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"Images"

I'm getting to know people I could have been friends with years ago. 
I think we've been carrying false images of each other since we met. 

I know a lot of folks will go to their graves thinking of me as the guy with the 
long hair and weird clothes who wrote that bird song, if they think of me at all. 
Misty Morgan's husband. That's it. But, we set it up that way to attract attention 
to our musical abilities. We did our best to stand out from the crowd. I've been 
known to go on-stage in motorcycle cop boots and britches, big chrome sunglasses, 
and a leather cape. So I can't complain if that's all they saw. 

We were leaving our Milwaukee hotel, on the way to do an all-star show in front of 
an audience of almost 50,000, mostly teens. We were the only country act, in with 
a bunch of pop and rock legends. We stepped off the elevator, Misty in red sequins 
from head to toe, with a red sequin top hat, and me in my Captain America suit. 
In the group waiting to get on the elevator was a very dignified elderly couple. 
I heard him say: "Somebody wants to be noticed". We sure hoped we would be. 

And we were. It seemed like they had as many cops as kids in the stadium, and some
great acts like Chicago and The Mamas and Papas were being ignored, while the
teens jumped around, screamed at each other, and threw toilet paper. It was like
singing into a bucket of live bait. 

When Misty and I walked out there was a hush. The first of the day. We were like 
an auto accident. They just had to stop and look. And that's the memory we left, 
even with people in the business. It worked for us, and against us. 

It got us noticed, and helped make us well known. But it also limited the world's 
opinion of who and what we really were. I like Tennessee Birdwalk, but we've done 
things I consider to have more depth, which I'd rather have in my obituary than 
Birdwalk. We're still working on that.

We've crossed paths with about every star and dignitary in the entertainment 
industry, but we saw mostly each other's public face. Think of the ideas we could 
have traded, the conversations, the friendships. But things were moving fast, and 
we were all busy surviving in a rough trade. I've spent some time, but not enough, 
talking to Tom T. Hall, Dick Clark, Merle Haggard, Don Gibson, George Jones, 
Conway Twitty, Jackie Gleason, and so many more interesting people. I wish we'd 
gotten to know each other better. 

But now, mainly through the internet, I'm making up for some of the loss. We're not 
all campaigning as strongly as we were then, and we exchange emails and phone calls.
Now we have a chance to get past the image, and open up a little. It's good. 

We're even talking about organizing an all-star geezer show. 

Copyright  August 13, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.

 

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