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On The Light Side

October 10, 1987

LIBERTY, Texas (AP) _ Hearty waves and gap-tooth grins fill the videotaped get-well card for a little boy recovering from open-heart surgery.

Gregory Hamilton got best wishes from more than 430 pupils in kindergarten through fourth grade at Liberty Hill Elementary School, their faces recorded and their names signed to banners and cards delivered to him Friday night.

″We just wanted to tell him that we all hope he gets better because we need him back at school,″ said Chance Leigh, 9.

Gregory underwent surgery Monday and school nurse Dusty Williams said her 17-year-old daughter Dee Dee, a senior at Liberty Hill High, who conceived and recorded the video.

″We told Gregory what they were doing when he was in ICU, and he really perked up,″ said Gina Hamilton, Gregory’s mother. ″He’s up and running the halls of the hospital now.″

Janne Dykes, one of Gregory’s kindergarten classmates, said she had a special reason for wanting him back in school.

″I want him to get well because he asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend, and I said ’yes,‴ said the 5-year-old, who held out her arms to show how much she missed her friend.

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SAN DIEGO (AP) - So this guy just flew in from the coast, right? And boy his arms are tired ....

And then there’s comedian Rick Rockwell. He’s making what you’d have to call a whirlwind tour tonight, using a Cessna Citation jet to appear at six nightclubs in five states in one night.

Rockwell’s friends, San Diego flight instructors John and Martha King, have agreed to jet the comedian at 200 mph on a tight schedule that includes Dallas; Albuquerque, N.M.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Los Angeles; and San Diego.

″The schedule does not leave time for so much as a sneeze,″ Rockwell said. ″The show is only going to be about 10 minutes in each location.″

If the last flight doesn’t get back to The Improv in San Diego in time for a 1:46 a.m. appearance Sunday, Rockwell vowed, ″I’ll go next door to the Denny’s, where they’re open all night. I’ll be doing a comedy ‘grand-slam’ breakfast.″

Rockwell, 30, said he has been appearing in Southern California nightclubs for nearly eight years, and in 1982 set a record of sorts by telling jokes continuously for 30 hours and three minutes in Los Angeles.

This feat was later broken by another joker, he said.

The comedian said his act consists of monologues, impressions, jokes with props and some musical parodies. An example of his repertoire:

″I don’t have a girl right now. And you know how women are impressed with those beepers? So now, when I go to single bars I wear my garage door opener.″

Barrrump-Bump.

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PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) - Big Al the Florida alligator got back on the road again after shivering through three crisp Oregon nights.

The 1,000-pound gator was stranded in northeast Oregon on Sunday after the mobile home that pulled its trailer broke down.

Big Al wasn’t prepared for the Northwest’s cool nights, which altered its metabolism and left it without its usual appetite for two or three live chickens and assorted fish each day.

″He just needs that Florida sunshine,″ said Linda Shell, owner of the 12- foot-6 alligator, who was returning from the Central Washington State Fair in Yakima, one of many events where people pay 50 cents apiece to see Al.

After repairs were completed Wednesday, Ms. Shell, Big Al and two drivers headed for Sarasota, Fla.

Big Al, more than twice the normal alligator size, was captured earlier this year in the Florida Everglades after Ms. Shell obtained a permit to show it. The animal is estimated to be more than 100 years old.