Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Little Bitty Tear

The Civic Theater in Akron was packed to overflowing with people eager to hear Eddy Arnold sing the songs he had made famous. It turned out he wasn't like so many entertainers who sing a little, talk a lot. Eddy walked on stage, sat down on a high stool, smiled and said, "Good evening." Then he sang and didn't stop for two hours. No talking, just singing. No one left the theater thinking they hadn't gotten their money's worth.
Odd, though, that most walked out the door with another memory stored away. It was of a funny little man, the warm-up singer for Arnold. He ambled out onto the stage, climbed up on that high stool, sat for a minute or more looking around with a big grin on his face. He said his name was Hank Cochran and that didn't mean a thing to most people in the audience. He plucked a few notes on his guitar and began singing. It was painful. The man had a voice that would set dogs to howling. Akronites are polite, though, so everyone sat quietly just hoping it soon would end.
After half a dozen songs he stopped, looking around again and grinning as if to say, "Wasn't that wonderful?" Then, as though asking for permission, he said, "I'm gonna sing a few songs I wrote myself."
Oh, no, not more, that was the general feeling of the three thousand listeners. So he started: "A little bitty tear let me down. . ." Amazing. This guy had written the big hit by Burl Ives. Next came the song Ives had followed with, "It's just my funny way of laughing. . ."
He had won the audience, but he was just getting started. Two huge hits by Patsy Cline followed: I Fall to Pieces and She's Got You. Poignant tales of love gone wrong: You walk by and I fall to pieces. . .I've got your picture, she's got you. . .
By then it was time for Eddy Arnold so Hank Cochran sang another of his compositions, Make the World Go Away, one of Eddy's biggest hit.
Cochran slid off the stool, said, "Time to go," and started off the stage, that funny grin on his face again. But he had to stop and come back again and take a bow because he was receiving a standing ovation. Not bad for a little guy who could barely carry a tune. It was the only time I've seen a warm-up act bring everyone to their feet.
The lesson was obvious: Don't judge people by first appearances. Eddy Arnold, Patsy Cline and Burl Ives were wonderful singers, but it took the Hank Cochran types to bring out their talent for the world to enjoy.


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