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Monday, 2000 July 3 : Volume 3, Number 23

Critter Capers

We now have 91 Critters on the Other Wild Places list. By my reckoning, that's at least 91 box sets of C.W. McCall that PolyGram could sell, if they'd just put their minds to it.

The latest Critter Castles, web sites by and about Crispy Critters:

And, in a major addition to this web site, we've added Larry Wasdyke's photos of Black Bear Road, Camp Bird Mine, and a ride on the Silverton train.


Goin' West, Part 3: The Drive-In Theatre Over By Pisgah

Tuesday morning. 30 May 2000, if you're keeping track. The real Memorial Day. I needed some caffeinated bean juice, so we drove down to the Casey's where I filled up my Thermos with a half-quart of coffee and bought a couple of donuts. We'd filled our fuel tanks on the previous night, and once again we headed south, this time towards the city park.

If you search for Audubon on Roadside America, you won't find a mention of C.W. McCall or Bill Fries. What you will find is a description of Albert, the World's Largest Bull, a 30-foot tall Hereford. Although Albert wasn't around when Bill lived in Audubon, we just had to visit.

[There ought to be picture here, but I haven't scanned 'em yet. Click on the "Albert" link in the previous paragraph to see the kinda bull we're talkin' about.]

After that brief pause, T A fired up the GPS unit and we headed towards Woodbine. Along the way we managed to find the West Nishnabotna River, which was having a good year because it was a couple of yards wide although probably still just a foot deep. Then we come upon a big sign says "Woodbine" where we hung a left over the railroad tracks and proceeded northwards to Pisgah.

Now if you've been paying attention, you'll remember that the inspiration for the "Old Home Filler-Up An' Keep On A-Truckin' Café" was a restaurant in Audubon. But the real, working "Old Home Café" is in Pisgah, which is where the Old Home Bread commercials were filmed. If you're looking for the Café, you might not spot it on your first glance. It's not like Planet Hollywood, all glittery and glitzy; no, it's a working man's (and ladies) stop for coffee and lunch. Yeah, and the "Old Home Bar" is in the east end of the same building, just in case you're looking for something stronger.

The sign out front says "Rains Old Home Filler Up Café". Step inside and you'll find Tina, who runs the Café, and a wall of C.W. McCall pictures and news articles about the filming of those aforementioned commercials. Under the cash register there's a display case with "Old Home Café" t-shirts and caps and what-not. Buy something; T A got himself a foam beer can holder and I got a cap.

T A and I talked with Tina when she wasn't busy serving the clientel. She told us about the filming that took place there twenty-five years ago, and about some of the the locals who appeared in the commercials. She said that we'd just missed Leo Alton (he played Mavis' father). We took some pictures of the Wall of Fame and I got Tina to sign The T-Shirt. We gave her a Convoy 2000 t-shirt that we hope she'll hang on the wall with the other C.W. stuff.

Then we went a block down the street to an old filling station. It looked like a Sinclair design to me, but I could be wrong. This filling station isn't in use any longer, at least not for dispensing gasoline or repairing cars, but it was in use back in the early 1970s. And according to Tina, this was the "drive-in theatre" that C.W. mentioned in the song. The cars would park behind the building, and the movies were projected on the back wall. We took more pictures.

But we couldn't stay in town for long, because we needed to get through Omaha that day: T A used to live in O-town and he wanted to stop at an old haunt, the Merchant of Venus bookstore. So I mailed a letter at the local post office and we headed south for exit 12 on I-680 and the big city.

Next: "'Mormon Bridge Road'; Where Have I Heard Of That Street Before? or "Hi! Can We Talk To Chip Davis?"


Song A’ Th’ Week

I Wish There Was More That I Could Give
(Walt Meskell, Tim Martin)
From the album C.W. McCall & Co.

[Spoken]
I found her settin' on a Sioux City park bench, on a late November afternoon. Me, I was just driftin' through. She said she was fourteen, and runnin' away from home. And no, she wouldn't mind some company. So I sat down and smoked my last cigarette; she pulled out a candy bar. And we started talkin' about the hows and the whys, and we watched the first snow start to fall.

I said, "Hey, little girl. I know the rest of the world looks a lot better to you now. But you know, you gotta hold onto your home. 'Cause home is what's gonna keep you warm. So if you gotta run someplace, run on outta this here park, and back home. Now, I don't have no money to help get you there, but here: take my coat. I can't let you go cold."

[Sung]
I wish there was more that I could give you
Though I know it's your own life to live
But you're so alone
And far away from home
I wish there was more that I could give

[Spoken]
Standin' out at the edge a' town, leanin' on the Route 20 sign, snow blowin' all around, I thought about my home, and how far away it was. And then as night come on and the wind picked up, I started thinkin' about the cold, and the blizzard I might be spendin' the night with. And I realized I didn't have a coat anymore. I was alone. And somewhere, so was that little girl.

Well, along about midnight I was ready to say my prayers, 'cause the road was gone and I wasn't far behind. And then I saw some lights, whirlin' and flashin', and a patrolman helped me into a warm car. And there inside was my little runaway friend; and she wrapped my coat around me. Well, all I could say was "Thank you both, for savin' my life." But the patrolman looked me in the eye and said, "Thank you, for sendin' my little girl back home to me."

[Sung]
I wish there was more that I could give you
Though I know it's your own life to live
But you're so alone
And far away from home
I wish there was more that I could give