lucky...to have so many helpful friends, many of whom I've never met face to face. This may or may not be the best year of my life, but I'm glad to be in it. Copyright © November 11, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


November 4th, 2019...

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AN EARLY NEWSPAPER COLUMN . I just found this old newspaper article I wrote back when I was a cub reporter. It's about The Walt Disney World groundbreaking, The truth can be funny. * * * It was a Rolaids morning. At 8:37 AM I remembered why I stopped getting up early, when stomachs growl, and the breath of man strikes fear into the hearts of moose. The Parkwood Plaza Cinema was packed with press people, snapping pictures and interviewing the crap out of each other. At the Disney Groundbreaking Press Conference I thought there would be mice and ducks, but not an animal spoke, and not a magic wand waved. The affair proceeded with the hilarity of a colonoscopy in the rain. One by one, executives confessed to excitement, undetectable to the human eye. The audience reacted with a burst of apathy. There were speeches about hydro-pneumatic modular electromagnetic prefabrication, followed, two or three days later by a spirited race to the rest rooms. I think Scrooge McDuck is running the company. We stood in awe of cardboard models hovered over by cardboard dignitaries, while cameramen kneeled and stretched in their native dance. News people rattled off reporter lingo into phones, scooping each other. I was amazed to see many of them typing. I do all my writing with a brown crayon. Buses carried us to a two-hour presentation of mud, where holes were being dug on Disney swampland. Balloons represented future hotels which were the project's main theme. I awoke with a start when the bus door opened, thinking we had reached Cincinnati, only to find us at a Ramada Inn. I checked my watch. It had rusted to a stop. A nice lunch of Chicken Formica awaited us poolside. There was no shade, so we ate, glowered, and watched each other burn, to the music of a sweating Latin band. I was in such pitiful shape that when I got home, my dog tried to bite me. The family asked me how it went. "Disney magic was all around", I said. "The entire day was one of beauty and song." Copyright © November 4, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


October 29, 2019...

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WILL CAMPBELL. Will Campbell was a singer, songwriter, musician, comedian, cartoonist, fireman, and a soldier. We lost our friend on September 14th. 2018, * * * Here's an email Will sent me. "Hey, Jack. "Actually, I didn't really want to go to Korea because I'm not as brave and manly as I look. But duty called, and I gladly went after my government threatened to jail me If I didn't. My motto was...'Join the army, meet interesting people, and kill them.' "There were three of us who went Into the army at the same time: me and the two MP's who were dragging me! I was so excited. "One of the first things I did in Korea was go for my physical checkup. They wanted to find out If I was healthy enough to get shot and killed. My days in Korea were all about the same...Shoot somebody you didn't know... and they would shoot you In return, and say things like 'Go Home Yankee.' I would usually respond with 'Oh, Yeah...Make Me.' This would really make them mad. "The commanding officer told me that I was being returned to the states because none of the men liked my guitar playing or singing. When I finally got home from Korea, I was totally ignored and dehumanized, and made to feel unnecessary, which I thoroughly enjoyed. * * * Will Campbell sat in Tootsie's Lounge in Nashville. Archie Campbell (No relation.) came in and sat next to him. Archie said, "How're ya doin'?" Will said, "Kinda tired of sitting on this stool." Archie said, "I have just the thing for you", and put a pill on the bar. Will said, "Pain Pill?" Archie said, "No. A stool softener." Archie took Will for a tour of the Ryman Auditorium. Will went to the front of the stage and sang to the empty house. He finally sang at the Opry. * * * Will told me, "When someone cuts me off in traffic, I roll down my window and yell "YOUR SHOE'S UNTIED!" Will said. "I leave you with this thought... Betsy Ross said to George Washington, 'So you don't care for red, white, and chartreuse?'" * * * I wish I had called him more. Copyright © October 28, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


October 23rd, 2019...

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WHAT'S IN A NAME? MacArthur Fark was supposed to be named after a famous general, but he still thought it was a joke his parents played on him. They enjoyed it too much. He tried to get others to call him Mack, but nobody did. They called him Farky. Life can be tough for a kid with a funny name. He was good at sports in school, smarter than most, and not bad looking, but he never got the respect he hoped for. Once at his birthday party everybody sang this song: “MacArthur Fark is barking in the dark…" His only "friend" was Norman Rockwell, a smallish student who looked like a part time troll and who barely managed a C minus average by cheating. Everybody called him Rocky. The football coach put Rockwell on the squad because he liked to yell the name Rocky at roll call. He got a laugh when he yelled out “Farky.". Coaches can be jerks. Norman’s high school letter sweater said “Rocky” on it. He never took it off. The girls loved it. MacArthur’s sweater said “Farky”. “Yeah, that'll draw the debutantes.”, he thought. The summer after graduation they both worked at Burger King. Rocky was made manager, and had “Rocky” on his hat. Then they went off to different colleges, and when the shock of facing real life caught up with them, they didn’t see each other for a long decade. Rocky made a hell of a car salesman. Who wouldn’t trust a Rocky? He was promoted to general manager, and then controlling partner in Rocky’s Best Buys, a nationwide dealership. He was on the Better Business Bureau’s "Most Wanted" list, and lived in an exclusive gated community, where customers could not find his home to kill him. Farky had not done as well. He had just lost a promotion to a guy named Casey, when he spotted his old friend in a local bar. Rocky was holding court at a large table, surrounded by his salesmen who were laughing at his dumb jokes and kissing up. Farky carefully placed his fourth double whiskey on the bar and approached the group. Rocky saw him coming, but didn’t recognize him. “Who’s this wanker?” he said. His stooges laughed. Farky, smiled, lifted Rocky out of his chair by the throat, and said “Hello, Norman”. As Rocky was being strangled he still thought Farky was an angry customer. “I’ll give you your money back!” he croaked!” Farky kept cheerfully killing him. MacArthur Fark was arrested and sentenced to thirty-five years, but it was reduced to ten years because the victim was a car dealer. MacArthur didn’t mind prison at all because nobody called him Farky. He was big and strong, and the cons all called him Mack. Copyright © October 21, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


October 15th, 2019...

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WE NAMED HIM DONN. We named him Donn, but called him Donny when he was little. He was a beautiful kid. His mother, my ex-wife, raised him, except for a couple of years, so when we finally met, as people, he was all grown up. We tried to figure each other out, and worked at getting to know one another. At first he had resentments toward me and tried to hide them, but we both felt something needed to be resolved. For some reason it was hard to talk directly at the REAL subject. I knew that he had heard a lot of things about me from his mother... not all good. Some were probably true. Then he went away for a few more years before we tried again. The next time was better. We both had had time to think things over. People told us we walked and laughed exactly alike. We understood each other's humor. We were sitting with our wives in a barbecue restaurant on one of his visits. We both reached for the check, and I said, "I've never done a damn thing for you, so I'm going to do this one thing, and then THAT'S IT!" He said this: "Aw, gee, pops. I wanted to go to college." We all broke up laughing. That was the last time Misty and I saw him alive... at least I think so. That whole period is sort of mixed up in my mind. He was riding his motorcycle in traffic when the car in front of him hit the brakes. Donn's bike hit the car and threw him. We rushed from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale to the hospital, and he looked perfectly healthy, except he was brain dead. I talked to him anyway. After that it's all a blur. Somebody pulled the plug and Donn died, There was a little funeral in northern Tennessee. I keep thinking of things I should have said and done differently. I guess that's natural. Maybe someday we'll get another chance to hash it all out.

Jack and Donn

Copyright © October 14, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
October 6th, 2019...

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HOW I INVENTED THE CHEESEBURGER. In the late 1950s, before I met Misty, I was part of a teenage Pop vocal quartet called The Dawn Breakers. We were on Coral Records, a subsidiary of Decca. Our biggest record was a song I wrote titled: "Boy with the Bebop Glasses". The B-side was "The Things I Love". As a result of the airplay, an agent in Buffalo named Harry Ricci booked us on a Canadian tour, up around the Northern Ontario mining country. I remember two of the towns were Sudbury and Timmons. They were the biggest places. It's probably completely modern now, but at that time it looked more like the nineteenth century. It was an adventure. Every town had a theater, and that's where we put on our show. One was a long-closed movie house, and for some reason the stage was unusable. We had to do our show from the orchestra pit. At rehearsal the first day I plugged in my guitar and amp and got semi-electrocuted. The orchestra pit was the lowest point in the building and all the dampness gathered in that part of the cement floor. Plugging in my guitar was like using a toaster in the bathtub. Somebody brought a cardboard box for me to stand on to break the ground. It worked, and we went ahead with the rehearsal. After the first song the theater manager walked up to me and said, "Sounds great, Jack", and put his hand on my arm, and we both got zapped. We were a wholesome quartet, appealing to teens. but for some reason the agent booked a stripper to open for us. She went as far as topless and was all set for more when a lot of cops stormed the stage, wrapped her in a blanket and got her off stage. We didn't see her after that, much to our disappointment. At another theater, for the price of admission you got our show and a Jerry Lewis movie. There were no dressing rooms, so they hung a light bulb behind the movie screen and we changed there. We could see the movie in reverse on the back of the screen. We heard the crowd laugh at Jerry Lewis, but whenever the screen dimmed down the laughter took on a different tone. With the light bulb shining on us, they could see us right through the screen running around in our underwear. After the first matinee we went out to get something to eat at a little diner around the corner. I'd been on a cheeseburger kick for several months and that's all I wanted. The waitress said, "I don't think we have that". I asked if they had hamburgers. She nodded, and I said, "Just melt some cheese on top of it." She looked nervous and said she'd have to go ask the owner. She came back and said, "He's afraid you won't like it." I said, "I'll love it! Please! Just give it a try." And I did love it, even though it was served on toast. The owner, an elderly Chinese man, came out from the kitchen to ask me if it was okay. I told him it was the best I ever had. After the evening show we headed for the same diner. As we approached it we saw a large sign in the window. The sign said this: "CHEESEBURGERS". Copyright © October 6, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


October 1st, 2019...

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THE AKRON MICE. Before we ever had any Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan recordings, we were working hotels and lounges over the eastern states, booked by the ABC agency. The four week gig at Nick Yanko’s Greek restaurant in Akron was one of the worst. Nick loved the belly dancer, but treated our trio with no respect at all. He didn’t like us or our music because we were different… too original. At first we tried to please, but after a while we didn’t care, and stopped taking crap from Yanko and his headwaiter. It was a rough month. On the winter day we arrived in Akron, as always, we looked for a place to live. We finally rented a flat in an old two story house. Not a nice place. To get it we had lie to the landlady, saying that we would be there for a long time. When you’re in deep trouble there is no friend like a good lie. Our dog Brubeck was with us on the road. He was a sweetheart, and we trusted him alone while we were at work. Brubeck is one of the main animals in this story. Back at the club, the belly dancer would dance over to my drums, and play the bongos with her chest. Misty hated it, and got into a row with the owner, who told her she was just a peon and the dancer was the star. We had driven hundreds of miles to get there and couldn’t quit because we had very little money and a guitar player to pay. The next job in Albany, New York, was four weeks away. We just sucked it up and played our sets. The one friend we made in Akron on that trip was a tall dignified man who could have played a movie senator. He thought our music was great, and showed us all around town. He was a bookie. To add to the fun, I had to have two molars extracted by a dentist played by Boris Karloff. It turned into a nightmare he called “dry sockets”, and I overdosed on pain medication. Misty had to walk me around in the snow for hours that night to keep me from passing out, and maybe dying. When things are really bad, a little light entertainment can mean a lot. The house had registers in the floors for the furnace to send up warmth, and one night we noticed Brubeck staring intently down into a register, like the RCA dog looking into the Victrola horn. On closer inspection we heard little peeping sounds from down in the pipe system. Mice. The next day, Misty opened a kitchen drawer of pots and pans we didn’t use, and saw two little rear ends scurrying to hide… a skinny one and a fat one. The fat one was running behind, slipping around, not used to the exercise. We decided that we liked them. After all, we didn’t have a lot of friends in Akron. Misty started putting out a little dish of ice cream for them at night. It was always gone in the morning. A dog and some mice can get you through a bad time. Copyright © September 30, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


September 26th, 2019... Sorry this is three days late. Health issues. Anyway, better late than never... Here's Jack...

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ONE FINE WEEK IN ATLANTA. Misty and I often did shows with Jerry Reed, Roy Clark, Grandpa Jones, and Archie Campbell. One of those shows was a week long booking at Atlanta's Chastain Park Amphitheater, an outdoor venue. It was Boots Randolph's show, and he treated the artists, musicians, and staff as honored guests, with long tables of food and drink backstage, and the party feeling that carried over to the audiences. Before the first show, Roy stepped out of his bus carrying a glass of unknown iced beverage. Misty said "How're ya doin', Roy?" Roy smiled and said "Gettin' well, honey." The drinks never caused any real problems, although a couple of times the emcee tried to take acts off stage before they were done. They were innocent mistakes, and kinda funny. We were all friends. Like most amphitheaters, it was bowl shaped, and the bands were pretty much protected from the weather, but the act out at the front of the stage could get a little wet if it rained. This can be a thrill if you are hooked up to electrical equipment. We had just finished our show and were walking off, when Archie Campbell was heading out to do his act. I said "It's pretty windy out there, Arch." Archie ran his hand suavely over his hair and said this: "I don't have to worry. I bought the casual style." He was always funny... on or off stage. The crowds were huge and Saturday night was our closing show. We all met back at the hotel where Boots and his manager X. Cosse had us staying. They had the hotel dining room set up like a king's banquet... tons of food and anything you want to drink. It was a party for everybody in the show, including roadies and friends of friends. For the first hour everybody was there having a good time, except Jerry Reed, who was conspicuous in his absence. He bounced into the room at about 11:30, said quick hellos to the gang, grabbed a take out box, went through the food table like a lawnmower, and was gone with the wind and his doggy box of food. Jerry was on Fast Forward, and his whole appearance lasted about seven minutes. Misty went into his bus and got his autograph when we worked together at the Citrus Bowl. We loved Jerry Reed, and he was also my favorite guitar player. Then, later in the party, there was some excitement going on at the ballroom door when some medics rushed in with a stretcher. We wondered what was up. 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 and rushed to the airport. He was late and had a plane to catch. I've tried to report the week's events exactly as they happened, down to the finest detail, but remember, I may have had a beer myself. The music business used to be more fun than it is now, and we miss all our old friends a lot, but we're so lucky to have been part of that wonderful era. Copyright © September 23, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved, Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


September 15, 2019...

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WAITING FOR AUTUMN. We're approaching the Autumnal Equinox so it must be Fall somewhere, just not yet here in Florida. I still celebrate my favorite season. 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 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 gone through such bad times that we were thankful to be there with friends at Christmas. We didn't mind the cold. We have had a life, so far, full of ultra-highs and ultra-lows... from homelessness on the street to the whirlwind of big time show business. Now It's quiet. And we have enough money to last us the rest of our life, unless we buy something. Home is wherever Misty is. Copyright © September 15, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


September 8, 2019...

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AMERICA, SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001. (Written on that day.) We're all zombies here today. We somehow find our way to the grocery store or post office like sleepwalkers. We stare blankly at the television in disbelief. People leaping from firey windows over a hundred floors up. A couple jumping hand in hand to their death. We've been getting messages of sympathy from friends around the world. Thank you. We're glad you're there, and we're glad you care. This is obviously a dark time for the American people. Our thoughts are with the victims and the people who love them. The airports are all closed. Folks who ordinarily rant and rave if their flight is delayed, seem to be taking it without protest, quietly seeking another way to get home. Too quietly. Like zombies. We worry about friends up north. We'll try to call tomorrow. Today is not a good time to overload the phone lines. In some different way, all of us are victims. At our house things are not normal. We are in a state of confusion, disbelief, sadness, and anger. Maybe we're in shock. I try to make my wife smile with the occasional light remark, but her regular smile is not working today. All our projects, so important yesterday, seem trivial. They're on the back burner for now. It's inspiring to see how people in New York and Washington risked their own lives to help each other. I'm proud of Americans tonight, and it's been a while since I've felt that way. Firefighters, police, and emergency workers are heroes. We saw Republicans and Democrats singing a spontaneous God Bless America...together. Touching. I hope they remember the feeling. It's the way it should be. Misty said she saw the young workers bagging groceries at the supermarket almost in tears. We, even as Democrats, are discussing hopefully that President George W. Bush might have the potential to be a Harry Truman. Right now we need somebody to "give 'em hell". This is not a day for political differences. We hope he kicks terrorist butts. The maniacs that committed these atrocities represent to me what evil is. I'm glad I'm not president. I'd probably bomb all the suspects and ask questions later. I know that's wrong, but we're mad as hell over here. At least I am. We've seen the pictures on TV all day, over and over, but the reality is still hard to grasp. We'll watch them over and over again... even after the television is turned off. Our country is strong. Our people are tough. I almost forgot that. We'll get through this, and even be stronger. In time things will be more like normal, but never quite the same. I never thought of myself as a super patriot, but tomorrow I think I'll go out and buy a flag. Copyright © 2011, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


August 26th, 2019... BULLETIN!!!
Click here to listen: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13913511


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NORM. When strangers enter our lives we always try to be nice, even when they are rude to us. We know they could either turn out to be our best friends, or have a dark side that could show itself later. We're two of the friendliest entertainers in the business, but, as in the Kenny Rogers song, You have to know when to fold 'em. Once a man named Norm came into our nightclub and overheard a conversation in which we said we were planning to have a large speaker cabinet built. He had the erect posture, jutting chin, and clipped speech of a military man, but he wasn't. We already had a carpenter in mind, but this man introduced himself, and insisted that he be allowed to build it for us...free. A week later Norm wheeled the cabinet into the club, presented it to us, and showed us his bloody hands, to illustrate how hard he had worked. He had bled for us. We thanked him, offered to pay, and expressed our sympathy for his injuries. He began coming to the club every night, and if we didn't neglect all our other customers, and spend our time only with him, he sulked and soon became angry and belligerent. He began getting drunk and butting into conversations we were having with other friends and fans. He would even threaten them, and tell them to stay away from us.... that we were his brother and sister. In his mind he was our bodyguard. We tried to reason with him, and he would apologize and promise to lighten up. We finally had to bar him from the club, which caused a big unpleasant scene. Then he began driving past our house at all hours. We had friends on the police force, and with their urging he eventually went away. I think he probably latched on to somebody else. Here's why: He needed more than most people can give. He often talked about his father, who was a high ranking military officer, and who considered Norm a disappointment for not enlisting. In his father's eyes, he couldn't do anything right. The lack parental of approval haunted him. This type of episode with strangers has happened to us more than once, and to most other people who lead public lives, but we still give new relationships every chance to work out well. When they end badly, the person usually becomes depressed, and then angry. You have to be careful, but you can't lock up your life. There are too many good friends out there,waiting to be met. Copyright © August 26, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


August 19th, 2019...

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FUN ON THE ROAD. We've been stuck in a lot of dumps, but we don't want to talk about those today. Over morning coffee (noon), I asked Misty this: "All in all, what do you think were the best places we've stayed or played, like apartments, houses, motels, gigs, and so on?" She said "That's easy" and named three. 1. The Sea Palms at Saint Simon's Island provided the best accommodations, and one of the weirdest jobs of our career, so far. St. Simon's sits in the blue Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brunswick Georgia. The booking came with a luxury apartment overlooking a small river. Tropical flowers, trees and shrubs were trimmed neatly, and the riverside grass was like a putting green. Misty liked to sit in the grass and watch the ducks. One particular duck liked to sit with her. It moseyed up to her one afternoon, quacked a few pleasantries, sat by her, tucked in its feet, puffed up a little, and remained there as long as Misty would stay. The job was for just us as a duet, but we had all our keyboards and sounded like a big band. Nobody knew who owned the place, and a rumor started that Misty and I did. The lounge manager asked me if it was true, and I said "Shhh. I can't talk about it." Within an hour everybody thought we were the secret owners, and we became royal hosts of a month-long party. Everybody had fun and we got paid for it. 2. Another place that is on the top of our list was Key Colony Beach. The place was called a "boatel", like a motel for boats, and was situated in the between Key Largo and Marathon, Florida. The apartments were built on pilings, like a long pier. Ours was the last apartment, way out in the ocean. Porpoises played outside our big windows, and when the tourist fishing boats would come in at sunset, hoards of seagulls and pelicans would gather noisily, for the leftover fish that was tossed overboard. The Steinway grand piano in the dining room was still upside down, the way Hurricane Donna had left it. When a bunch of guys turned it right side up for Misty, it played beautifully. In the restaurant/lounge we had our five piece band. At the entrance there was a huge decorative champagne glass that bubbled as long as it was plugged in. Nobody in our band drank, so when customers would buy us cocktails we'd dump them in the fake champagne glass. We thought it continually brought in new bubbly water, but it didn't. Soon there were swirling orange peels, olives, and other garbage, and the imitation champagne was taking on a peculiar color. When we realized our mistake we tried to look innocent. The owner was a nice guy and never brought it up. Our drummer made friends with the chef, and smuggled out a couple of live lobsters to take to his apartment. They were tied up and handcuffed, or whatever they do to lobsters, so, in a hurry, Roy stashed them on the bumper of his car, which was parked in a dark place. They either escaped or were stolen, and Roy cursed the lousy crooks who would stoop so low as to steal his stolen lobsters. 3. One foggy summer night we got lost and checked into a lodge on top of the mountain at Lake Arrowhead. We got up the next morning, pulled the cord on the drapes that covered a whole wall, and they opened onto a huge picture window. Outside, the mountain forest was covered in two feet of new snow, without a sign of life, except for some rabbit tracks by our window. The most beautiful real-life Christmas card we've ever seen... in California... in June. I may have told you all this before, but we wanted to hear it again. Copyright © August 19, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


August 12th, 2019...

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SEASONS. 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 a week's shows at Atlanta's Chastain Park Amphitheater, Boots Randolph threw a party for the artists. Later in the party, there was some excitement going on at the ballroom door when 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. 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 © August 12, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


August 6th, 2019...

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ME AND ROGER MILLER. When I was trying to figure how this voice of mine, and the way I write songs would fit into the music business, Roger Miller was a great help to me. His voice and style of writing were in the same category as mine:.. No category. My first few country songs had a strong Miller influence. Most people didn't hear it, but I did. I was and am a Roger Miller fan. I don't know why, but "Engine #9" is my favorite. It doesn't have the depth of "Husbands and Wives", but it is a minimalist gem. Simple is good. Every word, every phrase in his songs adds something to the whole. No fill ins. That's what I've always tried for in my work. Any word that doesn't add something, erase it. I learned a lot from him. Misty and I were doing a session at Columbia Studio B. Roger's session in studio A was already going on. We took a few minutes and watched through the window in the door. I remember hearing him say over the microphone, "Let's go, folks. We're losin' light". Right in the middle of our session Roger walked in, carrying a brief case, and stood by the door, listening. I stopped everything and told Misty I had to go meet Roger Miller and tell him what a fan I was. Just as I approached him with my hand out, he said, "Hi, Jack. I'm a fan of yours." One of the best moments of my life. The last time I saw him was at a party he hosted at the King of the Road Motel. He wove through the crowd to greet us, and we got talking. He must have heard one of our interviews, because he asked me what I meant when I said that he was responsible for me getting into country music. Here's where I did a stupid human trick. I will never know why, but I said this: "I was just trying to get your attention." He looked at me funny and drifted off into the crowd. I could have told him all that I've told you here, but I didn't. And now I never can. Copyright © August 5, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


July 29th, 2019...

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HOMELESS IN MIAMI. (Part Two.) (Recap.) We parked in front of the Intercity Finance office and went in. The woman behind the counter took our car payment money and gave us a receipt. Just as we were about to leave she asked: "Why do you have the car packed with clothing and bags?" I was still young and honest, so I said, "It was a choice between our rent and the car payment. We decided to pay you". She asked us to please wait for a moment, and went into the back somewhere. She came back and said their legal department ruled that without an address, we couldn't keep the car. We told her we had just given her all our money, but she wouldn't return it. This was the help she gave us: She would allow us to keep our things locked in the car, at her office, until Monday, when they would reopen. If we had an address by then we could have the car. We were broke, homeless, and with no transportation, facing the long weekend ahead. We didn't know which way to turn as we went out into the late afternoon heat. For some reason we hitchhiked to Hollywood. Maybe because we had worked around there, and might run into somebody we knew. The sun went down fast, the way it does in south Florida, and we got hungry. I knew the family that owned Jimmy's Italian Restaurant. The son was sort of a friend of mine. He gave us dinner and we promised to pay later. Midnight came and went and we were still walking. No luck anywhere. We were sitting on a bench in the big circle in the center of town. Directly in front of us was the old Hollywood Hotel, a castle left over from the Al Capone days. I remembered that I'd met somebody who told me he was the night clerk there. We went in and I asked the guy if he had a place we could sleep for free. He said "Well it's now 3 AM, the day clerk doesn't come on till seven, so I can let you sleep in a room for four hours." We took the deal. Somehow we got through it, but things didn't get much better for a long time. We didn't know that we would eventually have hit records. Part Two. After being homeless on the street for several days, broke and without a car, we got the car back from the finance company. It died and we left it on a street and told the finance people where it was. My mother didn't have money but she drove us around to find a place to live and gave us a few dollars to get a room by the week in the worst dump ever, on a slum street. An old dark green window shade, a single bare light bulb hanging on a wire. Shared bathroom down a creepy hallway. No food allowed in the room. When we were out looking for gigs they locked us out of the room with our stuff in it. We got a junk car from some crooks with no money down, and on and on. It took a couple of more years to get a normal old car and an efficiency apartment in a motel. Eventually we fought our way out of the poverty, and bought a new three bedroom home on a VA loan. Naturally we lost the home after about a year, but things were looking up. We went to Key West, got signed to a four song recording contract. and our career started. (Note: This will probably be the first chapter in our book.} Copyright © July 29, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


July 23rd, 2019... From the webmeister, Pt. 2: Apologies again for the lateness of this column; we got a new internet provider around here. So, better late than never and all that... here's Jack:

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HOW BIG BUSINESS CAN CHANGE YOUR TOWN. Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Crawlovia, a little village called Hotduk was awakened by a dog's bark echoing in the moonlit silence. One hundred and thirty-seven sleepy eyes popped open, and just as quickly the villagers returned to slumber. They had nothing to fear. There was no crime in Hotduk, and neither fierce animals nor politicians in all of Crawlovia. They lived in complete beauty and peace, and it was driving them nuts. In a bungalow at the edge of the forest a flickering candle cast the silhouette of a young boy upon the window shade. "Quiet, Snarfy!" whispered Bratwurst to his dog. "You'll wake everybody up!" He hurriedly laced up his brownies, buttoned up his pinky, put on his warmest greeny, and tiptoed off into the woods to gather moonbeans. Snarfy tiptoed along behind. They had only picked half a snerdful of moonbeans when they came to a clearing, and there in the moonlight stood a forty-foot tall, thirty ton item, which smiled and said: "Hi, there! I'm a Fuzzy!" The Fuzzy spat his esses like Daffy Duck. Snarfy and Bratwurst clung to each other in fear and stared at the Fuzzy, who was now doing a ballet dance. The ground began to tremble, shaking the snogs and frickets right out of the trees. "Stop!??? cried the boy. "You'll start an earthquake!" The Fuzzy sat down and began to cry. "You thilly little thavage!" he thobbed with a thpray. "No wonder I've lost my appetite! Why, I haven't eaten a bite in centuries because of rude people like you. I have feelings too, ya know". The boy ran back and awoke the villagers with his strange news. They all went out to the woods to have a look, some of them still in their snorkies. Months passed. The Hotduk Chamber of Commerce soon turned The Dancing Fuzzy into a tourist attraction. People came from all over Crawlovia to witness the spectacle. The more people that came, the harder the Fuzzy danced, until he was at it 24 hours a day. The Fuzzy asked no salary. He just loved the applause and admiration. "Let the big dummy dance his fool head off", the townspeople chuckled. "We're getting rich! That's all that counts!" Then, one Sunday, at 12:03 P.M., the earth stopped shaking, and the Fuzzy sat down, huffing and puffing. "Whew! Hoo-boy", he gasped! "Wowee!" Then he said this to the crowd: "Hey! I think I've got my appetite back!" And he ate the village. Copyright © July 22, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


July 16th, 2019... From the webmeister: Apologies for the lateness of the column, but the internet was out yesterday and most of today. But it's back up now, so here we go...

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THE TOUR FROM HELL. It was winter. The left front corner of our new motorhome was torn off in Nebraska, our transmission died on a lonesome Midwest road, we were stranded for a terrible week in Joplin, Missouri, and we wound up in New Orleans with the flu. That???s just the short version! We had driven from Nashville to a small farm town in northern Nebraska, to do a free show for some fair bookers, at the insistence of our agent. The little convention was being held in a tavern. There was a brand new, bright red piece of farm machinery parked in the snow packed street. We parked in front of it to unload our equipment through the alley. When we came back out, the left front corner of our motorhome was gone, and so was the red combine. The tracks it left in the snow went right where the front of our rig had been torn off. The sheriff said he couldn't find it. I pointed out that the thing was candy apple red, two and a half stories high, and probably went from zero to 10 mph in a half-hour! He just shrugged. With the help of a lot of duct tape, we made it to Omaha where a right rear tire blew. The AAA guy came out, overfilled the wrong tire, ignored the flat one, and left before we noticed it. When we neared Joplin our transmission started acting funny. We saw a Dodge agency and pulled in for repairs. They charged us a healthy dealership price, and we were on our way to New Orleans, where we had an actual paying show to do. We got a hundred miles out of town, pulled off at the exit and onto the next road, when our transmission went into eternal neutral. I tried to hitch a ride to the gas station about three miles back, but nobody would stop. I did the only thing I could: I limped badly, and got a sympathy ride. The Dodge agency sent a tow truck a hundred miles to get us. On second look at our tranny, they said it had to be rebuilt, and it would take some time. It took a whole week. They allowed us to live in it in their car lot when they weren't working on it, which was most of the time. Word got around, and people began knocking on our door at all hours for autographs. This was not lost on the car dealer. He got the local radio station to do a daily remote broadcast from his showroom. We showed up, hoping for a break on the price. Yeah, right. Since we were stuck there and were going to miss our paying gig, we got together with the station deejays, and promoted a show in the high school auditorium. We were pushing heavy sound equipment up the hill to the school in a freezing forty-mile gale, when the station owner showed up from out of town. He said he didn't like his employees helping a bunch of hillbillies move equipment. Misty's Irish side said a bad word to him, and he forbade the deejays to help us in any way, or to ever play our records again. Somehow we got the stuff back in the trailer. We had no roadies on this unexpected tour. We got to New Orleans three days late, and with the flu. After a week of coughing and fever we headed home to Florida. We traded that motor home for a new one, and a few months later we drove it to Nashville for a convention. We saw our old one parked there and stopped to talk to the new owner. He was mad at us. He said we traded in a motor home with a bad transmission and it went out on him the first week. He said we should have fixed it. All it was was the hose from the cooler to the transmission. Just a hose! All together now. Everybody give us a big "AW". or a "Poor baby". Copyright © June 15, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


July 8th, 2019...

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RANDOM THOUGHTS. Misty and I were walking down a street near Music Row. Rush hour traffic was heavy. A big black Cadillac came to an abrupt stop, and the line of cars squealed to a stop behind it. It was our buddy Archie Campbell giving us his big smile. He'd stopped to say "Hi". His smile could brighten your whole day. A song is life distilled, and then whittled down until it's small enough to get in your ear. Thinking about the good old days when the dollar was worth 29 cents. I wrote Tennessee Birdwalk in about 20 minutes. We recorded it in Nashville at 12:51 AM on a Saturday morning (Friday night). The musicians were tired. It was their last session of a long week. At ten to one, they started packing up their instruments. Misty said: "Hey! Hold on! We have another song to do!" They grumbled at first, but then began to like it. It was recorded in one take, with no overdubs. Three minutes to run through it, and three minutes to record it. Total: 6 minutes. WOW! Nothing hurts like your tongue when you accidentally staple it to the wall! Misty said, "Leave the door open. The flies haven't been out all day." WARNING: DO NOT take these pills: If you are allergic to squirrels, Formica, or dental floss, you may become comatose. COMMON SIDE-EFFECTS: conniption fits, walking funny, frequent urination and lisping, cradle cap, vampire breath, and speaking like Porky Pig. GOING HOME is a theme that runs through a lot of our songs, probably because Misty and I both left our home town, Buffalo, as teens and went out on our own. We didn't know each other in Buffalo, and didn't meet until we were playing lounge piano about a block from each other in Hollywood, Florida. Thanks for the the positive responses to my humor. I'm touched. I always have been. Today the planes are like Greyhound buses with wings. Passengers are stacked on each other's laps, and beaten and abused by the sadistic airline staff. Free range chickens wander the aisles, and babies are provided to throw up on you. At the airports they search elderly ladies and boy scouts, while the terrorists waltz through laughing and waving their bombs. In the year 4 BC, they said, "I can't believe how the years are subtracting!" I've been sleeping in a Lazy-Boy chair in the dark. I hope I don't scare an innocent burglar to death. North Korea may be using the sea to hide their submarines! Misty said, "You're growing old with grace, and Grace is getting sick of it." I'm going to fold my tent and silently steal away. But first I have to steal a tent. I'm heading for the roundhouse. They can't corner me there. Copyright © July 8, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


July 1st, 2019...

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A DIFFERENT KIND OF BLUES. In the 1970's, when we released this song on a major label, I called DJ's to see how it was going. All the responses were positive except one. Naturally that's the one I remember. The program director of a big Atlanta station said that the song depressed him. We had a pretty good relationship, so I explained it to him like this: Some of our greatest songs are sad, for instance Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", and every blues lyric ever written. They let people know they aren't alone in their troubles. It works the other way too. If we're doing okay now, we can appreciate what we have by looking back at the hard times. This song is about a couple who had hoped for more from the future. They are in a deep rut and don't know how to get out of it. It's nobody's fault. This is a common life situation. I see it in faces every day. I know the look because I've worn it. This song says: "Don't let this happen to you!" and, "Break out before it's too late because there IS more to life!" This was the scene I remembered as I wrote it: The seedy outskirts of a cold industrial city... The part of town with drive-in theaters closed for the winter, junk yards, chain link fences, brown slush, and black factory soot that gets in your eyes and skin. The guy with the wet boots is a younger me. The woman in the story is not Misty, but just my idea of how a woman might feel under these circumstances. The romance that once brought this couple together has been scarred and eroded by bad times, drudgery, worry, boredom, and mostly disappointment. Neither of them is angry. It's a different kind of blues. I've written a second song about this same couple, where they finally make the break. It's called: "Second Tuesday in December", and is the only time I've ever written a sequel to a song. THE SONG. His story: "Sky full of factory smokestacks, Hot cinders paint the snow black, Turn up my collar to the cold. My old boots are wet and dirty. Missed my bus at seven thirty. Ah, There Must Be More to Life than Growing Old." Her story: "Each day seems like the last one, Each year, just like the past one, As if they stamped them from a mold. Somehow it seems to be The only change is you and me There Must Be More to Life than Growing Old." Both: "There Must Be More to Life than Growing Old. What happened to the dreams we used to hold? We never asked for cities paved with gold There Must Be More to Life than Growing Old." Listen to it here: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10098085 Copyright © July 1, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "There Must Be More To Life Than Growing Old" lyrics by Jack Blanchard. Copyright © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


June 24th, 2019...

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MOON SONGS. A friend asked me why there are so many "Moon" songs. I tried to respond intelligently, which isn't easy for me. Here are a few moon thoughts... The moon has been a thing of mystery, romance, and squirreliness for so many centuries, that a couple of astronauts fooling around up there can't change that. It's in our genetic memories, and it's a little spooky when Bela, our neighbor's bat, flies in front of it. They have moons at night, just when we need the light. Coincidence? I think not. "Moon" rhymes with: June, goon, spoon, maroon, prune, saloon, balloon, croon, spittoon, buffoon, baboon, pantaloon, Loony-Toon, macaroon, raccoon, harpoon, and Daniel Boone. Songwriters need the moon. How would "Nothing Over Miami" sound? Some people see a man in it. I think it's Franklin Roosevelt. My uncle told me that it was a hole in the sky. He would admit that the Earth is round, but maintained that it's hollow, and we're on the inside. With early teaching like that, how did you expect me to turn out? He would eat only white food... like sugar, flour, rice, and so on. He said it's whiteness was an obvious sign of purity. He was a food racist. You think these are uncle jokes, don't you? Unfortunately, they're true. Even though my intellect tells me that the moon is just a hunk of white stuff that might fall on me, I will continue to throw it into songs. Copyright © June 24, 2019 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.


June 15th, 2019...

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PICTURE AT A RAILROAD STATION. (For My Dad on Fathers Day.) The cavernous old railroad station was dimly lit, or seems that way in my memory. My parents, my sisters, and I headed toward the big doors that led to the platform where the trains chugged and waited. It was the end of an era. One of us wasn't coming back... ever. We had never been your average family. My mother had been an artist and a model. My father was a flamboyant jack-of-all-trades: A stock broker at times, head of an oil company, owner of a gambling ship that never sailed, a mortgage broker, an aviator, and author of a course on aeronautics. He was a party thrower and the life of every one, and made every holiday a festival. He was rich one year and broke the next. As a young man he was a boxer and a daredevil. During World War Two he was drafted to be General Manager of the Bell Aircraft plant, at the same time there were rumors of his involvement with the black market. I came home from school one afternoon and couldn't get the front door open. It was stuck against silver fox furs. The whole house was knee deep in them. I don't know where he got them, but I wasn't too surprised. We all knew him and were ready for anything. There was a distinguished couple in the living room, browsing through the pelts, a New York State Supreme Court justice and his wife. He was brilliant in an off-beat way, and an adventure as a father. Then he got sick. His disease had symptoms similar to Alzheimer's, and the smart, witty man of the world became like a child. He couldn't work. He tried. My mother submitted a resume for him, and got him a job on his track record as a mechanical engineer. She dressed him in a suit and tie and took him to the job. He called a few hours later to be picked up. He had ordered his crew to put way too much pressure on a ship's drive shaft they were working on, and blew it through the factory roof. The family was broke and had to split up. My father was to live with his sister in Ohio, "just until things get better". The rest of us were to sell all the furniture and belongings, and move in with my mother's parents in Florida. Certain memories stick in my mind like clear snapshots and never go away. One of those is the night at the railroad station when we kissed my father goodbye, and lied to each other that it was just temporary. I remember pushing through giant swinging doors that led to the train platform. The steam from the idling engine puffed out across my knees. The ceiling was dark and high with sooty light bulbs in it. And that's all I remember! The rest is gone. I do recall seeing him one more time several years later. I was hitchhiking from Florida or somewhere and I stopped in Miamisburg to see how he was. He opened the door, and after a minute he recognized me. I didn't think he would. He grabbed me in his strong arms and hugged tight. One moment in time again... like a photo... and everything after is blank. I don't have any memory of hearing of his death or a funeral. I have a thing about funerals: People tell me I was there, but I have no memories of them. All in all, he was the tailor made father for me. We had so many good times,