Featured Column’s

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Jack Blanchard’s Column: We Named Him Donn

Jack Blanchard’s Column: We Named Him Donn

We named him Donn, but called him Donny when he was little.
He was a beautiful kid. His mother, my ex-wife, raised him,
except for a couple of years,
so when we finally met, as people, he was all grown up.
We tried to figure each other out,
and worked at getting to know one another.

At first he had resentments toward me and tried to hide them,
but we both felt something needed to be resolved.
For some reason it was hard to talk directly at the REAL subject.
I knew that he had heard a lot of things about me from his mother…
not all good.
Some were probably true.

Then he went away for a few more years before we tried again.
The next time was better.
We both had had time to think things over.

People told us we walked and laughed exactly alike.
We understood each other’s humor.
We were sitting with our wives in a barbecue restaurant
on one of his visits.
We both reached for the check, and I said,
“I’ve never done a damn thing for you,
so I’m going to do this one thing, and then THAT’S IT!”
He said this: “Aw, gee, pops. I wanted to go to college.”
We all broke up laughing.
That was the last time Misty and I saw him alive…
at least I think so.
That whole period is sort of mixed up in my mind.

He was riding his motorcycle in traffic
when the car in front of him hit the brakes.
Donn’s bike hit the car and threw him.

We rushed from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale to the hospital,
and he looked perfectly healthy,
except he was brain dead.
I talked to him anyway.

After that it’s all a blur.
Somebody pulled the plug and Donn died,
There was a little funeral in northern Tennessee.

I keep thinking of things I should have said and done differently.
I guess that’s natural.

Maybe someday we’ll get another chance to hash it all out.

Jack Blanchard

Jack & Donn.

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan —

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan... 
Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net
Awards: Grammy, Billboard, CMA, BMI, ASCAP.

Mastering & restoration studio: 352-530-2068.
Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.

© Jack Blanchard, 2019.

Jack Blanchard’s Column: The Optimist

Jack Blanchard’s Column: The Optimist

Denver Omlit was an optimist through and through.
He and his neighbor Ed were admiring Ed’s new Corvette convertible.
“I knew you could do it”, said Denver,
“because you set your goal, pictured it, believed it, and went after it.”
Ed said, “I won it in a lottery.”
Not to be dismissed so easily, Denver said,
“You believed in your heart that you had the winning ticket.”

Ed was a pessimist.
He said, “With all the crime in this city, I’m scared something will happen to it.
I never owned anything this expensive before.”
“Think only positive thoughts”, Denver said,
“and nothing bad can happen to your car.

Ed said, “You think you can do anything if you believe it?”
Omlit said, “You’re reality is a product of your thoughts.”
Ed was thinking a violent thought about Denver right then.
“OK. Let’s see you fly”, said Ed.
“I don’t want to fly”, said Denver.
“But you could, if you set your mind to it, right?”
“Yes, definitely. You are what you think”, said Denver.
“Then prove it, bigmouth!” said Ed.

The optimist wasn’t around for several days,
and then he was seen on the roof of their seventeen story building,
carrying out several large items toward the 47th Street side.
The items were: two light-weight balsa surfboards,
a large cardboard carton,
and a garbage bag with something lumpy in it.

He took a can of quick drying spray glue from the bag,
and sprayed both sides of the boards.
Then he dipped the boards into the box one-by-one,
and brought them out covered with feathers.

He leaned the boards on the foot high wall at the roof’s edge,
and while they dried
he got some other equipment from the box…
a football helmet, goggles, and two rolls of industrial duct tape.
He put on the helmet and goggles first,
because according to his plan it would be difficult later.
A crowd was gathering down on the street.

He turned back toward the roof entrance door and clapped his hands twice.
Three musicians came out,
carrying a bass drum, an accordion, and a police whistle.
They gave a raggedy fanfare as a young lady in a bathing suit twirled out,
did a circus curtsy like a magician’s assistant,
and began duct taping the feathery wings to Denver’s arms.
The bass drum beat slowly to raise the suspense.

From the garbage bag, the assistant retrieved a bullhorn,
and held it to Denver Omlit’s mouth as he spoke to the crowd below.
“If a bird can do it with a brain the size of a pea,
I can do it with my wonderful walnut of a brain.
I believe with all my heart that I can fly.”
He spread his wings with a flourish and stepped off the roof.

As he fell straight down he pep-talked himself.
“I can do it! I can soar like a mink!”
He looked down and saw the flagpole on the 14th floor.
It was coming at him right between the legs.
He hit it like a wishbone and the flag staff broke off
and started falling with him.
“Embrace the pain”, he shouted! “The pain is our friend!”

At the tenth floor his pants caught on a window air conditioner,
ripped off, and flew away.
“Ah, that breeze feels good”, he yelled!
The flagpole and the air conditioner had slowed his descent slightly,
and he imagined he had planned it that way.

At the fifth floor, the optimist said “So far, so good.”
The updraft was gathering under his football helmet,
causing a slight parachute effect.
He hit a small window awning on the third floor,
and then the big awning at the street entrance to the building.
It became a trampoline that bounced him toward the street,
where Ed’s Corvette convertible was parked… with the top up.
The convertible top crushed nicely,
affording Denver a comfortable landing in the red leather upholstery.

The above account is reported here
as it was presented at Ed’s trial for attacking the optimist.
When Denver testified from his wheelchair
that he was thankful because he would soon walk better than ever,
Ed had to be restrained.

Jack Blanchard.

jackmistysunhat001

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan…

Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net Awards: Grammy, Billboard, CMA, BMI, ASCAP. Mastering & restoration studio: 352-530-2068.  Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.

© Jack Blanchard,© 2007, 2012, 2019

Jack Blanchard’s Column: A Song From Life

Jack Blanchard’s Column: A Song From Life

A SONG FROM LIFE.

My sister was in a nursing home some time ago.
Her memory seemed selective, and conversations were somewhat confused.
Misty and I went to visit one afternoon and she wasn’t in her room.
We found her with a group of patients. and we watched from outside the door. 
Someone, probably a nurse, was playing old time songs,
and the patients were smiling and singing along. 
My sister was singing with enthusiasm, not missing a word.
The first time we’d seen her happy in too long.

More recently, I was thinking about that day,
and thought this should be a song, so I wrote and rewrote the words.
I thought of my friend, Michael Warner, a  musician who lives in Australia.
We’ve written a few funny songs together, and I emailed him the words.
He wrote the music, sang it on a demo, and emailed it to me within three days.
Misty loves it and that’s good enough for me.
I did a mastering mix and today we’re sharing it with friends.
*      *      *
“OLD SONGS”.

Mrs. Miller is singing the old songs
With the nurses at afternoon games.
She remembers the words to the old songs,
But forgotten her family’s names.

The past is just over her shoulder
And the music can turn back the years.
Old times flicker by the corner of her eye
When the old songs ring in her ears.

So, bring up the band and give them a hand.
While we can, let’s all sing along
And maybe we’ll find lost love in the memories
That live in the heart of old songs.

So, bring .. back.. the songs from the radio.
Leaving the cold of this old room behind.
The music we know  will show us the way to go,
Take us to places that wait in our mind.

So, bring up the band and give them a hand.
While we can, let’s all sing along
And maybe we’ll find lost love in the memories
That live in the heart of Old Songs.
*      *      *      
Listen to the demo here: 
https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13851887

Jack Blanchard.

Words: Jack Blanchard, Music: Michael Warner. 
Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI).

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan


Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists.

© Jack Blanchard, 2019.

Jack Blanchard: Excitement At Our House Today

Jack Blanchard’s Column: Excitement At Our House Today

 

Misty shouted, “Jack, come here right now and listen to this!”
It was the sound of water rushing against the back of her bathroom wall.
We thought the hot water heater had burst,
so I ran out to the shed. Nothing. Silence.

Nick, our neighbor came over and thought it was a burst water pipe
behind a wall with no access, meaning the wall would have to be torn out.
I said, “I’ll have to get a plumber”, and Misty started filling water jugs.
Then I went out and shut the water off.
The wall still kept roaring! That can’t be!

I started moving things out of the bathroom closet
to see if there was a trapdoor or something.
The roaring water STOPPED!
It was Misty’s electric toothbrush spinning against the hollow board wall!
We all swear it sounded like water shooting out of a broken pipe.
After a moment of silent relief we all broke out laughing.

A BUG ROMANCE.

It’s Spring and we have wasps here. Some are bigger than I am.
Wasps like nooks and crannies.
They prefer nooks, but will settle for a cranny.

I came outside and was going to get into the car
and noticed two wasps, a large one and another more petite.
The large one, the boy, was looking for nooks on the car door,
trying the cracks around the edges,
and the space at the bottom of the window glass.
He only wanted the very best nook we had to offer.

I took a stick and started blocking him at every turn.
This didn’t make him happy. It made him more determined.
Meanwhile, the girl wasp was hovering patiently a few inches away,
while he was checking in.
He ran and dodged like a quarterback making an end run.

Then he flew about a yard away to get some air,
and to tell his sweetheart not to worry.
I quickly got into the car and slammed the door. Ha!
I forgot where I was planning to go.
I slid over, got out the other side, and escaped into the house.

The next day I came out and found them inside the car,
and still on their honeymoon.
I opened the door wide and waved them out like a hotel door man.
They gave me a dirty look and flew out, still hand in hand.

FROM MARCH 20th, 2014…

Today we woke up to the sound of our new next-door neighbor, Nick, cleaning our roof,
a good three hour job. What nice people! Then our friends Bill & Suzie came over
and hung up the vertical blinds on our double glass door and window. While they
were here a family of friends from our old neighborhood dropped in. They have
moved to this same town. Old home week. Misty and Suzie went and got some
Bo Jangles’ Chicken dinners. We couldn’t ask for a better day, or better friends.

Jack Blanchard.

jackmistysunhat001

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan…

Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net Awards: Grammy, Billboard, CMA, BMI, ASCAP. Mastering & restoration studio: 352-530-2068.  Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.

© Jack Blanchard,© 2007, 2012, 2019

Jack Blanchard’s Column: Transitions

Jack Blanchard’s Column: Transitions

TRANSITIONS.
(Written February 28th, 2015.)

It’s a cool gray rainy day here in Hickory Hollow,
a transitional day, with the remnants of Winter
and early signs of Spring.

Standing under the edge of our carport
I can see almost a mile of tan fields and lines of trees,
until the landscape gets lost in the mist.

The trees and Spanish moss are moving with the breeze,
as are the flags on our street.
These are mostly World War Two people
and that kind of patriotism doesn’t go away,
even though the nation has changed over their lifetime.

I didn’t like Florida for a long time after I landed here.
The palms annoyed me.
They were foreign and reminded me that I wasn’t home;
that this was all temporary and I didn’t belong here.

I could go to almost anywhere up north and not feel like an outsider,
but Florida felt unreal… like a movie.

As I stood just out of the rain today and took in the palms,
the giant oaks in rainy-day colors,
and the Spanish Moss like graceful fringe on a gown,
it occurred to me that I like it.
When did that happen?

I still love Buffalo with it’s four seasons
and the energy in the air,
but it’s mostly the Buffalo in my memory.
The last time we visited there,
I enjoyed it, but I had a sense of being outside looking in.

The world has changed so much
that maybe we all feel a little like strangers at times,
but this subtropical place has sneaked up on me
and it’s started to look right.

Maybe I’m home…
or as close as I’ll ever get.

Jack Blanchard.

jackmistysunhat001

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan…

Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net Awards: Grammy, Billboard, CMA, BMI, ASCAP. Mastering & restoration studio: 352-530-2068.  Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.

© Jack Blanchard,© 2007, 2012, 2019

J. Blanchard’s Column: Disney World Groundbreaking

Jack Blanchard’s Column

The Disney World Groundbreaking

I just found an old newspaper article I wrote
back when I was a cub reporter.
It’s about The Walt Disney World groundbreaking,
The truth can be funny.

* * *
It was a Rolaids morning.
At 8:37 AM I remembered why I stopped getting up early,
when stomachs growl,
and the breath of man strikes fear into the hearts of moose.

The Parkwood Plaza Cinema was packed with press people,
snapping pictures and interviewing the crap out of each other.

At the Disney Groundbreaking Press Conference
I thought there would be mice and ducks,
but not an animal spoke, and not a magic wand waved.
The affair proceeded with the hilarity of a colonoscopy in the rain.

One by one, executives confessed to excitement,
undetectable to the human eye.
The audience reacted with a burst of apathy.

There were speeches
about hydro-pneumatic modular electromagnetic prefabrication,
followed, two or three days later, by a spirited race to the rest rooms.
I think Scrooge McDuck is running the company.

We stood in awe of cardboard models
hovered over by cardboard dignitaries,
while cameramen kneeled and stretched in their native dance.

News people rattled off reporter lingo into phones,
scooping each other.
I was amazed to see many of them typing.
I do all my writing with a brown crayon.

Buses carried us to a two-hour presentation of mud,
where holes were being dug on Disney swampland.
Balloons represented future hotels
which were the project’s main theme.

Then back to the buses for another ride.
I awoke with a start when the bus door opened,
thinking we had reached Cincinnati,
only to find us at a Ramada Inn.
I checked my watch.
It had rusted to a stop.

A nice lunch of Chicken Formica awaited us poolside.
There was no shade,
so we ate, glowered, and watched each other burn,
to the music of a sweating Latin band.

I was in such pitiful shape
that when I got home my dog tried to bite me.
The family asked me how it went.
“Disney magic was all around”, I said.
“The entire day was one of beauty and song.”

Jack Blanchard

jackmistysunhat001

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan…

Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net Awards: Grammy, Billboard, CMA, BMI, ASCAP. Mastering & restoration studio: 352-530-2068.  Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.

© Jack Blanchard,© 2007, 2012, 2019

Jack Blanchard’s Column: Ghost Town

Jack Blanchard’s Column: GHOST TOWN

 

Somehow we had missed the turnoff to the southern Ohio town.
We went back to where the highway ought to be and found a narrow old road,
with grass growing up through the cracks in the pavement.
Could this be the main road to town that I remembered from my childhood?
The sign said it was.

The small city, after slumbering quietly for generations,
had become a boomtown with the coming of a large chemical company.
For a while the population grew with the influx of labor.

The little corner taverns
where old cronies had once exchanged worldly wisdom
became juke joints as the town opened up.
Housing became scarce, money became plentiful,
and the townsfolk began a new habit…
locking their doors.

The picturesque, American town of stories
was the only memory I had to go by.
I was surprised at the desolate weeded over road
that had once been a main artery.

We turned off the superhighway
and followed the rustic lane toward the town,
trying to spot familiar landmarks.
There were new shabby buildings,
some vacant and boarded up.

There were new gas stations,
looking aged and toothless with their pumps gone.
I thought I recognized an old building… a certain curve in the road…
but the clutter made it impossible to get my bearings.

Drifting into town,
I was relieved to see the railroad station
and its surrounding park untouched by time.

I had often told Misty about the good times at Aunt Bess’ house,
where I had spent a lot of my childhood.
Now I was about to show her the actual place where it all happened,
but at first I couldn’t find it.

It used to be right there on the corner of Fourth and Maple.
Now there was just a rundown Frankenstein house hiding in the weeds.
We parked while I stared at it for a long time.

I had somehow forgotten…
They’re all gone.
The whole smiling, partying family had died off one by one since I’d been gone.
I knew it, I’m sure, but I’d blocked it out.

The small grocery store across the street
had a new name but looked the same.
I went in and asked,
but they didn’t remember who had lived in that corner house.
They didn’t recognize my desperately mentioned names,
and they were busy.

Asking around
we learned that the chemical plant had laid off thousands of workers,
and the government had built a superhighway that bypassed the town,
so it went quietly back to sleep, somewhat the worse for wear.

We searched the town all day,
and it was sunset before we found anyone we knew.
They were all together, as always.

The squeak of the rusty wrought iron gate pierced the evening stillness,
as we entered the old cemetery,
and began brushing away weeds and dust,
to peer at names on tombstones…
names that clicked on familiar faces in my mind.

We drove out of town and didn’t talk for a while.
Nobody said goodbye.
If this was a ghost town these new people didn’t know it.
We were the ghosts.

Jack Blanchard

jackmistysunhat001

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan…

Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net Awards: Grammy, Billboard, CMA, BMI, ASCAP. Mastering & restoration studio: 352-530-2068.  Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.

© Jack Blanchard,© 2007, 2012, 2019

Jack Blanchard’s Column: Railroad Days

Jack Blanchard’s Column

RAILROAD DAYS…

A long time ago 
we were on our way to do a national television show 
from the PBS main studio in Pittsburgh,
and then to a Nashville recording session. 
Tennessee Birdwalk had become a surprise hit.
Sometimes life can be good. 

The porter showed us to our compartment and stowed our luggage. 
Orlando was sliding away past our windows, 
so we settled down, propped our feet on our suitcases,
and waited for snow.

An official voice over the PA system:
“You’re invited to the dining car for the hospitality hour”,
Free coffee and orange juice”.
Misty said, “Let’s live a little”,
and we staggered forward with the sway of the train.
Passing through the club car, the train rounded a curve,
and Misty sat on an elderly man’s lap.
His wife said, “Well, I never” and glared out the window at nothing.
She failed to see the humor in it.

The best part of the dining car
is watching the scenery fly by in sunset colors.
Telephone poles tick away the time,
and up ahead the train whistle adds to the adventure.
At every road and city street, cars are lined up 
waiting for us to pass by.
Make way for the train, the biggest thing that moves on land!

We stayed awake most of that night
wiping our breath steam from the train window,
and watching the sparkling towns and moonlit woodlands
fall away behind us.

Washington DC was having a brisk morning
as we left our luxury train 
and boarded a coach bound for Pittsburgh,
which wove slowly through the gray land Appalachia.
There were untidy traces of leftover winter,
dingy crusts of snow and slush.

Smoky air had left its film on town and country alike, 
dulling the colors.
Trees, houses, factories, cars, dogs, cats, grass, and people
all blend to a drab tannish gray.

Men in work clothes stand in the cold rain
waiting for the train to take them home after another hard day.

A pregnant woman
struggles to get a baby carriage over the curbside slush pile
without dropping her bag of groceries.
Clothes are functional.
No time for style.

A gang of workmen lined up in the aisle waiting to get off,
whisper and snicker at our haircut and clothes.
We must seem outlandish to them.
Misty and I smile at each other, taking no offense.
The train stops and they file off,
lunch boxes under their arms,
heads bowed against the gray rain,
each seeking out the dreary street that leads home.

The train was owned by The Baltimore and Ohio/Chesapeake 
and Ohio Railroad,
and the train staff was proud of it:
R.G. Whitling, Conductor; L. Boone, Flagman,  
and E.A. Popp, Baggageman.
Their hospitality brought color back to this leg of the journey.
Nature soon followed suit, producing a beautiful rocky river
that wandered for miles through scenic hill country.

Journeys can remain
after destinations fade from memory.

Jack Blanchard

jackmistysunhat001

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan…

Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net Awards: Grammy, Billboard, CMA, BMI, ASCAP. Mastering & restoration studio: 352-530-2068.  Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.

© Jack Blanchard,© 2007, 2012, 2019

Jack Blanchard’s Column: Being Alive

Jack Blanchard’s Column: Being Alive

BEING ALIVE

For some people the world changes so slowly they hardly notice it.
Things happen on a small familiar set, like a stage play.
For others of us,
our horizons have grown so far apart it’s hard to get our bearings.
If I ever do get back to my old neighborhood
I’m sure I’ll run into a guy I used to know
for whom nothing much has changed.

Reality is fluid. The scenery of life changes constantly.
There is only one thing we can depend on,
and that’s the thing we fear most: Change.
Relationships change, that’s for sure.
If we’re lucky they change into something better…
different, but better.

Misty is my full time family.
After all these years we still have lots to talk about,
and we make each other laugh..
Our occasional arguments last only minutes.

We were in a bad hurricane in Miami in the 60’s
The metal posts holding our carport were banging up and down
in the 135 mph wind.
A guy on the radio yelled “Holy crap! The back door just blew off!”
I said, “Isn’t he supposed to cheer US up?”

I was sitting by the window listening to the sound of emptiness.
This is not like listening to no sound at all,
because the sound of emptiness contains
all the things you hoped would be in it,
and all the sounds that once were.

ROGER MILLER. Roger Miller walked in on our session at Columbia.
I stopped everything and went to meet him.
I put my hand out and was going to say “I’m a fan of yours.”
Before I could, he said “I’m a fan of yours.”
A high spot of my life.

My grammar school was pretty strict,
but they gave us education on par with today’s colleges.
In seventh and eighth grades all us boys had to wear ties.
The result was grotesque but funny.
The most popular style was this:
A blue flannel checkered lumberjack shirt
and a bright red rayon clip-on tie with a picture of Popeye on it.

Make the days a little longer.
I don’t know where the time has flown.
Lord, I’m having such a good time,
I don’t want to go home.

Jack Blanchard

jackmistysunhat001

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan…

Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net Awards: Grammy, Billboard, CMA, BMI, ASCAP. Mastering & restoration studio: 352-530-2068.  Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.

© Jack Blanchard,© 2007, 2012, 2019

Jack Blanchard Column: Christmas Is A Time….

Jackcolumn2014CHRISTMAS IS A TIME…

Christmas is a time of sad happiness.
It gets more and more commercial,
but if the stores were closed wouldn’t it take away some of the fun?
Bar rooms are lined with the lonely, clinging to each other… like family.
Bartenders are parent images.

Displaced Yankees dream of gently falling snow that never turns to slush,
and wandering romeos often come home,
at least temporarily.

Telephone wires hum with long distance calls
between people who care about each other more in December,
which is better than not caring at all.

After-shave lotion is unwrapped with oohs and ahs,
toys are getting ready to be broken,
and puppies inhabit stockings.

Trees are always the most beautiful ever
if you just turn the bare side to the wall,
and eggs flow like nog.

Roaring hearths and good fellowship are for the very lucky,
but some will settle for a bag of groceries.

For certain people, this will be the first Christmas,
for others… the last.

“Merry Christmas” will be said in shacks,
castles, prisons, airplanes, battlefronts,
and churches.

No matter what we say is wrong with it,
Christmas is a time when many people are a little nicer…
and that’s something.

Jack Blanchard

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