A Return Of Dexterity…….#135 (the 70’s)

Gary at the Uptown Club – note the Rt. Hand brace…

.   Temporal progression of his disabled right wrist and hand was dispiriting,  the appendages failing to respond after several months of consecrated effort.    Gary receiving a telephone call from guitarist Jerry Connell,  who was working with Gary at the Holiday Inn West, Pirates Cove Club  when his debilitating altercation  occurred.  Jerry advocating,  not a need for a piano player,  but a bass player,  knowing Gary played keyboard bass with his left hand on his Fender Rhodes Piano,  offering a five night per week engagement at the Uptown Club on North Walker.   An overwhelming affirmative reply reconciled the pianist spirit,  a redundancy to reestablish  his profession.   The musician once again finding a contentment evolving from his left hand bass benefaction and as the weeks progressed  a sense of awakening began in his dormant hand, the numbness beginning to decline.

.   With his right hand poised over the keyboard each night, receiving it instructional command to perform,  a firmness returned,  at first to a finger, then followed by a two, realizing by the grace of God and  his consciousness of mind, it continued to send a musical message to the remaining fingers.   The wrist brace still remained,  but the dexterity of the fingers were  commencing to be more functional and with this he could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It was during a night’s performance a welcome sight entered the Uptown Club, Gary haven’t seen or talked to Jan Lawhon for over a year, Jan accompanied with a friend introduced as Mickey Rogers.  The pianist visiting the couple recalling events of the past and from the conversation it was apparent that Jan and Mickey were in a relationship and that Mickey’s occupation was speculative in nature.

.   A continuing return of dexterity,  Gary appreciative of Jerry Connell confidence in a one-handed pianist, but like other Oklahoma City clubs,  the Uptown  was a  in the scrutiny for a diminutive accordance, business was slow, the band being furloughed to playing only weekends.   Gary deciding to call his Pirates Cove drummer Eddy Ferguson and wife Debby (Swisher) whom he had left stranded at the Cove when he experienced the loss of his hand. The pianist asking if they would be interested in getting back together if he could book them, the two agreeing.

.   Gary’s first recourse was a visit to Herb Carpenter at the Pirates Cove,  finding and not surprised that he was satisfied with pianist Jim Mullen’s,  but suggesting to Gary that he visit with Mitch,  a subcontractor that participated in the construction of the Holiday Inn West, who had recently retained the clubs franchise at the Holiday Inn in Norman.   Gary well acquainted with Mitch, visiting with him in Norman, offering to put together the same group that filled the Pirates Cove to capacity, Jerry con Nell on guitar, Eddie Ferguson on drums, himself on Keyboard bass and piano, and Debbie vocalizing.   Without hesitation Mitch agreeing,  the Cove component was reunited with their Norman engagement.

.   It was a stormy night,  tornado warnings having been issued,  and  the sirens serving notice as  Gary proceeded down Interstate 35  toward Norman.  the buffeting winds accosting the musician,  the driver having difficulty seeing  On the outreach of Moore, where Eddy and Debbie’s trailer park resided,  the musician became concerned, the storm intensified, the wind and rain pelting with a roar,  Gary thankful when the experience slackened.  Upon arrival at the Holiday Inn, discovering a message from Jerry Con Nell,  logging his unavailability because of the storm. 

.   The Pianist awaiting the arrival of Deb and Eddy,  but as time waned his concerned blossomed, finally  placing a phone call to their trailer park  residence, discovering a continuous busy signal.  A determination for not answering the call coming from the television, a weather responder  reporting  a tornado having briefly touched down crossing interstate 35 in moore  causing damage to a trailer park.    Gary hesitant at first but then deciding to provide the storm captive audience with a piano concurrence,   on the bandstand giving an explanation for the solitary performance mentioning he would be happy to play request.

.   It was later during that stormy night,  the pianist recognized the person attesting  the bar,  a renown televised entertainer from the most prestigious network program of the era,  the Smothers Brothers Comedy ,  the Presidential Candidate of humor,  Pat Paulsen was firmly planted on a bar stool.   Gary introducing himself to the celebrated personality,  finding Pat having just concluded an appearance at the University of Oklahoma and was still adhered in Norman because of the storms ineptitude with his airline reservation.   Gary attempting to persuade the television personality to accord a microphone and join him on stage,  but his declination was absorbed in a glass of scotch.  

.   Gary deliberating whether to  announce Pats presence,  a chance  the recognition might spur him to give a sample of his humor, but the pianist having second thoughts,  deciding Pat having already put in a day’s work.  The Norman Oklahoma night coming to a conclusion,  the storms having moved on, the musician tempted to stop at Deb and Eddies  trailer park on his way home,  but reasoned the situation didn’t need another onlooker.  A morning call from the two saying  the tempest played havoc with their trailer, moving it on the cement block foundation, but the trailer and contents were only jostled and the two were safe.   The pianist concluding it was another night to remember.



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