KNTU News Casting

August 30, 2014

Here is one which will be in the upcoming “Notes About Growing Up And Kin” book. Once in college I did the news….

When I was graduate school and married to the kid’s mom I saw that the radio station KNTU 88.1 FM at NTSU – now UNT – wanted volunteers to work on some of their shows. They wanted newscasters and on-air “personalities”. Since I did debate and drama in high school I pursued the news casting role since I knew I could talk.

The first requirement was to build a demo tape reading some short script. Using my stereo at our apartment I recorded one on a cassette tape and sent it to the station which was located in the Speech And Arts building next to Wooten Hall where I had economics and history among other subjects. I soon got a phone call from someone there. I was selected to do the news on the early morning show.

The show went on air at 5Am so I had to get to the station at 4AM or so. One thing they required me to do was look at the wire service print outs and then type up my own copy to read (we got to choose the stories we read, we were editor and news caster in one). Re-typing grew very tiring and I later just read stories right off of the wire on-air. Since I listened to
the station a lot I noticed the liberal slant of many of those reading the news – remember we chose what we read. Since I was a conservative and had voted for President Reagan I decided to make sure MY slant was to the right to counter the usual leftist bent. And that I did and no one ever said a word – if you think this does not happen in the national and local media think again, objectivity seems to have departed in favor of the press being a lapdog not a universal watchdog.

Actually doing the news was pretty easy actually, the on-air “personality” was the lead and would transition me in. I’d flip a switch turn my “mic” on and off I would go. When I was done I would transition back to the lead and he would do his thing. And this cycle repeated itself every 30 minutes until 9AM when the next show went on.

This interesting experience which I did until I graduated with my Master’s gave me quite an insight into what you hear on the radio and see on TV. The technology used now is lights years ahead of our now ancient tape carts and non-computerized analog stuff but the general way it works is still the same.

So regardless of the technology the stories told in the news come and go as events unfurl, touching us all sometimes depending on their magnitude or power of its message and sense of urgency. And so is life’s ever unfolding wire service and with that we will go to a new set of news stories down the road in Fort Worth, Texas.

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The Dreaded Visit to Hagerman’s Wildlife Refuge

August 21, 2014

Ever have to do something with your elders that you hated as a kid and later came to appreciate and even enjoy doing the same thing when grown? This will be in the next book, “Notes About Growing Up And Kin”.

When I was little one of the most dreaded things we did was take my grandmother Turner, Leta Bell, to the Hagerman Wildlife Refuge on Lake Texoma, followed by a trip to McGehee’s catfish house in Oklahoma. Bird watching and eating catfish were two things very low on my list of things to do as a kid. But Leta Bell loved them both so dad loaded us in the car from time to time to indulge her.

Hagerman’s is on the shore of Lake Texoma and is filled with birds of varying types. Leta was big into bird watching so she had many species of birds to observe as we drove through the place and watched the birds come and go. Or we just sat still if nothing was moving. Being bored out of my mind on such trips I always brought a book or some Mad magazines to read. I recall bursting out in laughter once reading the satire of the movie “Little Big Man” in Mad. Everyone asked what was so funny so I held up the page with some Indian chief eating a huge cheeseburger. Leta commented dryly that even Indians ate burgers too. Indeed they did I realized. And back to the birds we went and me back to reading Spy vs. Spy on the next pages.

After enduring flocks of cranes and other fowl we would head back west and north crossing the Red River into Oklahoma to go to McGehees’s to eat catfish which Leta, plus mom and dad, enjoyed. I liked the hush puppies the best as most kids do even though I ate the fish too. As I grew up I loved to eat catfish and just about any other type of aquatic protein. And that is the ultimate point in the end to digest.

As a picky little kid I was bored and could not wait to get home after eating catfish and watching birds. Watching the boring birds was the worse torture to endure – at least the hushpuppies were some consolation, eh?. But as I got older my tastes changed and I loved catfish and could even appreciate seeing birds especially when I was out with my daughter when she was little. What was once a dreadful thing to endure was now something to relish and look forward to. So if you are young do not despise and dread the things your elders do for fun since one day soon enough you may be doing those same things too!

Author’s note. McGehee’s still exists near Marrietta, Oklahoma. And Hagerman’s is still there full of birds too…..


Swimming in my Pool

August 19, 2014

My daughter and her fiance lived with me for a month recently while on their way to Florida and their new jobs. Having her around so much was a blessing and it made me think of this note in “Notes To My Kids” while we all in the pool together.

To Roger and Jane:

When both of you were little, we spent a lot of time with MeeMaw and Granddad Tom in their pool in Gainesville. On many hot afternoons, we were in that big, grand pool, splashing around and diving into the deep end. Your grandparents would hold you when you were little and could not swim on your own. Later you were wrapped in a life jacket when you could float without them always hanging on. I was there, too, as were your mom and cousins. But most of all, I remember the joy you had with them on so many days until MeeMaw sold the house after your granddad died. Many good and wonderful memories came from that pool with everyone there. They are still in my mind and in the pictures of you two as well.

Those fun and happy times lived on with me over the years. Many times I would think back on what we did in that pool and wish they would return. Of course, I would have to buy a house with a pool to make that wish come true.

When I was looking for my current house, I looked at more than one, none of which caught my eye or interested me even some. But when I saw the Aransas Trail house, I had to buy it. It wasn’t just the game room or the beautiful park down the hill, but it was as much the pool in the back. I instantly imagined us in that pool, splashing around and having some fun, just like we did when you were little in Gainesville. I bought the house, which I am still in today, and waited for the hot summer so we could all get in.

And that we did. That first summer, now eleven years gone, was spent in that pool. You were bigger then, but it was still like before in a way because all of us were in a pool. We would swim around, Jane would sunbathe, and Roger would dive in. I would guzzle some beer, and you had some cokes. We snacked on some chips and swam around some more. After getting waterlogged and sunburned, we would get out and dry off and return at night or the next day in the sun. Once more on those days, we were in the water having some fun. Each summer we got in was just like we did before at Gainesville and that long-gone pool.

Now that you are grown, we don’t get in the pool as much as we did. You both are grown and not over as much these days. The pool is still there, the pump is always on, and the water swirls around the kidney shaped sides in silence most of the time. If my pool was like a person, would it be lonely without us in it? Would it be sad without all three of us swimming around?

Being there alone, I wish you two were there, but I try to not get lonely because I see a day when you two will be back as before. Not just with me, but maybe with a spouse and my yet- to-be-born grandkids. Maybe one day hence, when I am old, there will be some little ones in my pool with me, just like you were with my dad and me. That way the flowing water of the stages of our lives will circle around and find us gathered together once more. That way, the pool won’t be lonely anymore and be filled with a laughing and splashing family once again.