For most shows throughout the years we haven’t had the luxury of flying. We would typically rent a van and drive. Over the last few years Dick had begun bringing a discreet case containing a firearm which he stated was for safety. He had a permit and would follow the rules for storing a firearm while traveling.
Dick loved sharing stories on the road but most of all he loved teasing you – that’s how he showed that he loved you. In fact, what would typically happen is he would start in on one of us – Like giving Larry grief for “overplaying” – and one of us would start throwing it back at him. He would instantly feign being offended and hurt as if everyone always gangs up on him. His favorite line was, “One of these days I ain’t gonna be here for you to kick around.” It was all in good fun and that line always got a laugh.
On this particular trip, as we were loading up the vehicle with equipment as we prepared to leave his house, Dick placed his gun case on the front seat. I decided to give him some grief for a change.
“What exactly are you going to do with that?” I asked in a mocking tone.
He looked at me confidently and said, “Say we pull in somewhere or maybe break down – might be a sketchy area – and someone tries to rob us or” – He changed his voice to a deeper tone and put on a stronger southern drawl as he got into character- “a pretty little boy like you is just what someone might be looking for…”
Imitating pulling out the gun and pointing it at an imaginary assailant he did his own version of Robert Dinero in Taxi Driver: “I don’t think so, buddy.”
He was cocksure and seemed to impress himself with this display as he put the case away in the glove box.
“Trouble starts brewing,” he said, “and I’m on it. You’ll be happy I brought this.”
Later that day, at the end of Dick’s driving shift he pulled into a gas station. I hopped out of the passenger seat and began filling up. It was summer so his window was down and he was just sitting there, patiently waiting as the other guys were in the convenience store.
I crept up to his window and put my finger to his throat, pretending it was a knife.
“Give me your wallet or I’ll cut ya!” I said in a voice similar to the imaginary character he had played earlier. Obviously he knew it was me.
There was a panic on his face as he instantly began looking around the front seats. His eyes were darting around as he started patting himself down and stuttering. Finally, as he was reaching for the glove compartment, I stopped him.
“You’re too late,” I said, “I already left with my tail between my legs.”
We both laughed at how poorly he did on this demonstration. In typically Dick McVey fashion he was ready with a half-hearted excuse that he would stick to no matter what: “Well, I knew it was you so there was no real threat to act on.”
It’s a simple story but one of my favorite examples of the good times we had on the road together and it shows off Dick’s playful disposition. The road can wear you out as you can imagine. That’s why we were of the mindset that we do the show for free and the pay is for the traveling. We covered thousands of miles together over the years and his humor and wit eased this burden.