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
The Friend of the Friend-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.