Community

Right now it feels like 115 degrees outside. It is 95 degrees. I have been taking photos of my home for most of my life…Southern Illinois. I have noticed over this past week…when I am snapping my pictures…I do not see many people…other than those in their air-conditioned automobiles. I was in Cristopher, Illinois today and did see a group of kids on their bicycles not long before I departed. The vision of Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale was to be an international university that first reached out to coal mining towns of Little Egypt. Dr. Delyte Morris had the dream of building a world-class School in the farmland and rolling hills of the poorest and most economically deprived region of Illinois. Each of the little towns and villages that I visit has its’ own personality and customs and cohesiveness among its’ citizens. Much as a city such as St. Louis or Chicago have communities within the different blocks and locations in the city in which they live. Communities are wonderful and yet a bit like islands in the desert. There are, however, some similarities in the affections of my fellow Southern Illinoisans. For instance, I have photographed several huge clocks that are usually in a well-groomed and flowery rest area in the town. There are also not only all of the main-line old and lovely denominational churches…but many store-front churches that are apparently non-denominational or fundamentalist. In almost every town that I have visited there are a War Memorial and a stone carving that lists the members of the community that have died for their country.

Movie theatres are a particular passion of mine since my days of childhood in Eldorado and the Orpheum Theatre. It appears that most of the old movie palaces have fallen into disrepair or have been repurposed for other uses. I know that the Liberty Theatre in Murphysboro was showing a movie from time to time.

‘Let us go to the movie in Christopher…I hear that this weekend they are showing the original Dracula with Bella Lugosi,’ said Chet with a wicked grin. ‘Where is it in Christopher,’ asked Jane? ‘Well it is right up town and was built in the 1920s and is considered the most magnificent Theatre in Southen Illinois,’ Chet answered. ‘I love Christopher…I used to work at Hoe Supply when I was a teenager,’ said Neva J. with a wide smile. ‘Well it is settled then…we will go this Saturday,’ said Chet with a wink.

‘I think that the Christopher Theatre must be the most beautiful architecture for a Theatre in Southern Illinois,’ Neva J. mused. ‘Yes…and the air-conditioning is very nice too,’ Billy B. remarked as he snuggled into the plush red velour chairs in the massive auditorium. ‘Oh…yikes…I am always frightened when Dracula bites the neck of the pretty girls in his castle,’ Jane said with her hand over her eyes as she peeked through her fingers. ‘I just hope that it is a little cooler when we get out of this cool comfort…you know like the picture on the glass of the front door when we entered…the snowman blowing cold air on us as we walked into the emporium,’ Billy B. noted.

‘Goodness…Gracious…we have lost time…again…just look at the Theatre…,’ Chet smiled as he munched on another kernel of buttered popcorn.

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