Brundidge Rotary takes trip down memory lane

Published 7:14 pm Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Brundidge Rotary Club took a walk down memory lane Wednesday all the way back to the year 1994.

That might not seem like such a long time to most folks but, oh, the difference a few years can make.

Thanks to a video recording, the Rotarians were able to step back in time to a Hee Haw place where they were much younger and more talented and a bit “crazier” than any of them remember.

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Lamar Steed, said back in those days, the Rotary Club sponsored a Valentine Pageant and, as an added attraction, the club members presented a themed variety show.

“Judy Carter was our producer and she always did a great job,” Steed said. “We had 75 contestants in the first pageant in 1989. The video we saw today was of our fifth pageant and we had 170 contestants in it. The pageant was at the National Guard armory and it was packed. People were standing against the walls and they paid $5 each to get in.”

In those earlier days, Steed said the Rotary Club didn’t award scholarships as it does today.

“But we gave money to clubs and organizations for their needs,” he said. “That year, 1994, we gave to the Pike County Christmas Program, the Boy Scouts, Camp ASCCA, Lifeline and Banks Junior High School. The pageants brought in a good bit of money and we used it to help our community.”

Steed said Carter planned the themed shows and she knew what she wanted and how she wanted it done.

“And, we did what she told us to do,” Steed said, laughing. “We practiced for about four weeks and I mean we worked hard. We put on shows that people really enjoyed and are still talking about.”

Cookie Graham, as Minnie Pearl, was the star of the show and was, by circumstance, the lead singer.

The Rotarians kidded Graham as the swished about the stage as Minnie Pearl.

“Judy told me to swing my skirt and I swung it,” Graham said, laughing as she watched herself dance around the stage.

But, when she took the lead on the Hee Haw theme song, she didn’t just laugh, she cackled.

“We were supposed to lip sync the song but something happened with the music and it didn’t come on,” Graham said. “Judy had told me to stand up to the microphone and sing but nobody could hear me. But when the music went out, everybody could hear me.”

Luckily for the other performers, the music had not gone out.

Tommy Strother was Willie Nelson and sang to “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” to a screaming audience. And Randall Thompson echoed him as Julio Iglesias.

Danny Graham was Hank Williams, Jr. and was silhouetted behind a sheet; Lamar Steed was Hank Williams, Sr.

“Hank Jr. had found a copy of a song his daddy wrote and sang, ‘There’s a Tear in my Beer’ and, with all that technology, they had made a music video with them singing together,” Steed said. “That’s what we did. We were Hank and Hank Jr.”

The Rotarians laughed and said they understood why Steed had to have knee surgery.

“Judy told me and Randall to bend our knees and keep bending. She didn’t tell us to stop,” Steed said.

Perhaps, the showstopper of the night was Dolly “Cottingham” Parton. Cot Wallace was Miss Dolly and he made a big entrance and an even bigger exit.

Britt Thomas popped up and down in the cornfield cracking corny jokes and John Austin just told corny jokes. “We had a lot of fun doing those shows,” Steed said. “If we hadn’t gotten so old, we might do them again.”