How Will I Celebrate Alabama’s 189th Anniversary?

  Sunday, December 14, 2008, the State of Alabama will be 189 years old. What are you going to do to celebrate?  I think I’ll go over to Idle Hour Park  because that is the part of Alabama that appealed to me the most when I was a child.  That’s when you could get on a Columbus city bus and ride it to Idle Hour Park in Phenix City.

  If it were the older park of my childhood, I could celebrate by going swimming in the pool, which is where I basically learned to swim; or, I could go to one of the two ballrooms and maybe do an anniversary waltz or something.  That’s right.  Two ballrooms.  One of them also doubled as a skating rink.  Maybe you’d skate up until it was time for the dance, which featured live bands and had one of those turning balls with tiny mirrors that reflected colored patterns on the walls and ceiling.  I could also celebrate by bowling, or having a hamburger in the restaurant next to the bowling alley. 

  I suppose the most memorable thing about Idle Hour was when I jumped off a whirligig type of thing on the playground and broke my leg.   Funny, how the bad things are always more vivid than the good ones.

  Frankly, the old Idle Hour didn’t have much class, but it was a lot of fun. The new Idle Hour does have  class, with the walking trail around the pond, manicured grounds and quaking ducks providing a really beautiful place to walk.   Back in the old days, the park, owned by Roy Martin, featured an inboard, expensive, furniture-quality wooden, fancy speedboat.  I think for $5.00 you were sped around the lake one time. Probably took 45 seconds.

 I won’t be able to do that, but maybe I’ll walk around the pond as the way I’ll celebrate  Alabama’s 189th birthday.

  Now, you may ask why I haven’t mentioned the illegal slot machines and casinos with roulette wheels, poker, craps,  and blackjack tables that were operating during my tender years.  They didn’t have any of that at Idle Hour Park. It was strictly a family place, though you could buy a beer if you were old enough. They did have  slot machines in other places, though, sometimes in a grocery store, and in the casino at Southern Manor night club. That was where Columbus’ Fate Leebern was murdered.  Yes, it was quite interesting to be able to go across the river to participate in those illegal vices, but I don’t think I’ll celebrate it.

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3 Responses to “How Will I Celebrate Alabama’s 189th Anniversary?”

  1. Christi Says:

    Well, the Idle Hour idea isn’t bad…but if I were back home, I’d celebrate with a pork chop sandwich. My fondest memories of Phenix City revolve around barbecue.

  2. Nathaniel Christopher Says:

    Ooh! My grandmother worked for Fate Leebern… Did you know him?

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