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Back before Dallas was on TV and everyone remembered Larry Hagman as Major Nelson and the space program really mattered to every one, I had a brush with fame.

I waited on Larry Hagman and his party.

That’s right, I was a waiter/bartender at a tiny Sausalito, California restaurant/bar, which will remain nameless since the lady who owned it was the meanest woman I ever met, and would probably sue me from the grave since she has to be dead by now.

She was a thousand years old then!

That was 1975 or 1976.

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

No, I don’t remember what he ordered, but I remember that a couple of the wait staff had ‘called out’ that night and we were short handed and slammed.  So, I did double duty mixing drinks and waiting tables.

Hagman, always known for his generosity was a waiter’s dream.

He never tipped less than 100%.

Awesome!

Well, time passes on, Tony Nelson morphed into JR Ewing, the baddest ass on television, Hagman got richer, more powerful, and much more famous.

But, according to most reports, he never changed on that tipping thing.

I never knew why, maybe it was a waiter’s job in his past that made him realize how hard we were working.  All I know is I made rent that month!

Hagman passed on this weekend leaving behind a television legacy that is rivaled by few.

I Dream of Jeanie was in the top five for five years running.  The space program was fascinating, fantasy – like Jeanie and make believe  – was the rage, and there were no vampires!  It was a hit.

It’s still a hit.  And even with the out dated technology that frankly makes us snicker more than and old James Bond movie, it’s poignant and current.  I still find it almost impossible to believe that it was written by Sidney Sheldon, the same guy who gave us The Other Side of Midnight and Bloodline!

Dallas hit the small screen in the late 70s and America and most of the civilized world learned to love to hate JR Ewing.

JR Ewing was the bad guy to beat all bad guys, never killing, never maiming, just destroying lives on a daily basis.

Conniving, sneaky, dishonest, crooked, mean, and spiteful all became qualities that made us love him.

And when that cheap tramp Kristen Shepherd played by Mary Crosby shot him we cheered and cried at the same time.

But now, we mourn the loss of a great actor, a great humanitarian, and a guy who never forgot that service should be rewarded.

Yeah, I met JR, but I didn’t shoot him.

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