“So. How’s Potpourri?”
That’s what my uncle wondered at a family gathering many years ago.
Did he mean…Hodgepodge?
Yes! Hodgepodge. That was the name of my first radio talk show. Thirty minutes of bliss (well, for me anyway) Monday through Friday--talking to everyone from city council members to middle schoolers to even former University of Indiana head basketball coach Bobby Knight.
The price? Being a small-town radio news reporter.
I worked long hours, once in a while around the clock--telling stories about fires (and fire drills), car accidents (and bicycle accidents)…and the wildest, most contentious meeting I’d ever seen, about whether to change the name of the Detroit Country Club to the Detroit Lakes Country Club (motion defeated).
One of my favorites was about a roadkill deer propped up in the stall in a school bathroom: “There was a girl in the boys’ bathroom all right. But this time the girl was a doe, a deer, a female deer…”
There was a kid who got broccoli in his trick-or-treat bag, and an elderly woman who got stuck in an elevator at a local nursing home--but didn’t panic because she’s “not the kind of person who gets scared in small spaces.”
I wrote sparkling leads. When government officials were inspecting roads I filed a live report: “It’s 8:08. Do you know where your county commissioners are?”
I’d rush into the studio from covering the latest and try to ad-lib my way through a newscast I didn’t have time to write. That’s how KDLM listeners learned someone had won an award for the photograph of a cow jumping off of a dock (it was a dog).
I was in my thirties, hadn’t made this little money since in my teens, and was deliriously happy.
But I couldn’t get the folks in law enforcement to give me any scoops.
One day, tired of hearing what a great news director Darrell Anderson had been, I called him to suggest coffee. “I don’t know how to get through to these people,” I told him. “They trusted you. Would you mind giving me some pointers?” He offered to be my guest on Hodgepodge, I accepted, we started talking and haven’t stopped, and yep--that’s where he proposed. On the air, in the same tiny radio studio where we’d met.
It’s been seventeen years--on a Friday, November 26th--and we stop talking long enough to sleep. Or…not. Most nights we’re joking around way past when we should go to sleep. This after working side by side all day in an office only slightly bigger than that Hodgepodge studio.
Yeah I know.
I’ve jinxed everything.