THAT PLAID PANTRY IS STILL THERE!
My great uncle died earlier this year, in February. He lived to the age of 101. Before his death, I interviewed him in-depth multiple times about his life and what he remembered.
He taught me a bunch, indulging what corn cribs are, the storms of the Dust Bowl, and a slew of humorous stories, his particular talent, which I wish had been documented in some way.
While living in Seattle, from 1939 to 1941, he was recorded in the phone book, which are quite hefty to lug around. He lived with the Neilson family, who came from the same South Dakota town as him, Lake Preston.
Nineteen forty-one was a pivotal year. Everett married his longtime girlfriend, his father died from cancer, and the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, prompting America’s entry into the Second World War.
The death of his father, George Hay, impelled him and his newlywed wife to return to South Dakota, where he took over operation of the family farm, until doctor’s orders made him give it up in 1953, the year they returned to the Pacific Northwest, moving to a berry farm in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
Years ago, I would catch a glimpse of The Virginian, that old classic TV show. I am sure I watched an episode or two, though it never captured my attention like Bonanza or Wild Wild West.
He grew up in the same city where I did: Salem, Oregon.
The family’s ties to Oregon go back a ways.
Drury’s nephew still owns the 100-acre ranch just south of Salem where James spent some of his youth.
His mother, maiden name Crawford, was born on her father’s vegetable farm on Browns Island in 1895. My friend Carl lived in an old farmhouse out there for awhile. I love that area. Most of it is now a large park and wildlife refuge. There are quite a few deer there.
“I patterned my Virginian character after my maternal grandfather, John Hezekiah Crawford, an Oregon dirt farmer and rancher who raised cattle. He came out to Oregon with a wagon train in 1880 or 1875,” Drury explained.
“He had a big team of Belgian draft horses. He put me on one and I stayed up there all day. I’ve been crazy about horses ever since.”
He also spent time in beautiful Newport, on the Oregon coast. The Drurys bought a beach house at Agate Beach before he was born. Then, they bought a blueberry farm near Newport’s south jetty.
Drury lives in Houston, Texas now.
I should probably revisit that show, see what I missed.
It’s not everyday when your hometown is mentioned in the latest blockbuster flick at the cineplex by one of the zaniest characters ever thought up.
“I’ve only been out of the country twice. I went to Mexico a handful of times, and the second time, I went to Salem, Oregon.”
Ahh, Salem, Oregon. I have a love-hate relationship with the place.
Of course, the dialogue may not make sense, but that is the genius of Ron Burgundy.
I loved the original Anchorman. I even watched the little known movie made from the excess material cut from the original. (To be perfectly honest I can’t get enough of Bill Kurtis. I love his voice and his work for A&E crime shows.) I have yet to see the sequel, though the clips and trailers online have made me smile. Reviews, however, have been mixed. Some downright hate it.
Some scenes, clearly improvised, are vulgar and crass. Some of it works, some doesn’t. When it does, it is funny stuff. Of course, my parents wouldn’t understand. They didn’t get Seinfeld. They won’t get this either.
I wonder what prompted the line about Salem. Maybe it is some elusive inside joke. Or some sort of marketing gimmick? Lord knows there’s been plenty.
Will Ferrell, as Ron Burgundy, has been everywhere, inundating the airwaves with advertising and promotional tie-ins. So much so that I was on the verge of getting turned off by it. Dodge car commercials, an ‘interview’ with Peyton Manning, crashing a news desk in North Dakota, an exhibit at the Newseum.
Getting so many legit operations to go along with it is quite an accomplishment. The crass commercialism was only masked, though quite well, by Ferrell’s comedic talent. Surely the campaign would have failed without him.
1. Sadly, the photos have disappeared and, since I don’t remember the ones I used, I doubt this blog post will be updated again. The two photos I linked to, posted to Facebook servers, are missing for some reason. I may try tracking them down again.