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James R. Stout

Fine Art Photography

Saturday Nights, 1965

When I was about 10 years old Saturday nights around our house were way cool. Let me tell you about how some of them were. Saturday nights 1965 included some that were spent in front of the TV as a family. We would watch “Flipper” and “I Dream of Jeannie” and then “The Lawrence Welk Show”. The “big” show around our house (my father’s all-time favorite) was “Gunsmoke”. There were times when a really good movie on NBC’s “Saturday Night At The Movies” would cause derision in the Stout household because “Gunsmoke” was NOT to be messed with. Once in awhile we would get to watch the movie if it was either a sci-fi or western that Dad was wanting to see. 

I must admit that come 9 p.m. CST I would usually go back to my room and listen to the local radio station play all the hits of the day featuring “Saturday Night Dedications” that other kids of my little town would call in and make their wishes known. My sisters weren’t quite old enough to be dating (Barbara turned 16 in December of 1965 and allowed to date then) so most of the time we were all home. During the summer of 1965 we would also watch another kind of show. About 10 minutes before dark we would set up the lawn chairs in the front yard. Mom would have popcorn ready and we would then watch as the sun went down and the stars came out to cause oohs and ahhs. My Dad was always on the lookout for a satellite and shooting stars were a treat. We talk about what might be out “there” and usually the talk would venture into many subjects of which we discussed until “news time”. 

About once a month our family would pack-up the car on Friday after school and work and head for my grandparent’s farm for the weekend. These were some of my favorite days. I now live on part of that farm. It’s my home. It’s where my roots are. Saturday nights at Grandma and Grandpa’s were a bit different. They only got in one TV channel and sometimes it didn’t come in well. That was OK though because we didn’t go there to watch TV. Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa would often play “Texas 42” while we kids kept ourselves entertained. I had my baseball cards to sort and read and dream of being the next home run king (never happened!). I also would have a comic book or two such as “The Flash”, “The Green Lantern” (before he was gay), and I was partial to any comic with the cast of The Loony Tunes. I have no idea now what Barbara and Debbie did. I most likely made random and covert operations into the “sleeping porch” where they spent their time. Most likely I was told to “stop bothering your sisters” on numerous occasions. I honestly don’t remember . . .

Another major thing in our lives on Saturday nights was the “get ready for church” events. Everybody had to take a bath whether we needed it or not, Mom would roll my sisters hair while watching “Gunsmoke” or “Lawrence Welk”. If we hadn’t read our Sunday School lesson yet, then it was off to our rooms to do so! I always liked them though so I usually had them read weeks ahead. 

Oh, and lest I forget. There were some “special” occasions on Saturday nights. These would usually include family friends that would come over to visit once in awhile. Everyone played an instrument or sang. Dad and his friend Frank would get out their guitars and everyone sang “Walking The Floor Over You”, “San Antonio Rose”, “Detour”, and other country hits. Mom would sit at the piano and everyone gathered around to sing either gospel hymns or favorites like “Little Annie Rooney” or “By The Light of The Silvery Moon”. Dad also played piano by ear and would never miss the chance (still doesn’t at 90) to play “In The Mood”, “Please Release Me”, and other favorites. 

Well, those were the Saturday nights of my 10th year. I promise that I’m not making any of this stuff up. It really was that way around our house. The thing you should notice is that we were truly a “family”. We may have had our tiffs, but we loved each other (still do and even more) and enjoyed being together. Families today could use a little more time together. I’ll end with one last thing. A number of years ago I recorded several of those songs for my parents and gave them a tape of them. I called it “Stout Trek: The Next Generation”. Yea, ain’t I clever? Anyway, I’ve attached one of those recordings. It wasn’t the best of equipment used, but you’ll get the idea. 

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