Cave Dwellings: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT…
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Thursday, August 12, 2010


  Update on the train car restaurant….

  Tuesday morning, about 7:30, I rode my bike to McDonalds for coffee with my Ya Ya’s… On the way back I made a pass by the train car to check on the restoration….There were 2 “suits”( guys who were definitely NOT pounding nails)  in hardhats, bent over the hood of a car and spreading out some plans….These were the “in charge” guys….

…Man, there was lots of stuff going on.  There was a new back door put on behind the train…and they had poured some concrete footings under the train car, added some new ductwork and insulation.  There was a “gentleman “who was tearing off more of the metal siding, exposing the old wood…He was working hard ,but when he saw this old lady (me) shooting some photos, he was nice enough to humor me and give me some info…OR….he saw the opportunity to take a break from his work..Either way, he was fun to talk to…

He was a tad scary looking …. the fiery devil tattoo on his arm was an attractive touch, not to mention he was sporting a bit of a “devilish” beard…but, hey, I’ve been told I can be quite frightening in my “uniforms” AND I myself am sporting 2 tattos, so I was not deterred .  If anything I was now intrigued..and he was very cordial….!!!!

…He told me that the old wood siding was going to be ripped off and replaced with replica new wood siding…He also said they were definitely going to incorporate the house into the restaurant to give it more room.  Being the nosy ,busy-body I am, I asked if he was one of the owners… (Hey, it could happen!)…But he said no, he wasn’t …His exact words were ,”Nooooo, I’m not, I’m just helping work on it…but all of us workers are really stoked about restoring this great old train car!”….He was STOKED!!…and he was YOUNG and STOKED ….about a piece of history!!  There is hope for this generation yet….I thanked him for taking the time to stop and visit with me… a snoopy, 62 year old vintage 1960’s ,ex-radical and baby boomer…on her bike, no less…We waved goodbye, and I rode away…feeling STOKED!!!…AND I NEVER EVEN ASKED HIS NAME!…I think I could spot him in the group of workers…


Above left is what used to be the Sandwich Roller Rink.  The small part on the left was the entrance.  It used to have big doors all along the sides that pulled out and were held up with posts.  People could pull their cars right up to the sides and watch the skaters inside.  My Mom and Dad ran the skating rink from 1960-62.  We moved from Elgin to Sandwich for that reason.  I was 12 years old, and we moved over Xmas vacation…I left 7th grade at Larson Jr. High School in Elgin just before Xmas, and started my second semester in January, here in Sandwich…I thought the world as I knew it had come to an end….At age 12, I was pretty upset to leave my friends and it was a little tough making some new ones here.  By now you may have figured out that I am in the photo on the right..I am the one in the skating skirt, just in case you weren’t sure.  My skating partner was named Stan Sinks, and we did some competition couples skating at that time.. I was about 13 in that photo…Ah, those were the days…The skating rink building now houses a Chinese Restaurant on the left side, and a bar and grill on the right.

  My older sister was married when we moved here, so she and her hubby remained living in Elgin.  Our whole family was raised on roller skates. Before Dad met Mom he was a member of a traveling skating show, called The Fox Flyers.  They had a portable round skating floor, and Dad, another guy , plus 2 women put on roller skating exhibitions around the Elgin area.  The men would do lifts and spins holding the women, not unlike what you see in ice skating… This is hard to explain, and harder to visualize…Maybe some of you that are my vintage can remember seeing acts like that on variety shows in the 1950’s…My brother still has the  “Fox Flyer” sign they put out when they performed.

  Almost everyday all of us would lace up our roller skates and use huge big flat dust mops to clean the wooden skating rink floor..We had a concession stand and I worked that some of the time, in my skates of course. There were days on the weekends that I had my roller skates on from 8 AM until 10:30PM… Long story short…we lost all our savings on that business…and we all ended up at the cemetery (…in the upright position.)…Sorry,  I got my “cemetery” humor from Dad.  When you live there and are faced with death, funerals, graves, tombstones and all of that morbid stuff, it can get a bit macabre…Dad always found a way to help us keep it on the light side…which I hope explains my sick humor .  I hope I didn’t offend anyone…

OK, strap on your seatbelts, cause I am gonna segue from the 1960’s to the 1980’s…Below is Den’s airplane he owned with his nephew .  Dennis turned 40, went “middle-age crazy” and decided to take flying lessons.  He and his nephew bought this Cessna 150 and they both took lessons.  Dennis aced his pilot’s test(imagine that) and got his license in 1982.. coincidentally about the same time I got ulcers and a nervous twitch in my eye (just kidding!). I did fly with him a few times…which was , for me, the ultimate show of love for my husband.  I am scared to death of planes and rarely flew..and then I would only fly in a BIG plane, with at  least 4 flight attendants, a full crew in the cockpit, and a “keep the cocktails coming”  order.  When I flew with Dennis, I kept looking for my pilot…Where was he anyway??  And where were all of the rest of the crew???? I seemed to have trouble convincing myself my pilot was DENNIS!!!!  And I WAS the rest of the flight crew.



                                                                                  Sad smile

This has turned into a mega blog…sorry about that.  It was a long story to explain, and I’m sure you needed to take a break every so often for a quick cat nap..…Thanks for reading clear to the may now take a good nap..ZZZZZZZZ


  1. You look very cute in that skating skirt!!! Flying an airplane is...well...I have to say "awesome".

    That worker with the funny beard: is he an Amish man gone bad?

  2. Despite the smile, that is one scary lookin' dude!!

    I'm talking about the worker guy, not your roller skating partner!!

  3. Hey Donna, as I am typing this I am sitting along the Santa Fe mainline in Dallas City IL. ever heard of this small town, It's so small people don't lock up their wi-fi so I can sneak this out before the wi-fi police get me. A BNSF freight train just snuck up on me and scared the crap out of me, they fly through here, Amtrak went by a little while ago at it's normal 79mph it just blew through town like yesterday's news. Thanks for keeping track og the palace car restoration, that will be one sharp restaurant when it's finished.Your guys be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

  4. Well I agree with are a very cute skater!! Yes, I guess I am part of "that" generation!!
    I think your new friend has a nice smile...his tatoo is the scariest part of him.
    Love your stories and sharing your life with us. Thanks!!

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  5. Ahhhhhhhhhh nostalgia... It's a beautiful thing. K