The Legend-News

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Monday, 2000 October 30 : Volume 3, Number 38

What We Got Here

Grab a cold one and settle back, because this has got to be the wordiest edition ever of The Legend-News. First up, Convoy 2000, Day Five: The End. After being separated for three days, Skywalker and Snoopy reach Pennsylvania and find Silversmith. Then Bill Fries tells the truth in Re: McCall. There's been another C.W. Sighting. And the Song A’ Th’ Week travels the high road from Denver to Santa Fe in "Four Wheel Cowboy".


Convoy 2000: Day Five

Eastbound and Down

WARNING! The following narrative contains run-on sentences and a severe lack of rest stops. You have been warned.

And now, the Exciting Conclusion of Convoy 2000!

For Those Of You Who Came In Late
Ed. Floden, proprietor of the best damned C.W. McCall web site in the Whole Universe, semi-seriously suggested that a trip to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the epic song "Convoy" would be in order and T A Chafin actually bit the bait and with a little help from his friends (Hi, Carey!) managed to organize (if that's really a word) a group outing that would take he (that's T A) and Ed. to the Left Coast and on the way they'd manage to stop and stare at the legendary haunts of the legendary C.W. McCall and maybe even get to stare at the legendary C.W. McCall himself, if he didn't mind a couple of raving fanboys invading his space in his town of Ouray, Colorado which they hoped he didn't mind so on a sunny Memorial Day (the real one or the "new" one, I forgot which) Ed proceeded westbound from near to the Windy City while T A tried to catch up because T A had departed from Baltimore a couple of days earlier and was doing some sightseeing of his own until he and Ed eventually met that first night in beautiful downtown Audubon, Iowa and took a few pictures of the environs and the big sign outside the highway department office south of town (Hi, Officer Beane!) and Albert the Bull before they hit the sack then woke up and drove through Woodbine and a couple of other McCall-ish places before continuing on their westbound journey which took them into Ouray where they actually did meet the Famous Bill "Hey, you guys broke my bed!" Fries who despite his visitors destructive tendencies invited them to stay for dinner and Bill and Rena cooked the steaks and made the salad and Ed. and T A and Bill and Rena talked into the night and Ed. still owes Bill for a long-distance call to his surprised wife back home in Illinoise ("You're at C.W. McCall's place? Really?") after which Ed. and T A thanked their hosts and invaded a motel and the next morning headed for La-La Land via Area 51, Las Vegas, Hoover Darn and Forry Ackerman's place (well, T A went there) and somehow on the morning of the sixth of June they managed to meet again in a rest area on I-10 with the intention of spending the next five days with their pedals to the metal in an attempt to get to Atlantic City and that one Jersey shore before the next Saturday night.

INTERMISSION. (Take a bathroom break and get another cold one, 'cause this ain't over.)

Are you back yet? Okay, let's go!

So Ed. and T A met Randall the marine and they all took off for Flag Town via the Sun City route, where they hung a right and dropped into Gallup for the night but when the next sunrise came around Ed. and Randall and T A were rarin' to go but T A's car wasn't rarin' at all and he got stuck in Gallup for 32 hours while a Texaco mechanic tried a heart transplant and Ed. and Randall hit the highway and got immediately separated and didn't see one another for seven and one-half hours whereupon they stopped for a bite at the Shamrock, Texas DQ and Randall hit the sack and Ed. pushed on to OK City and waited for Randall the next morning but Randall didn't show so Ed. continued Jerseyward and spent the next 36 hours wondering if a one-car convoy actually counted as a convoy and if T A and Randall would ever catch up to him because he was going about the speed limit or five under hoping that he could cut his buddies a little slack because somewhere out there in the great Midwest the front door, the back door and the rockin' chair seemed to have about five hundred miles of space between each other which really doesn't make for a truly efficient convoy but when Ed. woke up on Saturday morning somewhere near Youngstown, Ohio he had a good feeling that those two lost souls would miraculously break on his CB and they'd all roll on down the black asphalt road into Las Vegas East.

(Excuse me for a minute; I've gotta rest.)

Saturday, 10 June 2000
From Austintown, I was supposed continue east on I-76 and into Pennsylvania, onto the Turnpike. But I made a wrong turn and didn't get onto I-76; instead, I was headed east on I-80. This wasn't too much of a problem, though. I'd lose a little time, but I could get back on track in an hour. So I took the scenic route and headed into Pennsylvania, turning south on PA 60 and down to I-76. But what I didn't know was that Skywalker was in the area, having arrived in the night. In fact, he was waiting just down the road on I-76, the road that I didn't drive on!

The Return of Skywalker (Part One)

What has Skywalker been doing? When we left him in Gallup, he was hoping to be back on the road in about 28 hours.

Convoy Day 2, 1100 Hours -- After agreeing the Convoy should go on without me and watching Silversmith and Snoopy drive off, I asked the mechanics for a ballpark time of completion. They said "Tomorrow is possible and the next day is more likely." I grabbed a couple of things from my car and walked back to the TA Travel Centre, leaving the mechanics to do whatever they had to get my car running again.

I was able to get the same room I had had previously. I got out my mapping software and made some notes. If the car was ready the first thing Friday morning, there was simply no way I could catch up with the Convoy. I then figured out the best route to get me back to home to Baltimore.

Convoy Day 2, 1300 Hours -- I had eaten and decided that I would try and do some work. I had my laptop, a good supply of long distance telephone cards, and software that would permit me to access my projects on my work computer via the Internet. I thought that, even though I was stranded, maybe I could save a day of vacation by getting some work done.

Convoy Day 2, 1600 Hours — Unfortunately, I was unable to maintain a solid connection to my ISP so my calling cards were exhausted very quickly, not as a result of the per minute fees but by all the connections fees that I pay to reestablish my connection. I held one in reserve for emergencies and gave up for the day.

I watched a little television, read a little, and had a late dinner. I tried to get to sleep early but I couldn't.

Convoy Day 3, 1000 hours — I had breakfast and got cleaned up before strolling up to the garage to check on the status of my car. Only one of the mechanics was working on it when walked up. He appeared to be removing my old engine. Imagine my surprise when he told me that this wasn't my old engine but the new one they were installing!!! When they saw me wave goodbye to my friends the previous day, they decided to do something a little unorthodox. Usually, they remove the old engine, take it to Albuquerque, trade it in, and bring the new one back to install it. That usually takes about two to three days. But they decided to change things a bit to get me out the door a little faster so I might catch up with the rest of the Convoy. While one of them started to remove the old engine, the other took the $1000 advance I gave him and went to get the new engine. The new one was $1250 but with the $1000 good faith money and a promise to bring the balance and the old engine within the next couple days, their supplier would provide an engine immediately! They were able to pull my old engine out and have the new one on hand in less than 24 hours! I asked them if I would be able to get on the road that day. They wouldn't commit but asked me to check back in 2-3 hours.

I went back to the TA, pulled out my notes and software, and started to plot a course. I figured distance, average driving speed, amount of sleep I'd need, and other details to each of the stopping places the Convoy would make. Even if I left at Noon, there is no way I could catch up on the route I had plotted months previously.

However, I learned in the military how to plot an intercept course. I abandoned the original route and tried to figure out if I could catch up with the Convoy using any route it all. The answer came back "yes"! If I took the Convoy route to St. Louis then headed due East, I could be in extreme western Pennsylvania just a couple hours ahead of the Convoy. I would have to leave by about 4 PM local time. It would be tight as I would only be permitted 5 hours of sleep each night and would only be able to stop for gas, 15 minutes at each stop. I could pick up food and take care of other necessities at each of those stops. I hadn't tried taking on a drive like that for almost 15 years but I was willing to try. If only the car was ready on time...

Convoy Day 3, 1400 Hours — I had checked out of my room, had picked up supplies, and was back on the bench at the gas station reading a book and listening to the mechanics work on my car. It didn't start up right away when they tried it but they made a few adjustments to it and it was running soon after. However, they explained they still had a lot of work to do to it. I went back to my book.

Convoy Day 3, 1600 Hours — They are still working on my car. It isn't ready. I have an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach as I pull out my notes for a drive directly back to Baltimore, abandoning the idea of rejoining the Convoy.

Convoy Day 3. 1610 Hours — The mechanic comes and tells me the car is ready. Damn! If I just shave a few minutes off my sleep time, I can still catch up! I remember we still need to go to the bank to get the balance of what I owe them so I couldn't leave quite yet. However, those kind and generous men had one more surprise for me to help me get out the door. We arranged my final payment in such a way that I didn't have to go to the bank at all. The arrangement is private, just between us, but it allowed me to be on the road fully loaded and tanked up by 1625. They also had to charge me a little extra ($60) for getting the new engine the way they did as it would cause them to have to drive to Albuquerque twice. A small price, I felt, for getting me out of there a day sooner. I gave them each a copy of CW's Greatest Hits and headed out.

Convoy Day 3, Continued — I drove as fast as I dared with no stops except for gas. All other considerations were secondary. I knew where I could get gas as I went ahead and used the stops I had planned for the Convoy knowing there would be gas at each of those locations and they were within the range of my car on a single tank. I saw very little, took no photos, kept the CB chatter going, and had the stereo blasting CW all the way to where I spent the night, a wide place in the road on the Will Rogers Turnpike in northeast Oklahoma. I set the alarm for 5 hours sleep and died.

Convoy Day 4 — A lot more of the same. I drove harder and faster than I really felt comfortable doing. I nibbled on munchies too much but it helped keep me awake. I hit St Louis and, with a heavy heart, I abandoned the Convoy route and headed East. I continued to rely on my GPS and mapping software, not even bothering to take the time to look at a map this entire part of the trip. I only hoped the software was worth the price I had paid for it.

Again, I stopped very little that day. By mid afternoon, I wasn't sure if I could finish the drive. I went into my supplies and brought out my ration of last resort: a 6-pack of Jolt cola. My stomach was already a bit queasy from the abuse of eating nothing but road food and K-rations for the last couple weeks (with the exception of that heavenly meal at the Fries'!) so this was not the wised course of action. I drink them anyway. The caffeine blast kept me going until I got to a small rest area on a local highway in western PA. I was finally ahead of the Convoy! They would pass by a point about 20 miles from me around 9:30 the next morning. I just had to be there to join up.

I slept hard that night but I felt very happy. I was going to be able to drive most of the last day with the rest of the Convoy. Also, I had absolute proof that I gotten a good engine from the guys in New Mexico as it had driven me at high speed all the way to PA in less than 2 days without a single hiccup or complaint.

Convoy Day 5, 0800 Hours — I fired the car up, drove the last 20 miles, and staked out a place in a gas station parking lot, right near the interstate, in plenty of time to contact the Convoy as it came by.

— T A Chafin

So, blissfully unaware of what I'd missed, at 09:06 I proceeded eastbound on I-76 and made the scheduled stops, arriving for lunch in Breezewood at 11:32, only 2 minutes late. Now I had a decision to make: where to stop for lunch? I wanted a place on the main road where the parking was visible, so that I could point the tail of my car toward the street in the hope that if Skywalker or Snoopy passed by they'd see it. I had been trying an occasional hail on CB channels 13 and 19, but they were obviously more than five miles away from me. Of course, if this were a movie, they'd hear me even if they were two states away. Anyway, I picked the Pizza Hut, parked where my car could be seen, and stepped inside.

12:30 came and the time for the lunch break was over. I had managed to nurse two large glasses of Pepsi and a Personal Pan Pizza for an hour, but I needed to keep to the schedule. I was standing at the register paying my bill, when the door opened and Snoopy walked in.

Snoopy Come Home (Part Four)

Tried to raise Ed in the morning, but no joy. Took a little jog south to go to West Virginia, where I'm not sure I'd been before, had a lovely drive down US 30, spent all of five minutes in West Virginia, then got back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and followed it to Breezewood, PA, our scheduled lunch stop. Arrived about 30 minutes late. Gassed up, then cruised the strip looking for Ed's car. Spotted big yellow writing on a red car at the Pizza Hut - tally-ho!

I had lunch and Ed and I caught each other up on our adventures, and the two of us hit the road. Finally, a convoy again! Too bad we haven't heard from Alan.

— Snoopy

I couldn't just leave Snoopy there, so I hung around while he chowed down. We talked about the misadventures past, and wondered if Skywalker ever got out of Gallup and where was he if he did. About ten 'til one we exited the Hut. I fueled up at the Sunoco station next door, then Snoopy and I headed toward the Turnpike entrance. We were just turning into it when we heard a voice breaking for Convoy 2000. Could it be?

Snoopy Come Home (Part Five)

Just then someone called Convoy 2000 on the CB, we recognized Alan's voice, and neither of us could believe it. "Is that Skywalker?" "Can't be." "Sounds like him." "Sure does. Skywalker, is that you?" It was.

— Snoopy

Meanwhile, back at the Geo...

The Return of Skywalker (Part Two)

Convoy Day 5, 1030 Hours — Okay, lots of sweat now. I had failed to contact the Convoy. Either they never came by or something had gone very wrong. I had been calling them every 5 minutes, much to the irritation of a local security company who used channel 13, the official channel of Convoy 2000, for their own purposes. (They kept telling me to shut up.)

I had one last hope: I would try to catch them in Breezewood, PA, the scheduled lunch stop for the Convoy. I got in my car and did my only speeding on the entire trip. I got to Breezewood 5 minutes before the official Convoy departure time. I was yelling away on the CB but I received no response. I arrived at the TA and found no one there. I even went inside and checked my e-mail from the facility they had there but there was nothing to indicate the current location of Silversmith or Snoopy. I thought I was going to just drive the rest of the way by myself.

I got back in my car and called on the CB again but there was no response...

Or was there? It sounded like a voice was trying to get through all the interference that is so persistent on CB radios. However, one thing I knew is CBs get a lot of interference from the electrical system of the car itself. I turned off the engine and tried again.

"Break 13 for Convoy 2000. You out there?" Nothing. "Convoy 2000, you got your ears on?"

Suddenly, in a very quiet, distant crackle, a voice cut through the ether, saying, "You got the Convoy."

I yelled into the radio even louder as I knew they were going to fade out fast! "Where are you?"

"We're just turning on to I-70 east."

"Take it slow," I yelled, "I'm behind you and I want to catch up." I threw down the mic, fired up the engine, and actually made the tires squeal as I took to the road (which is a real trick in a Geo Metro.) I drove right at the speed limit and 10 minutes later, I could see Silversmith and Snoopy in the distance. They asked who I was but I didn't tell them as I suspected they didn't think it would be me, considering the situation I was in the last time they saw me. I listened as I heard one of them say "Did that sound like Skywalker to you?" "Maybe," was the reply, but they weren't sure it was me until they actually caught sight of my car in their mirrors. The Convoy was complete again. I pulled into the rocking chair and we continued on together.

— T A Chafin

Skywalker was back in town, less than a mile away in the TA Travel Center. Snoopy and I paid the toll then sat in the right-hand lane at a steady 60 MPH, waiting for Skywalker to catch up, which he did a few minutes later.

For the next two-and-a-half hours we roared east, discussing what we'd all done while we weren't very close together.

This last day of the Convoy was the shortest one on our schedule. We figured to reach Atlantic City a little after 6 P.M., so we decided to take a long afternoon break in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. (A caution to y'all: don't stop in Valley Forge if you can avoid it. The Saturday afternoon traffic is a lot like an L.A. freeway during just about any hour of daylight. In other words, it sucks.) We stopped in the King of Prussia Mall and cruised the stores, trying to look non-touristy. The Warner Bros. store was the most interesting, with these framed animated selections from classic Looney Tunes cartoons. Unfortunately, they were expensive. Ouch.

We left the Mall at 6:00 and headed back onto I-76. At 7:00 we reached the Atlantic City Expressway, but in our haste we failed to crash the gate doin' 98; we just paid the toll and moved on. Well, maybe next time. A quick buzz on the Expressway, and we reached that one Jersey shore a half-hour later. We spent a few minutes getting lost looking for the Atlantic City HoJo (hint: it's not in Atlantic City, it's in Egg Harbor), settled in for a few minutes, then stuffed ourselves into Snoopy's Pontiac and went to the local Outback Steak House for a bite. We dragged ourselves back to the HoJo around 11 and hit the sack. The next morning, everyone slept late.

Snoopy Come Home (Part Six)

We cruised on in to Atlantic City (convoying in Philly is a bear), and you know? It's a lot easier to stay awake when you have someone to talk to on the CB. Driving to work this morning, I kept reaching for the CB to chat with my friends Silversmith and Skywalker. No fair!

I figure we must have been spread out about 1500 miles at one point. How Skywalker caught up with us is abso-f***ing-lutely amazing. He must have averaged about 60 mph, including stops for gas, food, and sleep, and maintaining the speed limit even when it was 45 mph in those endless construction zones.

As Skywalker put it in Atlantic City: "We started together, and we finished together." There is enormous pride in that statement. We did it.

Semper Fi!

— Randall (Snoopy)

HoJo in Egg Harbor, New Jersey
From left to right: Skywalker's Geo Metro, Silversmith's Saturn SC2, and Snoopy's rental Pontiac.

Sunday, 11 June 2000
Yeah, it was over. For no reason other than the celebration of a fictitious event, we'd driven 3,000 miles across the U.S.A. from one coast to another. On this Sunday we dragged our feet and finally got on the road to home around 11:00. Snoopy and Skywalker were headed to Baltimore; Snoopy had a plane to catch for his trip back to California, and Skywalker, well he lived in Balto. Me, I wanted a change of scenery and a lack of tolls, so I headed in that same general direction; but I looped around the north side of Baltimore and turned west on I-70.

My trip home was incredibly boring. I followed the talk on the CB, but I didn't get any breakers looking for Convoy 2000 information, because back at the HoJo we'd cleaned off our windows and the big yellow letters weren't there to advertise anymore. By the time I reached western Ohio the sky was getting dark; at midnight I was looping around Indianapolis. At 4:30 A.M. Central Daylight Time I pulled into my garage, cut the engine, and decided to unpack later. Lisa was still sleeping, but I woke her anyway. She was obviously happy to see me; we'd never spent this much time apart since we were married.

I grabbed a half-cup of coffee to ward off the effects of caffeine withdrawal, and got some sleep.

The End.

Convoy 2001, anyone?


C.W. Sighting

Dr. Demento played "Comin' Back For More" on his show for the week of October 22. This was the first of two Halloween-themed shows this year.


Re: McCall

Got a question for Bill? Send it to cw@cw-mccall.com.

Q. Chas Ames recently drove from Washington State to Washington, D.C., and along the way he passed through The Holy Land, a.k.a. the bottom left corner of Iowa. His relocation to D.C. isn't permanent, though, and he'd like to know "In a couple months I'll be heading back. But I'm wondrin'... Would Bill mind if I stopped in Ouray and shared a cuppa hot C with him, thank him, and move on?"

A. I wouldn't mind at all, Chas. But I may be in the motorhome somewhere down south a couple of months from now, so give me a call if you stop in Ouray. If I'm at home, I'll be glad to meet up with you for that cuppa hot C. — Bill

Q. Lonnie's been wondering, too:

Dear Bill (C.W. McCall),
My name is Lonnie. I have been your fan since 1976. I am 38 now and still crave your music like it was yesteryear. I was wondering if you had made any videos of your songs other than "Comin' Back For More? I did find your "Convoy" video that aired on the Mike Douglas show in the '70s.

Thank and God Bless, Your Friend Always, Lonnie

A. Thanks, Lonnie, for being a fan all those years. No other videos of my songs exist, but there is always the "San Juan Odyssey". Check with Ed. — Bill

[For a copy of the San Juan Odyssey video, call Ouray V&S Variety at 970.325.4469. The cost will be about $35, including shipping. It's worth it, in my humble opinion. Seeing the real presentation would be nice, but it's been retired for now and the audio and projection equipment is stored in Bill's garage, awaiting another day. -- Ed.]

Q. From Pam in Utah:

I have so many questions... but as a mother of 4 and a Boy Scout Leader I've often wondered if you were ever a Boy Scout? Several of your songs, especially Aurora Borealis, remind me of Boy Scout Adventures.

Also, We know that R.J. in Black Bear Road was your dear wife Rena Jayne. Are your children's names Roy Gene and Mary Elizabeth? A devoted and enthusiastic fan,
~Pam in Utah~

A. Pam, of course I was a boy scout. About 60 years ago. We wore the "Smoky Bear" type flat-brimmed hats and colorful Neckerchiefs. I remember collecting enough merit badges to get to First Class Scout status, and then a little thing called WWII came along. My experiences during that period of history can be found in my song, "Old Glory". As for my kids' names, Bill Jr. was "Roy Gene", and my daughter Nancy Elizabeth was "Mary Elizabeth". — Bill

Q. And finally, from Monroe:

A number of years ago, My wife Janet and I along with Miles Lumbard and his soon-to-become wife spent a week in Ouray. In the program for the week was a visit to the Odyssey, and a totally unexpected and very welcome half-hour conversation with Bill outside the Ice cream parlour. The one question I never got to ask is, what is the real story behind the Crispy Critters?

Having asked the question, I should point out that on the next visit to Ouray, we made a day trip to Telluride. Inside the door of the first gift shop we entered was (and this is NO joke) a very obviously disillusioned hippy behind the counter. In front of him was an extensive collection of dried herbs, and a collection of astrological postcards. After we left the esablishment trying not to explode with laughter, I surmised that Telluride may have had something to do with the aftermath of the events chronicled in that song.

How 'bout it, Bill?

Monroe Payne

A.The real story, Monroe, is THE REAL STORY. It all happened. It really did. Al, of Al's Conoco, was the mayor of Ouray back in the sixties, and we all watched as he ran those hippies outa town. Somehow, they took up residence in Telluride. Now you know the rest of the story. By the way, Miles is one of the Good Guys. — Bill


Song A’ Th’ Week

Continuing the Fries/Davis compositions from A to Z...

Yeah, I know that Halloween is a day away, and "Comin' Back For More" ought to be the Song A’ Th’ Week, but I did that already. Oh, the hazards of following an A-to-Z theme.

So here's the next song in line, about another cross-country trip through the southwest on a cold winter day.

Four Wheel Cowboy
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Wilderness

[Chorus]
Four wheel cowboy
Four wheel cowboy
Four wheel cowboy
Jeepin' down to Santa Fe

Well, Denver town an' I'm outta the chute
Foot in the gas an' a hole in my boot
And I'm outbound, yeah
Gonna see my momma in Santa Fe
I'm over the Hump and I'm on my way
I'm southbound

[Chorus]
Three hundred miles to Santa Fe
Got a momma to see or the Devil to pay
Gonna be there by the break of day
And I'm southbound
Three hundred miles to Santa Fe
Got a momma to see or the Devil to pay
Gonna be there by the break of day
And I'm southbound

Now this ol' Jeep needs a coat a' paint
But she makes up for what I ain't
She got feelin'
I only know one thing fer sure
This pony a' mine don't need no spurs
She's squealin'

[Chorus]
Four wheel cowboy
Four wheel cowboy
Four wheel cowboy
Jeepin' down to Santa Fe

Well, Texaco's open in Trindad
I didn't stop for gas but I wished I had
'Cause I could use some
They's a bunch a' wild women in Walsenburg
They all make love like a buffalo herd
I wish I knew one

[Chorus]
Two hundred miles to Santa Fe
Gonna be there by the break of day
Got a momma to see or the Devil to pay
And I'm southbound
Two hundred miles to Santa Fe
Gonna be there by the break of day
Got a momma to see or the Devil to pay
And I'm southbound

Rattlin' down off a' Raton Pass
Glorieta Hill like a sheet a' glass
And I'm slippin'
Pedalin' down past Pecos town
My go foot up and my stop foot down
I'm slidin'

[Chorus]
Four wheel cowboy
Four wheel cowboy
Four wheel cowboy
Jeepin' down to Santa Fe

Now Momma's just like this here ol' Jeep
She's tough and fast and she runs real cheap
And she's drivin'
Well, sun comin' up in New Mexico sky
Got a burr in my saddle and a fire in my eye
An' I'm flyin'

[Chorus]
Fifteen miles to Santa Fe
Gonna be there by the break of day
Got a momma to see or the Devil to pay
And I'm southbound
Fifteen miles to Santa Fe
Gonna be there by the break of day
Got a momma to see or the Devil to pay
And I'm southbound

C'mon now, Paint
We almost there
Only one more mile, honey
We comin' Momma
Here we come
Can'tcha see us comin' Momma?
We comin'!
Only one more mile, Momma!
We stuck into four wheel drive, baby!
Here we come!
Whoo!


"Four Wheel Cowboy" can be found on the album The Best of C.W. McCall.


The Legend-News is Copyright 2000 TechRen Enterprises. Now you know why this edition took two weeks to prepare. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music.