I remember sitting in our car in the driveway as dad was ready to take Jody and me to school. One of the things that accompanies my mental pictures is which direction we are facing. However, since both our garage doors, the one in Ft. Dodge and the one in Storm Lake, faced West, I don't remember which town we were in. I do know that I was very young so I'm going to say Ft. Dodge which would probably put me in 3rd grade and my sister, Jody, in 1st grade. The night before this I got mad at Jody for some reason so I went into the bathroom and poured salt on her toothbrush. Then the next morning as we were sitting in the car Jody says, "Dad, our toothpaste tasted like salt today". Dad says, "Mike, did you have anything to do with this?" Me, "No". Story over. Lying worked! (I was probably never the same after that!)

When I got my first BB gun I remember dad being very strict about gun rules. Don't ever point a gun at any living thing. He was absolutely spot on. And to this day, I am very aware of any gun mishandling when I'm around them. However, shortly after I got the gun, I was with Jody in the lot behind our back yard in Ft. Dodge, IA. There was a dog probably 30 feet away. Like a dumbshit, I shot at it. Of course, I didn't hit it, but also, of course, Jody told dad about it. Bye, bye gun for a least a few weeks. She did the right thing because the next thing I probably would have shot was her!

After I was married, Joan and I went down to Storm Lake, IA to visit my folks. Later, since I had taken my golf clubs down, I drove to the golf course to hit a bucket of balls. I did everything I had always done in the city (Mpls, St. Paul) where I lived. Popped the trunk, pulled out my clubs, clicked the "lock the car" button on my key-chain, and walked to the driving range. I threw all my shit down on the grass and started hitting balls. Then, the girl that worked in the club-house walked by and said, You must be from out-of-town, right?" I said, "Yes. How did you know?" She replies, "Because you took your keys our of your car".

In Storm Lake, my dad ran a music store, Mid-Bell Music. On many days I used to walk there after school and hang. Dad had a great crew there. Did they like me just because I was the bosses son? I don't think so because I felt I had a real connection with a few of them. I considered them friends and realize now how important they were to me in how I've lived the rest of my life. Two of them stand out as mentors to me then and even more so now. Darryl Wiseman worked in the repair department, was a motherfucker of a guitar player and one of the nicest and funniest guys I have known. We played in a band together many times in my dads bar, the Embers, that was next to the music store. Darryl and I would fuck around with some of the chords in the old standards we played all night and always looked at each other to acknowledge as if to say, "I heard that!", and we would both look at each other and smile and laugh each time. I was on bass guitar and Darryl was on his beautiful, fat, hollow body Gibson. I do have a mental picture of it, (yes, he sat to the north of me on stage) and my guess is that it was an old blonde Gibson L5. Just a beautiful guitar. We always had fun and he was just the kind of guy that would have fun even if he wasn't having fun. The other one that stands our is Harlan Munson. I believe that before he started working for Mid-Bell he was the band director in the Ida Grove, IA school district. He too was a funny son-of-a-bitch and we always had fun together. He was a hell-of-a trumpet player and he too, played in the band with Darryl and me. (The drummer was usually Rick Chambers and I don't remember who played piano in that band. This would have been mid-to-late 1960's.) Later, Harlan became my band director at St. Mary's High School. Needless to say, private lessons were fun. He was a cigarette smoker and me, being a junior in high school, was also a smoker. So, since we were in a private lesson room and it was OK for him to smoke there, I was able to smoke there too! Harlan was a family friend and I always very much liked being around him. He always made you feel that what you said was important and was always curious to hear your life stories. I loved both of those guys very much and realize now, more than ever, how much they meant to me and how they always made me feel a part of their lives. For being old people (like my parents!) they were so fucking cool!