Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Party Hearty & Die Young!

Originally uploaded by Marinade Dave.
That was Wayne Trout's motto, credo and all around toast. Wayne never met a party he didn't like. You'd have to be a fool not to invite him. His presence ensured its success. The consummate entertainer, he always acted in a dignified manner, no matter how much alcohol he consumed. Very honest and a very good friend to many.

I first met Wayne soon after I moved to Florida from New Jersey. He was probably the first person, other than family, who made me feel welcome and accepted in this area. At the time, he was the news director for the old WDBO radio station in Orlando. Florida is such a transient state, with people moving in and out from all parts of the country and world. Consequently, native and long time Floridians aren't as acceptable of outsiders who bring in their customs and, certainly, driving habits. It kind of dilutes the old ways. Wayne didn't feel that way. Although, not a native Floridian, all were accepted in his world. He got me to join a two-hand touch football league. He said, "We play every Sunday at 10 am, no matter what you did the night before." Discipline. "You're not going to be able to sit down come Monday," he said before my first game. He was right. I'd never been so sore in my life. But, you got used to it. These scrimmages led up to the final game of the season, so named by him and a few friends, THE TOILET BOWL. I even designed jerseys and had them printed. Most of the players consisted of local TV and radio personalities, cameramen and engineers. One is now the general manager of the local NBC affiliate, WESH.

Wayne had a loyal bastion of friends. One such friend, Jim Philips, who worked alongside and competed against Wayne over the years, said in the Orlando Sentinel, "If you or your buddy got a divorce or dumped, you could stay with Wayne. And he would turn 'em around in a couple of days." I can attest to that. Jim has the #1 rated afternoon talk show here, The Philips File, which is also on XM Radio "Extreme" channel 152.

We used to meet on Saturdays, early in the afternoon, at Harper's Tavern (Le Cordon Bleu) in Winter Park. There was a very good buffet that came out of the kitchen of the very fancy French restaurant. We'd sit around there and then go to Wayne's house to watch college football. Mostly the Gators. Harper's had a real neighborhood kind of feel to it. Things were never quite the same after it burned down. One time he told us, "Hey, meet at my house this Saturday instead. We're going to have a limberger and onion sandwich party." Limberger cheese and onions? You've got to be kidding me. But we all did. Such was the power of Wayne. In a good way. Who else could get you to do that? He had it all spread out in his dining room. Rye, pumpernickel, mayo, mustard, hot peppers, limberger and onions. With, of course, the requisite tequila chasers. And you know, they were good sandwiches. Later on, after the crowd thinned, by that I mean, the married men had to get on home, poor wives, there were about a half dozen of us left. "OK," Wayne exclaimed, "let's head on over to Harper's for a few!" As we started to huddle toward the front door to leave, we got a concentrated whiff of ourselves and decided against it. There would be no way of explaining what we had gotten into to that crowd. They wouldn't have believed it and we would have been told to go home. I have a lot of memories of my old friend. Too countless to tell here.

Pools, parties, babes and fun! That was the quintessential Wayne Trout. One night, he just went to sleep. 56 years old.

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