A name change, a steam room, and a stripper pole

A chance meeting in a locker room had an acquaintance confused about what I did for a living.

I have written before about the time I had to change my name. I was offered a job as a TV sportscaster at a station in Rochester, New York. The problem, I would learn, was that one of my co-anchors was also named Butler and we looked alike.

“You’ll confuse the viewers,” my gruff, no-nonsense news director pointed out. “You have 24-hours to change your name or we won’t hire you.”

Following a bottle of wine or two and a vote by several friends, it was decided that I should choose Montgomery—my maternal grandmother’s last name—as opposed to McCarthy, which was my father’s mother’s maiden name. While I struggled with the change for a bit, eventually I got used to it.

But sometimes there were misconceptions about my new appellation. Take, for example, the day I was reclining in the steam room at my health club Connecticut, a short drive from Bristol where I worked at ESPN anchoring SportsCenter.

At this particular gym, men and women had separate steam and sauna facilities, so clothing was optional. I’d been in enough health clubs to have no qualms about being naked in the locker room, and so I reclined in the buff on one of the wooden benches.

Then, the door opened, and a pretty woman walked in, equally au naturel. We hit it off immediately. She was funny and irreverent. If memory serves, we introduced ourselves by our first names. Her name was Annie. Somewhere along the way, I apparently mentioned that while my real surname was Butler, I was now going by Montgomery.

Annie stared at me for a moment and nodded.

It would not be until almost thirty years later that she confessed her thoughts on that occasion. She arrived in Phoenix on a visit recently and called me. When I picked her up, she mentioned that day long ago in the steam room.

“Do you remember that time when you told me you had two names?” she grinned.

“I do.”

“I thought you were a stripper. They tend to change their names.”

“What?”

She shrugged.

“Really?” For a moment I wasn’t sure what to think, but after a few beats I smiled. The realization hit that she’d met me naked and still assumed I might be able to find my way around a pole, though in reality the idea was ludicrous. (Think Jamie Lee Curtis in her True Lies striptease when she falls off her high heels and hits the floor with a thud, only nowhere near as hot.)

I stared at Annie. She grinned.

All I could think to say was, “Thank you!”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wild-horses-on-the-salt-cover-2.jpg

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

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