The day I fell in love with Joan

Well, it was love from afar, since it was Joan Baez, the folk singer.

Yes, that was 1959, and I was just about to graduate from college, and for some reason that day stuck on my mind.

This Saturday morning in early October had started much like most of my Saturday mornings at college. Yeah, I slept, and around nine, when I turned on my radio, I heard the disk jockey rattle, “We have a hot new record for you today from Joan Baez.” Well, of course I knew Joan Baez; she was in my top five with the Kingston Trio and the Limelighters. She has this unique voice, which carries a sound so pure that I am mesmerized just by listening to her sing.

“Here’s Joan singing what seems like a sure hit,” said the disc jockey.

I don’t remember the song, but it was an immediate hit with me, and I continued to listen to the radio for most of the day. It was a time if you wanted to hear a song or a singer again, stay tuned, and if it was a hit, or even popular, the station would play it back, sometimes every ten minutes.

When I was back in LA the week before, I asked Vertis, who I was dating at the time, if she had heard the Kingston Trio’s new song, “Tom Dooley”, as in “Hang down your head Tom Dooley, hang bow his head and cry … poor boy, you are about to die. ” Well, no, she hadn’t, so we just pulled up in the parking lot outside the Rialto Theater, and I tuned the radio to KELD.

We probably just sat there and wooed for just over ten minutes when “Tom Dooley” played again, and I smiled like today, “That’s a big deal with a college kid.” And she nodded and said, “Yeah, let’s go to the Dairyette and have a coke.”

Vertis was more of an Elvis fan. After getting married and moving to South Texas, we and our closest friends Marilyn and George traveled to Houston to attend an Elvis show in person at the Astrodome. It was good, but at the end of the show, when Elvis made a slow circle of the arena standing in a golf cart next to the seats, Vertis and Marilyn ran down the aisle to the ramp separating the arena audience, along with about a thousand other screaming women.

George and I didn’t move of course.

But back to that Joan Baez day in Fayetteville.

I remember thinking it might rain, and since the Hogs were playing TCU at Razorback Stadium that afternoon, and I had my student ticket, I thought I might get wet, but it didn’t. never crossed my mind not to go. As far as I can remember, I was a Hog fan. It had only been a few years when I was in high school, and one Saturday afternoon I remembered vividly that late in the game, a touchdown pass against a powerful Ole Miss team gave the Hogs a 6-0 win. This 1959 team looked almost ready to win big games, but TCU was a big favorite.

No, I didn’t take out my raincoat and umbrella because I didn’t have any either, and at one point in my life these items didn’t seem necessary.

Well I kept listening to the radio, and they kept playing Joan’s new album, and after hearing another of Joan’s songs, I walked over to the stadium. It had started to sprinkle, and I could tell from the lines entering the stadium that some of the fair weather fans were going to listen to the game on the radio instead of sitting in the rain, but not me.

Well, at the start of the game the rain got a little deeper, and the wet ball and a rough Arkansas defense and break-in attack made for a low scoring game. Eventually, the ball was centered directly on the Arkansas tailback, who on the third down, instead of plowing the middle for a two-yard gain, kicked. I don’t know when the first dog kick took place, but I can tell you this: As the opposing linebackers got ready to take on a tail bull named Bobby Burnette, it must have been a shock of seeing the balloon sailing over their heads instead of a loaded traffic jam, and I imagine the crowd was in shock as well. But the rain, the dog kick, the Arkansas defense and the lack of offense kept the score going. Yes; it was 0-0 at halftime, and much of the crowd, which was already a bit sparse, made their way home.

The student section largely evaporated with some departures and the rest of us went to sit in the empty seats fifty yards away. As the game continued, it was still 0-0 at the start of the fourth quarter, and the rain had become heavier. I’m sure most of the few remaining people thought it would end aimlessly. I know I did.

Then the Mississippi fumbled again. Well, there were a lot of fumbles, but this one was on the Mississippi side, somewhere around the 30-yard line … I think.

It looked like if things turned out the way they did, Arkansas would either grope or kick down the middle of the line and hand the ball over to Ole Miss. However, a surprise; Arkansas has had a first try! Well our hopes were dashed when three more ran down the middle only gave up five yards and the placement unit trotted across the field.

I remember sitting there with raining cats and dogs thinking, wet, soggy soccer etc, and I don’t think there were two Arkansas fans in the stadium that would have bet that the basket would be good.

The ball was smashed and the sparse crowd moaned. He looked low, short, and off-center. There was a pause, then the two officials at the goal line both signaled “good”. Yeah, we screamed, but when you’re so miserable it felt more like a moan with a scream. 3-0 and to everyone’s surprise, the match ended like this.

You don’t remember those 49-0 games. It’s the unusual nail bitterness that crosses your mind.

I remember several others. Being in Austin in the early ’60s and getting up as time went on in Texas. “It’s three in a row!” ” I screamed.

Then I remember going to College Station to play the Aggies and being impressed when the Corps came in, but then they made me bitter forever. These sorry and worthless Aggies started booing as the Arkansas Band played the school anthem, and they booed, and not just a small, moderate boo. It was a full-throated boo that drowned the Arkansas group. Of course we whipped their sorry asses which made me feel better.

But not all of my flash memories are positive. I remember being in Austin and at the end of the fourth quarter with Arkansas ahead 7-3, with 4 minutes to go, when Texas slowly walked 80 yards down the field to score and win 10-7. What really made it worse was previous training from Arkansas. that ran aground on the Texas one-yard line, and what made it even worse was that we went with some friends from Texas to a post-game party in Texas, and one of their friends stopped at our table and told me. ” My God ; you look so sullen. You would think we lost. “

Richard Mason is an author and lecturer. He can be contacted at [email protected]