The Larger Than Life Personality

I was a tyke when I first started watching Jonny Quest. For those who don’t know this cartoon (which I think is near impossible) it came on TV in 1964. It was not the first time a cartoon was in prime time, but it was the first attempt at being for both kids and adults.

Jonny Quest was a preteen who had a super scientist for a father, a body guard named Race who was cooler than James Bond, a best friend named Hadji who was from India that lived with the family and a pug pup called Bandit.

Considering it was created in the 1960s, the stories still stand the test of time for the most part even as the decades roll by.

I remember being 13 and my dad coming into the den where I was watching Jonny in an adventure one Saturday morning, and he asked why I wasted my time watching such drivel. I just shook my head and as I went back to my show, I saw him sit down. Next thing I knew, he started watching the whole show with me. He begrudgingly said it was better than he thought.

The cartoon has been in syndication since it went off the air in 1965 and I was a happy guy that it was. I watched it almost every week growing up because it was an addictive show, even though I watched every episode countless times.

In college, the show came on in the afternoons during the weekdays and the community room was filled with my fellow dormers to get our dose of Jonny, Race, and the others. It was great to be around others who liked the show as much as me.

It would not be an understatement to say I love this cartoon.

When the age of videotaping happened, my wonderful sister taped every episode for me. When she did this, there were no video collection of the series and I had something pretty unique.

Shortly after making my home in Saratoga, I was in conversation with a woman I thought was pretty cool and somehow I mentioned what a fan of Jonny Quest I was.

Not only was she also a fan of Jonny Quest, she flipped out (in a good way) when she found out I had the collection on tape. Remember, this was about 20 years ago and DVDs were not even in the market.

When she asked if I would let her make a copy, of course I said yes.

I had found someone who loved Jonny Quest as much as me here in Carbon County. She even made voices of the characters in the show that only a true fan would know.

From that day on, I was in the amazing Carrie Craig’s good grace.

This wonderful person was truly one of those larger than life personalities that really aren’t that common.

I got to work with her at the Lazy River Cantina (the current Duke’s) when she bartended there. She mostly worked the Saturday day shift and I would often relieve her.

Carrie was so funny as she got the bar ready for me to take over. I would be in a great mood to start my evening because of her. Sometimes she would sit at the bar and regale the customers with her wit and humor.

Nobody left the bar while she was there. She was just that type of person you wanted to be around.

The best part was, she would constantly talk about Jonny Quest with me. Actually, I think she talked about Jonny Quest with a lot of people.

I floated with her and I got to say, she knew what she was doing going down the river.

Yes sir ree Billy Bob Cat Tail, Carrie was a river girl.

When I started working for the paper and covering northern Carbon County, Carrie was one of my biggest cheerleaders.

When Keith McClendon and I would be in the Rustic together, if Carrie was there, she would tell us both what a great thing it was the Sun was covering the north. This made both Keith and I feel pretty good every time. It never got old hearing praise come from Carrie Craig.

Sometimes I would go to the Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD2) Central Administration building to get information and Carrie would be there for me to visit. She loved her job and the people she worked with and she wasn’t shy about saying so.

When I worked at Firewater during the day on Saturday, Carrie visited me a few times and sometimes she would wait for me to get off work and have drinks with me. She was a fun drinking partner.

Carrie retired last year and I got to interview her. For some reason, I can’t exactly explain, I have never erased her words.

I learned she worked for the Sun before Carrie got her job in the audio/visual center the School District in 1978.

She worked for the school system in some capacity from that point on.

There was one story she told that resounded with me. Carrie said when she was a senior in high school, a new girl was being made fun for the way she dressed by a group of local girls.

“I told those girls they better stop or I was going to sit on them,” Carrie told me laughing. “And they all ran.”

Her good Samaritan act landed her the job at the visual center four years later. The person doing the hiring was the mother of the daughter who Carrie had protected.

“I never thought twice about helping her and the act sort of started my career,” Carrie said. “It just shows what a good deed can do.”

That was Carrie through and through. Doing good things for people, even if she didn’t know them well.

Sadly, I am having to write in the past tense about her. Carrie passed away a couple weeks ago.

It breaks my heart honestly.

I am not the only person in this area who is broken up. Carrie was related to tons of people in this county and you can see tears well up in relatives when she is mentioned. That doesn’t even count all the friends she touched her years in Carbon County.

I bet a small river could be made from all the water that came from the different eyes that have shed tears from her leaving this world.

I was at the CCSD2 education board meeting for this past week and all the board members went on the record to give sympathy to Carrie’s loved ones and say how much she will be missed.

I get it.

I said it before, she was a larger than life personality.

That is the point of this column.

People pass on, sometimes before we are ready for it to happen and it hurts.

Any person that is loved is special, and deserves tribute.

Sometimes a person comes into our lives that we know is a star without even trying. They touch so many people just by being who they are and shine brightly in our lives.

I believe I can safely say Carrie Craig was not only a star, but a super nova.

Needless to say, my recording of Carrie’s interview will not be erased. She even did some Jonny Quest character imitations which I can’t help smiling at as I listen to them.

I think that is the best tribute to Carrie Craig.

When you remember her, you can’t help having a little smile.


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