Sundays Mornings (Defo and Garden Guy)

by AK - July 30, 2013

Monday Midday Bedtime Story: Sundays Mornings (Defo and Garden Guy)

I could a probably did these in 2 separate stories, but they kinda go together, because on Sundays, they did.

Sunday morning were a really rare thing. As a part time producer/board-op, you didn’t get to really pick and choose when and with whom you worked for. But I actually requested this time slot, because it was 2 live shows that took a lot of calls, and the two guys I got to work with were such polar opposites, their shows had absolutely nothing to do with each other, and both hosts were incredibly amazingly cool, that I wanted the shift. Even though it meant that on Saturday nights I had to be in bed early enough to be able to get to the station by 5:50am.

Unlike one of the two hosts. Who didn’t go to sleep the night before, and would come straight to the station for his show. But I’ll get back to Defo in a sec.

The first show was The Garden Show, and the host was Chris Rollins who was and I believe still IS the park manager for the Fruit and Spice Park in South Dade. Chris was a cross between Jimmy Buffet, The Crocodile Hunter, and Sam Elliot’s character in The Big Lebowski. He even had the huge mustache.

Chris was a super, super cool dude. I mean, I’m sure as a park manager he’s got charts and graphs and accounts and excel spread sheets and time cards and managing crap to do.. but his passion is growin’ shit and living in the least populated area of Dade county in those days, the Redlands. And he’s like a mid-40’s outdoorsy guy.. showin’ up in his safari pants and well-worn construction boots with socks and a golf shirt. Pretty big guy, too.

So here’s this rugged outdoorsman, taking calls from little old ladies and giving a shit!

”Hellllo CHRIS?!? My begonias are drooping”

And I’d start laughing in the control room… and he’d see me.. and smile and you’d see that huge mustache curl up at the corners.. and he’d go right on and help this little old lady, keep her on the phone for 4 minutes talking about nitrogen, and phosphorous, and watering and sunlight and spiders and mites, and raccoons and iguanas and all this really interesting stuff. I actually wasn’t half BORED by it. It was like… science and stuff.. and the old ladies who called were good for a laugh.

”Helllooo CHRIS?! I have crabs in my garden”. Laugh, smile, mustache… and a scientific explanation of how and why that stuff would happen and how to prevent it.

In the days after Hurricane Andrew, It was important to have SOMEONE come on and talk about damage to plants and trees and stuff, and on the sunday morning after the storm passed, Chris was on the air. He came in wearing all camouflage from head to toe, and had a pistol strapped to one hip, and a machete strapped to the other. See, the storm not only whallopped the Fruit and Spice park, but also much of where he lived in the Redlands. And there was a real threat of looting and break-ins and Chris was rightfully scared for himself and his family.. (I think I remember him having a really beautiful daughter, but this is so long ago I could be incorrect about that). He explained that he’d had to leave his house like 4 hours earlier in his truck just because the roads were so covered in debris, and he was driving in relatively pitch darkness (no power for streetlights) that it took him that long to drive in for the show.

So here’s this cat looking like he’s out of an episode of Duck Dynasty, armed with revolver and blade, calmly taking calls from little old ladies.

”Hellllo CHRIS?? My lawn is still moist”

Each Sunday after the Garden Show was the “Sunday Morning Sportspage with Jeff Deforrest. And the show was exactly what it was called. Defo reading the Sunday Sportpage.

The Garden Guy had all 9 lights blinking and flickering on hold, Defo would come on, and every caller for the first 15 minutes of the show were holdovers calling in about coconuts and carnations. And after the first 15 minutes, he’d hardly get a cal at all.

Defo is a master at doing a call-in show with no callers. Might be the best ever. That guy can TALK. In his sleep if he needs to.

And most Sundays, he was.

The Garden Show ends. The news is on. The News ends. The “Sunday Morning Sportpage Theme is playing. Still no Defo. As the music trails off, in walks Defo, eyes bleeding red, 2 days old beard growth, slaps down a box of Dunkin Donuts and a box of coffee on the control room desk, grabs a paper and strolls into the studio and BAM! He’s on. The audience has no idea that the guy in the control room is sweating and looking up the phone number for the Sports Director… or that the Garden Guy is 5 seconds from having to continue his show and talk about the fertilizer used on NFL fields.

But Defo is Defo. And he does his show for 4 hours without sleep and with a handful of callers and a newspaper. And he’s on a 20 minute tangent about Casablanca that starts regarding a bogus call by an umpire and ends it back at the Dolphins kicker. All seamlessly interwoven and without a pause.

And me? I’m in the control room stuffing my gullet with 3 jelly donuts and a huge coffee, amused by calls and character and feeling sorry for the guy who’s coming in after me to run Meg Green’s show and the Best of Goldberg at Night.

Radio Stories