My Favorite career among a lifetime of various careers… was hosting Talk-Radio Shows. Talk Radio is a great place for enlightenment, controversy, shared experiences—and what I always enjoyed adding, when possible: a little shock value to excite my listeners.
I hadn’t been back in Little Rock long before an old friend invited me to dinner. After eating, he suggested we visit his new hangout on the other side of the river, known to very few. The place was called Snug Harbor and, from the outside, was nothing more than a small, wooden shack with a metal roof and a dirt driveway. It was located on an out-of-the-way stretch of road near a community called Crystal Hill.
Inside, Snug Harbor was both snug and primitive. Pieces of plywood had been laid across saw horses to form a waist-high bar. The only other object in the room was a lighted jukebox. Customers could either stand around the bar or sit in folding chairs to drink their beer.
Snug Harbor’s owner, a single woman in her early forties, had somehow managed to get a liquor license despite having served time in prison. Apparently, she had friends in high—or low—places. The owner didn’t serve food—only beer and carbonated beverages. If customers wanted something to eat, they either brought it with them or had it delivered.
Looking around the room, crowded with males, it didn’t seem strange to be the only female customer. There were other females around but they were busy, waiting on customers. That is, until someone dropped a few coins in the jukebox and then—to my surprise---the waitresses turned into strippers. The friend who took me to Snug Harbor had failed to mention its uniqueness. Perhaps he wanted to save the best ‘til last.
The first song, a popular country song called “Swingin” began playing on the old jukebox. I watched in awe as one of the young waitresses put down her serving tray and, in a businesslike fashion, removed her clothes, every stitch. Now, completely naked, the very young girl walked up a stack of concrete blocks to reach the plywood “stage” and began dancing. Strippers in Arkansas—who’d-a-thunk-it?!?!?
I visited Snug Harbor every night that week. Intrigued with its “raw” concept, I talked with the owner, watched the waitresses’ strip, and made a few lasting friendships. Everyone agreed to be guests on my radio show. Each had a unique story to tell.
Until the moment I introduced them on my live radio show, I’d kept my mystery guests a secret. I didn’t promote their upcoming visit because I didn’t want the holier-than-thou set to monopolize the show’s airwaves. Most of all, I didn’t want to jeopardize the livelihood of Snug Harbor’s owner and workers by alerting law enforcement. Several waitresses were single mothers, supporting small children. Their only incomes were the hourly wages/ tips earned at Snug Harbor.
Within days, Snug Harbor became a hot spot for every man in the Little Rock area, regardless of education or job title. Soon, the owner and her waitresses were the hottest topic in town.
The Snug Harbor interview was a “first” for Arkansas. Each waitress talked about her reason for dancing naked in front of a male audience. One by one, the girls discussed how it felt to have her body exposed, including stretch marks, fat, surgery scars and birthmarks. One girl talked about turning her monthly period into a positive by decorating the strings of her tampons with feathers, tassels, and ribbons.
Another girl, embarrassed by her flat chest, described how she painted a bulls-eye around each breast and glued clusters of bright, shiny sequins to each nipple.
One of the most surprising revelations came from the waitress/ stripper who—on Valentine’s Day—trimmed her public hair in the shape of a heart, dyed it bright-red, and tied a bow in the middle.
The most memorable waitress was the young girl who danced on-stage, big-pregnant. Unmarried, she refused to abort her baby. The owner said regular customers, realizing the girl had no other means of support, made sure the pregnant waitress/stripper received the biggest tips. Finally, the owner revealed how having Snug Harbor as her very own business, had helped her turn a financial daydream into a successful reality.
She also discussed her drug habit—the reason she spent five years in prison. She explained how she worked with her “girls” to steer them clear of drugs, alcohol, and unprotected sex. She sounded powerful when she told me and my radio audience: “I tell my girls to never give anything away for-free. Think of yourself as always on the clock, working full time. If a guy wants to have sex with you, then he has to pay for it....just like he pays for the music and the beer! Make damn sure he understands—“dessert” costs extra!”
Snug Harbor remained a controversial topic during my radio days. More listeners loved it than hated it and, regardless of future shows and interesting guests, nothing or no one could match the ratings I received the night I interviewed Snug Harbor.
Shortly after being guests on my radio show, the owner and her waitresses sent me a thank-you note. Inside the note was a guest card stating, “Sally Miller is invited to dance....on stage....at Snug Harbor....at whatever date and hour of her choosing.”
I must admit: THE OFFER WAS TEMPTING.
When the invitation came to appear at the Warren Pink Tomato Festival, I wanted to decline but—as the reigning Miss Arkansas-- if my calendar showed I was “free” on that day, I had no choice but say “yes”. It was an all-day event that started with an all-tomato luncheon.
I’ve loathed tomatoes since childhood, when my always-angry mother forced more-than-a-few down my throat. She did the same with watermelon and, even today, I can’t stand the look or smell of watermelon.
I arrived at the luncheon and tried to smile while looking at the luncheon’s abundant display of drinks, appetizers, the main course, rolls, biscuits, a huge choice of vegetables and the wildest concoction of desserts---I'd ever seen. Just as I’d feared, everything on the menu contained tomatoes. Tomatoes were everywhere; tomatoes were mixed in, around, and on top of everything to eat and drink.
The idea of a chocolate chip/tomato cookie still makes me gag. I feel nauseous even talking about the tomato juice/ice cream dessert covered with whipped cream and grated tomatoes. That was a horrible day for me. It was a very-hot day and I desperately needed to eat and drink something to sustain me. There was absolutely nothing I could eat or drink that hadn’t been kissed by a tomato!
After lunch and before the nighttime event when I would crown Miss Pink Tomato, I still had to endure a parade. The parade director found me standing-ready to climb aboard the only convertible in the parade area—a red corvette. I listened as the director explained that the reigning Miss Pink Tomato’s convertible had engine trouble so she would be riding atop the red corvette originally assigned to me. He urged me not to be disappointed because he’d found a much-more impressive way for me to lead the parade.
One of the Town’s professional horse-trainers was donating his prized stallion for me to ride in the Parade. In fact, for the first time in Tomato Festival History, a Miss Arkansas would be leading the historic parade on a horse!
What?!?!?!? I knew nothing about horses! The only horse I'd ever ridden was wooden and bolted to the floor of the Merry-Go-Round! I appreciated horses as beautiful animals—but always from a safe distance!
I easily remembered the time a couple of show-horses were seriously injured in an Arkansas parade because they weren’t correctly “shoe-ed” for brick streets. So...there I was… all dressed-up in a fancy gown, high heels, crown and gloves, expecting to ride on the back of a flashy convertible, and now…was being told--for the time in my life--I was going to ride side-saddle on a very tall stallion who'd be walking on this all-brick Main Street. Without hesitating, I told the Parade Director he'd be riding the horse because I intended to walk in the Parade(in front of the horse, of course).
It had been an extremely-long day with temperatures in the nineties. I’d been photographed--smiling--in baking-hot tomato fields; smiling-- while being starved to death at an all-tomato luncheon and now--I’d reached my limit; I was no-longer smiling.
The Parade Committee had to start the parade a little late that afternoon because the current Miss Arkansas was being a little "difficult" but--- everything ended on a happy note.
As originally planned, I led the parade sitting on the back of the red Corvette---Miss Pink Tomato followed (at the end of parade)riding a new John Deer Tractor--- and my almost-new friend “Trigger” got to go home, back to the farm.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
July 28, 1945:
"A twin-engine B-25 Army bomber lost in a blinding fog, crashed into the Empire State Building today at a point 975 feet above the street level. Thirteen people, including the three occupants of the plane and ten persons at work within the building, were killed in the catastrophe, and 26 people were injured."
The book's author, Arthur Weingarten, was ten years old at the time. He arrived at the scene with his father, a New York City Fire Marshal and the impact of that horrible tragedy was unforgettable.
Forty years later, when I spoke with Betty Lou Oliver, the building's elevator operator who survived despite having almost every bone in her body broken...she could barely talk about the incident. Even today, she remains traumatized by her near-death experience.
Until I read the book---THE SKY IS FALLING---I had no idea that a government plane had nearly toppled the Empire State Building. I was completely ignorant of the fact that an Arkansas woman had endured such a close encounter with death.
This book is beautifully written. It offers details, facts, and marks an historic event that teachers never teach nor history books ever reveal. Read it and learn what you never knew---------------------------------------
I love to read. I've been reading since I was three years old. I quickly moved from funny books and children’s books to timeless classics--- like LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY, LITTLE WOMEN, HEIDI, QUEEN VICTORIA and on and on. I spent a great amount of time with ENCYCLOPEDIAS and eventually added MEDICAL JOURNALS to my literary repertoire. That where I learned "The Facts of Life."
I believe Books are priceless treasures that consistently educate, inform, inspire, and encourage readers to challenge life’s endless possibilities.
I'm a “SAVE THE BOOKS” advocate. Sure, books take up space, get dusty, and are expensive to pack and move each time we relocate our lives BUT…there’s a certain “closeness” that only occurs when you touch-- then open a book-- turn its pages, view its pictures/drawings/illustrations, then physically close it.
Like a long-time friend-- a book waits patiently for you to reconnect—to reach out and touch it again--regardless of the years--and to once again--offer it your full attention.
In 1992, after an Arkansas State Trooper told an Arkansas newspaper that I’d once been Bill Clinton’s older girlfriend, The Liberal Media bullied me-- wrote blatant lies about me.
Determined to make one quick statement to the Press —then “ride off into the sunset”---I welcomed the opportunity to tell my story to someone I trusted--a reporter-friend named Pat who worked for WSB Television in Atlanta.
Several weeks after our very-detailed, sit-down interview, Pat called to apologize, saying our taped interview had ventured far beyond his control. In fact, for weeks, the television station’s main executives had been in closed-door sessions with the National Democrat Party and Bill Clinton’s “handlers.”
Soon, The TV station made a major announcement: Atlanta’s WSB Television Station had been granted an exclusive Town Hall Meeting with Bill Clinton. Of course, the station failed to announce, publically, that Bill’s Exclusive Appearance was in exchange for the unaired video of my exclusive interview with Pat.
By now, angry with the Liberal Media and their determination to suppress my voice, I agreed to accept an invitation to appear on the Sally Jessie Raphael Show. I thought I could finally tell my story, my way.
However, I under-estimated the Democrat Party’s ability to control my story. When I agreed to be a guest on Sally Jessie’s talk show, I was unaware it was also the week of The Democratic National Convention in New York City. How was I to know that my highly-paid enemies were memorizing a professionally-prepared script--funded by Democrats-- while being rehearsed as guests for the Sally Jessie Raphael Show?!?!?
Only after the TV Cameras began rolling did the Democrats’ nasty plot reveal its self. Every member of the audience was a Democrat—a Convention Delegate-- and every one of them, carefully schooled in hate, stood ready to attack me.
Instead of being allowed to tell my story, I was forced, repeatedly, to defend myself. Even Sally—who I so-naively thought was fair—kept bombarding me with lies, accusations, and phony information. I was one woman--alone--against a well-orchestrated set-up. Yes, everything had been carefully-planned to make me look like a fool.
Single-handedly, I faced a roomful of Democrat Bullies, well-paid Attack-Dogs, and a TV Talk-Show-Whore named Sally Jessie Raphael. As a result of massive and perfectly-coordinated deception, I was publically gang-raped on Television.
I remember leaving the TV Studio thinking, from this moment forward, the Liberal Media can kiss my butt. They will never-ever get another piece of me.
Soon after my appearance on Sally Jessie’s show, I heard from a producer with Geraldo Rivera’s Talk Show and wasted no time saying NO to her invitation. Several days passed then Geraldo himself called and tried to win me over with charm, flattery, and flirtation. Inflamed by my repeated “NOs”—Geraldo raised his voice and began insulting me, calling me a chicken-shit… challenging my integrity by saying I was a liar. Geraldo even threatened to tell my story “his way” if I didn’t appear on his show. I slammed the phone in Geraldo's ear, with no regrets.
Follow-Up: One year later, Sally Jessie aired a Special Show. She looked into the camera and said that she was apologizing to a former guest, Sally Miller. In a pitifully tearful voice, Sally spoke about “How very-sorry she was for doubting me”.
She went on to say that the senseless attack she had hosted the year before should never have happened to someone as “Classy” and “Poised” and “Honest” as Sally Miller. She said the actions of the Clintons and the allegations from other women strengthened my story and now, she believed I’d told the truth about Bill Clinton.
I never heard Sally Jessie’s on-air apology. By the time it aired, I was safely in China. I only learned of Sally’s dramatic “apology” show after numerous people from America sent me a video copy of the show.
Sally Jessie’s follow-up was a waste of time and words. The damages done by Sally Jessie, her show’s producers, and the Democrat Party were deadly. Sally Jessie Raphael’s apology was an insult and fake--just like her.
From that moment, I refused to acknowledge anyone in the Press. Then a day came when a British Reporter named Ambrose Evans Pritchard unexpectedly walked into my life.
(For the rest of the story, read THE BEAUTY QUEEN.)
No, I never expected that—from year to year--- life would remain the same but—I could not have predicted that appearing Classy and Elegant, Attractive, Physically- Appealing while striving to be admired…would be so rudely- replaced with what I see now--every day--from Walmart to Olive Garden; from the Bank to the Doctor’s Office. Unattractive bodies un-dressed in outrageous outfits are everywhere.
I choose to click-beyond Television’s Nasty and Ugly Reality Shows but…I have no choice when it comes to what I see on full-public display at any-time-of-the-day. I can’t ignore the huge-floppy breasts, bouncing stomachs, and jiggling/flabby butts spilling out-under-and-over tights and tank tops…nor can I avoid the beastly-men…many without teeth….who strut around grocery stores in low-riding cutoffs, completely shirtless, proudly displaying their multiple tattoos, huge bellies, and hairy butt-cracks.
In the Fifties and Sixties, most people believed appearance was everything. We were judged by how we looked, how we dressed, how we used our manners, and how we treated others. Women took pride in keeping a nice house and….most women began every day with their hair styled, full makeup, and attractively dressed even when cooking, cleaning, and doing yardwork. Those were the days when no respectable woman would have answered the door without being properly dressed and fully “made up”.
In the fifties, even men were particular about their appearance. They were always shaved, nicely dressed, shoes well-shined, and everything about them appeared poised and polished. I don’t remember ever seeing any man in my past--whether he was a businessman, the banker, the yardman or even the plumber-- who ever looked sloppy, ill-kept or shabbily-dressed. And.....I never saw any males proudly-display their “nasty-fat bellies or embarrasingly-big breasts or spongy big-butts"….in public.
TOO-BAD I CAN'T SAY THAT ABOUT MALES OR FEMALES TODAY.
I find it insulting that people today show too-much of their worst features. Why haven’t they learned that being well-dressed can hide the ugly-bad while accenting the good?!?!? What ever happened to thinking of yourself as a "role model" for others?!?!?!
Statistics show that people weigh more today than they did in the fifties. It’s been proved that people eat more, exercise less, and actually….don’t give a damn about being fatter, less healthy, and less attractive.
I’m convinced that along with more food, overweight people also consume more drugs. The combination is lethal. Drugs cause side effects that include food cravings. Also, many of today’s meats and vegetables have been treated with hormones and additives to improve their look, taste, and shelf-life and….these additions upset the body’s chemistry. As a result, one out of every three people is over-weight. Compared to other generations, today's teenagers are heavier than other teenagers at the same age. Obesity is becoming the new normal.
Okay, I can't solve the World's Many Problems...regardless of what I write, think, or say. Clearly, I can't make people care about their appearance or change their attitudes about good manners or classic elegance so.....My advice to the rest of us who still care about Traditional Values is: Try To Keep Life Simple.
Eat; Exercise; Work- then-Play--At-A-Scheduled and-Specific-Time-- the same way, day after day. Keep your look and your attitude simple but consistent. Above all else…please yourself rather than others.
Accomplish something every day….whether its washing the car, completing your to-do list, calling a long-ago friend, or painting a picture. Remember to keep looking in the mirror and loving the person looking back at you and, most of all…reward yourself for each accomplishment by eating a piece of chocolate…like me.