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"Let's hear that horn, Sam!"
Sam raised his trumpet to his lips and the Four Populaires (Bill Sloane at the piano, Bill Walz on the bass, Chuck Bills on the sax and Kenny Martin on the trombone) plus Freddie Leach at the vibraphone, Howard Harvey on the cornet and Gary Nixon on the clarinet all joined in. The Four Populaires entertain in the Old White Club at Greenbrier. Freddie Leach is with the Meyer Davis orchestra that plays in the Greenbrier's main dining room. Howard Harvey and his wife Betty dance as a team in the Old White Club and Gary Nixon is Sam Snead's assistant.
The hour was 2 a.m. Sam had retired early, but when the professional musicians were sitting around having coffee after their work was done about midnight, somebody suggested a jam session. It was then I remembered for the first time (I had been traveling around with him for almost a month) that Sam Snead played a trumpet and, moreover, he carried a union musician's card. I remarked that I'd give just about anything in this world to hear Sam Snead cut loose with a few wails on the horn.
"Well, shucks, man," exclaimed Bill Sloane, the piano player. "That's easy. Let's wake 'im up and go on down to The Pines."
"Oh, no sir!" I said, shaking my head emphatically. "I've come to know this man Snead over the past month. I've been with him in Boston, Providence, Washington, Rockville, Md., Hollywood, Calif., Hot Springs, Va., and right here in White Sulphur. And I tell you, boys, that man can get mighty peevish and downright mean and sassy when he is deprived of his proper rest."
Bill Sloane gave me a long look. "Mister," he said, "you may have been all those places and you may have observed Mr. Sam Snead in many different circumstances, but—"
I interrupted: "Including many hours on the golf course. I saw him play Arnold Palmer twice, and various other celebrities, big movie stars in Hollywood and so on, and he never shot out of the 60s once—not once! Palmer himself says Snead is playing better than he ever did. I attribute that to his getting his proper rest wherever possible—and I say to you, wake him up at this hour of the night and he'll give you a chewing out you won't forget for many a day."
Bill Sloane laughed in my face. He got up from the table in the Old White Club, went to a phone and was back in two minutes. He sat down with a big smirk on his face.
"Well?" I said. "Did he tell you off?"
"Mr. Samuel Jackson Snead," said Bill Sloane with great deliberation, "will meet us at The Pines in half an hour. What's more he's bringing Audrey—Mrs. Snead, that is—and he's putting in a call to Gary Nixon to hustle on down with his clarinet."