Another glorious fall day is happening in Little Egypt. I visited Cobden, Illinois today and was once again impressed with the love and care that the residents put into their town. There is a great Antique Store in Cobden and the ladies assisting me with my purchase were very friendly. I found a little Cowboy from 1964 that I remembered immediately. He was made by the Marx Toy Company and I think I probably owned one just like him when I was a lad. Also, I found a little metal bank fashioned like a Model T Car inscribed with the name of a bank in Carbondale that I had never heard of.
My favorite season flies by like a supersonic jet. Tomorrow the Monster Movies begin.
‘Are you really going to wear your cousins’ Creature From The Black Lagoon Head…every day of October,’ Jane asked Billy B. ‘I think that it is a great improvement on my looks…don’t you,’ Billy B. responded with a wide grin. ‘I enjoy seeing the look on Mrs. B.s’ face when I enter the classroom with it on…she looks as if she has seen a monster,’ Billy B. chuckled. ‘Well I have been signing autographs for several days after I give my lunchtime performance as the Lost in Space Robot,’ Chet said with a contented sigh. ‘I am looking forward to the Halloween Special Showing at the Orpheum Theatre tomorrow…it is my understanding that John the owner has something terrifying planned for the audience,’ Darryl noted. ‘John has been a fixture in Eldorado ever since I can remember,’ Neva J. said. ‘And the funny thing about John is my mom remembers him when she was a girl…and that was a long time ago…and she says that he has not changed and that he ran the Orpheum during World War II,’ Chet said in a hushed voice. ‘I don’t know about John but his wife is a bit like a mummy…stiff and expressionless,’ Jane said with conviction.
‘The Casino Theatre was opened in 1909. By 1912 it was operated by the Turner-Farrer chain. It was badly damaged by a fire on April 6, 1927. It was rebuilt and reopened as the 600-seat Orpheum Theatre. It was still operated by the Turner-Farrar chain in the 1950s. The building still stands and now houses a plumbing supply business.’
‘Welcome to the Casino Theatre,’…John announced to the packed Theatre audience. ‘It is a fine April evening in the year of our Lord…1927…I hope that tonight’s Flick…does not get too hot for you…
Lately, I have been listening to an Apple TV show. You are correct if you read that I have been listening as the nine short programs are audio with some visual cues. When I read about it I thought I would soon be bored…but I am enthralled. What is absent visually…is made up in the viewers’ minds and it is a unique auditory experience. It is a sensory-altering experiment between time and space.
‘Are you excited about our Halloween Adventure that begins Saturday, October 1st,’ Billy B. asked Chet when he telephoned him. ‘Yes…after we discovered the Diseapearing Tree and visited Elder-Reado and Ichabod B…I wonder what will happen next,’ Billy B. continued.
‘Well, I still like the idea of our dressing in our Halloween costumes and enjoying the Special showing of The Creature from the Black Lagoon on Saturday…and you must be sure to wear your Lost In Space Robot Costume and I will have on cousin Genes’ Creature mask and hands,’ Billy B continued. ‘What do you mean our experience with the Diseapering Tree and Ichabod B…what Tree and I have never heard of Ichabod B.,’ Chet inquired. ‘October 1, 1963, was 59 years ago…when we were kids,’ Chet asked with some trepidation in his voice. ‘We both are having our Medicare Birthday…we turn 65 on the 24th of October…have you taken your meds this morning,’ Chet went on in a quizzical and confused voice. Billy B. said something but it was inaudible. ‘Billy B. where are you…I can not make out what you are saying on my iPhone,’ Chet asked. ‘What Halloween adventure are you speaking of…
‘I am on my way to your house…Chet,’ Billy B. said. ‘My childhood home was torn down in the 70s’…I live in Magnolia Manor…what year do you think it is…, Chet pleaded. ‘Well it is September 28, 1963, answered Billy B.
‘Hello…hello…hello…Jane are you there,’ Billy B. said in a furtive voice. ‘Why yes…Billy B…I loved your photos of Maine that you snapped on your Holiday a few days ago, Jane said with a voice older than her grade school years. ‘I can’t seem to make sense of something that Chet just told me…he said that he lived in the Magnolia Manner and that he and I were going to have our Medicare Birthday on the 24th of October,’ Billy B. said in little more than a whisper. ‘Indeed it has come to all of us from the Class of 75’ Jane said with a laugh. ‘Are we still on for the visit to Chet and the Halloween Party for him and the other residents of Magnolia Manor…
The air is crisp this morning. October is on its way. Pumpkin Spice Coffe is in the cup and all is right with the world. Mylo is going to his grooming appointment at 11:30 and then will be the glamor shots. I think that we search for the feeling of home and the feeling of place and the warmth of our familiar home…wherever we travel. When we obtain that wondrous feeling…we mark our Holiday with the highest of praise…’We felt like we were home.’ Some people make us feel as if we are home. They seem to carry home with them. When you are in their presence…you know that you are alright with them…you are ‘Tops’ with them.
Mrs. Bramlet called Billy B.s’ name for him to come forward and give his speech. It was Speech 101 at Eldorado High School and Billy B. was terrified. He had never enjoyed speaking publicly but had received some accolades for verbal book reports when he was in grade school…both from the teacher as well as his fellow classmates. As Billy B. began to speak…after the first sentence…he was in an element that he knew not from whence it came… The audience was listening to his every word and laughed at the funny parts of the discourse. When Billy B. sat down they clapped and Mrs. B. said that was the finest first speech of Speech 101 that she had ever heard. When Billy B. was with Mrs. Bramlet he felt at home.
Restlessness is not solved by getting less rest. Traveling the globe will not provide what a person is missing…when the missing component is within them.
Rosie was a loner in Eldorado. Her wardrobe consisted of varying colors of a dress worn in the 60s’ called a Moo Moo. She had lost her husband and she idolized President John F. Kennedy. She talked to herself a bit…as more often than not there was no one else to speak with. When people saw her on the street…they crossed over to the other side. Neva J. saw a diamond when she saw Rosie. She took her to the store and to the Orpheum Theatre to see her favorite actor John Wayne. Rosie enjoyed many meals with Neva J. and Billy B. Rosies’ teeth had rotted and Neva J. took her to the dentist and paid the bill for her teeth to be pulled and replaced with a new set of false teeth. Rosie soon began to shop at Muckleys Ben Franklin Dime Store and purchase some modern fashions from P.N. Hirsch and attend church with Neva J.
Neva J. was Home…for Rosie…
I have been reflecting on the great good that I witness people do…and who are more often than not neither recognized nor hear the words thank you…but rather get a kick in the teeth for their Christian efforts. I have experienced this on more than one occasion and it left me confused and sad and wondering what I could have done differently. Yet these precious human beings keep trying to do good and help their fellow women and men. It is not difficult for me to understand the statement that no good deed goes unpunished. After all…Christ was crucified by the same people that he came to help and bless and feed and clothe. Servants/leaders are angels among us.
The first of my favorite months is almost over…before it started. With our magnificent trip to Maine coming in the heart of this month…it has left missing time. However, October brings my birthday…and I relish my birthday. Since I have become a senior citizen I am proud and humbled to attain another year on the calendar. I remember the happy Halloweens of my youth and the fact of they make for a good jumping-off point for many fictional stories.
Harmony and peace are a bit discounted in our frenetic society. When I am away from our peaceful home where I have a distinct sense of place…I miss it…I am glad to return to it and reflect on the Holiday that I have just enjoyed. I have heard people speak of endeavoring to be comfortable in their own skin. This is a blessing that I have enjoyed for the majority of my life. I do not look to others for approval of who I am…I do not seek to fit in where I do not fit.
Kind words as the Bible says are like, ‘Apples of gold in pictures of silver.’ Administrators and managers and supervisors would do well to learn this lesson. Most of us perform to the level that we feel appreciated.
Everything comes from within. Both bitter water and sweet. It is easy to have eyes full and to be never satisfied. When we look to another to do our thinking for us…or to ‘Ape’ their behavior…or when we fashion them our ‘Golden Calf’ to worship and adore and to provide for us our inner happiness…we are saddened when we sought after results that do not come to pass. Neither preachers, politicians, or potentates…will ever provide the compass for your life that you already have waiting within you and ready to be used…
We just can not get enough of Maine. MJ is already looking at an Air B&B for next year in September. Maine scratches us where we itch. We have grown increasingly fond of the little town of Wiscasset. It merited a second trip last week for additional shopping and sightseeing.
My friend, Debbie, tells me that Red’s has the best Lobster Rolls…Ever…and I must return to try one. It was closed at the time of the photo…but it customarily has a long serpentine line around it and down the street. Next September…I will wait for my Lobster Roll!
Stepping into Wiscasset is like stepping into a town of yesteryear. The quaint beauty of the place is charming. It has an atmosphere of home and hearth. There is a sense of place that is comforting and consoling for the weary soul.
Often I do not realize how much I have enjoyed a Holiday Destination until I have returned home and reflected on the experience. Maine beckons to us and we must go. Next September Marcy and Brock will join us…and we will show them our second home…
Billy B. had been working on his model of Frankenstein all morning. There were so many parts to glue together and then came the intricate work of painting the figure. Billy B. loved to go to Muckley’s Ben Franklin Dime Store in Eldorado and purchase a Monster Model…which was next to the models of cars. He had a; Dracula model and a Wolfman and a model of The Creature From The Black Lagoon. He was not interested in models of cars…but he did enjoy monster movies.
Orpheum Theatre was having a special showing of The Creature From The Black Lagoon. It was going to be on Saturday, October 1st. Billy B. and Chet had a plan to attend the movie. Billy B. with his cousin Genes’ Creature From the Black Lagoon Mask and hands. Chet would wear his Robot Costume that depicted the Robot from the popular television show Lost In Space. Jane was going as Lois Lane and Darryl as Superman. After the movie there was a promise of plastic pumpkin containers…the kind that was good for collecting Halloween Treats…and they were to be filled with Halloween Goodies…a month early. The October 1st special movie showing of the Creature Feature was in conjunction with a special weekend Fall Celebration that Eldorado was conducting for the good citizens of the City of Gold…
Neva J. had set up a little stand where she was selling her famous Coffee Cake…as well as Merlot by the glass. The stand was under Eldorados’ oldest tree and was said to be the tree where Ichabod B. had climbed to the top…to impress his girlfriend…and never came down… The Tree was considered haunted.
The Disappearing Tree had a lengthy legend that stretched back to the founding of the town by Judge Samuel Elder and Joseph Read and Eldorado was originally called Elder-Reado. Eldorado was incorporated in 1870. Several Eldoradoians had disappeared throughout the years at the Disappearing Tree. Ichabod B.s’ son Jedidiah B…who was Billy B.s’ great great great grandfather…had disappeared when he climbed the Disappearing Tree calling out his father’s name…and some say that late at night when the moon is full…you can still hear him calling.
‘How was the movie,’ Neva J. asked. ‘It was very nice and the auditorium was full,’ Chet answered. ‘Have you ever climbed the Disappearing Tree,’ Jane asked Neva J. ‘I climbed halfway up and fell asleep on a big branch…like I had been drugged…when I woke up it was dark and I shinned back down the Tree and ran all the way home,’ Neva J. answered.
‘Lets’ climb the Diseapearing Tree,’ Darryl announced. ‘I am ready as soon as I get out of my Lost In Space Robot Costume,’ Chet said. ‘Come on up…I am halfway to the top,’ called out Billy B. ‘Wait for me and Neva J.,’ Jane yelled as they left the Coffee Cake and Merlot Stand and began to climb.
‘Welcome to you all…we have been wondering if anyone would climb our Old Tree,’ Ichabod said to Billy B. and Chet and Darryl and Jane and Neva J. ‘How do you like Elder-Reado,’ Jedidiah asked the group. ‘You mean you have been in your own time and Eldorado when it began…while we are at the base of the tree and in the future,’ Chet asked with a wink and a smile. ‘Well…we have not thought of a better explanation for the anomaly than that, laughed Ichabod. ‘Once a month I climb down the Diseapearing Tree and see how Elder-Reado…or as you call it…Eldorado is progressing…and then I make my way back up The Great Tree to share what I have learned with our little towns’ inhabitants,’ Ichabod continued. ‘I often think of our Tree as a stairway to heaven…if you accept that heaven is set by what is important to the experience of it,’ Jedidiah added.
At the base of the Disappearing Tree it was quiet in Eldorado…a Bedroom Community…but at the top of the Tree there was building and commerce and horses and buggies…and nothing but a bright hope and vision for the future of the little village…
The Railroad Man Statue was peering down on two old men commiserating about how it used to be. I was sitting for a bit before walking down to Electric Larrys Emporium when a gentleman called out to me and said, ‘That Old Guy is about your and my age!’ My new friend was speaking of the Railroad Man Statue. He then proceeded to roll up on his motorized cart and we…chewed the fat…as the old folks said when I was a child. He mentioned that he had spent $200 at the Farmers’ Market and had purchased 25 glass jars to can the items that he had bought…but that he still did not have enough jars. He then said that he had a slug in his spine and that is why he could not walk. When I asked him where he had been shot he said Afghanistan. My buddy then reached into his brown paper bag that was between his feet and pulled me out a Budweiser. He had already begun drinking his. He told me that he was 60 and I replied that next month I would be 65.
Laugh I do…when young people speak to me slowly and with some concern as to my cognitive abilities. I wonder if it is because of the grey hair and beard…or is it the clear glasses…that I love. I hope that it is not because of my speech betrayeth me…
Pastor Kerry spoke eloquently regarding the marginalization of the poor. Easy it is to travel by on the other side of the street when we see someone who is in need. Money and resources and comfort are deceiving.
I have been desperately poor during my early years. I know what it feels like to be food insecure. I remember what it was like for people to look the other way when they saw me…and to be thought of as lesser than…
‘My friend said that there was one thing that he knew…and that was God loves everyone… I replied that I believed it…He said, ‘I know it…’
Billie Holiday sang that chilling lyric that encapsulates what it feels like to be marginalized…’You can help yourself…but don’t take too much…’
‘Pope Gregory III established All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day, a day to honor all saints of the church that have attained heaven. ‘The evening before All Saints’ Day became a holy, or hallowed, eve and thus Halloween,’ according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
‘This Halloween is going to be the best,’ Billy B. enthusiastically announced. ‘Why would that be the case,’ Chet asked crookedly. ‘This year we are going to have our Halloween Party in Wolf Creek Cemetery,’ Billy B. answered. ‘That may be difficult to do with the Sexton guarding the cemetery all night,’ Jane postulated. ‘Yes, but I know his secret…he likes Merlot…and Neva J. has more than enough to place him ‘In His Cups,’ Billy B. noted as he rubbed his hands together as if washing them. ‘Samuel the Sexton does not begin his shift until 11:00 P:M:…perhaps we could slip in and hide behind some of the larger Tombstones,’ Darryl suggested. ‘That would work if Samuel arrives at his appointed shift starting time…but he has a habit of walking among the graves and stopping to talk with each one…as if they could hear him,’ Neva J. advised.
‘Good to see you again Samuel…how is business,’ Neva J. asked as she entered his little Sexton House. ‘Dead is what I usually tell people when they ask me that question…but it really never is for me…as I am friends with everyone who is resting at Wolf Creek,’ Samuel the Sexton said with a peaceful look in his eyes. ‘What brings you to the cemetery…Sis…,’ Samuel asked. Samuel was Neva J.s’ brother. ‘Well, I brought you and me some Merlot…since it is Hallows Eve and I knew that you would be thinking about Mom…as I am…perhaps we can drink it by her Tombstone,’ Neva J. asked. ‘Oh my goodness…I would love that…Mom will be so happy to see you…she asked about you last night when I spoke with her,’ Sam said. ‘You mean you spoke to your and Neva J.s’ Mom last night, Chet asked with great interest. ‘Indeed I did…she is fine fettle and as feisty as ever,’ Sam replied. ‘My Dad is buried here…could I speak with him, Jane asked with tears in her eyes. ‘Of course,
you may…your Dad helps me to ensure that everyone is back at their Tombstone before the sun rises each morning, Sam laughed.
‘Come and give your Mom a hug…Neva J…my how I have missed you,’ Grace said. ‘Jane, I swear you have grown a foot since we last visited, Janes’ Dad said. ‘How is it that each of you seems as alive as ever…and yet we never see you,’ Billy B. asked with astonishment. ‘We are all alive but have transitioned to another dimension…or as the Bible says…’ In my house are many mansions…,’ Grace answered. ‘Often we are right beside you…you have no doubt felt our presence…especially when you are missing us the most…or are in trouble or when you are sad,’ Janes’ Dad said with a kind smile. ‘Grace…do you mean that all humanity transitions…or is it just the good people,’ Darryl asked. ‘The Creator made us all…and he is very patient, ‘Grace replied.
‘Tomorrow…Halloween…we are coming to town…in human bodies…and we will embrace our families and we will as sit down at a large banquet table in the middle of Eldorado and tell tales and swap stories and reflect on our shared Secret…we have discovered the Secret…and now we will let you in on it,’ Grace clapped her hands with joy…
Day Two at the Woods. Giant City State Park has a lot of exploring to be done. The leaves are changing and falling. I am sitting on the Writing Porch and it is a cool 67 degrees. Earlier this week our temperature hit 100. We planned our Maine Holiday for a year…and now we are returned with our memories. Mylo is happy to see us. At this time of year…12 years ago I was eagerly anticipating my imminent retirement from Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. I did not know what lay in store for me…but I knew that it would be a bit different than what I had been accustomed to.
At times we go about as if we are lords of the universe when in reality we are made up of the same components that comprise our earth and our home. We are unique creatures that can philosophically analyze our surroundings while we are at the same time made up of the same ‘stuff’ as we are pontificating on. In the Woods, I see the vastness of nature and our temporary lease on a great property. We march and strut and preen and demonstrate our pride of place…all the while nature and the animal kingdom and the Creator…watch with a benevolent sideways grin.
The Ocean sees our family of man and remembers our ancestors and their ancestors and when we first began… We choose one leader or another and become excited and enthused and ecstatic…only to see them grow old and go down to our earthly resting place.
Points are for proving! Arguments are for winning. We want to be winners…and not losers… And the clock ticks…and the sundial moves as the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Fall has come and the leaves will turn brown and return to the earth…and then winter snow will lay upon the fallen leaves…and then spring will bring new green leaves and shoots of grass and the singing of birds…’And the sound of the turtledove will be heard in our land.’
The Woods called my name on this first day of fall. We returned from Maine Tuesday and Wednesday it was 100 degrees in Little Egypt. However today it is much more seasonal and the leaves are beginning to turn colors and some are falling. I thought of Emily and what a wonderful person she is. She visited Jonathon both last year and on our current Maine Holiday. Emily enhances our Maine Experience and she is a great friend.
‘If you missed the train I’m on you will know that I am gone. You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.
hundred miles, a hundred miles. A hundred miles, a hundred miles. You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.
Lord, I’m one, Lord I’m two, Lord I’m three, Lord I’m four. Lord, I’m five hundred miles away from home.
Away from home, away from home, away from home, away from home. Lord, I’m five hundred miles away from home.
Not a shirt on my back, not a penny to my name, Lord I can’t go back home this ole way
This ole way, this ole way, this ole way, this ole way. Lord, I can’t go back home this ole way.
If you missed the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone. You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.’
When I hear the lovely words of this song…I can relate. We all feel alone at times and we suffer and we are afraid and we long for our home. Thoughtless actions by our friends can make us feel five hundred miles away from home.
So my favorite time of year is here…and I am home. I wonder how my brothers and sisters of my human family…feel alone and five hundred miles away from home…without a shirt on their back or a penny to their name. I wonder how many of them want to come home…’ but they, ‘Can’t go back home this ole way.’