[pullquote quote="Mary Dixon sits me down in a comfy chair. I only manage to ask if the roasting spit will spin before the microphone is taken from me." credit="Lin Brehmer"]If you work in the trenches and keep your head down, you are less likely to catch a bullet, but after 20 years, you poke your head up and people say, “He’s been down in that hole for 20 years. I guess we better DO something.” For weeks clandestine machinations whirred in the offices of WXRT. Norm Winer said, “We’ll be doing a live broadcast for your 20th Anniversary and all you have to do is show up.”
Saturday, January 21st.
8:30am- Alarm goes off. I need to be at South Branch for the live broadcast about an hour before the noon show time. Jump in the shower to make myself beautiful. Throw on a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
Normally, my stomach would be inside out as I mentally checked off all the things I had promised to do for a live broadcast, but this was different. All I had to do was show up. And make some closing comments.
Trapped in my home watching the snow fall on Friday night, I had pieced together some gracious acknowledgements. At 9am I am unable to leave well enough alone. I pull out the laptop and start re-writing the whole thing. My comments are gathering mass like the frozen clouds of a Grand Teton avalanche.
I had a whole section on how much I loved watching the XRT kids grow up over those 20 years. Tom Marker’s daughter and son, Lucia and Daniel. Frank E. Lee’s two girls, Kara and Jane. Leslie Witt’s Kay and Kurt. Norm Winer and Wendy Rice’s triumvirate of cuteness. From snugglies and strollers to college classes and rock concerts. I have been so proud of all the XRT kids surviving their parents’ pernicious influences.
I start to run down all the general managers whose preternatural wisdom prevented them from replacing me. I want to talk about XRT’s original owner, Danny Lee, who kept a corner office at 4949 W. Belmont Ave. He may have been the owner, but I could walk into his office at any time and tell some jokes, trade some insults, and walk away. Alive. These are good memories, but I have to fillet my remarks down to the sole of attempted wit. Cut. Save As. Print. Fold. Pocket.
There was enough general anxiety by that time that my announcement to my family of our departure was, perhaps, strident. I had enough time to shovel snow off the sidewalk and clear the car for a quick getaway.
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