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A Thought for Today

Stepping on the stage is like stepping on the starter: Sometimes you have to pump a little before the engine starts.


ROD LIVE! Follow this link for Santa Fe ticket information.

Not long to go before the long awaited Rod McKuen concert in Riverton, Wyoming,  just a few hours really. How I wish I were there!

I awoke this morning to see a few sparse snowflakes making their way groundwards, a pretty rare sight here in Johannesburg. So it was with a slight touch of envy that I read Rita's report of her trip to Riverton and the gorgeous weather being experienced there. Sure beats the bitterly cold stuff we're having right now.

July 19, 2001

Today finally arrived. I have looked forward to this day since the Spring of 2000 when Rod McKuen first said that although he could not appear in 2000, he would consider Rivertonís invitation to be their Celebrity for the 2001 Rendezvous.

After his return concerts in March of 2001 and his acceptance of the Riverton invitation, I confirmed hotel, airline, and rental car reservations for July 21 to 28. For months I have counted down the days to July 19th.

For days now I have been too excited and too busy and pressed for time to sleep well. Although my vacation time from work was scheduled months ago, I was working 10 and 12 hour days to get the necessary things taken care of before I left the office on Wednesday. It was after midnight when I completed my packing and set the alarm for 4 am this morning. My ride to the airport arrived at 5 but I had had only 2 hours of sleep or less. My flight from Jackson to Memphis was on time and very pleasant. The flight from Memphis to Denver was 100% full and I was sandwiched between 2 very nice guys who made that flight very enjoyable. As I checked into the departure gate at Denver I volunteered to take a bump if the flight was oversold. It wasnít and I think there were actually 2 empty seats. Little did I know that Rod was in the airport and if he knew then what he knows now, itís too bad he didnít get on that plane.

The flight was about 30 minutes late departing and Melinda and I visited for awhile as we waited to board. On the flight I sat across from 2 ladies who were each returning to Central Wyoming for a visit, but now lived elsewhere. They were about my age, but were not aware of the concert and when they learned that Rod would be appearing Saturday night they wanted all the details. The flight from Denver to Riverton is a story in itself. 

The plane has 19 seats and they are all window seats. There are no restrooms & no cabin service, but the view if you are on the west side of the plane is spectacular. For those who were supposed to come in at 10:21 last night as least today they will get to see the view of the Rockies as they fly in. As we arrived in Riverton, Linda Becker and Jay were there to meet us. It only took 15 minutes to pick up my rental car and my baggage and follow Linda to my hotel.

While she got Melinda settled in and picked up a cooler for me, I checked in, went to Walmart for beverages and snacks, and unpacked. I learned that Diane Minogue was not going to be joining us so there was no need for me to worry about meeting the 10:21 Flight. I settle in went for a swim, enjoyed Ladies night and Happy Hour in the bar, and then returned to my room and fell into a deep sleep. 

I had told Linda to stop by my room after meeting the 10:21 Flight and I knew that her day was full with picking up Rod and others and seeing to the hundreds of details that are her responsibility. About 10:30 I awoke from a deep deep sleep to the sound of the phone ringing. When I answered the phone there was no one there so I called back down to the front desk. They told me that Linda had been trying to find me or contact me for quite some time and she was on her way up to the room with a key to check on me. As I hung up there was a knock at the door.

Linda informed me that the 10:21 Flight had been cancelled and that Rod had spent most of the day in the Denver airport and when she last talked to him he and Larry were sharing Larryís cell phone while calling Linda a variety of names. Of course Linda has no control over the cancellation of flights. So she now has a celebrity media flight this morning with no Celebrity.

Iím sure Rod and Larry and the others who were supposed to come in last night will get here sometime. Kyletta is due in on the Flight that comes in just before 5:00 and she and I will rush over to the parade which will I hope have a Grand Marshall. However that may be Linda rather than Rod. It's a beautiful morning here, but yesterday was in the mid 90ís and it seemed hotter to me than what I am used to in Mississippi. 

Iíve got some free time this morning and the lovely people at the Holiday Inn have given me this opportunity to write to you. Please pray that Rod arrives safely even it is is delayed. 

Love to all from Wonderful Warm Wyoming,


Thanks for taking the time to write, Rita. We all hope Rod, Larry and the rest of the troops finally arrived safely and we look forward to hearing from you after the show.

I'll be back with more tomorrow.

 - Ken, Johannesburg, July 21

Rod McKuen concert and appearance details can be obtained via the link below.

Concert & Appearance Details

notable birthdays Nina Blanchard o Paul Burke o Josh Hartnett o Ernest Hemingway o Edward Herrmann o Norman Jewison o Hatty Jones o Allyn Joslyn o Frances Parkinson Keyes o Don Knotts o Gene Littler o Jon Lovitz o Ken Maynard o Marshall McLuhan o C. Aubrey Smith o Kay Starr o Kenneth Starr o Isaac Stern o Cat Stevens o Kaye Stevens o Robin Williams
Rod's random thoughts Two into three does not go well, even in a friendly climate.

The way to everything that works is freedom.

There are no illegitimate children, only irresponsible adults.

Durban, South Africa

Six A.M.
the chase truck's
           out of fuel.
Never mind
we'll still be in the sky
           by sunrise.
Seven and we're up.
Low hills first
and then the green trees
a farmer shouts come down
and have a cup of tea

as on we sail.

Now a village
and the natives scatter.
We wave and bravely
they shout back,
hang on
while we slip
             slowly down
to top the trees.
Bumping, scraping
the topmost branches.
You let loose
a Texas rebel yell.

The morning sky
is now red diamonds
and as many different shapes
                      and sizes
as the sectioned fields.
We'll skim the lake
at left and just ahead,
or set down in the meadow
just below that far brown knoll.

            Not now.
A little higher first,
a little farther yet
surely something lies beyond, beyond,


The chase truck's catching up.
Fire up again.
Beyond that grove
of blossoming trees
we'll lose it.

          Stand still, look up
                        then scatter
over half a dozen acres.

           Three white birds below us
pay no attention
as our shadow scrapes them
        like a passing cloud.

Not quite nine.
Two fuel tanks still unused
we can sail straight through
The Valley of a Thousand Hills
and not come down till noon.

The trees we're topping now
          have only tops.
the slightly superstitious sun
plays hide and seek
but warms us anyway.
The day is opening
now hills beyond
                the front hills
show themselves
           as we come near.

Cane fields
stretch out
       along the left
on the right side
           chicken farms
              and chicken farms.

more clouds ahead.

A black girl running
               down the road
hides behind
           the sugar stalks
peering at this aberration
                         in the sky
confident that she
     can spy on us
          and not be seen.

We let her keep her secret
and wonder what she'll tell
her unbelieving friends.

Hau! Did you see?
Men looking,
but they couldn't find me.
They fly in painted egg
they cook it
light the fire.

Hau! A big egg.
In many colors.

Hau! In the sky!
I threw it with a stone.
Hau! Egg run away.

A startled springbok
        leaps in the air
and now another and another.
They bound across the valley,

 -from "We Touch the Sky", 1979

© 1970, 1979, 1986, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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