A friend of a friend-Booty Pate – Patti Sue Baggette-June 8

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for June 8, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

Today 35 years ago I got married to my wonderful wife Mira. When you look back on your life you sometimes forget how fragile fate can be. I am not sure I would have met my wife if it wasn’t for one of our friends Patti Sue Baggette.

Back on Friday January 4, 1980 Patti Sue Baggette and my wife the then Mira Gibson decided at the last-minute not to drive to club by the name of Cracker’s in Rockingham, NC and instead opted to drive to Southern Pines, NC to a place called the Crash Landing. I was a young college assistant basketball coach and we would meet there.

That was a pretty significant choice because in 1980 Cracker’s was some type of sensational night club in North Carolina. The owner of Crackers was Earl Howard “Booty” Pate, III, and he was remembered at the time of his death in August 2010 as a legend in the disco dance halls. He opened in 1978 and it became one of the longest surviving dance attractions on the southeast coast. The business operated for 14 years until it closed in the year 1992.

Each night Crackers closed with “The Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time” or most famously “Last Dance”, by Donna Summer. Some of the bands and famous singing artist that played at Crackers were: Mother’s Finest, Hank Williams, Jr., Percy Sledge, Four Tops, Lee Greenwood, Nantucket, Wet Willie, Dr. Hook, Earl Thomas Connelly, David Allen Coe, and many others.

The Crash Landing was located on US 1 just north of Southern Pines, NC and is not there today. While Patti Sue and my future wife were driving to Southern Pines from their home in Laurinburg, NC I was headed south from watching a high school basketball game in Sanford,NC. Traveling with me was the Head Basketball Coach at Pembroke State (now UNC Pembroke) Billy Lee.

From that first meeting Mira and I began a very fast courtship and 6 weeks later we were engaged, and five months later married. Today after five children, eight houses, six different jobs, we celebrate thirty-five years of being married.

(l-r) Dan and Mira Kenney June 8, 1980


Not sure it would have happened if it wasn’t for Patti Sue Baggette agreeing to give up a trip to Cracker’s and see her friend Booty Pate to go to Southern Pines, NC.

The Friend-PATTI SUE BAGGETTE in the center

Patti Sue Baggette

The Friend of the Friend-BOOTY PATE

Booty PAte

The Accountant of Dance Halls

For the record I never met Booty Pate but heard a lot of people including my wife talk about him. I never went to Cracker’s but a lot of people I know had a good time or twenty there.

Earl “Booty” Pate died Monday, August 9, 2010 at home. He was born October 12, 1948, the son of the late Earl and Lois Pate. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Master’s Degree in Accounting. He was survived by his wife Trudy; one daughter, Shannon Pate of Rockingham; one son, Earl H. Pate IV and his wife, Toni of Fayetteville; a sister, Debra Pate of Hamlet; and one brother, Richard “Ricky” Pate of Rockingham.

In the later years of his life he battled Wegener’s Disease before he died in 2010.

Wegener’s is an uncommon disorder that causes inflammation of your blood vessels. This inflammation restricts blood flow to various organs.


Booty created memories for a lot of teenagers and well as young adults enjoying a night out at Crackers in a safe environment dancing the shag, disco, etc. to famous music. It was once said that the reason for the long running life of Crackers was due to its owners. Booty and his wife Trudy respected their customers, carried the heavy burden of caring for each and every one the children that were out on the town, made it their responsibility to see that each and every one of them made it home safely, and taught them a few of life’s valuable lessons along the way. The customers respected Booty and Trudy, a key ingredient to guarantee success for any business.

I hope Booty will forgive Patti Sue and Mira for that cold night in January 1980 when they choose to go to Crash Landing instead of Cracker’s. That choice made all the difference in my life.



  1. Shannon Pate · · Reply

    What a find this was for me online tonight. Booty and Trudy were my parents and January 29, 2011
    Was the 6 yr anniversary of her death, just 5 months after the death of my father, Booty. Nothing helps me get on with my live as the only child of the most amazing
    Parents a girl could ever even dream up, than to hear the impact they had on the lives of others. Oh, and he would forgove you for bypassing Crackers and heading to Crash Landing because he eventually bought that and it rocked too!!! Thank you for keeping their memories alive by sharing your stories!!

    1. Sharing the story with my wife. Thanks for writing and letting us know about Crash Landing!

  2. Love this!

  3. Earl H. Pate IV · · Reply

    I am Earl H. Pate IV. Booty was my father… I know most of you probably didn’t know that Booty also had a son, but he did. I don’t know how I have gone four months and not noticed this post. It is a great story and my father would have loved it. I have lived in Fayetteville NC pretty much since my parents divorced when I was very young. I didn’t get to Crackers a whole lot (I was to young most of the time that it was open, but I did get to go and hang out for like the first couple of hours that it was open when I was there visiting on a weekend or during holidays) but I did enjoy getting to go there (more than anyone could ever know). I even got to help decorate for a few New Years Eve celebrations, that was always a thrill for me. I knew that Crackers was the “hotspot” in Richmond County (and the surrounding counties. What I didn’t know, or I guess really realize growing up was how many lives my father and Trudy had touched over the years. It really hit me the night of the visitation before his funeral. The line was out the door and stayed that way for the whole visitation, it actually kept going well after the scheduled time. Almost everyone I met that night had a “Booty story” to share with me. A lot of them of course were related to Crackers, but a lot of them were also people telling me how he (and Trudy) had helped them with whatever they may have had going on in their lives at sometime. This is partly my fault but I hate that I really never knew or I guess realized it until that night. There also were A LOT of funny stories about things or situations that my father was involved in. I remember him as always being easy going and happy. He loved Crackers and all the people that he met there over the years that it was open. . I remember the day after he passed my wife and I stopped by a local florist in Rockingham to order a flower arrangement for the service. When we told the lady who they were for she said that she couldn’t believe how people had ordered flowers for him. Then she looked at me and out of the blue she said to me “You’re his son aren’t you?” I had never met this woman in my life. When I told her that I was she said she just knew who I was, she said I looked a lot like him, which was the best compliment I’ve ever had. She then of course had a “Booty story” to share with me. Anyway, thank you for writing such a wonderful tribute to him. He and Trudy were really great people and I miss them both tremendously. Also thank you to everyone I may have met over the years that shared their wonderful “Booty stories” with me.

    1. Wayne Murdock · · Reply

      How heartwarming! Booty and Trudy truly cared about hordes of people. And catered to their every need. It is never too late to thank our maket, our Lord SaviorZ, Jesus Christ for shatingh us! And God Bless you and yours in every way on evety day, Booty IV”. . . R.I.P. Friends.

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