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Bike Rides 103
To Everything There Is A Season
One cool May evening I made the predictable journey on my bike
to Kenny’s Oak Grill and settled in for a meal. Turning
the paper to the obituaries my gaze froze and then widened on
a familiar face to me and at the Oak Grill. My eyes shuttled a
couple of times back and forth between the paper and the empty
stool at the end of the counter where I’d regularly see
Larry Dixon sitting quietly.
As soon as I caught my breath I stopped
the first waitress I saw and mentioned Larry’s passing.
“Yeah, it’s very sad;”
she said “He was in here a lot, just a super nice guy.”
I can’t really say Larry was a friend
of mine, though from what I’ve heard I’d be proud
if he were. But Larry was more than an acquaintance over the last
25 years, as we shared a lot of common interests and experiences.
We first met in 1984 when I had just graduated
high school and was attending the Radio and TV broadcasting course
at Austin Technical College (Riverland now).
I began spinning records at the local hot
spot “Bucksville Bar,” as sort of a side gig on my
way to not becoming the next Casey Kasem as it turned out.
Larry was already a DJ at the popular dive
and before the owner let me fly solo I spent an evening co-piloting
with Mr. Dixon. Together we forged through the stacks of house
45s, mixing a potent cocktail of Madonna, Prince and Hair band
rock for the house until the dance floor on the upper level of
the old downtown building literally shook hard enough to skip
“I’m just a gigolo
And everywhere I go
People know the part I’m playing”
-(David Lee Roth)
In the years to follow I’d occasionally
see Larry around town. Both of us hopped from gig to gig as DJ’s
on the local scene. But it was at the Oak Grill where I saw him
most often lately, as we volleyed Twin’s stats back and
forth, teased the waitresses, or complained about the weather.
Larry could be heard announcing for KAUS
radio in Austin as recently as last year. In my travels I never
knew he was sick as his withdrawal from the Austin scene was gradual,
although now I’m told there was a fundraiser I missed. Still,
it’s hard to notice when such a quiet, humble person is
missing from the crowd, until you look up one day and see a certain
stool’s been empty too long.
“There’s a guy that in his
entire life probably never did anyone wrong,” I said to
the waitress, my voice cracking a little.
“Yeah we’re really going to
miss Larry,” she replied.
I was numb when I left the restaurant.
It was a cold, windy, uninspiring, almost uncomfortable ride,
like so many this year. Through watery eyes and a wounded spirit
Austin looked different on the ride back than how it did on the
ride out. I’ve watched the city change slowly over the course
of many years, sometimes for better, others for worse. But occasionally
there’s a loss that sort of bumps the needle of change forward
all too suddenly, like a skip in a scratchy old record.
“A time to rend
A time to sew
A time to keep silence
And a time to speak
To everything, there is a season”
Traffic Tip: The loudest opinion expressed
is usually just that: The loudest.
Past Columns Here