The following WWWs were written just after the Ol' Clark Outlaw
July 4, 2005
Saturday evening at 8:09 PM I lost a very dear friend, the Ol' Clark Outlaw aka Bobby Burns. A week ago Saturday I had renewed hope that Bobby might pull through, but as the week wore on those hopes began to fad. I thank you for understanding why I did not do Midnight Country "Live" this week. There was no way I could pull together the kind of Tribute I want to give the Ol' Outlaw in such a short time. Honestly I'm not sure I could have pulled it off emotionally either. It would have been hard to resist wanting to talk about Bobby, but on the other hand it would have been hard to talk about him without breaking down. As you know the Ol' Outlaw was a very dear friend of mine. Bobby and I have become very close friends over the last few years. We had become acquainted when I dated his niece Jackie, but we continued to talk even after she and I split up. At first it was hard to continue the friendship with Bobby, but as time began to heal my heart it became easier. After I got my cell phone we would talk for hours at a time, sometimes several times a week. When Bobby called I would always insist he let me call him back since I had free nights & weekends. He would often say "Well I'm not gonna talk long." An hour later I would say, "See you should have let me call you back." Eventually he became less bullheaded and let me call him right back. :-)
As you are accustomed to in WWWs my mind will wonder a bit as I write about the Ol' Outlaw. As Mrs. Rosewood announced throughout the show I will be doing a Tribute to Bobby during the first three hours on this week's MC. I will be playing some of his favorite songs and songs his family and you the MC Family request. I will share many memories of times spent with Bobby. Memories I will always cherish. I will even play parts of the show when Bobby came down and we did a Tribute to his sister Mary Lou who passed away back in November 2004. I think for now I will not go into a lot of the memories I want to share. If I miss some during the show I will share them in next week's WWWs. So instead of specific memories right now I want to talk about how the Ol' Outlaw has helped to make MC what it is today.
Midnight Country has evolved over the years into what it is today. When MC started almost five years ago I really wasn't sure of the direction I wanted the show to take. I played more of the current Country, including some of the Pop stuff, as much as I hate to admit it. It was still not your everyday Country show, but it was not standing out from the rest as much as it does today. It gradually began to dawn on me from the calls and requests that people were really starving
for real Country Music. This became even more apparent after I began doing the show both on
Thursday mornings and Monday mornings following the High Lonesome Sound. Eventually I gave up the Thursday morning slot because someone thought a different type of show should follow the preceding show on Wednesday night. There were two people though who played a big part in solidifying in my mind the course MC should and would stay on. First it was the Ol' Outlaw and his belief that people wanted to hear real Country Music and that this was part of what made MC unique. Second it was that voice in the spring of 2003 that asked me the question "How long you been doing Country son?" I would later learn the voice on the other end of the phone was that of Ron Lutz, a retired DJ of 43 years from Fulton. In the weeks after when Ron would call the first words out of his mouth were always "Soundin' awfully good tonight son, boy I liked that song by…" Knowing these two men believe in me and what I am trying to do on MC means more to me than words can express. Ron is definitely like a father figure to me. The Ol' Outlaw is a combination of being like a brother and a father. One of the nurses in the hospital asked if Bobby was my dad, another if he was my brother. Something though that Bobby's brother Johnny said to a nurse when they asked who we were summons it up best. He said "I'm his brother John, this is my wife Missy and Woody here is Bobby's best friend."
Needless to say MC has come to mean the world to me. I could never have
imagined it would take on a life of it's own as it has. The second way
in which the Ol' Outlaw helped to shape MC is probably even more of
what makes MC unique than the first. Bobby of course knew about my having
Bronco, my Golden Retriever, and my two cats Mear and Goldie. At some
point though I talked about the three of them on the show. Bobby thought
that was just great. He said, "People enjoy hearing you tell these stories
and so you need to tell some every week." Late in the show when he would
call me when talking about the show he would often comment more about
the stories or lack there of, than he would about the music. He loved
the Country Music, don't get me wrong, but it was my opening up with
the MC audience that he thought made the show unique. Doggone ya Bobby,
you were right too. :-) I have had several comments from listeners who
have said they look forward to the stories. It was also Bobby who first
planted the notion in my head that everyone who listens to MC was like
a Family. So you rarely hear me talk about the listeners or audience,
it is always the Midnight Country Family. This, of course, gave birth
then to the Family page here on the web site. Bobby never saw the page,
but he was proud as heck to be on it. He told everyone he met about
the show and the web site. He would say "I don't know anything about
computers, but if you go to this web site and click on Family you will
see a picture of me." While Bobby was in the hospital and before he
became really sick he would tell everyone he talked to about the show.
I thought "Dang, he and the people he tells about the show need know
what an important role he plays in the show, so I printed up some business
cards with the title "The Ol' Clark Outlaw, Listener Recruitment Specialist."
The night I took them in to Bobby I asked him if he had ever had a job
where he had business cards. He said "No" and I said, "Well you do now!"
He was pretty darn proud of those cards and was happy to know that only
he and Kevin Burns had been given this important position and title
with the show. Okay so I am getting into some memories, but they are
all a part of how the Ol' Outlaw has helped to shape MC. I think it
would be appropriate right here for Bobby's own words to state why he
liked MC. This is what he wrote and sent me for the Family page. "I
like Midnight Country because of the host first and foremost. I also
like it because of the wide variety of Country Music such as anything
from Honky Tonk drinking songs to Gospel songs. I also like it because
you almost feel like you're part of Woody Adkins' family. You know about
his pets, his ex-girlfriend, his childhood, his family and whether he
had a good week or a bad week. All of this together makes for a really
great Country Music show. I might also add that when one of his listeners
is going through a hard time or is hurting; he hurts right along with
them." I think I could have skipped everything I have said above;
this statement pretty well sums it up, huh? What a man the Ol' Clark
Outlaw was and a damn good friend too. I consider it an honor to have
been there with his family Saturday as he passed from this ol' world
to his home with the Ultimate Outlaw. Like Jesus, the Ol' Outlaw wasn't
afraid to rock the boat, he wasn't afraid to say what he thought and
to stand up for what he believed in. I wish I had a tenth of the backbone
the Ol' Outlaw had. There were several times in the last month and a
half I thought we were going to lose him, but he kept fighting. He was
a fighter, but he has won the war and now can rest in peace. I figure
it is daytime all the time in Heaven, so he will never again have to
fight sleep to stay awake to listen to MC.
The Ol' Outlaw will be laid to rest on Thursday. There will be a visitation from 1:00-2:00 PM and the funeral will be at 2:00 PM. He will be buried in his hometown Clark. The funeral will be at:
Million-Taylor-Patton Funeral Home
320 South Williams Street, Moberly
If you would like to send the Burns Family a card feel free to send it to:
c/o KOPN's Midnight Country
915 E. Broadway
Columbia, MO 65203
I will be sending flowers signed "The Midnight Country Family"
Please keep Grandma South and the rest of Bobby's Family in your prayers, this week and in the weeks to come. I would also appreciate your prayers as I prepare for Monday's show. I have lost a dear friend and there will be a definite void in my life from now on. I only hope on Monday I am able to convey what the Ol' Outlaw meant to me personally and to the show.
I suppose it goes without saying that I will not have a spotlight artist this week. Again I apologize for the show not being "Live" this past week and for obviously not spotlighting Jerry Reed as promised. I will get back into our routine of spotlighting an artist on the 18th's show. I know you all understand and I thank you for that. If you have a song you would like played on this week's show in memory of the Ol' Outlaw don't hesitate to e-mail me or call early in the show.
Have a good week and be sure and tune in Monday for a very special edition of Midnight Country,
July 11, 2005
I bet the Ol' Clark Outlaw is no doubt grinning from ear to ear right
about now up in Heaven with his sister Mary Lou. Being the humble sort
of guy he was I bet he is surprised that I dedicated a whole show to him.
I'll bet too he was blown away and pleased to pieces to hear his brother
John and John's wife Missy on the show with me. He's probably thinkin'
"Dang, that was pretty neat!" No doubt he had a tear in his eye when he
heard John read once again "In Loving Memory of Robert F. Burns" written
by Missy. He probably thought, "She had me figured out pretty well, didn't
she?" I always come away from doing a show like this wondering how it
came across to you the MC Family and if I was able to adequately convey
what was in my heart. The feedback so far has been "Mission Accomplished."
The show was extra special because John and Missy came down to be on the
show. I know it was no doubt scary for them both, but I think the anticipation
was no doubt worse than the reality. Once we all were settled in and got
the first break behind us I think they really enjoyed themselves. Once
upon a time a listener evolved from being called Bobby Burns on the air
into being called the Ol' Clark Outlaw. Now his brother John Burns has
evolved into being called Wolfman John! What a hoot it would have been
to have them both on the show together. :-)
As it often is when you lose someone special like the Ol' Clark Outlaw, you have regrets. There are things I wish I would have done, like have the Ol' Outlaw on the show a second time. I had no idea though that the window of opportunity would be so small. I guess I should cherish the times we did spend together. The recorded conversation from the show back in November was just a small sample of the long, some times deep conversations we had over the years. The Ol' Outlaw loved his family and they were often the focus of those conversations. He hated to see his sister suffer and her passing no doubt was harder on him than most of us realized. It amazed me though to watch both of them as they fought to stay alive, first Mary Lou back in the fall and now Bobby. The human will to keep living is very strong and I'll never seen that more evident than in Bobby. One Saturday John, Missy and I were told Bob had a 5% chance of pulling through, the next Saturday he was alert, smiling, trying to talk. I got a couple of smiles out of him that day, first when I told him June and Charles had been up to see him. The second was when I told him Kevin Burns had e-mailed me that he had been up to see the Ol' Outlaw, but found him sleeping. The Ol' Outlaw had a radio there in ICU and I told him Kevin had said he knew I (Woody) hadn't been there recently or the radio would not have been set on KPLA. Kevin said "If you had been there it would have been set on a Country station!" The Ol' Outlaw just grinned real big when I told him that. If I had known things were going to take a turn for the worse I would have stayed longer that day. During the Ol' Outlaw's final hours his brother John insisted the radio be kept on a Country station. I'm sure Bob was proud of John for that and was no doubt smiling on the inside as he lay there. During all of this I was reminded of why Community radio is such a great thing and is even better because I get to do my own show. The Friday before Bob passed away on Saturday I called a Country station during their lunchtime request show and asked them to play "The Outlaw's Prayer" by Johnny Paycheck. I asked that they send it out to the Ol' Clark Outlaw from Woody. Well unless they played it almost immediately during the time I walked from the pickup up to Bobby's room I don't think they played it because for the next almost two hours I sat with my ear glued to the radio there in Bob's room and didn't hear it. I even said to the DJ I would really like to get this on because this person is near death in the hospital. Of course I asked that they not say that part on the air. The DJ didn't seem to recognize the title of the song and I even said that if he couldn't find "The Outlaw's Prayer" anything by Johnny Paycheck would be okay. Of course during the time I listened I heard them play requests for all the current Pop Country crap. Needless to say I was a bit irritated. Later though I got to thinking there are times I haven't been able to find requests, but in my own defense I think most of the time I acknowledge on the air the fact I couldn't find it and then I try and play an alternative song for the person. Granted, even though I hope there are a lot of people listening to MC and that I do get several calls, I sure it is a drop in the bucket compared to what the DJ I talked to gets. If KOPN were to ever move MC to the noon hour I bet I would be overwhelmed too. Can you imagine a show playing the kind of Country we play on MC during the day? It would no doubt cause a riot as people starved for real Country would make a mad dash to their radio and then to their phones. If that day ever comes the Ol' Outlaw will no doubt throw one heaven of a party up there. :-) I was pleased to learn from a nurse that they had turned on Midnight Country for Bobby the Monday morning prior to his passing the following Saturday. Boy how did I get off on that long story? Oh yeah I was talking about the Ol' Outlaw and his fighting spirit. What a man. If you missed it on the show be sure and read the "In Loving Memory of Robert F. Burns" written by Missy Burns. It is included in with the paper version of Woody's Weekly Wonderings and is also here on the web site. In the near future I will be laying out a separate page on the web site as a Special Tribute to the Ol' Outlaw. I hope to include more pictures along with a couple WWWs and Missy's writing.
I was talking earlier about regrets. There's another regret I have and one that actually bothers me a lot. As you know one of the members of the MC Family is Ron Lutz, the legendary retired DJ from Fulton. He was on KFAL for 38 years and continues to host the Rooster Creek Show every Saturday at 11:25 AM. I always wanted to take the Ol' Outlaw over to Ron's to sit in on a taping of the show. I just knew Bobby would enjoy the heck out of it and that he and Ron would hit it off right away. Of course I never took him over there and now I regret it. The Ol' Outlaw was a bit hesitant about the idea though when I would bring it up. He would say something like "Now Ron is your friend and it wouldn't be right for me to come tagging along." I would then say something like "Well if you're a friend of mine then you would be welcome at Ron's." Dang it, I wish I'd a done it now.
The Ol' Outlaw loved my stories and I've just got to sidetrack for a minute to tell one on Ron. I just recently met someone who said they used to listen to Ron on KFAL back in the 70's and 80's. According to this person Ron and Betty Sue were THE big morning show and KFAL was THE Country station in this region. This guy said though that what made him a fan for life of Ron was even before the 70's when this person went over to Fulton and was on one of Ron's Kids Birthday Shows. This person then grew up and even advertised the business he started on KFAL. I can't wait to ask Ron more about this. :-) If I had realized what a big man in Country radio I was talking to when Ron first called the show I would probably have peed my pants because I would have been so nervous. However, if you've ever talked to Ron you know you feel right at home in no time at all. I know the Ol' Outlaw would've too.
As you may have heard me tell on the show, the Ol' Outlaw and I went to the "Everybody's Got Love" CD release concert in Boonville back in December. On the way to the concert we stopped by the Columbia Mall and shopped a bit. I'm afraid to tell rest of this story to Bronco, because it would break his heart to hear this about his rich Ol' Uncle, the Outlaw. While we were there though the Ol' Outlaw bought several items bearing the Oak Raiders logo, such as a flag, a license plate, etc. How the Ol' Outlaw was led so far astray we may never know. On his trip out west to discover a favorite football team he should have stopped and stayed in Denver! I suppose though that it makes sense when you think about it. I guess Raiders and Outlaws do go together. Had I known the Ol' Outlaw was a Raiders fan prior to getting to know him I might never have given him a chance. :-) In case you don't follow the NFL the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders do not like each other at all and that is putting it mildly. Of course the Kansas City Chiefs are in the same division and so neither the Ol' Outlaw's or my favorite team are not exactly loved in this neck of the woods either.
Well I gave myself extra room for WWWs this week and last, but I'm still running out of room. I am sure for as long as I do MC the Ol' Clark Outlaw will come up again and again in WWWs. As I said last week he definitely helped to make MC what it is today. One last story in closing though. Back in November when the Ol' Outlaw's sister died I went to the Lemstone Christian store here in Columbia to buy some sympathy cards. I told the lady who waited on me a bit of what had happened. She showed me some books dealing with grief and the loss of a loved one, but I wasn't particularly wanting to buy any books, just sympathy cards and so I thought it a little odd, but next she showed me a coin with a cross on one side along with the words "In Loving Memory", then on the other side it read, "Gone, yet not forgotten, although we are apart, your spirit lives within me, forever in my heart." The thought occurred to me that I should get two of the coins and ask that one be putted underneath Mary Lou's hand and I would then keep the second. Thanks to her family I was able to do this. Thanks to John I was able to do the same for the Ol' Outlaw. "I miss you ya Ol' Clark Outlaw you. I'll see you again someday though, just make sure Bronco, Mear and Goldie are welcome in Heaven too." Thanks again Wolfman John & Missy for making the show so special!
Have a good week and tune in Monday as I spotlight Marty Robbins (just kidding ya Ol' Outlaw, that's a whole other story), I'll be spotlighting Jerry Reed this week,