The Legend-News

Monday, 2003 June 2 : Volume 6, Number 11 Latest⇒

What We Got Here

'Cause We Got A Little Convoy

This week is the 28th anniversary of The Convoy, or at least it would be if the event had actually occured. There is no "dark of the moon" this June 6th — the next New Moon will be the 29th — but don't let that stop you from taking a trip across a state or two, and waving at the big rigs along the way.

Meanwhile, Back At The Critter Ranch

Spirited Discussion

The Critters weigh in on the new album:

Curtis Pierce watches too much television. We know this, because he spotted the American Spirit commercial in the wee hours of the morning. Remember, folks: there's an operator standing by for you!

Mark Landis got his copy of American Spirit at Wal-Mart. His only complaint is that he thinks that Bill should have included "Old Glory", from C.W. McCall & Co.

However, Todd Frazier says that he couldn't find the album in his local Wal-Mart or Target. Sounds like someone's distributor was napping. Todd also notes a few typographical errors on the album: "On the back of the CD box, it lists Ferde Grefe", which ought to be "Grofé"; and the mention of a "brass trombone" in the "Fanfare For The Common Man" Ensemble. As Todd points out, "all Trombones are of the Brass family. More than likely, they meant to say Bass Trombone, which is one of the instruments required for the Fanfare." Todd ought to know, as he's one of the members of the one-of-these-days-we'll-be-world-reknown Frazier Horn Choir.

Todd also notes the eerie familiarity of some of the American Spirit tracks: he's heard them before, on previous albums by Mannheim Steamroller. The Legend-News, however, commends Chip Davis on his wise use of recycled music.

And Greg Hembree comments of "Tin Types", "I'm sure you are aware that Abraham Lincoln is similarly immortalized in Aaron Copland's 'Lincoln Portrait.' The version I have was narrated by the late Henry Fonda and can still bring a lump into your throat."

Old Home Café: The Next Generation

Episode XVIII

"Your father?" asked Jon, surprised. "I thought that C.W. McCall was an ad-man's creation."

Avis leaned back in the booth, and pushed her now-drained Diet Coke away. "Most people think that, unless they're from this area; then they know the truth. That display case over there," she said, pointing to the glass-fronted case that was mounted on the wall near the pay phone, "Those are actual stories of the filming of most of the television commercials which were about Dad. But he didn't play himself in the commercials; the producers got a real actor, from Texas, to do that. And another Texan played my mom, Mavis."

"The commercials were an ad-man's creation, though," she continued. "My Uncle Bill was working at an agency in Omaha when he got the idea. Dad wasn't anything more than a trucker, and a good one, but when those commercials hit the air, he became a star, of sorts."

Jon eased out of the booth and went to the display case. The news clippings were yellowed and faded and almost thirty years old. He read the captions below the photographs, and examined the people in them. He recognized a few faces: they were customers that he'd seen in the Café just this morning. They were a lot younger back then.

The dates on the pages were from 1973 to 1976. He found one story, from 1975, which told of the sudden fame of the actors who portrayed the fictional C.W. McCall and Mavis, and how they were handling the situation. In one photo, Jim Finlayson and Jeannie Capps, the actors, were posed with a man that was identified as "the real C.W. McCall".

Jon pointed to the picture, and asked Avis, "This is him?"

Avis joined Jon at the display. She looked at the picture of the man, dark-haired and smiling. "Yes, that's him," she said. "I don't remember much about the commercials, though. I was only a couple of years old at the time. But Dad said that they were a lot of fun. They definitely boosted bread sales along his route."

She pointed to another story, about C.W. McCall buying an engagement ring for Mavis, a waitress at the Old Home Café. "This one is true, too. Mom worked here, in this Café, and Dad bought the ring from a store across the street." She nodded her head toward the west window of the Café. "Miller's store was over there, where the resale shop is now."

Pisgah had changed a lot, thought Jon. The busy town that was described in these stories of thirty years ago, where had it gone? Fewer farmers, more corporate farms, and older people remaining in the town that their children had abandoned for The Big City. A few years more, and perhaps this town wouldn't even exist except as a memory of the past.

The display case was locked. "Excuse me for a moment," pleaded Jon. He went back to the office behind the kitchen, and from a desk drawer retrieved a ring of keys. When he'd taken possession of the Old Home Café, the real estate agent that had given the keys to him. On that ring were far too many keys for the locks around the Café; the unknown keys were probably for cabinets and such that had been long removed before Jon moved in.

He returned to the Café's main room, holding up the jangling pieces of metal. "Keys," he said to Avis, as an explanation. "One of these ought to fit."

A few minutes of experimentation later, Jon discovered that the small gold-colored key with the letter "J" scratched into its surface was the correct key for the display case's lock. He opened the case.

"What are you going to do?" asked Avis.

"I've got a flatbed scanner in back. I'm going to scan these articles and preserve them, before they fade into unreadability. I hate to lose history," he said, as he began to carefully remove the brittle newsprint that was pinned to the cork backing inside the case. "Besides, if you want people to visit your town, you've got to give them a reason. This," he nodded toward the case, "would seem to be a good reason."

While Jon carefully laid the clippings on the counter top, Avis picked up the remains of her Diet Coke, which was not much more than an ice-filled glass of light brown water. She sucked out the last of the liquid through her straw, causing the inevitable racous rattling. Jon noticed the noise, but it didn't seem to bother him.

"Gotta go," said Avis, putting down the glass. "I got off from work early, and I'm taking my Mom over to Mondamin for groceries. What do I owe you?"

Jon paused in his work with the display, and completed the ticket that he'd written for Avis when she had made her order. "One dollar even, including tax," he said, placing the ticket on her table.

Avis pulled a one-dollar bill and a quarter from her purse and laid them on the table, then rose and headed for the door. "Keep the change," she said, as the door bells tinkled and Jon watched her walk away.

Song A’ Th’ Week

(Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album American Spirit

Enjoy this version, folks. It's probably the last time that Bill Fries will record his Number One song, because he now wants to really retire.

[On the CB]
Ah, breaker one-nine, this here's the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c'mon? Oh, yeah, 10-4, Pig Pen, fer shure, fer shure. By golly, it's clean clear to Flag Town, c'mon. Ah, yeah, that's a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen, yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy…

A rubber duck Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin' logs
Cab-over Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin' hogs
We is headin' for bear on I-one-oh
'Bout a mile outta Shaky Town
I says, "Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck.
"And I'm about to put the hammer on down."

'Cause we got a little ol' convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a little ol' convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.

[On the CB]
Ah, breaker, Pig Pen, this here's the Duck, and you wanna back off a' them hogs? 10-4, 'bout five mile or so. Ten, roger. Them hogs is gettin' in-tense up here.

By the time we got into Tulsa Town,
We had eighty-five trucks in all.
But they's a roadblock up on the cloverleaf,
And them bears was wall-to-wall.
Yeah, them smokies is thick as bugs on a bumper;
They even had a bear in the air!
I says, "Callin' all trucks, this here's the Duck.
"We about to go a-huntin' some bear."

'Cause we got a great big convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a great big convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.

[On the CB]
Ah, you wanna give me a 10-9 on that, Pig Pen? Oh, negatory, Pig Pen; you're still too close. Yeah, them hogs is startin' to close up my sinuses. Mercy sakes, you better back off another ten.

Well, we rolled up Interstate 44
Like a rocket sled on rails.
We tore up all a' our swindle sheets,
And left 'em settin' on the scales.
By the time we hit that Chi-town,
Them bears was a-gettin' smart:
They'd brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinoise National Guard.
Yeah, there was armored cars, and tanks, and jeeps,
And rigs of ev'ry size.
Them chicken coops was full a' bears
And choppers filled the skies.
Well, we shot the line and we went for broke
With a thousand screamin' trucks
An' eleven long-haired Friends a' Jesus
In a chartreuse micra-bus.

[On the CB]
Yeah, Sodbuster? Lissen, you wanna put that micra-bus in there behind that suicide jockey? Yeah, he's haulin' dynamite, and he needs all the help he can get.

Well, we laid a strip for the Jersey shore
And prepared to cross the line
I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn't have a dog-goned dime.
I says, "Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck.
"We just ain't a-gonna pay no toll."
So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight
I says "Let them truckers roll, 10-4."

'Cause we got a mighty convoy
Truckin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a mighty convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.

Convoy! Ah, 10-4, Pig Pen, what's your twenty?
Convoy! OMAHA? Well, they oughta know what to do out there with them hogs fer shure. Well, mercy
Convoy! sakes alive, good buddy, we gonna back on outta here, so keep the bugs off a' your glass and the bears off a' your…
Convoy! tail. We gonna catch you on the flip-flop. This here's the Rubber Duck on the side.
Convoy! We gone. 'Bye,'bye.

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, doing business as TechRen Enterprises. Contents Copyright 2003 TechRen Enterprises, except for anything that we borrowed from someone else. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music. "Welcome to the First Church of Appliantology."