Optimistic at 4 a.m.


I was in my 20's when I was hired as Larry's "producer" in 1989. With two years of TV promotions under my belt, I was confident I could handle the job as "producer" for Larry Nelson. My first producing job. My first producing job and it's for a Seattle icon!

I must have been cocky or naive. Because now, as a 42-year-old mother of three, I think I'd be a little nerved-wracked accepting such a title. I know now that they shouldn't have called the position "producer" but rather: "Larry's breakfast club honoree member."  For Larry certainly did not need a producer and what an honor to work with Larry. He truly was the master of broadcast. Every producer should be so blessed. I was honored to have a sit at Larry's breakfast table for two years.

Every morning after the show we would go into the booth to do commercials. And there was a lot of them. Everybody wanted Larry as their spokesman and, understandably so. His velvet voice, his lovable persona, his conviction. He was a marketer's dream. Most commercials he read expertly LIVE during the show. The recorded ones...many times it took only one take. He was that good.

Fridays in the Fall were probably the most fun. And funniest. Watching the Husky tailgate come alive in the booth. With Eric McKaig steering the ship, we'd throw Swartz and Larry in a booth and let them have fun. All Swartzy would do is give Larry a list of characters and themes. The rest was magic. Eric would turn the mics on and let them go. They loved it. We all did. And then Rosebowl 1990. A fun trip and surely the best of tailgating.

Memories of remotes are at the forefront. I loved those trips with Larry, Stan Orchard, and Sony our sound guy. We had fun chasing BigFoot in the shadows of Mt. Rainier, wearing flourescent T-Shirts on the roof of the Pemco building and riding a boat on opening day of boating season, just to name a few.

I've been asked if I miss working in broadcasting. My answer: I miss the people. Never in your life will you work with more creative, talented people. Larry was the supreme. A few years back, I'm a stay at-home-mom, Larry is retired. I send Larry & Gina a family Christmas card. Larry emails me: "If you wrote this funny while we were working together, we'd both still be in show business!" The antics of three kids in a Christmas card or reading the 'real-life' stories in Reader's Digest before a show, cracked him up. Larry loved life. He found humor in the every day.

Remotes were 'easy' fun.  The absolute memborable moments were how Larry came in smiling and ready to go every morning at 4 a.m. It was hard to have a bad day around Larry, even at 4 in the morning. The most optimistic person I've ever met. I'll forever treasure our conversations during the "Harvey" 15-min break, breakfast at Vito's after a tailgate party and a meatloaf sandwich with a glass of Chardonnay at 13 Coins after a show. Larry loved those moments too. He loved it all. He loved life.

To be optimistic at 4 a.m. To laugh at the everyday. We should all be so lucky to be like him. We should all be so lucky to have known him.

I'll miss you...over and out...

Heidi (Wilcox) Parker