The first thing my wife asked me this
morning was if I were ready to hit “pay
dirt.” If you recall, last week, I wrote how
she gives me no attention all week long,
then on Tuesday mornings, she becomes
what cheap romance paperbacks describe
as “steamy and provocative.” I write this
column every Tuesday. After years of marriage,
I finally realized that there’s a connection
between my rambling sentences
and her 168-hour libido cycle. Who knew?
I understood her question to be rhetorical.
After all, today is Tuesday; ergo, hitting
“pay dirt” was all but a foregone conclusion.
As the Bible says—or maybe it was
the Book of Mormon, or possibly Jimmy
Carter—my loins began their familiar
Tuesday burn. Before I even had the chance
to determine if the warming sensation was
indeed licentious and not yesterday’s stair
climber after-burn, she said, “No, no, not
that pay dirt. You have to go to Bingham
High School today. Remember?”
She was right. A while back, my alma mater (my “loving mother” as I learned in today’s assembly) voted me into its Pay Dirt Club—an honor society of 100 or so accomplished BHS graduates, plus me.
All streaks come to an end. I headed out the door for South Jordan where the “new” Bingham High School has been located since 1975. I attended the “old” Bingham High School in Copperton. Besides great architecture and a perfect hillside location, the only thing my old high school building had over this one was the asbestos.
I had two of my kids with me for moral
support. We picked up my mother on the
way (Stella, BHS 1946) and my younger
brother Terry (BHS, 1974). At the school
entrance, we hooked up with a cousin
of ours (Harry Pappasideris, BHS, 1958).
Harry is also in the Pay Dirt Club, but
unlike me, is a deserving member.
Another Pay Dirt member, Scott Crump
(BHS, 1970), introduced me to the student
body, along with today’s first Pay Dirt
inductee, Marilyn Richards (BHS 1968).
I ran into Perry Newman and Annette
Gardner Egan (both BHS 1973) and Joey
Sato (BHS 1974), who is now a teacher and
the Bingham High School baseball coach.
Dennis Nichols (BHS, 1963)—who was
once awarded Best One-Armed Piano
Player by City Weekly after a stroke partially
disabled him—took the stage with
his trusty electric piano. Dennis had a long
career as a musician and music instructor,
and he never let his disability slow him
down—if there was a person in the building
today who exemplified what it means to be
a Bingham Miner, it
was Dennis. He is by
no means a quitter.
He really does still
play with one hand,
while also using a
tape to play the second
part and to add
For his performance,
Bingham’s fight song
and played it in a
variety of styles, from
1789 French baroque to Bourbon Street jazz
to modern-day London pop. For his finale,
he invited the Bingham High School cheerleaders
onstage to lead us all in the rousing,
pep-rally song that has been a part of my
own psyche since first hearing it when I was
about 5 years old. It will perform better this
Friday when Bingham beats Riverton.
Bingham has a great fight song. It’s so
great that when I was in school, many students
took it quite literally—fist-fighting
after high school athletics was as common
as a denominator. I’ve seen some great
fighters: Bobby DeLuca. Jim Beckstead.
Dave Weichman. I remember buses getting
tipped over like cows in the middle of a
starless night. The school has such a great
fight song that once peace was struck (usually
with a pipe, for those of you who recall
that era), we learned that even kids from
other schools could sing it.
We had such a great fight song that, one night in Tooele, despite having been beaten on the football field, Dean Edmunds (BHS 1971) decided to take on the entire Tooele Buffaloes football team. On the way to our lockers, he started singing that Roger Miller classic “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd.” The Tooele players took umbrage and before you know it, they were getting the snot kicked out of them. I had some guy against the fence and was doing just fine. That didn’t stop Junior Montoya (BHS 1972) from taking off his helmet and whacking the poor fellow. One of our coaches came along and gave him a couple pops, too. For good measure, Phillip Lopez (BHS 1971) was giving the boot to the Tooele cheerleaders.
On the bus home, our
captain, Randy Johnson
(BHS 1971), declared
victory. Our coaches
thought otherwise after
discovering our halfback
had arrived at the
Tooele sideline at halftime.
Legend has it he’d
gone to Wendover and
back. That our teammate
(my buddy Kevin Hamilton, BHS 1972)
reeked of a mysterious liquid substance
and was missing a front tooth from his
own parking-lot scrape was icing on the
cake—most of the team was expelled for
But, we couldn’t play with just eight or 10 guys, so everyone was back on the team in a day or so. The lesson? There isn’t one, except that 37 years is a long time. Things change. Times change. People change. Bingham High School has changed.
My hope is that the students have not, but that they will fight smarter than we did and that they never give up. It’s the 100-year-old Bingham Miner way: Onward, onward, team against the foe. Forward, forward the Bingham Miners go. Bingham, we are with you, and we’re here to cheer you. Fight, fight, fight, for victory! Or pay dirt. Of any kind. On any day. Hopefully, there’ll be no assemblies next Tuesday.