It’s not often that a sequel is better than the original. I know we’ve all sat through a corny remake or a sappy follow-up and said, “Absolutely, the original was far better. I find myself doing that all the time because I am a lead actor in a long-running family drama. My grandfather John lived an exciting life. Born in Indian Territory in 1906 it was just one year before Oklahoma would be recognized as a state.
He worked for the old Kansas Railroad and replaced a little known telegrapher named Gene Autry. Autry, would later become a matinee superstar and singing cowboy of the silver screen. Later while owning a tire store in Joplin, Missouri, he served the Floyd family as frequent customers and friends. The Floyd’s young son, Charles Arthur, would later grow up and gain fame as Public Enemy #1, the notorious gangster Pretty Boy Floyd.
My grandfather’s last career became his most rewarding, as he became a skilled and self taught engineer in the oil industry. He went to Columbia South America to help build an oil pipeline in the early 1930’s. I have his diary of that excursion. He talks about iguana hunting and barroom brawls by inebriated and homesick colleagues, the narrative of his life never lacked energy. Yet, the central theme in all his writings was the love he had for his wife and four children left back home in the states.
The sequel to his story came by way of his son Jack, my father. A gifted musician, thespian, story teller, teacher, pastor. Like his father, he could keep a room spellbound with his stories and no one could ever deny that he too wasn’t the consummate family man.
The long running series of story tellers continued when in 1961 another by the name of John entered the arena of life; that would be me. This sequel could never gain traction with audiences like the previous two, how could it when the two previous characters were bigger and are bigger than life? But one thing this thespian can be proud, the central theme of the family drama is still intact. The audience can still identify with the storytelling, humorous anecdotes, and close family ties. But stay tuned, my newly married son Chris called me and apprised me of the next installment in the drama. He told me that since he got home early from work, he had cleaned the house and made a gourmet meal for his bride.
Stay tuned, I think the series is going to improve dramatically with my son. I do believe that his sequel WILL be much better than the previous installment. And as for me, I’m just so happy that for my Dad and me, our series hasn’t been cancelled yet by “The Producer”!