banner
Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Selling Lightning Rods

Posted November 3, 2008 8:55 a.m. EST

What is the most interesting job you or someone in your family has held? Let’s make that our Carolina Conversations blog topic today.

A wonderful conversation I had over the weekend prompted this question. During a book signing at Barnes & Noble – Crabtree Valley Saturday a delightful couple approached me and said how much they enjoyed this blog. The husband began to tell me about his father’s job. He worked as a lightning rod salesman in the western part of North Carolina. It was back in the days when folks had time to talk and spend an hour or two discussing the pros and cons of Ben Franklin’s famous invention. This salesman even survived a lightning strike while on the job peddling his products. If I ever write a novel I think I will start with a plot about a lightning rod salesman.

My first job was sweeping floors at my parent’s store in downtown Morganton for 45 cents an hour. My salary mushroomed to $2.00 an hour after I mastered the skills of picture framing. Later I became a bag boy at the Colonial Grocery Store in Morganton. The next summer I drove a van and made home deliveries for Jones Drug Store in Morganton. My radio career came next with a summer stint at WKGX in Lenoir where I played country hits as the “Tall Man” and recorded commercials for septic tank aroma bars for a local supermarket. At that point I decided to take a more sophisticated approach to broadcasting and made the move to journalism at WTOB in Winston-Salem where I worked with famous DJ and close friend Rick Dees. Radio ruled my life until 1984 when I won a Peabody Award and John Greene invited me to work at WRAL Television. I’ve been here ever since and it’s been a blast!

What about you? What was your most interesting job? Let’s have fun with this.