Home Stretch

November 19-Dixie

by Lenny Hughes

Once again, we're coming down the home stretch.

Seems like we just got started, and the Fall Tour is screeching to a halt: tonight in Knoxville.

We started the weekend Thursday in Norfolk, then went onto Durham, North Carolina, and a reunion with old friends.

Lewis found the perfect parable for the gun debate that's near to the hearts in Dixie. Seems a couple in Tennessee accidentally shot themselves during a gun safety discussion.

In a church.

"That's the headline! THAT'S THE HEADLINE!" he screamed at the crowd in the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Meanwhile, John has upped his game on his Trump impression, complete with a few Christmas carol parodies, including "Trumpy the Showman."


Trumpy the Showman

I was able to walk around the town before the show, and I hit a couple of great book stores. One thing striking about Durham: they're still cranking out cigarettes in an age when you hear more about millions of people who have contracted health problems from smokes than you do about the millions who enjoy the pastime, as it says on the dedication of the Liggett & Myers building.

After the show, we had dinner with a gang at the old Lucky Strike factory, including our good old Springbrook buddy Ray Larson and of course his lovely wife Gerry.

"We should be dead," Ray declared, when recalling some of the bone-headed things we did in high school, and later when Lew was at UNC and Ray was at Duke.


Lew and Ray

Less dangerous, but equally boneheaded, was an elaborate game we played in Springbrook, developed by our class president Don Smith. Fashioned after the film "The 10th Victim," a dozen of us divided into hunters and prey. Rules required us to carry realistic cap guns, which had to be loaded to replicate a kill.

Today, we'd be thrown in prison for carrying such things into a classroom.

Fully armed, I sneaked into the junior prom with a rapier created from a car antenna, and plunged it into Ray's back, to the horror of prom-goers who'd gathered by the stage for the crowning of the prom queen.

"Wait a minute! Wait a minute," Ray warned me, un-studding his puffy prom shirt.

A note pinned to his undershirt claimed he was wearing a "bullet-proof, knife-proof vest."

I started to argue, as we both pulled out our loaded cap guns, my black German Lugar shaking in my hand as we contemplated the effect of touching off loud explosions during the solemn coronation ceremony.

Thinking better of it, I slinked away like a snake, leaving Ray alive, and 50 years later, still convinced his vest would be effective against a sharp dueling sword.

Last night, we did a stint at the old Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte.

Now we're heading west on the Interstate 26, anticipating a war between Lew's Redskins and my beloved New Orleans Saints.

One of the best things about this wacky touring is the chance to hang with old friends. Recently, for our Albany-Rochester run, Lewis happened to be on the same train I'd taken to the Northeast Corridor, and the week before that, in Stamford, Connecticut, we saw our aforementioned class prez Don Smith.

I've neglected to write about last weekend's tour, where we were happily fed and feted at the venerable Pabst Theatre, a great playhouse in a great town.

Charlotte Sky


Well, it's approaching kick-off, so I'll knock off for now. After tonight, we'll all knock off, since the tour takes a big holiday break, until we start up again in January in California.

Happy Thanksgiving, and Gahd Bless us, everyone.