Cold it is today as winter says its last goodbye. The Geese are still hanging out with the ducks. I traveled to Eldorado earlier in the week to snap some photos. I found out when I returned that we will be going to the town of my youth again this Monday…more photos will ensue. Winter gave the impression that it really was not in the mood for cold and snow and ice…until it decided that it was…
Many of my classmates have indicated that they enjoy the Eldorado photos…especially the One of the Orpheum Theatre. The Orpheum was a communal experience and centered in the hearts and minds of many of us Eldorado Baby Boomers. It has been an eventful winter with MJ and me making an enjoyable journey to Miramar Beach, Florida, and my subsequent inspiration to learn how to play a card game. MJ and I have played virtually every day since our return in early January. In fact, we just finished a game. We no more than returned when we contracted Covid along with Jonathon. The face mask mandate has been lifted and now the markets and theatres are filled with confused people who both are wearing masks and those who are not…while China is experiencing its’ biggest outbreak to date.
I think of Eldorado often. Days of carefree simplicity…and significant stress….much as life is. Summers off swimming at Pounds Hollow and Sundays spent at the Theatre. I enjoyed riding my bicycle which looked like a motorcycle. Later I got a three-speed bicycle and thought that it was a Cadillac. My bicycles represented freedom to me. On Saturdays and throughout the summer I would ride for hours on end. Mom trusted that I would not get into too much trouble…but the times were much different than today. There were no cell phones…we did not have a landline phone for our first years in Eldorado. I rode into town from my house on Shilo Road and then rode all over town and even to a little suburb of Eldorado, Wasson…and another called Broughton. I often arrived back at my country home as the fireflies were busily at work.
Grandma Askews’ house in Beulah Heights was mom and my go-to destination. She lived off of a brick road just like the Wizard of Oz…accept the bricks were not yellow. We spent all holidays at Grandma’ and I often enjoyed visiting with my friend, Debbie. Camp Grounds were popular in the days of my youth. Beulah Heights Camp Ground was at the end of her Brick Street. Grandma had chickens in her backyard. They had a pen…but they often escaped. My interaction with her chickens was a unique experience for me…being a Chicago boy. She had a little Terrier named Nugget. My bed… when we visited Grandma on our vacations from Chicago and before we moved to Eldorado, was the living room couch. Nugget slept in the upholstered chair that adjoined the couch. Nugget hated me and took every opportunity to demonstrate his profound dislike of my presence. During the night…in the dark…I would turn over on the couch…and Nugget would growl…and his white teeth would glisten in the moonlight. Nugget finally passed from this mortal coil and Grandma grieved. By this time mom and I lived in Eldorado and I was spending the night with Grandma. She had the coldest milk that she served in large porcelain mugs. I could not get enough of the primary beverage of my youth. Grandma poured me a large white mug full of delicious whole milk and she accompanied it with a couple of homemade cookies. As she departed the kitchen she wiped a tear from her eye and told me that she was going to pray of Narky, which was the new name that she had given Nugget a year or two prior to his death, and that when I finished my milk and cookies…I could join her. I wondered what we would be praying for…as Nugget was dead… I drank my milk especially slowly…and ate my cookies a bite at a time. Grandma finally returned and said that she was done praying for Narky.
Eldorado had a theatrical cast of characters…of which I was one.