Ken Mottet's blog

On August 14, 2009 my wife and I(along with my entire family) were in Fairfield. We had made a hasty drive into town the night before arriving sometime after midnight. We gathered at the Parkview Care Facility where my father was literally on his deathbed. Dad appeared to be asleep at the time. But we like to think that he knew we were all there for him. We all crowded into his small room. We held his hand. We talked to him. We thanked him for his work as a father, a husband and a farmer. Most of us went home. A handful stayed with him. And that next morning at 10:15, 92 year old Francis John Mottet(born in Riverside) passed away. I hope that my family can be together again next summer in Fairfield to mark what would have been his 100th birthday.

Summer means travel. Summer means hitting the highway. And my country band the Gin Palace Jesters has been doing just that. Earlier in the season we went to Nashville. Then we went to Milwaukee. And we stopped in Louisville along the way. Most recently we planted our musical feet in Pleasant Hill, Missouri. It's a town that looks like a big version of Brighton or Richland in their prime. And it's about twenty minutes from Kansas City. We had a wonderful time there(despite the heat). Boy, it sure required a lot of driving to get there and back. Hey, maybe we'll jump in the van and make it out to Fairfield real soon to make an appearance at this new venue in the Depot District. Stay tuned. 

It's summer in America. And that can mean only one thing. J.D. McPherson and his band are back on the road, rockin' out at clubs, festivals and concert halls from coast to coast and across the globe. When he comes to Chicago, my wife and I are almost always there, front row, cheering on our friend. His latest offering, "Let the Good Times Roll," is still lighting up the charts and the radio and delighting fans from here to there. And that includes my sister Jean who I hope will be meeting J.D. after the show she's seeing later in July. He's a good kid. He'll make you dance. 

Familiarity gives us comfort. Old memories anchor us as we careen into the future. I don't travel much. But when I do I am drawn to the touchstones of my past. More than once in recent years I have been pulled in by the nostalgic powers of a yellow and red Kent Feeds sign. Kent was a major brand in the sixties and seventies. Their signs were everywhere. Almost everyone in my family had a yellow nylon Kent Feeds windbreaker or a matching cap. Make the drive to Brighton some day. You'll see that rusted logo on a building at the east end of main street just before you head out of town to Washington.

With Father's Day upon us, my thoughts turn to my late father(he passed away about six years ago at Parkview in Fairfield). My father was not a touchy-huggy seventies kind of dad. But he obviously loved(and was proud of) his family. The best best thing he ever did for me was simply saying "yes." He said "yes" to a slightly crackpot idea. In 1977 or 1978 I was offered a position as a nighttime disc jockey at KMCD-KBCT. The job(my first) was mine for the taking but I knew I had to have my father's approval. After all, the job would take me away from my evening farm chores. On top of that, someone(probably my dad) would have to drive into Fairfield to pick me up from work every night just after 10pm. And damned if he didn't agree to the idea. He said yes(we were in the basement at the time changing into clean clothes after working outside). Thanks, dad. I may not be a full-time radio man these days but that job put me on the road to where I am today. 

I'm the type of guy who personalizes every celebrity death. In every case, I try to connect the late celebrity to me in some circuitous manner. "How does he connect to me?" That's always my first connection. And nine times out of ten the answer is my pal and musical legend Milt Trenier. With the announcement of the demise of Muhammad Ali, the first thing I did was to call Milt Trenier. I remember seeing a photo of the two men together, their clenched fists poised under each other's jaws. Turns out Ali used to see the Treniers performing in Miami in the early sixties when Ali had his training camp there. In later years when the heavyweight champ was visiting Chicago he would visit Milt Trenier's jazz club because he remembered the family name. I can always count on Milt for his personal stories on the greatest names in showbiz. 

  • Sun
    May 29
    11:00 am -
    12:00 pm

The Feed Store

As a young man in Jefferson County, I spent many an hour walking behind the lawnmower. My folks had a very large yard. Even with a mower that cut a 35" swath, it still took somewhere in the area of four hours to mow the entire farm property. These days I live in the city. My yard (even though it's a double lot) is the size of a postage stamp by comparison. And I'm dumb enough to use one of those "Leave It To Beaver" push mowers. No gasoline. Just brute muscle. And it still takes me little more than thirty minutes to mow my property(45 minutes if I edge with the weed whacker). Some day I will be an old retired guy with time on my hands. Then I will spend countless hours trimming my yard. Until that time I will exert just enough effort to keep the city off my back. 

I am single-handedly attempting to introduce a new phrase into the English language. I have taken to my audio and digital soapbox(KRUU) to promote my cause. The phrase that I want to put in general usage is "diapering the horse." And here's what it means. On your job, you like to have things your way. You've created a system that works. The scissors go here. The paperclips are over here. The forklift gets parked in that corner. If you take time off someone covers for you. And that person puts things in a slightly different place. When you return you need time to restore things to their proper places. That process is "diapering the horse." As in, "I'll get the Laswell report finished once I'm done diapering the horse." Try it yourself. 

Here it is. And what exactly is it? And why was I allowed to play with one in grade school gym class at Pleasant Plain Elementary in the sixties? Answers to these and other burning questions(like "How much longer is this stupid show on the air???") will be answered on "The Feed Store," thursday at 10AM CDT and Sunday at Noon CDT.

Spring is in the air(please do not SPRING in the AIR!! You might hurt yourself). Now is just about the best time of year in Chicago and Fairfield. The snow appears to be behind us(but don't say anything to the folks in Rochester, Mn. who got a foot of snow this past week).

The little twigs and flowers are just pushing up through the trash and dead leaves in my front yard. And there is hope. Hope for a new year. Hope for brighter days. Hope for even better stories on "The Feed Store"(thursdays at 10 AM CDT and sundays at noon CDT).

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