Day By Day

The abundance of rain yesterday has provided waterfalls in the Giant City Creeks. I can literally sit and watch the water cascading over the old sandstone rocks and hear its music for hours. A simple life is a beautiful life. The more I look…the more I see. Living in the moment is a powerful illumination of our miracle.

‘We need to help our town,’ Billy B. mused as he drank the dark and rich coffee from the electric percolator. ‘Eldorado is a gift and often I either do not see its potential or I choose to ignore it,’ he continued. ‘We could start with re-erecting the sign at the entrance of Eldorado that said, ‘Home of 5,000 friendly people and One Ole Sore Head,’ Chet suggested. ‘I have always believed that we should embrace our roots and not try to be Carbondale or Champaign but taut our lustrous heritage, Jane offered. ‘We have a rich history of Coal Mining and our Eldorado High School sports teams are renown,’ Neva J. mused. ‘Our education system has some of the finest teachers in Little Egypt…and our Town And Country Days are the envy of our region,’ Chet said with a smile. ‘Halloween is special in our town and there is always a mysterious event that occurs that none of us can explain,’ Daryl said. ‘I have an idea…why not have Halloween in January…somewhat like Christmas in July,’ Neva J. postulated with a wicked laugh!

The Orpheum Theatre was up for the novel idea of Halloween in July and promoted it both in the Eldorado Daily Journal as well as the Southern Illinoisian Newspapers. It soon seemed by the plethora of responses that our group received that this particular idea was welcome by many Southern Illinois residents. After all, it was original! So Saturday, January 21st was designated as the Winter Halloween Spectacular. It was a good day for the event as Winter was a third over and people wanted to get out of the house. The Orpheum was showing a triple feature of; Frankenstein and Dracula and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. At the last minute the Bride Of Frankenstein was added in place of the Creature From The Black Lagoon…to preserve continuity. There was bobbing for apples outside Muckley’s Ben Franklin Dime Store and Hot Cider…which many remembered from Christmas. The kids and adults alike broke out their Halloween Costumes that had not been in storage long. The guest of honor would be a Houdini portrayer. He was said to be almost as good as the original Houdini and many believed that it was indeed Houdini…returned from the grave.

Houdini had a stage in the Town Square and seemed oblivious to the fact that the temperature was 20 degrees. He was dressed in swim trunks and nothing else as he was lowered into a humongous bottle that was filled to the top with water…and he was lowered with both his feet and hand shackled and he was upside down. Now Houdini had spent his life debunking life after death and the charlatans who proposed the theory such as seances and other sundry methods of giving false hope to the departed’s loved ones. After his death, his wife held a yearly seance in an attempt to contact her departed husband if indeed there was life after death. He had told her that he would do his best to contact her if he could. ‘The final Houdini seance took place on October 31, 1936, on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Los Angeles, at 8:30 p.m. Bess was accompanied by her ‘manager’ (and lover) Edward Saint. The event proved unsuccessful, and at the end of the recording, Bess solemnly states, ‘Yes. Houdini did not come through.’

The Houdini portrayer struggled and wrestled with his padlocked chains and shackled legs. The crowd of five thousand gasped and some fainted as it appeared that all was lost for the poor actor…when suddenly he freed himself and fell out of the watery grave…gasping for air. There beside Houdini was an etheral figure of a little non-descript woman…smiling.

‘Bess…we did it again…’

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