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Friday, May 29, 2009


Today marks the first week anniversary of the beginning of a three day run of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" (2.0). It was a very magical weekend for me, not only as a performer but as a member of the Heagle family. To have my brother John staying with us for four days and then to have Jon fly in and join us for the Sunday shows was truly something special.

John's flight was delayed for nearly a half an hour as his plane kept circling the Twin Cities airport in a holding pattern. It wasn't until we were on our way out to the interstate that we got a cell phone call from Sister Fran Ferder, who had flown in with John to make a connecting flight to LaCrosse, that we found out that their aircraft had been involved in a "near-miss"!

So the weekend that turned out to be an all time highlight in my life almost started as an insane tragedy.

I wish I could truly express how good it was to be with John for an all too short four days. He is probably the easiest man in the world to be around. it wasn't as if we even had a house guest - it seemed as though he has always lived with us right from the start.

We immersed ourselves in re-writing and re-organizing the show from its original 20 year old shape to update it and make it fresh not only for ourselves but for the audiences, some of whom would be returnees from the shows so long ago.

Friday arrived and we loaded up the Scion with guitar, music stands, and other needs, and made the drive to Wausau for the first performance.

Wausau East High School is an incredible building with an auditorium that seats close to 1,000. We wee supposed to be getting all kinds of coverage through a Wausau radio station, but (and this is just my opinion) I think somebody dropped the ball big time.

Thirty free tickets were supposed to have been given out over the air. Thirty eight folks showed up for the show, none of them claiming a free ticket.

I talked to several people who asked why we hadn't been advertised more -- that they had only accidently found out about the show through a small blurb in the Wausau newspaper.

Nonetheless, the show was well received by those in attendance and gave John and I a chance to do a bit of a "run through" for the rest of the weekend.

I think the fondest memories of that evening will be the stop we made at the Kittsons before the show, the hell of a time I had finding my way out of the high school parking lot in the rain after the show -- and stopping in Abbotsford for a late night BLT at a truck stop.

Saturday night started with a family gathering at the Heyde Center in celebration of two of my aunts birthdays: Gertrude and Lucille, the youngest and oldest of the Wetzel sisters. Both John and I ran into a lot of familiar faces throughout the evening and we played to a sold out house --(the management had to turn away over forty people seeking tickets).

After the show, John and I unwound with a couple of beers with Tom, Stan, Johnson, and Scott Sutherland - three great guys with roots in Superior, Wisconsin. then we went on to join the Wetzel party poolside at the Plaza Hotel in Eau Claire.

We got as much rest as possible on Sunday morning, then proceeded to Menomonie for the two shows at the Tainter. Again both shows sold out and the crowds loved the show - so much so that we received standing ovations. I was just to proud to be on stage with John. And to be able to look out into the audience and see my son Jon as well.

I just received an e mail from John that I would like to share:

I'd thought you might smile at the following:

Someone said to me after the last performance (in Menomonie), half smiling,
and half serious: 'Whatever possessed you to try such a thing?'

My response: 'At my age, given the state of institutional religion, I am possessed by
possibilities! And, add to that, I am less and less concerned about being 'proper'.

Zorba said it well: 'Life is trouble. Only death is not.'

So, I'll take trouble...

Not that I have a choice!



Wednesday, May 20, 2009


There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who absolutely love their pets, and those who look upon house pets as a bother and a nuisance. Please, keep the second type of people away from me!

It occurs to me that within those who absolutely love and adore their pets, there is as definite subdivision: cat lovers and dog lovers. Oh, occasionally you might run into a household that is "bi-petual", with both a pooch and a kitty tearing around the furniture, but many of us are purists.

When I was but a boy on the farm, we were in fact, "bi-petuals", more out of necessity than anything else. There was our trusty cow dog, Skippy, who was primarily collie with a healthy mixture, and then there were the "barn cats" that multiplied many times over and were kept only in the barn as mousers... and occasionally were forced to be my captive audience when I first began playing guitar because I would capture as many as I could in the bushel basket and lower them to the bottom of the empty silo floor where they could not escape the loud chording and my rendition of Be Bop A Lula -- I know the true meaning of the word caterwauling.
But here it is May 20, 2009, and time to celebrate the first birthdays of our newest family members, Stella and Hammy. (Hammy only gets called Hamilton when he is in deep trouble - which is much of the time as he suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder.)

I have been very fortunate in choosing feline friends. Back in 1976, when I first separated from my first wife and took a small apartment at 1001 Main Street, Eau Claire, while teaching at DeLong Junior High School, I asked around among the faculty if anyone had a kitten they would like to have adopted. Eventually, the school secretary got word that I was looking for a kitten and she said she had a prospect for me. This cat turned out not to be a kitten, but a cat about a year old.

There is an old saying about cats. you don't adopt a cat. a cat adopts you. This cat obviously didn't take to me as within two days, when I answered the door to a 7th Day Adventist, the cat bolted past me at a high rate of speed, straight out the door and disappeared in a blur. I'm afraid the 7th Day Adventist was close behind because I shouted "JESUS CHRIST!" when the cat flew by.

Two days later I checked with the Eau Claire Humane society shelter. The woman escorted me into a room filled with cats in cages -- and one caught my eye. she was a beautiful tabby, rust orange in color, and she spotted me about the time I spotted her and it was love at first sight. She began reaching through the cage wires with her paw, beckoning to me with gentle mews.

Even as I crossed the room to her, I knew I was hooked. After talking with this rusty beauty for a minute or two the woman asked if my cat was anywhere in the many cages. I looked around, and sure enough, there was my escapee. Totally ignoring me.

"Do you see your lost cat?" the woman asked again.
"No", I lied, "but is this cat available?"

That was Rose. She was my long time companion and lived to see my marriage to Kim Wilson and much beyond. She is buried near the house.

Next came the brother/sister team of Harley and Hannah. Harley was a big black and grey tabby - a great friend to me - my buddy - but scared of his own shadow. His sister, Hannah, was a short, pudgy,grey and black tabby - she was Kim's constant companion and the Queen of the House. She also had an awesome temper.

Unfortunately, last year, Hannah developed stomach cancer and had to be put down. Less than a month later, frightened by a loud sound, Harley got his rear claw caught in a rug and tore the tendons in his right rear leg so badly that they could not be repaired and he, too, had to be put to sleep.

Kim and I had vowed that we would have no more pets. Within a matter of months, however, I missed all the love, companionship and all out shennigans that cats can bring to a household.

One day, while we were driving past the Humane Society, which is only about two miles from our place, I coaxed Kim into "just looking".

I spotted this little grey kitten, nestled up with her rusty hued brother. Stella has such unusual markings. And she is my little pal. She loves to jump up next to me while I am watching TV and nestle in the crook of my arm and gaze up at me. She loves to tear newspapers and cardboard boxes into little shreds.

Hammy is Kim's pal of pals -- he is constantly in motion when he is awake -- charging around the house, playing with anything and everything. They are both easy going and love people. There is nobody that visits that doesn't end up surrounded by both of them, getting a full check-out.

I have been very fortunate to have had really wonderful cats over the years! And Hammy and Stella are just the best!!!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Neitheer John nor I were expecting the outpouring of love that we experienced in the weekend performances of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother". It became apparent that something special was going on, when, on Saturday night at the Heyde, well before curtain, I was accosted by an old, old friend from my college years, Bill Mehls, who couldn't get a ticket, as they were sold out and some 40 people were milling about hoping to get "no shows".

Figuring I had some influence since we had sold out two days before the performance, I slipped bill in through a side entrance and found him an empty seat.

Saturday night's show had a palpable electricity to it. The audience was with us at every turn. it was also made even more special as in attendance were our aunts Lucille and Gertrude - the Wetzel side of the family had arranged a gathering a couple of hours before show time to honor Lucille, who this year turns 98 years old, and Gertrude, show is turning 87! They are the oldest and the youngest of the Wetzel girls and the families gathered in a side room at the Heyde to catered supper and plenty of Heyde supplied beverages.

After getting some rest, we began preparations in ernest for the two performances at the Mabel Tainter Theatre in Menomonie. Both the 2PM performance and the 7PM performance sold out well in advance and again, the response to the show was overwhelming to John and me.

We took a break after the matinee and joined some of the [people who had attended the afternoon show at Jake's on the Lake for an early supper before returning for the evening show.

The evening performance also went very well with the addition of two camera men filming the entire show for a soon to be released DVD.

Monday morning we were up and at 'em with a trip to the White Pine Rehabilitation Center outside of Fall Creek, where we got to see Wisoncisn wild life up close as White Pine takes in wild animals that have been injured or abandoned by their parents when very young.
(I will write a separate blot, with pictures, on that adventure).

Finally, Kim and I (Kim really -- I was conked out in the back seat, exhausted) tok Fr. John up to the Minneapolis airport to catch his early evening flight back to Oregon.

We want to thank everyone who came out to see the show for making it such a memorable occasion!


Saturday, May 16, 2009


Last night, friday, May 15, was the opening night of a three day, four performance "world tour" of Father John Heagle and younger brother Larry's "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" in Wausau, Wisconsin, at the beautiful Wausau East auditorium, which has some 900 seats.

The show, described in a short new story in the Wausau newspaper as "The Smothers Brothers Meets Up with Lake Woebegone" was well received by a less than full house of some 43 people.

Still in all, everyone, audience and performers alike, came away with a great feeling of warmth and camaraderie. It was a chance to run the show with a lot less pressure than the brothers will find the rest of the run as they appear tonight at the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls to a completely sold out house and then proceed to Menomonie for two sold out shows at the beautiful Mabel Tainter theatre.

John arrived at the Minneapolis airport on last wednesday and that evening and all of thursday was spent in rehearsing the music and dialogue of the show.

This morning, saturday, May 16, Deb Johnson, director of the Heyde Center in Chippewa e mailed and said that they were still getting deluged with telephone calls with people looking for tickets.

The good news is that sunday night's fnal performance will be video taped by a professional two camera crew and eventually there will be a DVD available online through this web site as well as several short segments on YouTube.

Thanks to all the great people that showed up last night in Wausau. Both John and I had a chance to visit with everyone and that made it really extra special.


The #2 pencil...

The value of a Catholic education and a #2 pencil You don't even have to be Catholic to appreciate this one.

Little Mary Margaret was not the best student in Catholic School . Usually she slept through the class.

One day her teacher, a Nun, called on her while she was sleeping. "Tell me Mary Margaret, who created the universe?"

When Mary Margaret didn't stir, little Johnny who was her friend sitting behind her, took his pencil and jabbed her in the rear.

"God Almighty!" shouted Mary Margaret.
The Nun said, "Very good" and continued teaching her class.

A little later the Nun asked Mary Margaret, "Who is our Lord and Savior?"

But Mary didn't stir from her slumber. Once again, Johnny came to her rescue and stuck Mary Margaret in the butt.

"Jesus Christ!!!" shouted Mary Margaret and the Nun once again said,"Very good," and Mary Margaret fell back asleep.

The Nun asked her a third question...."What did Eve say to Adam after she had her twenty-third child?"

Again, Johnny came to the rescue. This time Mary Margaret jumped up and shouted, "If you stick that damn thing in me one more time, I'll break it in half!"

The nun fainted

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Here is a camera photo of my elder son Jon finishing up the evening of his 40th birthday this past sunday by playing some cool jazz in New York City with a small combo he has been working with for almost a year.

His younger brother David took the picture with his telephone camera. They had just been out for dinner together before Jon closed out the evening doing what he really enjoys - playing JAZZ!




This week I finally managed to complete my "rendition" of the helmet worn by one of the San Diego Chargers all time great receivers, Lance Alworth.

There is quite a story in the acquisition of this particular Rawlings helmet. I originally bid on and won the helmet way back on March 5th.

Well, the guy that I won it from makes his entire living selling things through eBay. I had already purchased two helmets from him in the past with little hassle. He more than made up for it with this transaction.

Shortly after winning the helmet, he sent me the wrong helmet. The one you see is a large and it originally had no face mask. He sent me a small with a two bar mask. I dropped him an e mail explaining the situation, he apologized and told me to return it to him and that he would send the correct one out immediately.

So I shipped the wrong one back to him the next day. A couple of weeks went by and i got nothing from him nor did I hear from him. So once again I e mailed him and asked what the hold up was. After a couple of days I got a return e mail telling me that his "shipper" had mistakenly set my package aside and it hadn't gotten shipped but that he would remedy that immediately.

Around St Patrick's day i received another box from him. Ah, I think! It's finally settled. I open the box to find that HE HAS RE-SHIPPED THE SAME DAMN HELMET!

Again I send him a rather upset e mail about getting the same WRONG item back! He apologizes, tells me to keep the wrong one with me while he ships the correct one. A couple more weeks pass and no helmet. finally I get tired of looking at the wrong item - it only upsets me - so I ship it back to him - registered mail.

Within three days he contacts me by e mail to tell me that he got it. But still I have not gotten my correct item. Then finally, this past monday, my mailman brings a box to the office door. At first I panic because I can see that it is the same box that I shipped the other helmet back to him in - but I open the box and it is the correct one.

Truthfully, at this point, I figured he was just jerking my chain and I would be out the sixty some dollars I originally spent. I am glad it is finally over with! I think I have made my last offer to buy merchandise from this outlet!!!

My thanks to Martin Potrezbowski of Milwaukee, Wisconsin for providing me with great Charger decals and to Helmet Hut for supplying me with the three inch numerals.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009



FYI – both Mabel Tainter shows are sold out.

Gary Schuster
Executive Director
Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts
205 Main Street East
Menomonie, WI 54751
(715) 235-9726 ext 105
(715) 308-1178 Cellular
From: Larry Heagle [mailto:lheagle@larryheagle.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2009 3:41 PM
To: schuster@mabeltainter.com
Subject: Would you like a laugh?

If you live in western Wisconsin or know someone who does, I recommend that you attend one of the performances of He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother May 15 at Wausau East High School auditorium in Wausau, May 16 at Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls, and May 17 at the Mabel Tainter Theater in Menomonie.

The show features Larry Heagle, comedian, and his brother Father John Heagle, priest. Having a priest and a comedian in a family is a rarity; having them perform together on stage is unbelievable. When Larry Heagle and his brother, Father John Heagle, take the stage, the unbelievable will happen. For the second time in their lives, Larry and Father John will entertain audiences with stories about growing up on a farm, attending the seminary together, (yes, the comedian did attempt to become a priest), and being brothers. They will weave a few songs into their show, including one about their father, Daddy Jack.

The first time they appeared together, the house was packed, and the audience roared. Whether those in attendance came to see Larry on stage with a priest or whether they came to see how a priest handled Larry, they thoroughly enjoyed the show. Ever since, fans ask, “When will Larry and Father John perform together again?” In this second-in-a-lifetime performance, Larry and Father John will share their love of a good laugh and leave fans wondering about their next appearance.

For ticket information, go to larryheagle.com.

I hope to see you there, laughing!


I had a good feeling about selling out the Tainter for both shows - and it came to be this afternoon! If you still want to see the Heagle Brothers, you had best contact the Heyde in Chippewa or go to my web site and click on the Wausau show for Friday night. The Wausau East High School auditorium holds a thousand and it's a safe bet that you can get a seat there. If you are skittish about buying tickets online, tickets will be available at the door in Wausau on the evening of the performance.

Also - Look for an article on the show in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram this coming week.



This week I have received very sobering news from my long time friend, Suzi Kittson, of Wausau, Wisconsin, concerning her overall health. I am not going to go into this in depth here on my blog except to say that she is a kind, loving person who worked many years as a teacher, then quit teaching to raise a son,. We have stayed in touch by e mail over the years and she has chronicled her slow deterioration in health with me through that -- all I ask is that if you are a person who takes time to pray, please remember Suzi in your prayers as she can use all the spiritual help we can give.

Suzie: God bless and keep you. I shall hold you in my heart each and every day.


Sunday, May 3, 2009



I am remiss, I am remiss, I am remiss! I see my last entry was April 22 - just days before Kim and I took off for a four day vacation with my brother, Father John, on the Oregon coast. We flew on frontier Airlines, with a layover both ways in Denver, Colorado. I had forgotten how very cramped airliner cabins are! This plane had two sets of three seats on either side of a tight aisle. I find that I have become more and more claustrophobic with age and consequently had to get up and stretch by taking a trip to the rest room a couple of times on each leg of the journey.

John and Fran picked us up at the Portland airport and from there it was an hour and a half jaunt down the coast to John's beach house (pictured) at Glen Eden beach. We didn't really get to see this magnificent ocean view until the next morning. It is truly a magnificent home on a magnificent setting and i told John that I don't see how he can ever leave it - but leave it he does, traveling not just all over this country but all over the world.
The four days are really quite a blur - we did so many things that I won't even begin to touch on them. We ate lots of fresh crab, raw oysters, razor clams, halibut steak and did a lot of traveling up and down the coast near Glen Eden Beach, including an afternoon at the Yaquina Coast Lighthouse. We even climbed all the way to the top and observed the light at work.

Our thanks to John and Fran as ell as to my brother Bob and his wife Dorothy who very kindly delivered us to and then picked us up again at the Minneapolis airport on our return. It was a memorable trip - we did, however, miss Hammy and Stella terribly.

We also owe Patty Stangel a debt of gratitude for looking in on our furry little guys every day while we were gone. NOw its back to reality and trying to find money to pay the bills that arrived while we were gone!

It is hard to believe that soon John will be here and we will be doing our three nights of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother".





Poor Dick Cheney.

Free at last from The Bunker and ready, as always, to do whatever it takes to protect the United States of America, he's seen the vital information that proves that waterboarding works, but, doggone it, the country went and elected this softy-brainiac guy who just doesn't "get it" the way George Bush did, and doesn't want to release it.

Obama's such a wuss, he's making it sound like America doesn't have the guts to torture people anymore.

What's a patriot to do?

It would be illegal to leak classified intelligence himself. Dick Cheney has too much respect for the rule of law to do something like that.

But waterboarding works. American lives are at stake. And Dick Cheney has the all the information we need.

Open your ears America! Are you so jaded you can no longer hear the patriot's call? He's begging us. The time has come.

Waterboard Dick!!!

AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!!!!!!!


Yesterday I was at my local Wal-Mart buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Biscuit, the Wonder Dog and was in the checkout line when woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had, an elephant?

So since I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well
and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's behind and a car hit us both.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard. Wal-Mart won't let me shop there anymore.

Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.