A retired fire fighter from Chicago, Dave, and his wife Cathy bought my favorite card/candy/sticker shop about fifteen years ago. Crap, how time flies. Over time we struck up a friendship. I would stop there on an afternoon for a package of my favorite peach hearts, juicy pear jelly bellies, or, oh, yum spiced candy corn – TO.DIE.FOR. and friggin’ hard to find anywhere. Psam was especially happy with the shop because they forever had a fresh canister of Harbo’s raspberry candies. It was a great place to find little things for stocking stuffers, I love you gifts, and kewl stuffed toy animals.
Dave always kept a special collection of naughty greetings cards on the counter and had time to chat. I loved going into their shop and hanging for an hour or so, chatting, catching up, talking about our kids, and gossiping. Our friendship grew, Cathy and I would go walking, Dave would call me to fix his computer, or we’d get together for dinner at their house on the river and watch the latest storm rage off the Pacific and over the Siuslaw.
He first applied for the city’s planning commission and then after years of service, ran for the Florence City Council, he was a practical shoe-in during the election. He battled hip and back problems, compounded by numerous surgeries that put him only in more pain. Through all of it he reported the daily weather tallies for the radio station. Every morning I would make sure I was a wake by 7:20 so I could listen to Dave and Wayne. It was the perfect way to start my morning. If I had an early Saturday shift, or the weather was particularly nasty Dave would make sure he got me all of the weather stats for my listeners. His four minutes on the air were so followed and so popular he began selling charts allowing people to keep their own measurements or track his.
In recent years the surgeries and diabetes took it’s toll and Dave’s health began to decline. This past winter an illness took a serious hit on his health and the decline was present in his voice. Cathy began doing more of the Wind Wand Man duties on the air. And finally two weeks ago Dave and Cathy signed off the airwaves because it was becoming too difficult a task.
Thursday morning my friend, Dave Franzen, known to most everyone in Florence, as Merlin The Wind Wand Man, passed on.
The Eugene Register Guard ran a nice story on him, front of the City Section – I was impressed. Bob (our News Director) wrote a great goodbye to him today. I was fairly successful getting through the lead story in the Noon News, but by the end, before I moved on to items on page two, I was getting choked up and emotion was in my throat and dripping a little from my eyes (not very professional I know – thank heavens it’s radio.) At 12:20 I put Dave’s favorite song into my play list, opened my mic and said goodbye to my friend Dave Franzen and colleague Merlin the Wind Wand Man and then played Oliver’s “Good Morning Starshine.”
I always thought it would be fitting if Mother Nature stormed when Merlin the Wind Wand Man finally left this plan. Instead a little bit of sun broke through the clouds as if to say thank you for the song.