mel carnal: 1933-2006

now playing: my buddy opies’ live365 internet radio station

had a little flurry of email contact with jerry – in the wake of my post about the band we were in when i was in high school. jerry’s a good friend – he’s one of those guys that you could go for years without talking to (which we’ve done) but when we do talk, it’s as if not a day has passed. he told me some of the hometown news – that the water tower that i spent hours perched atop as a teenager is no more, replaced by what he called a “giant doorknob” that you can see from across the river, but can’t read from three blocks away.

he also mentioned that one of my old radio bosses, mel carnal, passed away on sunday.

i always felt a little detached from mel when i worked for him back in high school…i wasn’t as interested as i probably should have been in doing the most professional airshow that i could have, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he saw through that. i don’t know that he disliked me, but i think that he knew that i was capable of doing a better job than i was interested in doing (most of the time, anyway). that, plus hiring me was always perceived (on my part, anyway) to have been his partners’ idea, and i don’t know that he was ever really in favor of my working there in the first place. but as i got older, and i grew accustomed to who he was, we got along well. i had seen him, in fact, on the “get acquainted with where i’m from” trip that i took the kids on before my mom died, and my son got to meet him and see the radio station where i worked.

his obituary mentions an interesting fact…that he apparently kept an apartment on the side of the building that housed the flower shop that was our next door neighbor. i somehow never knew that, all these years.

so i had to call my friend thor, my water-tower climbin’ buddy, who now lives in tampa…who was probably gettin’ ready for bed just as i called…but he had to know.

he had to know that not only was the water tower gone, but, by the way…guess who had an apartment upstairs next door to the radio station?

someday, when i’m feeling a little less ashamed of it, i’ll share some of the stories of the things that we used to do to prank the guy who took my place when i left there for the other station in my hometown. they were pretty stupid, and not very nice, and i’m not very proud of any of them.

but knowing now, even after his passing, that mel used to sleep upstairs just a few feet away when we were doing some of the stuff we used to do to that poor guy, just freaked me out, and i had to tell my partner about it.

so we talked for a while…thor (real name: theodore james bond. there are reasons for the rechristening, but i’ll spare you) is in the same category where jerry opdycke resides – we can go for years without talking, but when we finally get around to it, it’s as if not a day has passed.

after we hung up, though, i went back and read mel’s obituary again.

i remember, back in the day, finding copies of mel’s records (he fancied himself a songwriter, and he had recorded in the building where the new hope music project ultimately took over and built their studio) in the storage area either at the radio station or at the studio – memory disappoints, but i think i still have those old 45’s in my collection.

blessings on your way to the other side, old friend. see you when i get there.

boy, do i have a lot to own up to when that day comes.

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