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might have took off (sic) on my own favorite sonata, except that they needed no more talent. When several characters stepped up and sawed off a hoedown and several others started to dance, a customer leaped from his seat with a rebel yell, vaulted over the footlights, and joined in. No one seemed to mind. A tall joker with a white sombrero and manicured tonsils pleaded for someone to love him, and the ladies in the audience squealed agreeably. Several city fel­lers kept weaving purposefully through all the turmoil and bedlam, apparently looking for lost actors or propelling tardy ones to the mike. I learned later that they were such big turners as Director Stapp, Impresario Vito Pell Pellet-tieri, and gum chewing announcer Louie Buck from Ala-bam', but since I had on my store clothes, too, I decided to make like a big wheel myself. So I walked around frown­ing, bumping into actors and mumbling double talk. I thought I was getting along like a breeze until I heard some­body bellow, "And here is the Duke of Paducah!" I should have ducked the Duke.
He bustled on-stage, a fat little man bulging out of a natty 1912 Norfolk jacket, and made straight for me. He tipped his undersized hat and said loudly, "Looking for something, Bub? It's the second door on the left." I thanked him—and have wondered ever since why I did—but he was already going full blast at the mike.
"I'll have you know one thing. I used to be a real out­door boy. Oh, man! I had so many holes in my pants that most of me was outdoors most of the time. . . . I'll never forget how Mother used to keep me and my brother in a play pen. Many years have passed, but my brother still acts like a baby; he's still in the pen. ... When I got a little older I became a regular bookworm. Every night I studied a dif­ferent book, but to this day I don't understand why they spoil all of them pretty pictures by putting reading under them."
While he waited for the audience to stop guffawing, he stared pointedly at me, gesturing violently to indicate just where the door was. Then he resumed:
"My Paw wanted me to go to college, but I wanted to go to a girl's school, and Paw said he couldn't understand it. I said, Well, Paw, a man can go to Harvard for four years
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III