by Karl Horeis
After our first softball practice two weeks ago, we stopped at Kathy's Someplace Else for a beer and a song. We sat at the corner table, cheering as friends did karaoke. An older gentleman in a white cowboy hat moseyed up to us and started some neighborly conversation. He introduced himself as Johnny One-Time.
We talked about singing Marty Robbins songs such as "Old El Paso." My name got called to go up so I did the song - dedicating it to my new friend, Johnny One-Time. He smiled big and bought us a round of cold ones.
When he went up to do his next song, I heard him mention us during his dedication. Unfortunately, through the din, I couldn't make out exactly what he said.
Now I'm kicking myself for not paying better attention.
Johnny One-Time died April 21 of a heart attack at the bar. He was brought back by a scuba-diving patron trained in CPR, but died a few days later.
"His goal was to make it to Winnemucca to support all the singers at the competition there last week," said bar owner Kathy Aguire.
Johnny "One-Time" Kreger, 76, was big in the local karaoke scene. He was a heck of singer himself and an endless source of support for younger singers.
Rumors got around about how he sang "Walking the Floor Over You" one time for Ernest Tubbs. Others said he appeared on the "Grand Ole Opry" four times. Some say he covered for Hank Williams Jr. when he didn't show up for a gig on "The Louisiana Hayride."
There appears to be a relationship between Johnny's nickname and the song of the same title made famous by Brenda Lee in 1969. It's not clear if she named it after him, or if he was named after the song.
"One thing is for sure," said Aguire. "Johnny was a giver - not a taker. I've seen the man come in here and not have a drink himself and buy one for everyone else in the bar. You looked for Johnny to walk in the door because you loved the smile he put on your face."
All the bars that have karaoke have come together to honor Johnny. Friends and loved ones will gather for a memorial at 7 p.m. Friday at Kathy's Someplace Else, 4750 Highway 50 East. Our softball team - so honored to spend time with Johnny at the end of his life - will play our first game at 7:20, but I'll be at his memorial before the game.
Johnny didn't quite make it to his goal of Winnemucca's five-state karaoke contest. He would have been proud of Carson City's showing. Singers from Kathy's took first and second place while two singers from Decades took home "I Got Robbed" medals. Johnny was with the Carson City singers in spirit.
"We felt him there," Aguire said.
n n n
On Saturday, the Carson City Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association will host its free Silver State Fly-In from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Carson City Airport. Get there early for the pancake breakfast. There will be displays and lunch served on the ramp. Call Bruce Gray at 246-2401.
n n n
History buffs will be excited about the behind-the-scenes tours offered at The Nevada State Museum (600 N. Carson St.) from 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday. This will also be the last formal display of the Lovelock Chinatown artifacts. Advance reservations are required due to limited space. To arrange a tour, call Roz Works at 687-4810, ext. 228. Also Friday, volunteers will operate the museum's historic Coin Press No. 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
n n n
The Carson Nugget will host a big-band dance Sunday afternoon featuring the Mile High Jazz Band. The dance, for ages 21 and over, is 4 to 7. It will include a no-host bar and door prizes. General admission is $8 at the door or $5 for Nugget Prospector's Club members.
For more details, call the Prospector's Club Booth at 882-1626, ext. 236.
Contact Karl Horeis at email@example.com or 881-1219.