Thursday, 27 June 2013

Liberty Falls (Parts One and Two)

Liberty Falls (how we got there)

You tell me why they called him Curly 'cause I'm sure I don’t know – anyhoo, me and ‘Curly’ decided that the Wild West was waiting on us and that was where we were headed.

He’d built the motor-home over a couple of winters when we’d been stuck ‘cause of the snow. It had really started out as something to make us all smile and jeez if it didn’t end up as an actual motor-home that you could drive and all.

The first time we took the darned thing out for a drive to see if the wheels would fall off, the cops stopped us twice. Second time they just said ‘you again’ and they left us alone after that.

We could get a distance of about fifty miles with a full tank of gas but sometimes we had to get out and push. We decided to call her the Corndog and she was christened with a well past its date bottle of cola.

So there was Curly, Corndog and me and we pointed the motor-home out in the direction of the setting sun.

It was sure cold at night and there was a lot of howling from the dogs on the prairies but apart from that, it was the smartest little home this side of the Smoky Mountains.

Curly drew a line with a pen that took us from where we were to where we were going – which happened to be Albuquerque. I wanted to go to El Paso but Curly won the game of cards and we were going where he had decided.

The big problem was that the line crossed mountains and rivers and places where roads didn’t necessarily go, but still an adventure is an adventure and that was what we were on.

We each took turns at driving, although Corndog was more likely to go where it wanted -  rather than you guiding the thing. The steering wheel was really just there as a suggestion than anything else.

The first time we stopped for more than a couple of hours was in the little village of Sudsville ( I kid you not). I asked the lady, who ran the grocery store, where they got the name of Sudsville, and she took a deep breath, making me move in to hear something spectacular and that was when she said ‘why don’t you outsiders just mind your own beeswax’.

Never did get to the bottom of it but we stayed there for two days, almost put down roots. And if it hadn’t been for Curly’s loud midnight snoring we might not have been run out of town and coulda been there to this day.
Still if it had been meant we would have known about it.

The next town was really a few houses and a café and it was called Liberty Falls. I have to tell you right here and now that I fell in love with the place the moment we drove old Corndog into the middle of town.

Liberty Falls is one of those places you read about and dream of finding and darn it, if we didn’t just run into the best place I have ever been.

Everyone was friendly and said ‘howdee’ and everyone wore a cowboy hat, and the men took their hats off for the ladies and said things like ‘mornin’ mam’ and the ladies all giggled and stuff.

After a spell of rain I saw one man from Liberty Falls take off his coat and spread it across a pool of water so that a lady wouldn’t get her feet wet. Just like in the movies. 

Talking of which - and this is where our story really starts - Curly suggested that we stayed for a while and I wasn’t one to say no. The problem was we needed a way to make some money and that was when Curly suggested that we turn Corndog into a small movie theatre.

If we put all our stuff outside we could get 6 seats in there and a white sheet as a screen and we could charge maybe 50 cents a pop.Our problem was where to get a projector and some movies and that was where the Mayor of Liberty Falls helped us out.

He was an old movie fan and his basement was full of real old movies and his Daddy had left a projector out in the barn. With a little bit of spit and polish we had our first movie showing on the last Friday of the month.
Problem was it proved to be too darn popular and they were queuing up outside the door.Curly said he’d wished he’d made them tickets 75 cents instead and I heard him shout ‘darn’.

But I gotta go and make the popcorn for them movie folks, so I'll write some more tomorrow. 
Take care from Curly, Corndog and Me.

Liberty Falls (and why we stayed) 

One morning, I stretched my arms almost up to heaven with the biggest son-of-my-gun yawn this side of the delta. We had been showing movies late into the night and I was dog gone tired.  Anyhoo, as I’m stretching I look across and there’s Curly and the Mayor in what I’d call secret looking talks.

After he’d finished with the Mayor, he moseyed over to where me and Corndog were waiting, and Curly had the stupidest smile on his face (I mean more than usual).
“Spill ,” I said to him straight-like.
“What?” He says all innocent-like.
“What ya mean, ‘what’?  I mean what?”  I tells him firmly.

Curly had been mighty frisky lately on account that he was courtin’ the sheriff’s daughter, by the name of Eileen (that was the daughter’s name not the sheriff’s). These days he had a grin on his face from sun up to last thing at night (I wouldn’t be surprised if Curly had said to me that we weren’t going any further cause he’d found the woman he wanted to marry, but he hadn’t said no such thing, as yet).

I twisted Curly’s ear to get some kinda answer from him and can I just tell you folks at home, not to follow my example, ‘cause twisting ears can lead to all sorts of problems  - it ain’t to be recommended. No way. My great grandmother twisted my great uncle’s ear and it fell off, or so the story goes in our family; ‘One-Eared Jacky’ he was known as, until the day he died (when a truck coming from his non-ear side flattened him good and proper  – never heard it, didn’t stand a chance). So don’t go messing with any ears, is all I’m saying.
“Okay, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell,” howled Curly and I let go of his ear. “The Mayor wants to know if we want a copy of ‘Gone With The Wind’. Says he arrested a kid a while back with all sorts of movies in his basement. And we can have it for nothing.”
“So what’s the catch?” I ask him ready to twist his ear again.

“No catch, apparently this is the original film and it’s six hours long. He suggested…”
“Who suggested?” I ask, kind of dubious, like.
“The Mayor……..,” and right there I could see the two of them had been cookin’ up somethin’ between themselves.
“You think, me and the Mayor have been cooking something up between us? Don’t you?”  Said Curly straight at me.
“No,” I lied. “I trust you.”
“Well we kinda did,” he confessed. “But it ain’t bad. He suggested that we show two hours a night of the movie. You know, in three parts. Folks who see the first bit will want to come back. So we charge them a buck a time, 75 cents for us and 25 cents for the Mayor. Three bucks to see the whole movie.”

Three bucks!“ I yelled, real high like.
So Curly says that folks don’t need to see it three nights in a row, that we could show parts 1,2 and 3 at different times over the next few weeks and people could pick and choose when they came to see the movie.
You’d think that would be simple enough, wouldn’t you? What the heck could go wrong?

Well let me state right here and now, that part one of Gone With The Wind was a triumph. Folks loved it. They were crying and laughing and crying and hollering and we showed it three times in the one night.
The problem started when we showed parts two and three. You see some folks saw the three parts real quick, where as others wanted to take their time and see it over a few weeks.

And that’s when the blackmailing started.
Apparently Jake Windsor got up in church on the first Sunday after he’d seen all three parts of the movie and swore to God, that if they didn’t give him the contents of the collection tray, he would tell the rest of the congregation the end of the movie – so help him God.
Well Pastor Fisher didn’t want to know the end and insisted the collection was turned over to Jake.
People in bars started demanding money with threats - that if they weren’t bought a beer they’d tell what happened in parts 2 or 3 (delete where applicable).
Anyhoo, the sheriff suggested that we show the whole movie every night until everyone in town and those out on the Lost Prairies had seen the whole movie, fair and square.

That seemed to work okay and we all got our money. Jake Windsor was sentenced to sit through the whole movie night after night until he got sick of it. Except he didn’t, he used to follow people to the washroom and then threaten them that if they didn’t give him a buck, he’d tell them the end.

Sometimes it’s hard to win with some folks.
Frankly my dear...…… :-)

bobby stevenson 2013

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