Chapter 14 1956 - Buddy and Annette

With the success of the band’s album, Henry had been able to purchase an old bus to transport the band’s equipment and convinced Buddy to drive it. The Scuffling Scrappers tour was a major success for the band, but for Buddy, it had been those phone calls from the road that kept him going. Buddy and Annette had developed quite a long distance relationship, and he couldn’t wait to return back home to see her.

The Scrappers had just one more night on the road before they would triumphantly return to their hometown. The show in Reno, Nevada, would likely draw a few of their friends who would not mind the drive across the Sierras. Annette thought it would a big surprise to Buddy if she were to see the final show, and made plans to go. She took a morning shift at the Stomping Grounds, and headed out of town at 4:00 P.M.

Buddy was driving the bus coming in from Pocatello, Idaho, where they had played the previous evening. The Pocatello show was an overwhelming success, and with the long drive the day before up from Salt Lake City, and the late night, Buddy had not been able to call Annette. Buddy knew there would be little time once they arrived in Reno, so he told the band they were taking an early dinner break in Winnemucca, Nevada.

Buddy pulled into the parking lot at the Heaven’s Haven Diner about 4:15 P.M. and looked for the nearest phone booth. He checked his pocket and found that he had just enough change to talk for about 10 minutes. Not enough time for him, but it would have to do. Buddy called the Stomping Grounds number, since he knew Annette would be at work at this time, but Len told Buddy that Annette was off today.

Len knew that Annette was going to surprise Buddy on Reno, but didn’t let on as Buddy asked where she was. Len suggested she might be at home, but since Annette didn’t have a phone at home, he couldn’t call her there.

Buddy left the phone booth, sorry that he couldn’t make the connection and wandered towards the diner to meet up with the rest of the band. As he crossed the parking lot, he didn’t see the car that rushed in off the highway and when he finally looked up to see the screeching car, it was too late, and he was thrown by the impact nearly 10 yards.

It all happened so quickly, and was witnessed by the remaining band members in the diner. They rushed out as one to come to Buddy’s aid while their waitress called the hospital for an ambulance.

When the ambulance arrived, they splinted Buddy’s leg and took him in. While he was pretty scraped up, the broken leg was his only injury, but he would have to spend some time recovering before he could get home.

Annette arrived in Reno at 7:00 PM and headed to the Spangle, where tonight’s Scrappers show was to take place. When she heard the show had been canceled, she started to worry. Where was Buddy? She asked about and finally got the news of the accident, and that Buddy was at Humboldt General. She once again set out and pulled into town at 10:00 PM.

Though it was well past visiting hours, she was able to convince the night watchman to let her in. She rushed up to the third floor, where Buddy was and burst into his room. Buddy woke up as she entered, and with the light from the hallway behind here, he thought she was an angel.

She leaned over and grabbed him about the neck, and finally exclaimed, “I got here as soon as I could! I’ve been so worried.”

Buddy was shocked to see Annette, but it raised his spirits considerably. “I’ve missed you,” he confessed. “I’m so glad you’re here.”

Buddy spent the next few days in the hospital, and when he was released, Annette agreed to drive him back home. The band had taken the bus back home, so Buddy was happy for the offer.

Annette had spent hours at the hospital each day, and Buddy and she learned a lot about each other. Annette had grown up in Fresno, and left there after high school to try to pursue a career in modeling. Though she had the looks, she couldn’t make the right connections, and did not achieve her dream. She moved from town to town, taking waitressing jobs, until she ended up at the Stomping Grounds.

Buddy told her of how he dreamed to be a musician ever since he first heard Gene Autry on the radio as a young boy. He decided on the steel guitar because he loved the sound, the sweet slides and how much it added to the overall feel of the music.

The hours flew by as they exchanged their lives’ stories, and when released, they were in love.

As they passed through Reno after Buddy’s release, Buddy’s playfully suggested, “Let’s get married in Reno!”

Annette fell silent for a few moments, and Buddy apologized, “I’m sorry, I was just joking. Didn’t mean to shock you.”

“No, no, no,” she replied, “I was just trying to figure out if that was a real proposal or not.”

“It could be, if you want it,” Buddy responded.

Annette pulled the car over and kissed Buddy, “But we have no ring,” she complained, only partially in jest.

Buddy opened the door, grabbed his crutches and got out of the car. He hobbled over and told Annette, ”Open the trunk.”

He pawed through his suitcase until found an old guitar string and started wrapping it up into a tight circle around his pinky. He found a pair of pliers in the toolbox in the trunk and snipped off the excess wire.

Annette watched Buddy amusingly, as he returned to the car and tried to kneel. His leg cast did not allow the flexibility he needed to make the move, so Annette reached up from the driver’s seat and took his hand.

Buddy asked, “Annette Samson, will you marry me?”

“Yes, Buddy Jones, I will,” she replied. They kissed passionately and saw that a wedding chapel was only a couple of blocks away. Within an hour, on May 15, they became Mr. and Mrs. Arlen Jones.