I was hoping to hear a familiar voice, but was worried that maybe this was going to end badly.
Linda had been after me to call old pal John since we got our Christmas card to him returned "address unknown". That's never a good sign when the recipient is in his late 70's.
John Lotz and I have been buds since our days together in Tampa radio. He was the general manager of a new FM station when I was toiling in morning drive on the station across the hall. He is fifteen years older than I, but we were like brothers almost from the start. We played golf together, had many laughs over cocktails in broadcast dive bars; our wives and kids even liked each other. Though we both went on to several other jobs that kept us thousands of miles apart, we always stayed in touch. That's why I was worried when the Christmas card came back.
Then...he picked up the phone. "K.C.! How the hell are ya?"
Great! He was alive. He'd had a stroke this past year and had made an amazing recovery, but had not managed to get his usual amusing Christmas card in the mail. The reason our card had been returned was because his daughters had insisted on him relocating to an assisted living facility so that he might have some help with his medication and other aspects of his recovery. He and his late wife, Barbara, were blessed with a couple of remarkable girls who, in spite of busy lives and families of their own, look out for their dad.
I hear not a trace of stroke in his voice and John tells me that he has no problems with motion or anything other than keeping track of all the medicine he is required to take. "The nurses are in charge of the pills. I handle the swallowing."
God, it's so good to hear his voice. The world spins in greased grooves once again.
We talk for a long time. Somewhere toward the end of our conversation John asks me if I remember Danny Hamm. truthfully I tell him that I recall only hearing about this guy. "Wasn't he a drinking buddy when you were running KWK in St. Louis?"
"Yep, that's the guy."
He continues to tell me that Danny Hamm married his secretary, Debbie, back in the late 60's after John had introduced them. John was also the best man at their wedding. Now, another friend has sent him a newspaper piece about the child these two, now departed, introduced to the world and named after their buddy John. Barbara and John were also chosen as the boy's godparents.
"He looks a lot like his old man, but he changed the spelling of his name to JON. Show biz! There's also a lot of the classiness in his appearance that his mom projected," John explained.
"The show is on too late for me, but I hear it's pretty good". allows John.
I am now making it my goal in 2011 to get him up to speed on TIVO or some other video recorder.
A terrific end to another year! An old friend is still on the right side of the sod and, as usual, has a wonderful story to tell.
That's the very best thing about old friends...the stories. I love the stories.