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Ghost of Sam Post

The Post Man Cometh

No, I haven't decided to start delivering mail. Let me start this episode by answering a few things from last time. On the question of failing to claim one's great prize, I can reassure you that there is no cry of "foul", I will simply store your prize wood for you so that at some future time, when you have a proper fireplace, you can come and get it. Alternatively, if you want to get your wood now, I would recommend that you pile it around the HVAC doohickey that you mentioned and when the weather turns really cold, you can light it up at that time. There is plenty of wood, so don't skimp on the heat. Your portion of the great prize will heat your home for many years to come. On second thought, better wait until your lease is up before you light the fire as described, and better leave one minute after you light the wood on fire. For Mr. Google, I will, of course, store your prize wood too. When we move to parts unknown, I will deliver your wood to your front door, free of delivery charges. This means, however, that you will have to use the back door to get in and out of the house, but then, you won't have to go very far to carry wood from the woodpile to the fireplace either. Such a deal!

Now for last week's puzzle. No one got the quote. What up with that? "Be on your merry" is a quote from the movie Serenity. It was spoken by Mal to Simon (the doctor) at the occasion of one of their numerous verbal altercations. Jeez guys, I thought one of you would get that one. What happened? Didn't Google have the answer? I'm reluctant to give you this week's puzzle. You realize that each week the puzzle gets more difficult, right? Too bad no one got last week's answer, the prize was $100.00 in cash. Oh well, at least two of you got some neat firewood. But, the cash prize will not be awarded because nobody even tried. I guess no one wants cash out there. Maybe this time I will award a hundred gallons of gasoline. Is anyone interested in gas for their car? Okay, I see a few hands up out there, so I'll give you the latest puzzle. From memory now, what is the name of the star in Grease who just got married? For extra credit, name their spouse. For more extra credit, what was the star's name in the show? For more, more extra credit, was Harrison Ford in the same show? For more, more, more extra credit, did I spell Harrison Ford's name correctly? Did George Washington have a white horse? How do you know? Wow! All those questions and all that gas, this is going to be the best contest ever. I'm just getting started with the questions; I've got a million of them.

None of you guys commented on my hilariously funny jokes that I included last time. You must still be laughing so hard that you haven't been able to respond to them. I know, I know, I get that all the time. During my years as a musician I used my jokes in my musical act. If we weren't getting any response  from the audience when we sang a song, I would start to tell jokes from the bandstand. It worked every time. Someone would always jump up after the second joke and yell, "Sing". That's how I knew that they loved my singing. Oh, I forgot to tell you guys that I used to make my living on the bandstand? Yeah man, from age seventeen to about age fifty, I worked as a musician/entertainer. I started in New York, we worked every "toilet" from Manhattan to Montauk. (Basically, that's from the City to the end of Long Island.) I grew up during the 1960's and I knew the City very well. I saw the greats in the music business, some before they were "great". We went frequently to Washington Square to hang out with other players and we saw more talent there than you can imagine. In the clubs in the City we saw jazz greats like Herbie Mann and Kenny Burrell (Kenny was nineteen in those days!). On Second Avenue there was an Irish pub that we were told to audition at. We did Country and Western music at the time and some Irish music. This pub in the City was known for sending Country bands to Ireland for tours. You had to audition so that the owner could hear, and approve of, anyone that he was going to bankroll, so off we went to audition. When we arrived the owner wasn't there but there was another band auditioning. We sat down to listen. These guys were fantastic! They did one song where the lead singer "clucked" like a chicken - no lyrics, just clucking for the entire song. He played a bass fiddle while he did the song and the rest of the band, of course, backed him. We looked at each other and wondered how we would ever top this band's performance. Besides, Johnny Cash never clucked his way through a song that I know of. We never did get hold of the owner for another audition time. I would like to have gone to Ireland, but I guess it wasn't my time. Anyway, we worked at many seedy places and dives all over New York. It is interesting that you seem to find the most fantastic players in the most out of the way, sleazy places.

I remember one place on Long Island where the bandstand was riddled with bullet holes. I guess the patrons didn't like the music. I've heard of people throwing beer bottles at the band (you learn to duck at your music lessons) but shooting at the band? Some people take their music seriously! Another time, it was a very cold winter, and we were playing in a local saloon, corner bar type of place. The patrons were locals and represented every age group. There was a little old lady, maybe sixty-five years of age. Her light gray hair was frizzed out; she looked like Phyllis Diller after she stuck her fingers in the light socket. She was about five feet short, wrinkled, skinny as a rail, and drunk out of her wrinkled socks. She had gone to the ladies room during one of our breaks, the place was relatively quiet. When she came out she screamed, "Hell, you could get pneumonia of the blow hole in there!" I guess there was no heat in the ladies room, and she wanted everyone to know.

Not all of the places we played were dives; we played at some nice places too. As you may know, Long Island is the home of many TV and movie celebrities and they have many parties. We booked many of these parties and had the pleasure of entertaining many of TV's entertainers. We were booked by one of our agents to play in a large Hilton Hotel. The lounge was reserved for the Disco people and a very loud D.J. We were hired to play (there was only two of us) in the lobby. The lobby was big enough to land 747's. It was triple level and contained maybe one hundred tables where people waited to be seated in the dining room, or just rested from other activities. The management wanted us to play quiet, listening music for the people. We did as was requested but then some of the patrons requested us to play some folk music and some country music. They said that the Disco was too loud and smoky. We did as they wanted. The aisles started to fill with people dancing to our music. We really got into trouble when the Disco crowd started to find their way out into the lobby. We had pulled the bulk of the people out of the bar - maybe that's why we didn't get hired back the following month! You see, even when you please the crowd, you can still get into trouble.

When I think back over the many years I had in the music business I realize that it was a lot of fun. I met a lot of great people, I worked with Nashville stars, I worked the Alan Freed Rock and Roll Shows with many of the 1950's groups. I've been on live TV and radio, cut several recordings, and I've worked in the lowest dives in the dirtiest cities on Earth. I wouldn't change a thing. And if I had the chance to go back and do it all again, I would be even more enthusiastic because I would have the knowledge that I possess today. We always look back to see the good ol' days and we never see today and tomorrow as "good". Maybe we should regard what we are doing today as good. First, we will enjoy it more - positive outlook better than negative outlook - so we can be happier now, and second, so we can have something to tell others about in the future - about the good ol' days.

Well, boys and girls, I didn't plan on going into my musical past today, but it just sort of happened. I find that it is good to reminisce. It is like taking stock of who you are and where you have been. I tend to remember the good times more than the bad times. I guess that's because I survived the bad times. I'm happy to say that I was never shot at on the bandstand and I was usually hired back to play. That's a good thing, it means that I didn't screw up the first time I appeared. Life is mostly good. So says Sam Post.

Published Jul 15 2008, 03:38 PM by Sam Post
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