A newspaper reporter moves on


When I was a reporter for the Stopgap Clarion, one of Oklahoma’s successful weekly newspapers, I often recorded interviews on my digital voice recorder. Tom Sayers, also known as Buglenose, was my co-reporter for special events. The size of his proboscis had nothing to do with the moniker. Whenever he blew his nose, the sound he made was very similar to bugle music. I guess that’s what you call it isn’t it? Anyway, he finally coerced Jimmy Jones to give him a ride in his double winger, it’s a two-seater, one behind the other, and Jimmy makes a living as a crop-duster.

Jimmy said his passenger was totally enjoying the flight when a surprise high altitude storm rolled overhead. There was very little thunder, however while they sped onward in full sunshine, a bolt of lightning fire-balled through the sky and rolled past their airplane. What followed was a loud crack and a spear-shaped streak of lightening plunged through Buglenose’s heart. He died where he sat, still smiling.

I went to his wake tonight. It was crowded, a testament to his character and personality. A lot of people kept referring to the interview he did with the head football coach at Stopgap High. It was broadcast on all the radio stations, and I had a copy of it on my digital voice recorder. So, with a little help from the funeral home staff, I connected my little machine to the speaker system in the funeral home. In a few seconds, everyone attending would hear the famous interview between the football coach and Buglenose. I distinctly remember we had to wait for the coach to arrive. I powered up my device, tapped the voice activation button, and set it on the table directly in front of my co-reporter.

In the funeral home’s tiny control room, Clovis, a man in a dark gray suit showed me how and where to hook in to their sound system. Satisficed the equipment was connected properly, the gentleman pointed at my recorder and mouthed the word, “Play.”

And heard throughout the interior of the funeral home was a gutsy sneeze from my deceased friend, followed by a three long bugle toots.

Sally, Buglenose’s wife, fainted and in transit to the floor knocked over a tripod holding a five-foot floral display. Three matronly ladies screamed in unison at the ruckus and two sheriff’s deputies, coming to pay their respects, charged up the front steps and crouching low, stormed into the funeral parlor with guns drawn. I snapped a few photos with my smart phone and I just know that somewhere, Buglenose is laughing so hard he’s reaching for his handkerchief so he can have just one more blow.

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