I’m trying, and you’ve probably noticed, to stay away from Politics a bit more lately. In fact, I’ve written NOTHING about it in nearly two weeks. I have to admit that some days it kills me not too.
This is NOT “about” Politics, it’s about ME and my PASSION for the subject, so please allow me.
Years ago, in Junction City Kansas: Perhaps 1977 – I’m pretty sure of it.
I had been sent to Fort Riley Kansas to pack up and ship a bunch of Radio & TV equipment that had been declared excess. The Army didn’t need it any longer, and AFRTS wanted it, and since I was an engineer and had only six months of service left, I got the job.
I can honestly tell you, that I didn’t WANT the job. I had no need, and no desire to spend time in the Midwest, especially in the summer months where no matter what you wear, you feel like you’ve been rained on.
As it turns out, the Air Force could care less about what you WANT, apparently it’s ALL about THEM. So I went to the Midwest.
I drove cross country to get there, in a 1975 Buick Skylark that I loved, but had NO air conditioning. By the time I arrived in Geary County Kansas, I felt like I’d come across the plains on a buckboard. The car complained the whole way there, and I kept hollering, “Are we THERE yet?”
I have a new appreciation for folks that came across, believe me.
In any event, I reported to my new assignment, and met a nearly retired Lt.Col, USA, who wasn’t at all pleased to have my Air Force Blues on “his” base. I ripped the equipment out and boxed it up in about the time it would take for a nice lunch, including drinks, and reported back that it was done.
“What can I do now?” I asked. “I’ve got six months left.”
The answer was both quick and specific. “Get your Blues out of sight. Find an apartment, play ball, grow your hair long. I don’t care, just stay away from our perfectly green machine.”
Well, that was easy. I seriously considered just driving back to New York, but I knew darned good and well that the minute I did that, I’d be declared AWOL or some stupid thing, so I drove into town.
Driving down Grandview and then onto Washington downtown, is an experience all unto itself. This is an “ARMY” town in so many ways, and all of the “services” that a GI might “require” are fully available and on display. Pick and choose your poison, it’s all right there.
I wound up at the Offices of the Daily Union. Run by the Montgomery’s at the time, it was the only paper in town, or at least so I thought. They had no jobs available at the moment, but as it happened, they had a chain of Weekly Newspapers, and their office was attached. I met Rob Stevens.
Turns out he DID have a job opening, and within about 10 minutes or so, I was suitably seated in my new office and I had a title. Advertising Manager.
I didn’t even have a place to live yet, but I had two jobs. GREAT!
ONE of the advantages of working for a newspaper, is that they have a classified department. I walked over, found an ad, called a number, told them I worked at the paper, and I had a nice little two bedroom house three blocks from the newspaper.
I was really beginning to LIKE Junction City.
The radio station wasn’t far from the newspaper office, so I drove over there to see what was going on. I met the Program Director and it turned out he was looking for an evening guy. I sat down at the board and began to crank out a “spec” show. I read some news and before I had it all done he tapped on the window. “You’re hired,” he said. “when can you start.”
Why not now was my answer, and thus I had now THREE jobs (counting the Air Force) and this was day 1.
It wasn’t long after that I met Ed Rolfs Jr. at Central National Bank. Eddie and his family have BEEN CNB for five lifetimes, and they were experimenting with a mainframe computer that took up one whole floor of the building. It would, eventually, connect and run a “new” thing that was just happening, ATM’s. We designed a new logo for the bank and it is still in use today. Ultimately, we won several state media awards for the “Best Small Campaign,” and Ed and I became great friends, along with Rob Stevens.
Meanwhile, things were percolating along at the radio station. The afternoon jock at KJCK was a guy named Khris Favor. Heavy hitter BIG pipes, sounded like he was speaking from the bottom of his lungs. We became roommates to save some money and we began living a bachelor lifestyle….sort of. I was too busy for a life (sound familiar?) but we hung out and had a lot of fun.
Not long after that, Ed Rolfs decided to run for State Senate. Both Rob and I got deep into the campaign. It was my first taste of Politics, and I quickly learned that I loved it.
From that moment on, Politics has been my “thing.” I’ve studied it, lived it, and campaigned for six or seven Republicans in various places, and we never lost an election. I’m not sure HOW we did that, but we did it.
So now if you see me “ranting” about this or that, perhaps you’ll understand that this isn’t a passing “fancy” for me. I am, as they say, “All Up in this Politics Thing.” I don’t know, maybe they don’t say that, but it’s the truth.
Why Politics? Because, whether you believe it or not, ALL Politics are local, and ALL Politics winds up either helping or hurting you. Plus, from a Media standpoint, we’ve always had an absolute REQUIREMENT to hold the flame of public opinion to the feet of power. It’s MORE than a bunch of words, it’s an honor code in Journalism, an I’ve been “on the beat” the greater part of my life.
God Bless the USA, and God Bless America. Hey Junction City…God Bless YOU too!