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February 6, 2011


Henry Gay is a name almost certainly not known outside of Washington State, probably not known east of the mountains and maybe even little known or remembered here in our own backyard. For many years before his death in the 90s (I believe), he was the editor/publisher of the Shelton/Mason County Journal and he wrote a weekly syndicated column that was picked up by the P-I. I remember him for his outspoken criticism of the Vietnam War, unusual for the publisher of newspaper in a rural, conservative area, as well as his sense of humor. Here are some tidbits from Mr. Gay.

Life without death would be like a freeway with no off-ramps.
   Men make war because they do not have to shave in battle.
        A nuclear physicist’s calendar has a half-life of only six months.
            Re-election means never having to say you’re sorry.

In one column, he had this to say about our government:
When opposition to the war mounted in the United States, the people were misled, lied to, and manipulated by jingoistic leaders. Citizens who actively opposed the war were unlawfully harassed and slandered by their own government.”
He concluded that particular column with this description of a 1968 Christmas card sent by George S. Patton III, a regimental commander in Viet Nam at the time:
From Colonel and Mrs. George S. Patton III – Peace on Earth 
Attached to the card were color photographs of dismembered Vietnamese soldiers stacked in a neat pile.

Every now and then he’d make a list of country-western song titles he’d made up. Here are some of them:
              We’d Have Another Baby But the Pickup Truck Is Full.
              Born Out Of Wedlock, Raised Out Of Spite
              He Said He Wasn’t Chicken Just Before He Flew the Coop
              Credit Cards Don’t Help None When Your Heart Is Broke
              I Was All Ears and He Was All Hands
              He Left With My Heart and the Color TV
              He Pays the Rent, I Pay the Price
             I’m Just a Road-Kill On the Highway of Life
             Our Bed of Roses Is Kitty Litter Now
             Just a Beer Drinkin’ Slob In a Wine Cooler World
             Address it to “Pregnant, Dallas,” and It Will Get to Me
             Swallow Your Beer Nuts Then Whisper In My Ear

And I have to add here a few I found in The New Yorker:

            Ain’t No Trash Been In My Trailer Since the Night I Threw You Out.
           You Want to Get Hitched But My Heart Is Filled With Whoa
            Baked My Sweetie a Pie But He Left Me For a Tart
           Now That We’re Miserable, I hope You’re Happy

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2011 9:28 pm

    >Ah, Roy and Gene, what a combo. And that Gay Guy (what was it again, Marvin). They all know the songs better than them folks from New Yoork. Perhaps this would be an appropriate place to memorialize Seattle's own Sheriff Tex, who never met a kid he liked until he had a little drink of his own… And one more for the war. Do we never learn?Sunny Bryce Bruce

  2. February 10, 2011 4:09 pm

    >Ah the country songwriters do have a corner on the market of catchy titles don't they.

  3. February 12, 2011 6:53 am

    >Reminds me of a Roy Rogers story. Seems he got a new cat and a new pair of shoes. Found one of his shoes all chewed up but couldn't find the cat that did it. But Dale, being the sharp shooter of the family saw the critter and said "Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoe?" So much for railroads and cowboys (and old swing songs)…Dinky Snojohs

  4. February 12, 2011 4:33 pm

    >Dink asked me to make a correction to his RR punny. Couldn't do it before posting so I'll make the edit here, best I can do. Shame, 'cuz it's a good pun. The joke should start, "Pardon me Roy, is that . . ."

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