Friday, August 26, 2011

return to el dorado

The following is lifted from my old tripod blog posted Friday, February 9, 2007.  I made a few edits and update.  This post definitely belongs here at Boomerville, USA. 

This is downtown Gadsden, AL the way I saw it as a kid.  I hadn't seen one of those old green city buses in ages.  This picture really takes me back.

I remember a particular trip downtown.  There was a new John Wayne movie playing at the Pitman Theater called El Dorado.  My older brother Brooky and I would make such trips together and I anticipated each one.  We were living atop Lookout Mountain at the time.  City buses would make runs from Scenic Hwy to town. 

That particular Saturday morning I remember needing money for the adventure.  Mom said I could go but expected me to earn the money.  I washed windows and vacuumed the floors as fast as I could.  I had to have enough money to pay for bus fair to and from, the movie, and some candy.  My movie candy of choice at that time was a a big Tootsie Roll.

El dorado was a great movie.  John Wayne was always bigger than life.  After the movie was over, Brook and I would always hit all of the five and dime stores up and down Broad Street.  My favorite store was Grant.  They had a huge toy section downstairs.  You'd have to decend two flights of stairs, passing the popcorn guy (Tommy Parks) half way down.

We'd hit Murphree's and McLellans too.  Gadsden Variety and Deli is where McLellan's  used to be.  That building is a time machine.   Walking across those wooden floors with the smell of popcorn in the air.  It's a hint of what Gadsden stores used to be when I was a kid.  Go there and you'll know what I mean.

Brook and I would ALWAYS check out Horace's Hobby Shop and The Little Army Store.  I LOVED The Little Army store.  You could buy all kinds of cool used stuff for playing army.  Helmet's, web belts, bayonets, dummy grenades and the like.

We'd make the day of it, walking the length of each side of the street before hopping on the green city bus back for home.  I believe that particular trip Brooky bought me a plastic yellow handled pistol (much like The Duke's) with his own money.  I took very good care of it for the longest time.  Golly gee, a gun like John Wayne's gun.  Every time El Dorado comes on I think of that trip downtown with my big brother.  Hmmm...1967...that would make Brook 15 years old.  Different world then than now.  No way would I send 15 and 9 year old boys on a trip to town alone together.
Little things mean a lot to kids.  My daughters Katie and Kelsey love trips downtown.  Katie loves for me to take the time and walk with her downtown among the city lights at night.  Christmas holiday of 2006, I parked the van and took both my little ones for a walk and took the time to pause and look at the storefront window decorations of each store.
It's nice looking back, but nicer here with a wonderful family.  Thank you God!
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