I have been blessed with good health for all of my life, and I thank God for that. I have never had to deal with such things as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, or other health related problems that plague many of my friends and acquaintances. Regular check-ups have continuously, however, revealed that I am a high risk candidate for osteoporosis due to my bones being thinner than doctors prefer. Still, I believe I feel and think like the young man that I used to be. Reality settles in though as I think about the recent loss of two “baby boomers,” Glen Frey and David Bowie. Both were musical greats of my generation.
If you were born between 1946 and 1964, consider yourself a “Baby Boomer.” As such, you are a part of a post war generation that probably saw The Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, and you’ve probably used a transistor radio to listen to the Motown sounds, or maybe baseball’s Cincinnati Reds. It is likely that you can recall when automobiles came without seatbelts; when television was shown only in black and white, and when you didn’t have to pump your own gasoline. There were the good ole’ days of American Band Stand, The Twilight Zone, The Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan’s Island, Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Star Trek, and much more— including the beginning of Saturday Night Live, Mad Magazine and National Lampoon.
As youngsters and then teenagers, we have witnessed the cultural changes of the sixties and the events that changed the world like the Cuban Missile Crisis, assassinations of President John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.; plus, we’ve experienced either military service in Vietnam, or the risk of being drafted into the crisis that took over 60,000 American lives. We’ve seen the anti-war protests, the civil rights movement, sexual freedom, the women’s movement, the environmental movement, riots, protests, the first man to walk on the moon— and we remember Woodstock. The above ingredients combined to help make the best “vegetable soup” of music the world has ever known, at least in my opinion.
Though David Bowie certainly was a different look when he came into the musical scene, songs like “Young Americans”, “Space Oddity” “Life on Mars”, “Starman”, “Fame”, “Let’s Dance”, and my favorite, “Under Pressure”, were just a few of his amazing sounds. His final album, “Blackstar”, which he recorded after he found out that he had terminal cancer, is said to be a masterpiece. I have heard a couple of those tunes on WNKU radio (104.1), and both were good sounds.
Glen Frey, 67, died from complications caused by antibiotics taken for years for his rheumatoid arthritis, which also was attributed to my own mother’s death. Pneumonia also contributed to Frey’s passing. Frey and fellow band member Don Henley formed The Eagles in 1971, the year I graduated from Logan High School. What followed for the Eagles was a long string of 70’s hits like “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, “Tequila Sunrise”, “Witchy Woman”, “Already Gone”, “Desperado”, “One of These Nights”, “Hotel California”, “New Kid in Town”, and “Best of My Love”—and that was just in the ‘70s. Frey, who also was a backup vocalist for musical great Bob Seger in 1968, was a part of what has been termed the “soft-rock explosion” of the 1970’s. The Eagles halted their musical tour this past July when Frey became ill with intestinal issues.
It is with profound sorrow that we say good-bye to the musical greats, Bowie and Frey. However, like so many other talents—Elvis, Roy Orbison, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and many others,—their music shall live on throughout the vast expanse of our universe. After all, that is where all the “stars” are located.
BITS and PIECES
About four years ago, my wife had her mind set on a particular type of living room furniture for what we label “the tv room”…..I forget the name brand of the furniture, but after searching in various stores in Huntington and Charleston, we finally found what she wanted at a so called “super store” in Charleston…..the female sales person said that if we could be there around 8 a.m. the following Saturday morning we could get a “great” deal, as the stuff would be temporarily marked down by 30 percent…..the next day or so, we looked on the local level, and unbelievably found the very same furniture at a local store (Butcher’s Furniture) in Deskins Addition for almost $300 less than the so-called sale price in Charleston; plus, we got free delivery…..the reason I point this out is because we have some great local businesses, owned by local people, who have been established for years, and deserve consideration before shoppers begin looking elsewhere…..McCormick’s in Logan, Man Clothing and Jewelry, and Jack and Jerry Calandros of C&W Furniture at Stollings are prime examples of local businesses that will practically bend over backwards to accommodate you…..I also remember Vickers’ Dept. Store and Browning Furniture in Chapmanville as being fine commercial servants to that community…..there are several local businesses that are trying to survive during these difficult times…..allow me to suggest that we all should shop on a local level, whenever possible…..on New Year’s Day, former WVU football coach Don Nehlen celebrated his 80th birthday……it seems only yesterday, I sat with him on the Logan Country Club parking lot in 1980 and did one of the first interviews he granted shortly after his hiring…..I took an immediate liking to him and predicted he would turn the grid program around, and, of course, he did…..Nehlen finished with a record of 202-128-8, which makes him the 17th winningest college grid coach in college history…..on the more local level, I continue to be impressed by former Logan basketball player, Stevie Browning, who just seems to get better with each Thundering Herd game I watch…..I recently found out that Browning, who had decided to leave Fairmont State before Dan D’Antoni was hired by Marshall, was offered scholarships at several other schools, including East Tennessee State, Eastern Kentucky, etc., but believed in himself enough to walk-on at Huntington, with no promise of even making the squad…..that, folks, among other reasons, is why I predict him to average close to 20 points per game by season’s ending—it’s called determination….. having said all that, if Marshall continues to fare well in their conference, or even win it, I will tell you the one person who believed his old Hodges Hall roommate and pal, Dan D’Antoni, would turn the program around is none other than Logan resident Mike Watson…..both guys were on the MU basketball squad in the late 1960’s…..congratulations goes out to former Pecks Mill resident Don McGraw…..Don, now a resident of Proctorville, Ohio, was recently honored by the WV Legislature during West Virginia History Day…..McGraw is being honored for his research of various families of the Pecks Mill area, and some Boone County areas…..two legislative actions I hope are considered this session both pertain to food…..I hope that all labeling on meat and dairy products be clearly identified as to where they come from…..who wouldn’t want to know if their beef came from Argentina, Canada, or the U.S.A……also, I hear there’s a good chance a bill that would make it very easy for people who preserve or can certain foods to sell them nationwide, could be in the making…..in other words, home canned green beans, different types of pickles, etc., all could be labeled and sold without people having so many restrictions laid upon them…..I think we all know people locally who make canned products that are far better tasting than the same products imported and sold in most stores…..heck, I might even put my sauerkraut on the market…..in a story I recently wrote concerning Logan Countians who have made their mark in various fields of endeavor, I found it hard to believe I left out the name of an NFL great, whose football trading card I even possess…..Lionel Taylor, who graduated from Buffalo High School on Buffalo Creek near Man, was the Denver Broncos’ top receiver from 1960 until 1966 in the original AFL…..he was the Broncos’ team MVP in 1963, ‘64 and ‘65, and was named an AFL All-Star in 1960, ’61, ’62 and ’65……I telephoned Man Coach William “Tootie” Carter and he graciously gave me his friend’s telephone number; Tootie visited the former star last summer…..Taylor, who I believe is the NFL’s oldest living former player, is 80, and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico…..I hope to have an interview with him soon…..DID YOU KNOW that old cemeteries are recognized as a part of our heritage and that they are rapidly deteriorating and disappearing; or that inmates and other offenders are not being used to clean up these places?…..QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “It is not so much our friend’s help that helps us— as the confident knowledge that they will help us.”—Epicurus…..FINAL NOTE: I never know when stories/columns that I submit to The Banner will be published, as my editor, Martha Sparks, sometimes has difficulty finding room for some of my extensive ramblings. However, I have come to an agreement that if someone files against me in the upcoming primary election, I shall not write until after the election results. However, if I should be so fortunate to have no opponent, then it is hoped I can continue to provide material that I pray is worth reading. If I do get to write, there will be no political statements of any kind. Laws (called Canons) that are provided by the Supreme Court, say I (or any other judicial candidate) cannot publicly endorse any other candidate. So, if you’re reading this, and it is past Jan. 30th, then consider this writer a fortunate son..…otherwise, I’ll see you on the flip side…………..
Dwight Williamson is a contributing writer and a former reporter for The Logan Banner. He currently serves as a Logan County Magistrate.