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  • September 29, 2018

    MORE LASH LARUE ADVENTURES

    JAMES FOGARTY

    I received a lot of feedback about my remembrance of pal, Larry “Lash” LaRue, getting robbed as a young man working at Taco Bell, but none funnier than the following from Jim Fogarty, who worked with Lash at the Omaha World-Herald, back in the early ’70s.

    Fogarty writes:

    As far as I’m concerned every day with him was just like the Taco Bell robbery.

    I recall once when he walked back from the police station (where I remained) to the newspaper office. He sat down at the re-write desk and immediately pitched face-first into the typewriter keys. Two things had happened. First, he got stung by a bee and didn’t know it. Second, he was allergic to bee stings and didn’t know that, either.  He was back in the office by four p.m. writing the story of his bee-sting near miss.

    Lash also was a rebel … When he was given crappy assignments he would make masterpieces out of them – and then complain about how crappy they were.

    One day the desk got a call about children on their bicycles being attacked by a bird on 92nd Street in Omaha.  He drove out, watched what happened each time a kid passed under a certain tree (instant attack and pecks on the head).

    Then Lash borrowed a bike and put himself in harm’s way, again. And the newspaper photographer got a perfect photo of the bird – frozen-in-time – as it took its first peck on Lash’s dome. LaRue took the photo to experts who immediately pronounced the attacker to be a “King Bird,” known to be overly protective of nests occupied by baby King Birds. Front page, that was.

    Then one Saturday they sent Lash to cover the circus parade – from the train to the downtown auditorium. As any good journalist would do, Lash covered a six-year-old boy watching the parade instead of the parade itself. But to demonstrate his disdain for the assignment, he wrote this lead:  ‘A six-year-old boy will love a circus parade as surely as a mongoose will suck a duck egg.’

    He turned it in to fellow-rebel Al Pagel who was manning the city desk that day and who let the lead go through, all the way to the next edition. Senior editors were so horrified that they said nothing – to Pagel or LaRue.

    ###

    Lash wasn’t the only legend at the Omaha World Herald. In a May 9, 2013 column for the Tacoma News-Tribune, Lash wrote about his pal Fogarty getting back at a radio reporter who would steal his copy, put it on the air as his own, and basically scoop Fogarty on his own story. You can read that story HERE.

    George Lee Cunningham

    Jim Fogarty, still lives in Omaha, Nebraska, where he is a co-owner of Legacy Preservation, a company that publishes limited-edition personal biographies. You can phone him at (402) 305-7180, email him at Jim@legacypreservation.com or find out more about Legacy Preservation at www.legacypreservation.com