Where is Uncle Jesse now?

For those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning, you will recall that Lisa’s brother, Uncle Jesse, was a major part of our life the first few years after she died.  He was instrumental in healing our family as well as in helping to logistically keep things going.
Over the past year or two, folks have asked me where Uncle Jesse has gone.  He is still in Raleigh and actually has a number of plates spinning.  Below is an interview with Jesse from Raleigh Philosophical Society.  His real name is Hayes Permar (Uncle Jesse worked well for our blog, which he mastered minded in around 2012).  You can also find him on SportsChannel8.com  and Raleigh & Company.

It’s hard to escape Hayes Permar’s mug these days — but why would you want to? The Raleigh native has leveraged his many skills into a one-man media empire, with songs, videos, social commentary, thoughtfulness and humor all rolled into one Raleigh-bred package. And if you are one of the few people who hasn’t seen any of his work, be sure to check him out on Twitter @DHPIV, or over at Raleigh & Co. with his “Triangle Traveler” or ”NC Yesterday Today”series, or you can hear his dulcet tones on the mic at Carolina Mudcats games.  We are so pleased to feature Hayes in the latest edition of ”A Capital Conversation.” 

Raleigh Philosophical Society (RPS): Tell us a little bit about your childhood. I can only assume from your impeccable sense of style and soft Southern lilt that you were born and raised in Raleigh and are actually descended from the First Men*?

Hayes Permar (HP): I grew up in Raleigh, but my parents didn’t. My family moved here following my Dad’s parents’ decision to settle here after my grandfather retired from the Coast Guard. My parents met in D.C., where my oldest sister was born, and then came to Raleigh, where my other sister and I were born. My parents still live in the same house I grew up in.
I went to Wake County Public Schools from kindergarten through 12th grade (Washington, Martin, Broughton). I spent a lot of time at the Hillsborough Street YMCA–first as a camper, then as a counselor both there and at Camp Sea Gull–1st Presbyterian Church downtown, and the house of my best friend growing up, Andrew Johnson, who had two brothers–that’s where I learned sports and video games and other “guy” stuff. I grew up mostly a white, suburban Raleigh life…but OF the white, suburban Raleigh kids, I probably had a more diverse upbringing (in range of activities, experiences, people I interacted with) than most. Betraying my mother’s side of the family, I have no style, but you’re kind to say that.
RPS: You are a multi-talented individual. How did you first begin getting into music?
HP: I grew up in a musical family, and now realize how lucky I was (in a musical sense) to be the youngest, meaning I almost literally grew up listening to 4-part harmony. I resisted yet absorbed some piano training at a young age, sponged up a few years of teenage guitar lessons, and then have mostly tinkered with piano/guitar/whatever else I came across ever since.
My parents and sisters had a fairly wide taste of music that I grew up listening to–Paul Simon, The Beatles, Broadway, the Big Chill Soundtracks and Beach music, Folk/Bluegrass, some classical music, popular (’80s at the time). I could sing every song that came on Oldies 100.7 word for word. I’ve added a few genres–alternative in the ’90s, rap in the 2000s–of my own, but I’m not a guy who devours new music. I sort of take it in via osmosis when I’m around people who really know and love music. I learn and adopt what they like.
RPS: You’ve been involved with that Raleigh staple, Ira David Wood’s A Christmas Carol. How did you first get involved? What have been your roles?
Photo by Steve Larson/Theatre In The Park, 
costumes by Shawn Larson/Theatre In The Park
HP: Going off memory, I’m pretty sure I was in ‘ACC’ from 1983-1986 and from ’84-’86 I was Tiny Tim. (There were often two Tiny Tims and we alternated shows to stay rested.) At some point in those four years all of my family was either in the cast of the accompanying band. In 2006 & 2007, I was in the cast with my oldest sister, Lisa, and my oldest niece, Bailey. I played the role of Fred, Scrooge’s nephew. In 2011-2013, I was in the cast with all three of Lisa’s daughters and her husband–I played varying roles as a townsperson/dancer.
RPS: How long have you been doing the PA for the Carolina Mudcats? And give us three reasons why people should attend Mudcats games? (And one of the reasons can not be the lack of stoplights between Raleigh and Five County Stadium. That’s not only a given, it is awesome.)
HP: This is my second year with the Mudcats, but legit (i.e., not just saying this because I work there now) I attended a good number of Mudcats game for several years before I had the PA gig.
Ok, five reasons in no order….
1) Related to what you said but not quite the same: It’s just as close to Raleigh as the Bulls. Maybe closer. Especially if you’re considering 5:30/6 p.m. traffic
2) Last year they built a huge screen. They also added enough camera/production equipment to broadcast all home games on MiLB.com at a level not TOO far off what you’d expect from ESPN. It is by far your best chance of getting a picture/Snapchat of yourself on a cool jumbotron in the Triangle.
3) They serve Red Oak. It was an N.C. craft beer before it was cool to be an N.C. craft beer and they’re good.
4) The Braves are so bad you could be seeing a player that might be starting in Atlanta the next night.
5) Much like the Wolfpack is one of the few (if not only) mascots that have a Mr. AND Mrs. Wuf representing, the Mudcats are the rare team that boast a Muddy mascot and a mini-Muddy.
RPS: As producer at David Glenn Show, you were able to land the POTUS. That had to be an amazing experience – especially from a sports POV. How did that happen, and what was that experience like?
HP: I mean, it was cool, no question about that. I was living in D.C. when President Obama was elected/inaugurated, so aside from what else his tenure means historically, I’ll always feel a connection to his presidency. Because I was living in D.C. at the time, I had a number of folks I always knew I might turn to if I ever had a good reason to request an interview with the President.
Dean Smith had been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom under the Obama White House, so when he passed away I thought it might be the time to ask. When the White House’s first response before noon on a Sunday was something like “this is an interesting request — we will process and be in touch,” I had this strange feeling it would work out. I was nervous and excited and ready to be dejected right up until the minute I had him on the phone–I barely remember telling Roy Williams, “Coach, we may have to pull you off on short notice if the President calls in ahead of schedule”–but, again, there was his strange calm it would work out even as I knew any minor world/national event could derail the whole thing.
Talking to him I fell mostly into my normal producer groove–I always tried to loosen/lighten the guest up a little bit. He was easy to talk to and cracked jokes on me. My sister Sallie, an accomplished doctor, had won an award in medicine from the White House the year before, so I brought that up and he told me she was way more impressive than I was, which was spot on.
David did a great job with the interview–he played it very cool and then, sensing President Obama was very comfortable in the conversation, he went from talking Dean Smith to basketball to other, less serious, stuff. He nailed it.
I also told President Obama I regretted never playing in a pick-up game with him, which is true. The interview was cool, but I probably believed I had a 50/50 shot at playing hoops with him at the time he was inaugurated and I’m still ticked I couldn’t make that happen.
RPS: You had the opportunity to be the Sklar Brothers’ tour guide when they came to town. How did you determine what you wanted to show off of our fair city? Were there things you purposely avoided?

HP: It was great to meet those guys and learn that, in addition to being incredibly talented and funny, they are also good, real people. We have a mutual friend who put us in touch and it happened to be a week they were shooting for this new pilot “Find The Funny” on Travel Channel. We met up after their dinner at Beasley’s one night to cross reference what they had planned versus what I thought was “real Raleigh.” (Yes, Clyde Cooper’s for lunch and PR for a State game is Raleigh; No, the topless coffee food stand is just something that looks good in a BuzzFeed article but doesn’t really hit home for Raleighites.)
I thought the show–both their live comedy set and the pilot that aired on Travel–did an outstanding job capturing the essence of Raleigh. Did you see it?

(Note: Yes, I saw it and loved it. I DVR’d it and showed it to friends, who all appreciated it. Would love to see more.)




RPS: Now on to SportsChannel8. I assume that 75 percent of the content on that site is specifically geared toward mocking the Washington Capitals on their lack of a Stanley Cup title, but maybe I’m off a bit on that? How would you describe the site?


HP: That’s recency bias. At most we’re 69 percent devoted to mocking the Caps lack of Cups.
The media landscape generally–and the sports media landscape specifically–are in flux right now. SportsChannel8.com expects to be a part of that flux. We’ll have a lot of stuff coming out of there soon.
RPS: Were you surprised at the notoriety of “Blank Bracket?”

HP: Oddly enough it didn’t get as many views as some of the other videos we put out in the past year, but, to your point, I wasn’t really “surprised.” Knowing the landscape, you kind of get the idea how to play the game…Mega-popular song + universally known sporting event x proper execution=a certain number of views. I was just glad the writing was good enough to overcome the singing.  (If you can’t view the videos, go straight to www.therealfullhouse.wordpress.com)

RPS: You’ve also begun doing some great work over at Raleigh & Co. How did that happen, and what types of things are you doing over there?


HP: I was impressed with the Raleigh & Company idea/layout from the time it launched. Over its years of existence I’ve gotten to know several of the folks involved in it. After leaving the David Glenn Show I was looking for opportunities to do multiple forms of media, especially video, and they were looking to do more multi-media so it was a perfect fit.
RPS: You produced a very touching response to the Orlando shooting. What was that process like? And what were some of the most moving responses you received about it?

HP: That was pure reaction. I was ready to watch the Sunday morning shows and instead they were talking about the shootings. And at the time I was watching (or maybe I was catching up on Twitter) I saw the fatalities go from 20 to 50. It just hit me. Felt like sharing something. Hard to gauge response–there are people who will support/like your posts no matter what. If people see you stepping out on a limb a little bit, they’re even more likely to try to support you, regardless of if they really think about what you’re saying. I guess I felt like I wasn’t alone in my thoughts.
RPS: What do you do in your free time, besides showing up unannounced and playing people’s pianos? When do you sleep? DO you ever sleep?

HP: I don’t sleep, I nap. And the good thing about being self-employed is that it’s all free time until I decide how to use it.
RPS: As an expert on all things Raleigh, what are your favorite hangouts? Anything specific from each place?

HP: I like the Trophy Wife at Trophy, the roast chicken at Poole’s, french baguette at Yellow Dog, burgers at the PR and Char Grill, chicken pastry at K&W, jamocha day at Goodberry’s, sweet tea at Big Ed’s, milkshakes at MoJoe’s. The vibe and the staff at Stanbury might make it the coolest setting in Raleigh. Death and Taxes makes sure you get the most–food and service wise– out of the money you will inevitably spend eating there.


RPS: As someone who has a vested interested in the city, what would you like to see happen in the area over the next 5-10-20 years? What does this area lack? What do we do well?

HP: I hope as we grow as a city we are most mindful of people and communities that have been neglected or kept down by past instances of growth.
RPS: What is something that people may not know about you?

HP: There is a lot people don’t know about me.
RPS: And, finally, who would you like to play you in the “Hayes Permar Story” one day?

HP: If I’m doing it right, the documentary will be more interesting than the movie.

*Little known group of people who actually settled in the Hayes Barton area of Raleigh about 5 years before Jamestown. Or maybe it’s a GoT reference. I forget.

Thanksgiving Jam Session

Uncle Jesse comes through with the Thanksgiving sing along.  It’s good to have an uncle who can play piano by ear, postpones the after Thanksgiving food coma by at least an hour…

Even Grandpa raised the roof!

Here’s a Christmas tune…

 

 

Verna’s Two

Posted by Danny

My father-in-law plans a great trip.  And the best part about taking a journey with him is that you get to experience things that a normal tourist might not experience.

On our second night in Hawaii, the restaurant where we were planning to eat was packed and on that side of the island, there weren’t really other options.  So Pops pulled out his trusty tourist guide and started driving.  About 20 minutes later, we pulled up to Verna’s Too.  I’m surprised there was enough enthusiasm about the first Verna’s to open a second.

The guide-book described Verna’s as an inexpensive burger joint where all the locals hang out.  That was true.

When we first drove up, Michelle turned up her nose and said she wasn’t hungry.  The kid has a good sense about these things.

The woman at the window took our order with a ballpoint pen and a scrap of paper.  Her outfit was tight.  I was thankful the half wall covered the waist down.  Her form-fitting tight tank top was the same tan color as her skin.

She handed the order back to an older woman standing behind the grill.  She wore bedroom shoes and held the spatula in her hand; there was no smile.  She had a job to do and was focused on the griddle.  I got the sense she began her career at the original Verna’s as a very young woman.  She’d handled an order for 11 on many, many occasion.  This was not a problem.

The tiny dining room reminded me of the arcade at Permastone Lake, my summer haunt as a child.  I remember Undercover Angel playing on the jukebox as I ate snow cones with Steven Mozena my best childhood friend.  Their dining room floors were similar, concrete with a thin layer of wet sand on the top.  There were two options for sitting: a hard orange table with matching benches on the right and another on the left.  We split up – each booth only held 4.

Jesse was clear in his request, “NO MAYO.”  We all know to keep the mayo and, incidentally, garden peas, away from Uncle Jesse.  Almost makes him sick.

When his steak sandwich came out, the “special sauce” seemed an awful lot like mayonnaise – same color, same smell, same thick saucy consistency.  It wasn’t fully opened when it landed in the bottom of the 24 gallon metal trash can lined with a yard bag.  I suspected that they’d emptied palm tree clippings earlier that day to make room for the dinner rush.

It’s his own fault.  Who in their right mind orders a steak sandwich from a woman with sweat rings circling her armpits?

Our friend from behind the counter doubled as the food deliverer.  A side window opened from the kitchen to the gritty dining room.  She’d peak at the incoming meal and announce the next fare.

Michelle turned her nose up and anticipated my displeasure.

“Don’t get mad at me.  I told you I wasn’t eating that stuff.”

How could I argue?  She’d just seen her 33-year-old uncle toss half a cow into a Glad bag.

I opened my tin foil, the burger was hot.  Michelle nibbled at my fries.  The ketchup bottle looked clean, and I love me some ketchup.

I sniffed the bun as it neared my mouth – I had to do it if for no other reason as an example for my kids.

And it wasn’t half bad.  Sort of reminded me of a two-day old Hamburger Steak, Jr., from the Chargrill, reheated in the microwave.

I’ve decided my family is snotty.  The food wasn’t the issue for my kids, it was the atmosphere.  Somehow I’ve raised girls with country club taste on a YMCA salary.  How did that happen?

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Shoe

IMG_2224

Posted by Danny

I received a text from Jesse at 4 pm on Friday, December 23:  What size shoes do the girls wear?

Seriously?  Jesse was buying shoes for the girls’ Christmas presents?  I wondered which thrift shop had a kids’ shoe sale going on 36 hours before his yuletide deadline.

When we arrived home from the late Christmas Eve service at a neighborhood church, I broached the subject.  “Did you really buy shoes for the girls for Christmas?”  I didn’t want him to think I was questioning his tween fashion sense – but based on other uncle/niece purchases, I feared he was way off base.  He refused to answer my question – said it was a surprise.

For the past five years, Jesse has purchased each girl a used CD – and one with what he would consider a classic.  I think he blames me for their lack of enthusiasm for the Beatles, Paul Simon and Billy Joel (DJ claims the box set he gave her had every song Billy Joel ever sang, starting at his church Christmas pageant as a child).  Jesse thinks I should force them to listen to my music.  Dear Lord, please let me live long enough to see him with three daughters – that is my one request.

This year the girls pooled their funds and purchased him the Justin Bieber Christmas CD.  DJ said it was time Jesse became exposed to some of their classics.  Touche!

So, on Sunday, after opening the Santa gifts and the things I had purchased for the kids, Jesse grabbed a Target bag and began handing out footwear.  You’d have thought he had purchased gold, frankincense and myrrh – he was so excited.  As each girl opened her shoebox, they looked perplexed.  Not only was there a plain pair of black flats in each box, but there were also bottles of glitter and decoupage.  DJ caught my eye – her look?  What in the heck is happening here?   Steph began thanking him profusely – she’d already been prepped to appreciate any gift she was given, regardless of its usefulness or her level of excitement for it.

As they sat there, his explanation began.  “I talked to a friend of mine, one who has really good fashion sense, and apparently girls are wearing shoes with sparkles this year.  My friend said that you could even make them yourself.  I downloaded a blog with directions and have all of the supplies.”  He then proceeded to explain the process of covering the shoes with glue, applying the glitter, repeating the process and finishing it off with a coat of decoupage. 

I’ll have to admit, I was impressed.  All this coming from a guy who hasn’t changed his bath towel since Labor Day.

Jesse is a man of many talents – some more masculine, like playing a mean game of basketball; some more on his softer side, like dancing.  However, I don’t see arts and crafts as one of his strengths.  You can’t even read the man’s handwriting.

I told the girls that if he hadn’t followed through with the shoes by the end of January, we’d give the bag of supplies to their babysitter.  She can make pottery out of a carrot and a piece of construction paper.

Stay tuned.  There is sure to be a follow-up blog post on this particular project! 

 

A Birthday Ode to Uncle Jesse

Posted by The Tanner Girls (well…with a little help)

Jesse, Jesse you are old, 

Like a piece of bread with mold.

You’re also funny when we’re sad,

And you buy us soda unlike dad.

You’re on sports radio throughout the day,

We finally get to see you at the Christmas play.

At 10PM on the couch you fall in-to a trance,

But out late at a wedding? You really can dance.

Your feet are smelly (and that’s not all),

You’re not a good shopper at Crabtree Mall.

You stay out late and party bunches,

But you still get up to make our lunches.

You crank the radio when you drop off at school,

We act embarrassed, but it’s really cool.

You help us with math  when we throw a fit,

Dad went to State, so he can’t do it.

So have a good day – go have some fun,

And remember we love you, you’re our number one!

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