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September 2006 Archives


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4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23

Danny Flores has died.
Danny Flores is to tequila what Francis Scott Key is to America.
In 1958 Flores played saxophone on the Champs hit "Tequila!" He's that guy that shouts "Tequila!" during the instrumental. Seals and Crofts joined the Champs after "Tequila!" They got a chance to perform on the 1960 followup "Too Much Tequila!" Flores died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia in a Huntington Beach, Ca. hospital. He was 77.
It has been raining all day in Chicago. For me, it those are tequila teardrops.
Hey, this is a blog. I can be over the top as much as I want. One of the greatest road trips I ever took was the Tequila Express train from the downtown Guadalajara, Mexico train station out to the blue valleys of Tequila, Mexico. I'm going to crack open a bottle of Cazadores (reposado) and reminisce.....

A Perfect Night In Rochester

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12:50 a.m. Sept. 12

In the long run, I drove north to do my annual story on fall foilage. But the best moments came in the short amount of time I spent in Rochester, Mn.
I had never been to Rochester. But I knew Bob Dylan was winding down his summer tour of minor league ballparks at Mayo Field in downtown Rochester. I love Dylan, I adore minor league ballparks and I wanted to see opening act Lou Ann Barton sing Texas roadhouse music with Jimmie Vaughn. Summer was a fleeting butterfly and I was chasing it with a hopeful net.
A full moon looked down over left field and the Minnesota air was crisp. A friend had driven down from St. Paul to see Dylan for the first time. I'm always kind of emotional and wound up after spending six hours in a car, but last Thursday's atmosphere combined with Dylan's set list cut straight to the heart. It seemed the songs were tailored for a lost and found mood..........

Full Force Gale

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11:35 p.m. Sept. 6

Lon Grahnke was my mentor.
He was a former entertainment editor and TV critic of the Chicago Sun-Times. He died Sept. 1 in a Chicago nursing home. The cause was complications of Alzheimer's disease. Lon was 56.
He had a very strong work ethic. He would not approve of David Letterman taking so much vacation time, which is another reason I am in front of a computer now.
Lon had a grand sendoff tonight at a church in suburban Chicago. Lon was also an actor and he would have loved how the church was standing room only. The church staff was scurrying for extra folding chairs and hymnals. Lon was a huge Van Morrison fan and his family requested songs like "Into The Mystic," and "Haunts of Ancient Peace," which was played during communion. "Full Force Gale" was played as the crowd filed out of the church. During the reception, Lon's oldest son Kurt smiled and said, "I never thought I'd hear Van Morrison in church!" That's the Grahnke way---getting things done.
You need not be from the Chicago area to appreciate Lon. No matter where you are reading this, if you love the written word and old school newspaper characters you might want to read on. Think Lou Grant meets Verne Gagne (Lon was a wrestling fan).
I'm going to hit the road alone tomorrow for a travel story somewhere in Wisconsin. Or maybe Iowa. Don't know exactly where I'll wind up. I'm loading the car up with Van and I will test the speed limit. "Caravan"---turn it up, turn it up!! Before I take off, a few people asked me to post the comments I made in remembrance of Lon tonight. I wouldn't do this unless I thought a reader might learn something. I spent 20 years with Lon.
I learned a lot.......

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.


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This page is an archive of entries from September 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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