I finished my program and had walked into the office when a lady
held the phone up and said, “It’s for you”. A man on the other end
of the line introduced himself as the manager of a radio station
in Natchez, Mississippi. He was at a downtown hotel and he asked
if I would meet him in the lobby. I tried to get him to tell me
what it was all about. He said that he would rather tell me in person.
As I entered the hotel lobby a distinguished looking gentleman arose
from his seat and walked toward me with his hand extended. I was
impressed by how well he was dressed. Although everything I wore
came from the bargain rack I knew expensive clothes when I saw them.
His gray hair was perfectly groomed and he looked as if he had been
cast for the role of a CEO in the movies. He invited me to join
him in the dining room for a chat.
He got down to business right away. He explained that he wanted
to pump some life into his radio station and he thought I was just
the man to do it. I wondered how he knew so much about me when I
knew nothing about him. He explained that someone had told him about
me so he spent the night in the hotel so he could get up early and
listen to my program the next morning. He admitted that he was very
impressed.and wanted me to come to work for him as soon as it was
convenient. My head was spinning. Things were happening so fast.
I was very happy where I was and the idea of leaving to take a job
somewhere else wasn’t high in my priorities. I know I should have
told him that right from the start. I guess it was vanity that influenced
me to let him continue. I admit I was flattered and I guess I just
wanted to see where it would lead. When he asked me what kind of
salary I would need to make the move I should have simply told him
I wasn’t interested. Instead, I quoted him a figure that I thought
he would surely back away from and that would be that. He never
even blinked. A pleased smile appeared on his face as he simply
That idea had backfired on me so I moved to plan B. I thought of
all the problems I had experienced at other stations. I began to
give him a list of conditions that must be met before I could accept
the job. I figured all those demands would put an end to the whole
thing. Wrong. He accepted them one by one and assured me he would
do everything to make working conditions as pleasant as possible.
I had painted myself into a corner.
I thought back
to all those days of starvation and self denial such a short time
ago. Sure, things were better now but I still had to watch my budget
carefully to get by. If I took the job offer I could live a much
more comfortable life and perhaps even put a little away for a rainy
day. I reasoned that I had worked hard to get where I was and I
should take advantage of the opportunity. I was still in a daze
as we shook hands and sealed the deal. Now, came the problem of
telling someone I really liked and respected that I was leaving.
It was one of the toughest things I ever had to do. I guess it was
like man must feel when he tells his wife he is leaving her for
another woman. My boss had been super nice to me and he just simply
didn’t deserve that kind of news. The room was awfully quiet for
a while. When he finally spoke I can’t recall what he said. It is
probably one of those things that are so unpleasant you block it
from your memory. At that moment I wished it had all been a dream
and I would wake up. I couldn’t believe I was really going to leave
that “perfect radio station” I had sought for so long.
Now, another difficult task lay before me. I had to tell Molly that
I was moving to Natchez, Mississippi. I assured her that I would
come up to visit her every weekend but it didn’t do much to improve
the situation. She said it just wouldn’t be the same anymore and
it just might even be the beginning of the end for us. I was afraid
she was right. I remembered how many times she had been left alone
as I went to the Louisiana Hayride and other places by myself. I
reasoned that I did it because I knew she didn’t like that kind
of life. I know now that I should have tried more to adjust to her
way of life. “What have I gotten myself into?” I thought. Here I
am leaving the Garden of Eden to chase an uncertain dream. I might
be losing someone near and dear to me as well. I had given my word
and I felt I couldn’t go back on it. It was like being on a run-away
train and I had no way of stopping it.
I packed my meager belongings in my car and took one last look back
at my little garage apartment that I had grown to love. I drove
by the radio station on the way out of town and glanced up at it
with misty eyes. As I headed south and watched the vision of the
twin cities disappearing in my rear view mirror I knew that I was
probably leaving a way of life that I could never regain.
At that moment I wasn’t sure which way the roller coaster was going,
up or down. In fact, I thought it might have even jumped the tracks.