Brush With Local Greatness, Vol. 3 : Jerry Haynes

I saw Jerry Haynes, aka for local Dallas kids in the 1970’s, Mr. Peppermint, in the parking lot of the Albertson’s talking to an older man. At first I thought, “Hey, it’s Mr. Peppermint.” Secondly, I thought, “Wait a minute – he must live around here.”

Mr. Peppermint was the host of Peppermint Place, a local kids show in Dallas that showed in the area from 1975 to 1995. Mr. Peppermint, wearing his trademark white and red striped blazer, and his sidekick Muffin the Bear entertained me daily when I was a kid. Think of it as a local version of Captain Kangaroo, if you will.

Years ago when I worked at a bookstore (where I met Bizarro creator Dan Piraro) Haynes would drop by and browse the shelves. He was fairly hippie-ish, often with longish hair. Always quiet, he hardly ever spoke to anybody, which I never took as a sign of arrogance but more of shyness. He was just a very unassuming, very tall guy.

He’s also is the father of Gibby Haynes, the lead singer of the Butthole Surfers. I remember at the time that I learned this (from the newspaper, no less!) and they called his group the ‘B Surfers’. Ah…the naive quaint 1980’s. How we miss your censorious ways.

But back to my story.

So as I’m getting the grocerys in the car and getting one of the kids into the car, I see him walking behind the car. Where was he going? To his car, a green Ford Taurus. How un-pepperminty of him.

He gets in, I start heading home, he leaves and I get it into my head to follow him. I thought if he was going in the direction of my house I’d follow along, but if he diverted from my pre-determined course and deviated, I’d break off the chase, resolved to never know where he lived. But when he started driving I saw that he was going the way that I had intended to go in the first place. Very interesting.

So I gunned it and caught up with him. He drove really slow. And strangely, on the wrong side of the street.

But he kept going the same way I would have gone home. And he turned right where I would have turned right, and then he turned left onto a street near mine. Not wanting him to become alarmed, I broke off the chase at this point. But I picked it up again when I realized that the street he was going down existed for only one block, and if he turned there he probably lived on that block.

And he did. Driving down that street slowly, I saw him park the car and get out and go into a house not 3 blocks from mine. Six tenths of a mile. How crazy is that?

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