The Legend-News

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Monday, 2002 September 16 : Volume 5, Number 19

What We Got Here in this edition of The Legend-News.

Whatever Happened To C.W. McCall?
Speculative fiction.

The title of this article isn't referring to Bill Fries: we know what he's doing these days, retired in Ouray, Colorado, where he served as mayor from 1986 to 1992, and operated the multimedia show "C.W. McCall's San Juan Odyssey" for twenty years. No, the "C.W. McCall" of the title is the character of C.W. McCall, as he appeared in the original television commercials for Old Home Bread.

In those commercials, C.W. was portrayed by Jim Finlayson of Dallas, Texas; Jim died several years ago. C.W.'s girl Mavis was actor Jeannie Capps, but we're not certain what became of her. Oddly enough, the only hits that we've been able to find in a web search for Jeannie have been pages on C.W. McCall: An American Legend. (Our new motto: "bringing recognition to the previously unknown".) We do know that Jim and Jeannie were married, but not to each other.

But what became of the characters of C.W. and Mavis? When the commercials ended, they were engaged to be married; we saw C.W. buy a ring at the F.E. Miller Store, across the street from the Old Home Café, but we never saw a wedding. Did they marry? We hope so; we're suckers for romance. Did they have any children? Are they still living in Iowa? And C.W.'s dad, B.Q. (played by Pisgah, Iowa resident Leo Alton): is he still alive? Leo Alton is, the last that we heard.

The original Old Home Café in Pisgah is closed now, and there was a For Sale sign in the front window when we last visited on June 8 of this year.

Pisgah, noon, on the eighth of June
Was a for sale sign on the door.
The Old Home place was locked up tight
And dust was a-dancin' the floor

A couple of blocks to the southwest, the Loess Hills Visitor Center was under construction. Directly south across the street was the new Community Bank branch. Pisgah may seem to be dying, but it's not dead yet. There's life to be found there if you know where to look.

If C.W. and Mavis are still in the area, then they're not hanging out at the Café. We're guessing that they've retired (their ages should be around 65 years). Maybe C.W.'s rocking a chair on his front porch, watching the occasional tourist drive past in search of the past. Maybe Mavis is working with the local Chamber of Commerce, planning a campaign to attract new business to Pisgah.

And maybe, just maybe, someone who drives past the corner of First and Main will decide to buy that restaurant/tavern on the northeast corner…

On the eastern wall were the faded clippings
Tellin' tales of a famous past
For one brief time, in the light that's lime,
Ol' Pisgah did travel fast

Then the companies came and the farms got big
And the little guys went down
The young folks left and moved to the city
And smaller got the small town

To be continued…?

(Before you ask: no, Ed. has no plans to buy the Old Home Café in Pisgah. He can wish, but relocating to western Iowa just isn't in the cards. Not that he doesn't have other plans.)


New York September
A reflection on the events of one year ago

[The Legend-News received this letter last week. The author is Chris Guenther, a long-time C.W. McCall fan and a member of the Other Wild Places list.]

I don't know if you'll think this is stupid or not, but I thought I'd give it a try. Every time I hear "Rocky Mountain September", I can't help but think of 9/11 and all the people who lost someone there. Even here in Colorado, over two dozen people lost someone that day.

In my mind, when I hear that song, I kind of play with the words to make it more applicable to 9/11, and so I thought I'd send it to you. If you want to send it out to the group go ahead.

"New York September"
(With apologies to Bill Fries & Chip Davis)

When the skies are gray, and the wind is cold, I remember. How the buildings were silver, and the leaves were gold when they left us. It was early mornin', on a New York September. And they were gone.

Well now it's ten A.M. an' I'm a hunnert an' ten miles from that place
An' the snow is silver an' the leaves are gold an' we miss them
'Cause it's another mornin' in another town in September
An' I'm alone

Yeah, we climbed the towers together, an' we stood on top a' the world. But now I gotta remember it all… alone.

When the fire is warm, an' the sun is cool, in November. When my heart is young, and my mind is old, I remember. An early mornin', on a New York September. And they were gone.

Well now it's fall again an' I'm a thousand miles from nowhere
An' we can can hear their voices an' we see thier smiles an' we miss them
An' it's another mornin' on another mountain September
An' I'm alone

Yeah, we climbed the towers together, an' we stood on top a' the world. But now I gotta try to remember it all… alone.


Song A’ Th’ Week
Words without music. Call 'em poems.

Talk about bad timing. For last issue's Song A’ Th’ Week, we chose "Wheels Of Fortune", about the travails of the independent owner-operator. It was intended as a tribute to the truckers who try to make a buck on their own. So what happens? Consolidated Freightways, one of the biggest trucking companies in the U.S., shuts down a few days after we publish, putting several thousand company truckers out of work. Labor Day just doesn't have the same meaning anymore.

Strange Bit O' Trivia: believe it or not, this week's selection has never been a Song A’ Th’ Week. We checked, and we don't believe it either. We thought that every song that had been recorded by C.W. McCall had been featured as a SATW, but boy, where we ever wrong! We need to keep better records.

Wolf Creek Pass
(Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Wolf Creek Pass

Me an' Earl was haulin' chickens on a flatbed out of Wiggins, and we'd spent all night on the uphill side of thirty-seven miles of hell called Wolf Creek Pass. Which is up on the Great Divide?

We was settin' there suckin' toothpicks, drinkin' Nehi and onion soup mix, and I said, "Earl, let's mail a card to Mother then send them chickens on down the other side. Yeah, let's give 'em a ride."

[Chorus]
Wolf Creek Pass, way up on the Great Divide
Truckin' on down the other side

Well, Earl put down his bottle, mashed his foot down on the throttle, and then a couple'a boobs with a thousand cubes in a nineteen-forty-eight Peterbilt screamed to life. We woke up the chickens.

Well, we roared up offa that shoulder sprayin' pine cones, rocks, and boulders, and put four hundred head of them Rhode Island reds and a couple a' burnt-out roosters on the line. Look out below; 'cause here we go!

Well, we commenced to truckin' and them hens commenced to cluckin' and then Earl took out a match and scratched his pants and lit up the unused half of a dollar cigar and took a puff. Says "My, ain't this purdy up here."

I says, "Earl, this hill can spill us. You better slow down or you gonna kill us. Just make one mistake and it's the Pearly Gates for them eight-five crates a' USDA-approved cluckers. You wanna hit second?"

[Chorus]
Rhode Island Red Wolf Creek Pass, way up on the Great Divide
Truckin' on down the other side

Well, Earl grabbed on the shifter and he stabbed her into fifth gear and then the chromium-plated, fully-illuminated genuine accessory shift knob come right off in his hand. I says, "You wanna screw that thing back on, Earl?"

He was tryin' to thread it on there when the fire fell off a' his cigar and dropped on down, sorta rolled around, and then lit in the cuff of Earl's pants and burned a hole in his sock. Yeah, sorta set him right on fire.

I looked on outta the window and I started countin' phone poles, goin' by at the rate of four to the seventh power. Well I put two and two together, and added twelve and carried five; come up with twenty-two thousand telephone poles an hour.

I looked at Earl and his eyes was wide, his lip was curled, and his leg was fried. And his hand was froze to the wheel like a tongue to a sled in the middle of a blizzard. I says, "Earl, I'm not the type to complain; but the time has come for me to explain that if you don't apply some brake real soon, they're gonna have to pick us up with a stick and a spoon."

Well, Earl rared back, and cocked his leg, stepped as down as hard as he could on the brake, and the pedal went clear to the floor and stayed there, right there on the floor. He said it was sorta like steppin' on a plum.

Well, from there on down it just wasn't real purdy: it was hairpin county and switchback city. One of 'em looked like a can full'a worms; another one looked like malaria germs. Right in the middle of the whole damn show was a real nice tunnel, now wouldn't you know?

Sign says clearance to the twelve-foot line, but the chickens was stacked to thirteen-nine. Well we shot that tunnel at a hundred-and-ten, like gas through a funnel and eggs through a hen, and we took that top row of chickens off slicker than scum off a Lousiana swamp. Went down and around and around and down 'til we run outta ground at the edge of town. Bashed into the side of the feed store... in downtown Pagosa Springs.

[Chorus]
Wolf Creek Pass, way up on the Great Divide
Truckin' on down the other side
Wolf Creek Pass, way up on the Great Divide
Truckin' on down the other side


Next Issue

Diving head first into the chilly waters of fate. Either you'll like it, or you won't.


The Legend-News is published fortnightly — unless the fortnight is the fifth Monday, in which case it's published fortnightly-and-a-half — by TechRen Enterprises, on sale for one day only! Contents Copyright 2002 TechRen Enterprises, except for anything that we borrowed from someone else. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music, and thanks to a Large Multinational Record Company That We Can't Name Because They Might Notice Us for not suing our pants off. "Consider this a divorce."