Monday, October 12

"Evening Fellers"

It was around 1950 and I was in High School. Everyone was wondering what they were going to dress up as to go here and there for Halloween. Hazard's Main Street always was the place to go and see everyone. Honestly, it reminded me of the Easter Parade on 5th Avenue. Well, I was determined to really have a good one lined up for this one. Mom dressed up like an old Hobo, Dad was dressed up like a fine young lady, and me, well, I had to hide to get myself ready for my surprise.

My good friend and I were hatching up an idea that had been circling in our brains for a day or two and we figured Halloween would be the night to carry this plot out. You see, her Dad had been visiting The Wheel that sat on the corner of Main Street, an eyesore for the community, most would say, and my Dad had admonished me, "don't you walk by that place, cross the street, and when you get by that honky-tonk then you can recross and continue on your way." Well, I didn't listen to him at all and I was determined to show him how wrong he was about just walking by this place of business. So, I did, and guess what, a fight had commenced inside and it sounded like all Hell had broken loose. My heart raced and I started to cross the street and as I did someone inside threw a pepper shaker at someone leaving and it hit me square in the head. After a long I told you so conversation I promised never to pass that place again.

I did not, always crossed over by Ishmael Stacy's Gas Station, but the more I thought of this place and the things I had heard about its reputation, the more I was intrigued by it all. In talking with my friend, she and I decided to dress up that night and try our hand at getting inside this awful place of ill repute. We were just teens, "skeered" stiff really, but wanting to see what there was about this place that made it bear the name of a place of ill repute. We knew we had to look much older and decided we could not do that as girls so we dressed up like two old men, ragged but clean old men, with pipes, mustaches, the works, along with two hats that I slipped out of the house belonging to Uncle Matt. We looked good, and passed the test when we walked down our street and were greeted with "Evening fellers".

Off to The Wheel we went. Needless to say things were abuzzing inside, and we were lucky because the smoke filled room gave us a good curtain to pull off getting in and out without any trouble. We sat down at a booth near the door so we could run and the waitress came and took our order, two root beers with lots of ice. Looking at us with a funny frown, she headed to get our order. She walked right up to this nice looking dude, who looked like he had just stepped out of a magazine, got a little too close for my friend because, you see, that was her Pop. She was telling him something because she pointed at us and we knew something was in the air. My friend was ready to high tale it out the door when guess what???? Coming through that door was my Mom and Pop dressed as I stated above. The smoke was like a thick fog coming in off of the ocean, and we could tell they were looking for someone because this was not the place they would be either. I heard my mother in a deep voice that she could do, "Lookin' fer two teens who are out of place in this establishment, have you seen anyone like that?" They didn't get the chance to find us because on a whiff of the smoke we got lost in the haze and made it to the door. Both of us considered ourselves very lucky because we would have gotten a good whomping for entering this "evil place".

This is not all. We were standing down the street toward Reda's Grocery and I saw my half sister who was working at the A & P coming down the street. She was going to catch the train for her ride home to Jeff. My Mom and Pop siddled up to her and my Mom put her arm around her and said, "How about a date, you good looking thing?" My sister who had no idea who this was hauled off and belted my Mom knocking her back and Pop caught her. What a surprise when my half-sister discovered that she had just knocked her Mom out, almost anyhow. Apologies brought tears and then tears turned to laughter and that Halloween night went down in history for us. Now, where could this have happened but in Hazard Ky on a cold October Halloween night?

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