“I’d like a coffee light, please. It’s for Rex Trailer!!!”
I was getting a haircut at the barber shop in Pinefield Shopping Center in the Saxonville section of Framingham, MA. Bob the Barber took a drag on his cigarette, and tapped it into the ashtray on the armchair. He suggested it was going to be a special day, but wouldn’t say why. And then his next customer walked in.
REX TRAILER! Singing cowboy. Star of “Boomtown” on Channel 4. Friend of Pablo, and of boys and girls from Boston to Worcester and beyond.
He asked if I’d mind getting him a coffee at the bakery next door. Mind? I’d have robbed a bank to pay for it myself, but he gave me the quarter. It was a huge responsibility. And it would make a great story around the housing development Campanelli Builders called “Cherryfield II.” (There was a field. There were no cherries.)
Fast forward 50 years. 2008.
I learned that I would be receiving an award for being relatively good at what I do, and for being, well, old. I would be inducted into the “Silver Circle” of broadcasters at a ceremony in Boston. And then I found out who was being inducted into the “Gold Circle.” I called my mother to tell her about it.
“I’m going in with Rex F*****g Trailer!!!! Can you believe it!!!”
I do believe that under the circumstances, Rex would have forgiven me for giving him a middle name in my excitement. I neglected to mention that to him when we met on a glorious November night, though I was thinking it. (“Me and Rex F*****g Trailer!!!”)
I babbled on about getting him that coffee 50 years earlier, and how much my brothers and I loved “Boomtown.” He was genuinely appreciative. Genuinely nice.
And today, I’m genuinely sad to learn he’s gone.