History according to Ken

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By Ken Stone

My new bald head has revived people’s interest in me and from where I sprang unto this earth.

I grew up in middle America on the only expanse of land that no one else ever wanted.  Early settlers never fought a fight with the native Indians to gain the land. It is said that the Indian Chief Horsemuscle gave General Harrison some necklaces to take the land where my hometown sits.

Where my hometown sits lacks, back then, the beauty of forests and water and wildlife. (They had a pool until President Roosevelt stole it – it was made of copper). The town lacked so much that shiny rocks that fell from the hooves of horses and then the treads of passing cars often became the subject of admiration and awe. The shinier and rounder the rock the farther throughout the community its fame would grow.  

The first time someone saw a tiger’s eye marble school was canceled, the Daughters of the American Plumbers canceled their luncheon and an impromptu parade ushered the orb to the local history museum located in the glass case below the cash register at the Le Neapolitan Café and Showers.

The main street of my hometown was named after Augustus Another.  Local historians said that if the street had not been named for Another then it would have been called Crapavenue after Lt. Col. Forthright Crapavenue.

Just 11 minutes after the meeting that decided the street name, Crapavenue killed Another by what the local newspaper called, “a misuse of a green vegetable.”

Many claim that this was the beginning of the traditional Green Vegetable Festival which is ironic because vegetables just won’t grow within miles of the town.

At the beginning of the downtown block of buildings is the opposite end of the block at the other end.  This street isn’t what a normal person would call straight but it isn’t quite not straight either. There is no real name for this phenomenon so the locals just ignore any reference made about it.

If you begin on the north side of the eastward corner and walk as straight as you are forced to incline, you will find restaurant row.  These are the restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner, club meetings, banquets, proposals, receptions and other things that require food and space.

Restaurant row only has two restaurants.  Le Neapolitan Café and Showers is loosely based upon the truck stop idea where truckers stop, eat, sleep, shower, shop, fill-up with fuel and move on down the road to never take the detour again.

But, because the restaurant is popular with the locals, there isn’t any room for big trucks, there isn’t any shopping except for a key chain or John Deere commemorative knife, there isn’t any sleeping unless you are in a booth when they are not busy, and there isn’t any gas unless chef Doug whips up crab and bean cakes.

Showering…most definitely, along with a hearty lunch.  There are four stalls and usually a 25 minute wait. When I was a boy, a shower stall was always reserved, every Friday at 4:30 p.m., for the mayor.  It saved her valuable time after working in the city building before going to her stripper job across the county line at the Last Chance Grill and Eisenhower Approved Used Car Sales Emporium.

I’ll get back to the mayor after I finish my introduction to the Le Neapolitan Café.  

Regardless of what you ordered, you always received a slab of Neapolitan ice cream on the side.  If you asked that no Neapolitan be on the side, your attention was directed to a hand scrawled sign behind the cash register. The sign read, “This ain’t no Booger King and YOU don’t get it your way! The management.”

The mayor’s extra job was more about city budget concerns than a second income.  The mayor and councilmen gained valuable information that they used to make night raids into surrounding counties for the purpose of obtaining road salt and an occasional backhoe, without the outlay of tax payer’s money.

This was my young world.

(Ken Stone is the publisher of the Grant County News. He may be reached at kstone@grantky.com.)