Ahab's Arctic Apples
Thursday - December 30, 1965
WOR Show Original Airing
First Line After Theme Ends
Good evening to all of you in crowd people. . .
Shep begins, "Good evening to all you 'in crown' people", and then toys with the engineer who plays the wrong music on cue. He makes him continue playing it to 'soak in it for a while.'
Most people don't know what winter is about. "Have you ever looked back on your life and thought about a fantastic, unbelievable senseless trek or hang-up that you have had that you can not explain at this moment... something that you wanted so tremendously or some insane thing that you decided to do and you carry through in spite of the fact that the car sank in forty feet of water, that you had to swim fourteen miles in raging seas?"
As a kid, Shep finds a flyer in the mail from the local IGA. They advertise a bushel of apples for 45 cents and Shep decides to surprise his mother with a bushel of apples. In the midst of a snowstorm he rounds up his brother, Bruner, and Flick and off they trek with their sleds through the howling wind and snow. They arrive frozen in front of the IGA and it is closed. Shep decides to struggle on to the A&P which had stayed open a half hour later. When faced by four frozen kids holding the flyer for apples, the manager goes to the basement and brings back a bushel of apples. Feeling sorry for the boys, who had made the trek through the storm with their sleds, he arranged for them to be driven home in the back of the A&P truck. They come up on the back porch with a bushel of frozen apples. "Have you ever tasted an apple that was frozen and then thawed out? The instant those apples thawed out, they all turned into one gigantic pile of brown mush!"
In 8th grade, the teacher (Miss Fife, "a little dark haired teacher with rimless glasses") decided to relax and read a short story to the class. She had one in her purse which was written by Jack London. It was about a man and his dog struggling in the frozen North trying to stay alive. Shep calls this story "The Two Matches" (See notes below) He had only two matches between survival and and freezing to death. The class became so caught up in the story that near the end, when the bell rang signaling the end of class, they were all left wanting more. The teacher closed the book and told the class that if they were interested in the end of the story, they could find a copy a the library. 37 kids that day were turned on to reading.
The actual story appears to be "To Build a Fire" written in 1908. There was a 1902 version in which it is not so cold, there is no dog, the fire is not doused, and the man (named Tom Vincent) suffers some permanent frostbite damage but survives.
Brass Figlagee Award Question
I will award a brass figlagee with bronze oak leaf palm if any victim of those stories is around and can remember it. (~37:30)