top of page

Cheers, Red !

I was feeding the chickens today, thinking about Coots and remembered this Adair story Coots told me one time at the office in Houston. I liked it; I hope you do too. Neither Red nor Coots would mind me telling it, I assure you.

Late 1960-ish is the time frame; Red had been invited to speak at an evening gala for the Desk and Derrick Club in Bakersfield; an anticipated crowd of 500, dinner and wine, naturally. On a Friday night.

Red left Houston late Thursday morning and the plan was to call on customers Thursday afternoon and Friday, relax in the grand Padre Hotel there in downtown Bakersfield. He'd just come off a big job and needed a break.

Friday morning. Joy gets a call in the Houston office and its Red, though barely audible and sounding very feeble. Something is bad wrong. He tells Joy there is a doctor and a nurse with him in his room, the doctor has diagnosed Red with appears to be "food poisoning," and Red, refusing to go to the hospital, is on an IV and EKG machine there in his room. The prospects are not good, Red says.

Get Coots on a plane now, he needs to come out here and give this speech tonight. "I may not live until then," Red says.

Coots arrives in Bakersfield by 5:00 PM. The evenings festivities start at 7:00. Coots checks into the Padre Hotel, drops his bag on the bed and takes the elevator up to Red's room to check on him. A nurse opens the door, Red is in bed in his red pajamas, still hooked up to the EKG and prescription bottles litter the top of his bedside table. There are damp clothes on Reds, red forehead. All the nurse can do is shake her head in grave dispair.

"Pods, what the hell, man; you look like shit!"

Red says in a hardly audible voice, "I'm sick, Coots; it feels like I might die, the doctor says I might have some kinda deadly bacteria growing in me.

Go give this speech for me tonight and tell all the ladies what happened, and that I am sorry. I bought 40 dozen roses to put on all the tables, tell everybody they are from me. Sorry to have to get you out here, bud. I owe you. If I'm dead when you get back, thanks for everything."

Coots is back in the hotel by 10:00 PM. The nurse is gone and Red is sitting up in bed, the EKG unhooked.

Coots reports everthing went well, all the women loved the speech and are all very concerned about Red's health. Coots leans down and whispers to Red...

"Pods, I've had a long day...I'm going downstairs to the bar and have a few drinks. I'll check on you in the morning. I'll call the doctor for you if we need to." We'll get you back to Houston, pods. Promise.

Much to Coots surprise Red swings his legs off the bed, stands up and says...

"Wait a minute, Coots, I'm going with you. Give me a minute to get some pants on."

They wobble down the hall and onto the elevator. The bar is pretty crowded.

As soon as Red walks in the door everybody in the joint lets out a loud cheer. The bartender reaches across the bar and shakes Red's hand, then says...

"Goddamn, Red, I didn't think I'd see you in there tonight, not after last night, you're one tough son a bitch."

Coots asks the bartender what went on last night and the barkeep promptly says Red bought drinks for everybody in the hotel until 2:00 am, the bill was something like $600 bucks; Red must have had 4o drinks himself. Everytime somebody wanted an antograph, Red got a free drink." Then he bought everybody else a free drink. Shit. It was a madhouse. Red could barely walk out of here last night. I suprised he wasn't as sick as a dog today."

Coots put his chin on his chest and frowned at Red, about half pissed off. Red sheepishly grined back, shrugged his shoulders and said to Coots... "things gotta little out of hand, bud. C'ommon man, let's have a drink; I'm feeling LOTS better."

And before you know it, things got out of hand again.


bottom of page