I’VE MISSED A FEW THINGS IN MY LIFE. These were things I would have really enjoyed seeing or participating in or just being there. These are the kind of things about which I would say many times since, “I wish I’d have done that”.

It was May, 1957, Chicago. I did my undergraduate time at a small denominational college in Louisiana, called, of all things, Louisiana College. It attracted, in spite of it’s affiliation, many students from the central Louisiana area who were not that religious. It was held in high esteem in the academic world. Many of its graduates went on to high achievements. I was not among that number.

I did, however, have the ability to carry a tune and therefore became the student director of the school’s regionally famous men’s ensemble, The Louisianians. We were in Chicago to sing before the keynote speaker, our president, at the denominational convention – thousands upon thousands of hometown Baptists loose in a big wicked city.

Someone found out that we could go to Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club and possibly sing. Wow! There was a time when I never missed a morning of his show. He began in 1933 and went on through 1968. Longer than even Johnny Carson. Also the famous Blue Angel was featuring none other than the one and only Louie Armstrong! Friends, I had no money and it took money to just go into the Blue Angel. I slept through the Breakfast Club. I wish I had done both. Makes me wonder just how much I have actually slept through in my life. I don’t know…. The list is endless of those things I couldn’t afford to do.

I also missed the famous Freedom Train. You remember when the Declaration of Independence was aboard a special rail road car – this was when there were actual usable railroads that did stuff other than haul coal. I was in High School and my friend Richard, his real name, and I went down to see the famous document. It was for a school credit. There was a marine guard most of whom were not much older than we were. They had on those multi-colored uniforms they wear on special occasions and my friend Richard blabbed out so that every one heard: “Hey check out those sea-going bell hops!”. Well, of course I was guilty by association and we were unceremoniously pitched off the “Freedom” train. I guess freedom only goes so far. I wish I could have gotten on that freedom train. Bound for glory. This land is my land and all that stuff. I have hated those uniforms ever since. But of course, one does not mention that kind of thing.

I could have, however, gotten up and watched this latest Aurora. It was a meteorological impossibility at my location. It’s still cloudy. I’m sorry I missed you Aurora. I hear you are a lovely girl. Billowing multi-hued tresses and sudden changes in disposition, which, I suppose, I could have put up with for a brief time. It’s not like i’m unfamiliar with the condition.

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