Billy B. thought about age. It creeps up on you in the night while you are sleeping. It lines your face and greys your hair while you have the best of times and think of everything else but age. You walked two miles than four and more and thought little of it. Neva J. made Billy B. bacon for bacon sandwiches before he went to eighth grade and high school. That is about the time he began drinking strong coffee. She made it at 5:00 am and by the time Billy B. poured the first cup…the coffee could walk to school with him. Billy B. had a little black and white television in his bedroom. You could plug earphones into it and listen late into the night…until the test pattern came on…that is. He felt like the master of the universe as he sat in bed and watched Johnny Carson and no one else could hear.
Billy B. had a little pool table. It came from, Western Auto and was a Christmas gift. There were little pool cues and even chalk. He just could set it up in his bedroom and with the Billiards game progressing and the black and white TV playing…well think of Frank Costanza and Kramer on Seinfeld.
Winter was movie time at the Orpheum Theatre. But then again…all seasons of the year were movie time at the Orpheum. Billy B. and Chet sat through three showings of Barbarella with Jane Fonda…they were Sci-Fi fans. The Show was the biggest game in town. There was The Show and Dairy Queen and later Billy B. discovered Billard Hall. Dennis W. introduced him to the Pool Hall. The Pool Hall had a lot of men and some women who were busy smoking and the smell of liquor was in the air…although Eldorado was a Dry Town. Flasks I assume. Billy B. warmed to the idea of playing pool on a full-size table. Often he and Dennis W. would visit the Billard Palace after sharing a pack of Marlboro cigarettes that they purchased at the Dairy Queen. The Marlboro’s came with twenty cigarettes to the pack and that equaled ten each for the almost men. They were secret smokers and thus they walked down the railroad track and feverishly and furtively smoked the cigarettes as fast as they could puff. It looked a bit like the smoke that was coming from the locomotive that was barrelling towards them on the track…and they were cavalierly on the train trestle. Now the Train Tressel was about twenty feet above the ground and it was much too far to jump. So they ran and puffed and ran some more. Finally, they looked behind them and discovered that the Locomotive had taken a side track and they were not in danger. Talk about something that will make you want to shoot pool! The stories that were swapped that day at the Billard House were extraordinary…and some of them were true…
Lanny W. mentioned that Billy B. and Chet and Dennis his brother should visit the Spillway. Now Billy B. was accustomed to swimming at Pounds Hollow every summer but this was only spring and still a bit chilly. Lanny W. said that it would be exciting and that he would bring some Peppermint Schnapps that was left over from Christmas. Chet said let’s do it and so they did. Lanny W. was older than the rest of the explorers and had his own car. They drove out to the Spillway which was hidden in some woods. The Schnapps tasted like a peppermint stick. Billy B. and Chet kept sipping from the colorful bottle. The more that they sipped the better that they felt. It seemed that they had a revelation regarding the adult world and its’ mystery. They considered that they too would be driving soon and life was beckoning them to adventure. There was the Spillway and Billy B. lept from the car with a mouthful of Peppermint Bliss and started to scale the glass slick stone wall of the waterfall. He was kissing the wet stone before he realized that he had fallen and his upper lip was split open…and he has the scar to this day.