A trip downtown for me in the 60’s and 70’s era meant the following. I would stop in at the two dimes stores. I especially liked the Ben Franklin store. The second dime store was Cadiz Five and Dime. Then it was on to the Rexall Drug Store where I loved sitting at the counter and drinking a chocolate milkshake. After the shake, if mom was along, and I sure she would have been if I was downtown, we would probably go by Wilkinson’s and Streets’ Department stores. I usually had to try on some clothes when I entered those establishments. Then one of my favorite stops was the Western Auto store run by James Guess. The shelves there always had a few sporting goods and hunting and fishing equipment. Mr. Guess also used to keep his fake pet mongoose in a cage inside the store. There wasn’t much he loved more than playing a little practical joke on some of his customers with his “pet mongoose”. As he would have them lean over and peer into the cage, he would yank a rope and the fake mongoose would leap out of the cage. Ask Jimmy Hart or Steve Guess, former Western Auto Employees about the mongoose. Steve also says that any time a good looking woman entered the store the first employee to see her would yell code 2 and what department she was in. All this sophisticated alert system was done without the aid of any intercom. One of the young employees Sammy Thomas, Scott P’Pool, Steve or Jimmy would simply yell out “we have a code 2 in bicycles.” With that announcement there would be suddenly be plenty of employee assistance in bicycles.
Later on as I reached high school age I really enjoyed eating a hamburger at the Stewarts Café downtown. My senior year several of us basketball players got out of school at 12:30. We would go by Stewarts for lunch and then head to practice. I may have even shot a couple of games of pool at the pool room downtown even though I had this uneasy feeling the whole time as if I was someplace I shouldn’t have been.
Downtown also meant the Burke Thomas tractor company, the Ford Motor Company and the old style courthouse with the benches outside always occupied by old guys swapping stories.
Moving out of downtown memory wise so to speak, I recall many eating establishments that are no longer around. Anybody out there ever have a meal at the White Eagle which begat the Barkley House which begat the Port-O-Call? How about Thomas Roost? I fondly remember the Roost before it became the Pizza Barn. Oh yeah, back to downtown for a moment how could I forget the Snack Shack run by Ms. Akemon? At the site of what is now Main Street Liquors we had the Wildcat Den, the Burger Haus which was German for House and then Dairy Queen. Head to the east and you could grab a meal at Farmer Boy. Head to the west and Pete Light Springs was the restaurant of choice.
When it comes to missing things I also miss some of the country stores that are no longer there. Places like Towlers Grocery, Hawkeye Corner, Caledonia Store, O.C. Dyers, Wilson’s Market, Groeninger’s Country Store in Linton, The Store at Roaring Springs run by the Wyatt family. I am pretty sure I have had a bologna sandwich from al of them.
There are lots of things that used to be in Cadiz that are no longer around. Young people probably wouldn’t believe that there was once a movie theater downtown. There was also a roller rink for a couple of years just past what is now Ferrells. It had a wooden floor. I acquired a couple of bruises there unsuccessfully trying to impress a girl I am sure.
As I said, this column was just a snapshot in time. Other and older folks remember back to the icehouse, more car dealerships, grocery stores, the mill and so forth. I just wanted to take you back to some of my memories. Hope you enjoyed them.
Next week I hope to bring you some recollections from a couple of veteran Baptist preachers.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.