Saturday, October 14, 2006

Here's To You, Freddy

Country/Mexican-American music legend Freddy Fender has passed away.

I met him in the late 1990's, when I worked for KRGV in Weslaco, Texas, not far from his hometown of San Benito. He was a guest on "Tim's Terrace," a segment during the Friday 6:00 news with weatherman Tim Smith. Tim did the weather and cooked something on the station's patio grill, while the guest -- usually a member of a community group -- talked about some event they were holding that weekend. I forget what Freddy was there for, but he kindly parodied his own "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" into "Cloudy Days And Cloudy Nights."

Afterward, Tim led him around the newsroom, introducing the anchorpeople... and the producer. Freddy took one look at my pale complexion and realized he stood in front of a yankee.

"I can tell you're not from around here," he said.

"Yes," I replied. "Actually, I'm from another country."

"Oh," he said with anticipation, expecting some exotic location to pierce my lips.

"Missouri," I added with a smile.

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