Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall Tales and Ripping Yarns from The Great State Of Texas

Archive for the tag “Plano Texas”

“A Lovin’ Spoonful Of The Dairy Queen”


This is a true story that I have been itching to recount since 1966. Better late than never.

April 1st, 1966, found my friends and fellow bandmates Jarry Boy Davis and Warren Whitworth lollygagging around White Rock Creek, just off Parker Road in lovely Plano, Texas. Exciting it wasn’t.

Plano was the epitome of small-town Texas; one red light, a Dairy Queen, two police officers, and one high school with a state championship football team. We could have been fodder for a Larry McMurtry novel.

Our not-yet-famous rock band, The Blue Dolphins, at the time was in transition. A few weeks back, our drummer, Ron Miller, had been dragged by his parents kicking and clawing back to San Diego, so we were now a three-piece act in need of a percussionist.

Bored with wading in the creek, we sat on Jarry’s 1965 Mustang coup trunk that was parked on the gravel road. A great little pony car, yellow as a ripe banana with 160 horses under the hood. It was great being 16 and cool. Actually, we were bored and decided we would go to the Beach Boys concert in Dallas that night.

Next to our favorite creek spot, there was a party ranch or a dude ranch here in Texas. People rented it out for parties, horseback riding, and BBQs.

As we were getting into Jarry’s car to leave, we spotted a line of horses plodding down the gravel road from the direction of the ranch. We decided to stick around for a few and say howdy to the visitors and horses.

As the group of riders got closer, we couldn’t believe our young, healthy eyes. Warren yelped, “holy crap, that’s the Beach Boys.” Indeed it was, riding single file on a horse. Behind them came Chad and Jeremy, two British singers, and batting cleanup was The Lovin’ Spoonful at the end. We were almost wetting ourselves.

The Beach Boys rode by, we said howdy and got the stink eye from Mr. Pleasant, Mike Love. Chad and Jeremy looked scared to death being on a horse and were extremely sunburned. One of the Lovin Spoonful stopped, dismounted, and started a conversation with us. How cool is that? He introduced himself as John and wanted to know about Plano and what we did in a one-horse town. I figured he was milking us for a song idea about hicks in the sticks. We gave him the rundown and were flabbergasted when he asked us to show him the town. You betcha we would.

The social hub of Plano was, of course, The Dairy Queen, so we figured John would like an ice cream cone. Lining up in the drive-thru, no one knew who he was, just some long-haired hippie guy in Jarry’s car. We kept mum, not wanting to create a scene by being uncool. John got his cone, shared a few music and band stories, said he liked small-town Texas, and we took him back to the dude ranch. He asked us if we would be attending the show that night, and we said yep, see ya there.

The three of us were reluctant to tell of this encounter for fear of being labeled liars and lunatics, so we kept it quiet for all these years. No camera, no cell phone, just our recount.

A Ride in A Time Machine


I attended my 50 year high school reunion on Saturday, October 19th. It was held in Plano Texas, the small town where I lived when I graduated a “Plano Wildcat” in 1969. Fifty years on, a town is bound to grow, but Plano has exceeded any of our expectations. Its now a part of Dallas, and that’s not a good thing for our formally small village.

I sent my money to the committee a bit late. Less than thrity days away, I was still unsure if we should attend. Trepidation is one of my worse faults and more often than not these days, it wins more than loses.

My wife, also knowing many of my classmates, urged me to go, or should I say pushed me to attend. She knows me better than myself and what will be good for my soul. She reminded me that I have recently completed cancer treatments and who knows if it will return and then I will have missed this chance. We don’t get many second chances at my age. So, reluctantly, I agreed to strongly consider.

One night, up late, while watching an old black and white melancholy laced movie that reminded me of my childhood, I made the decision to go. My heartstrings were in the right place at the right time, and I just went with it. Trepidation raised its ugly head a few more times in the weeks before, but I fought valiantly and won that battle.

Sitting in the parking lot waiting to enter the venue, once again, I panicked. What if an old friend now looks like the Elephant Man, am I suppose to say “you look great?” What if I don’t remember these people and they don’t remember me? I was to the point of chest pains, but kept that too myself. My wife is a cardiac nurse and I didn’t want her thumping my chest before we entered.

All the doubt and anxiety dissolved the moment we walked through the entry door. I didn’t need name tags to remember names or faces. I assume that during those fifty years, my brain had developed some CGI ability to project how we would look as old folks. There were handshakes, hugs, laughter and reminiscing. The high school antics and experiences were revisited and fondly remembered. There was more laughter than I have heard in years. Prizes, speeches, zingers, they were all thrown about with abandoned.

The ” Memorial” table was the clencher. The pictures of my fallen classmates, forever that age, now gone. Some died early on, some recently, but they were not with us, and that sadden me. Facing mortality is a bitch.

As the class was mounting the stage for the reunion picture, my old friend Jarry fell backward hitting the concrete on his back and taking a hard knock to the head. The jovial mood ceased, and lthough he insisted he was alright, he wasn’t, and 911 was summoned and Jarry was taken away to the hospital for testing. I believe at that moment, the group of us realized that we are not eighteen anymore. We are senior citizens and fragile in this world of hurry up.

God speed to my old classmates, and be careful. I hope to see you again in ten years.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: