- My First Job
- Lettuce, Bananas, and Convertibles
- Managing the Hunt
- Thank God for Hazel
- Callers Beware
- The Colonial Bike Ride
- And Justice for All
- New Horizons
- The Way Things Were
- The Cost of Crusading
- It’s in the Bank
- Training Triumphs
- Puppies and Politics
- Hortense Fudpucker
- Exxon Etiquette
- Answered Prayers
- Something Good
- The Perils of New Terminology
- Clouds and Bicycle Horns
- Dreams, Surprises, and Bifocals
- Candid Camera and Year 2K
- Best of Both Worlds
- Madness and Memories
- Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself
- Home Again
- Turnovers and Changes
- Relics and Relocation
- Time for a Change
- Endings and Beginnings
- The Last Days
In 1988 George Michael was all the rage, beating out Michael Jackson for the top spot on the charts with the unlikely combination of titles “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex.” His concert tour that year included Texas Stadium in Irving. George Strait and Randy Travis were more my speed so I paid little attention as all of the local pop radio stations touted the event. A couple of weeks before the concert, I heard that Trey and Bill “The Morning Guys,” of radio station Y95, would conduct a live broadcast of a “most bizarre” talent show in the parking lot of Texas Stadium. The contest took place 6 to 9 a.m. on the Wednesday morning before the concert on the following Friday. The first prize was a guitar autographed by George Michael, a limo ride to the concert, two front-row tickets, and a meeting with George Michael himself. I remember vaguely thinking that the nuts would sure come out of the woodwork for that venture.
Cheryl, my most interesting boss, loved George Michael and talked nonstop about how handsome he was and how she would love to see him. On the Tuesday afternoon prior to said Wednesday talent show, she summoned me to her office and told me to go home, come up with something good, and go win that talent show. Resistance was futile when it came to her ideas but I did laugh and say “That’s tomorrow morning – you’re kidding, right?” She was not kidding. I found myself headed home with 16 hours in which to come up with “something good.”
I decided to look crazy, write some crazy lyrics, and throw in a yodel. I arrived at the stadium at 6 a.m. toting my guitar and wearing a long coat to guard against the freezing cold, and to conceal my apparel as long as possible. The parking lot was packed with contestants and their cheering sections. At sign-in, I was given a number and told that it would be called three minutes before it was my turn. The name I used was Hortense Fudpucker. “Is that your real name?” she inquired; “for this purpose it is” I replied.
I was right, it was fun to watch. There was the man who ate dog food and whistled at the same time, the woman who played the clarinet while jumping on a little trampoline, and the couple who did some sort of skit that involved a hot tub on a flatbed and someone in a gorilla suit. Trey and Bill hammed it up with everyone making jokes and occasionally exchanging “Oh Lord what next” looks. Then my name was called. I removed my coat revealing my size 20 black and purple swimsuit over hexagon patterned pantyhose ending in yellow cowboy boots. Around my neck was a red tie sporting large white polka dots. I put on my cowboy hat adorned with a wide, 3-ft. long feather and picked up my guitar to wait my turn. Trey and Bill raised eyebrows, coughed, and looked like they wanted to run.
At the next commercial break, I was ushered to the microphone. They pointed out the lights on the control panel we were facing and instructed me that red would turn to yellow for three seconds then a green light would indicate that we were on the air. I played dumb and had them repeat the instructions a couple of times. They asked if I could actually play the guitar and I said “a little bit.” At the green light, the dialog began:
Bill: Well we have a young lady here this morning by the name of Hortense Fud…..
Me: Easy now Bill, don’t say that too fast or you’ll get in trouble.
(Bill gave me a surprised luck)
Bill: Right, so it’s Hor-tense Fud-puck-er, right?
Me: Yes Sir.
Bill: So how would you describe this outfit you’re wearing?
Me: Plumb wore out just like me but I got myself out here this morning to win those tickets.
Bill: Oh yeah? So what are you going to do for us here.
Me: I’m going to sing and I’m going to yodel.
Bill: Oh! You’re going to yodel too! Well let’s hear it.
I cracked down on the guitar and sang the lyrics I had thrown together:
I’ve come to Texas Stadium to sing for Trey and Bill
I really hope that I can give the Morning Guys a thrill
(The crowd moved in and began to clap in time)
I hope they give me tickets to the George Michael show
Of all the places Friday night that’s where I wanna goooooo
It’s really cold this morning but I wore my swimming suit
I wore my fancy hat out and my fancy western boots
This dotted tie won’t keep me warm but it adds some pizzazz
To go to see George MIchael I would gladly freeze my..
I began vigorously coughing accompanied by Trey and Bill who did not realize that I would know to cough, instead of saying the word that rhymed. I then did a loud complicated yodel sequence and ended with some lyrics I had written to the tune of George’s hit song, Faith.
The light turned yellow. Trey stepped up to the microphone and said “Thank you Hortense and we’ll be back after the break for more talent broadcast live from Texas Stadium.”
Trey and Bill looked at me and said “Ok, who sent you.” I explained that my boss sent me because she wanted to meet George Michael. They explained that, when they saw me they didn’t expect that I could sing and thought the guitar was a prop. They insisted that someone was playing a joke on them, sending a professional to pretend to be an amateur and give them a little laugh. I finally convinced them that I was just a contestant as were the other nuts that morning. Bill said “OK, in that case, we will need your real name.”
I changed into my business suit in a gas station restroom and hurried to work. Cheryl was listening to the radio in her office. At the end of the broadcast, I was announced as the winner. We rode the limo to the concert, sat on the front row, and got to meet George Michael. I got the guitar.