Solar Panels And Life

Billy B. visited DeSoto today. He always thought of it as the town between Elkville and Carbondale. But he did have some history with the little community. For instance…in recent years he had the honor of helping his dear friend, Thelma, set up her IPad. Thelma lives in DeSoto. Many the times he had eaten dinner at Thelmas’ table when she barely had enough food for her two sons and yet she graciously invited Billy B. to partake…and he did…he was hungry. Thelma treated Billy B. like a mother would a son…and he loved her for it. Thelma was the example of a strong Christian Woman. She was humble and yet resolute in her commitment to Christ and to all who needed her assistance. Billy B. had never met anyone like Thelma…and still has not…although he is now an old man. Thelma would listen to Billy B. as if he were an adult and he felt humbled by the experience.

Over 40 years ago…Billy B. had attempted to sell Solar Panels for his friends, Margo and Jeff, in their insurance office at DeSoto. He wanted desperately to find his place and fit in with his good friends’ organization. MJ was a dear friend of Margo and Billy B. was a friend of Jeff. Billy B. admired and aspired to the success that they had achieved at a young age. Jeff had been a true Horatio Algier Story of Rags to Riches. Today…Billy B. remembered working in the Insurance Office attempting to sell Solar Panels in DeSoto, Illinois. DeSoto looked different over 40 years ago. It was more thriving and Billy B. knew several people that he attended church with…that lived in DeSoto. Ben and Ethel Mezo lived in DeSoto. Ben told him that the Mercury Grand Marquis that he owned in the 70s…was nothing but a ‘Young Cadillac.’ Later…Billy B. would work on the same crew as Willis Gottschalk who was the son-in-law of Ben and Ethel Mezo.

Billy B. drove through DeSoto on his way to work at Southern Illinois Unversity and on his way back home to Elkville. He often stopped at the Handee Mart for gas and coffee to aid in keeping him awake on the third shift or the second shift. Billy B. traded rides with a colleague, Elbert Eskell Covington, who lived in an upscale area of DeSoto. Elbert Eskell…was a shade tree Historian…and had the history books that he had written to prove it. One time Billy B. forgot to pick up Elbert Eskell…and Elbert Eskell visited him at his office in the basement of the Engineering and Technology Building on the Campus of SIUC. EE was angry and was beet red on his face and spoiling for a fight…when Billy B. rose from his desk and took his Stanley Coffe Thermos in his right hand and told EE in no uncertain terms to leave the building and to not come back…the Stanley Thermos was made of steel…

Saturday found DeSoto in a quiet reflection of its’ former glory. Many of the Towns’ buildings were deteriorated and were in disrepair. There was a wonderful Jayco Camper Sales Display that looked somewhat out of place in the poor confines of the Little Village of DeSoto. I passed a gentleman who remarked that he would just like to be able to afford one of the little Jayco Campers…I agreed and we understood our economic reality…

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