Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for June 2015

Still More Newspaperboy Confessions Ch. VI

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Boy_SmokingBilly Larochelle and I rarely bumped into each other after I relinquished my spot in the waiting line for Nuggets to rumble off the presses six days a week in downtown North Bay. I moved to the other end of town and we went to different high schools. He also matured into an excellent multi-sport athlete. He wasn’t much bigger than I, but he had many times more talent, athletic skill and toughness.

But we spent a lot of time together for a couple of years pounding the downtown pavement selling papers and conning passersby.

The conning began rather innocently. While scurrying into and out restaurants, shops and saloons peddling our papers – he and I leap-frogged each other in our chase for customers – I managed to lose my money one day through a hole that developed in my pants’ pocket. (When I started newspaperboying, my mother gave me a little change purse but it wasn’t designed to use for gathering coins and providing change while maintaining control of an armful of papers so I did like my colleagues, I banked on – and in – my pants pocket.)  I lost more than usual because it was a payday Saturday and I was near the end of my second batch of papers. I’d bought 20 papers to start and ran back for another armful. The papers cost 2 cents each and we sold them for 3 cents. On paydays, we’d get quite a few nickels “and keep the change.” So I’d lost about a buck.

I told Billy my problem — and that I’d probably get what-for going home without any money. We were sitting on the curb in downtown Main Street and Billy thought for a minute. Then he said, “Cry.” I said, “What?” And he repeated, “Cry.” So I put my hands to my face and started “sobbing.” A couple of people stopped to see what was wrong and Billy told them I’d lost my money and that I’d get a licking if I went home without any dough. And he added some eloquent embroidery by adding that I’d been beaten up by bigger kids and my family was poor, and whatever else came to his mind.

It wasn’t long before a lady gave us  — me – a quarter to buy one of my remaining papers and a couple dropped a couple of extra nickels to buy the remainder. Then a guy who’d been drinking a bit stopped to listen and he popped a $1 bill – A $1 BILL!!! — out of his pocket and said, “Here, kid.” Hallelujah! Billy had saved my skin. But he wasn’t through. He said, “Keep going.” So I did and after a few more encounters, I – we – wound up with almost five dollars.

Billy wasn’t concerned about getting a fair share or an even split, he was just going to enjoy what we had. So we hopped to a nearby restaurant and got ourselves each a tin roof sundae (a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped heavily with chocolate sauce and handsful of salted peanuts). Then we went to a movie and got ourselves each a candy bar and a Coke. And we stopped for another tin roof after the theater. I still had about $3 left and offered to give him one dollar but he said, “Never mind.”

What he did do was have me run the same scam a few more times before we parted ways when I no longer sold papers. None but he and I ever knew about our venture. And it was certainly fun while it lasted.

When we did bump into each other on occasion around town as we grew up, one of us would just say “Cry” and we’d both break out big grins.

-30-

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 28, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Catch a Free Ride in Las Vegas

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White tiger patrols its Mirage enclosure

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Story & Photo

By Cecil Scaglione

LAS VEGAS —- You don’t have to mortgage your mansion to enjoy this glittering Gotham in the Nevada sand. There are more than enough free diversions to keep you enthralled and entertained during a visit here.

Since the only things permanent are the blinking neon lights, some of the freebies listed may no longer exist so look around and you’ll probably find others.

This hub of around-the-clock flashing lights is without a doubt one of the best and brightest spots for just plain people-watching. They come in more shapes and sizes than you thought possible —  in attire that ranges from down-home to out-of-this-world. And much of their behavior should, as the television ads say, be left here.

Do this while making vicarious visits to New York’s Statue of Liberty, Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell, and Venice’s St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge. Downtown, at the northern end of world-renowned Las Vegas Avenue better known as The Strip, is the Fremont Street Experience. Featured is a four-times-a-night computerized sight-and-sound show overhead on “The Biggest Screen on the Planet,” the $70 million canopy enclosing a half dozen downtown blocks.

You can also experience climatic changes as you saunter through the hot desert air of the street that’s sprayed with gusts of cool pumped out by the never-closed casinos. And catch a handful of “gambling” beads, the same kind Mardi Gras celebrants corral and collar in New Orleans that cost you a couple of bucks or more in the drugstores and novelty shops along The Strip.

All the while, you can watch femmes in frilly white skirts get their ears pierced at a sidewalk boutique or a butt-crack-jeaned macho guy gripping a yard-long neon-colored daiquiri while getting his other hand tattooed.

A $1.50 bus-ride will get you to another free show at the Stratosphere rooted at the north end of this renowned street of sex and excess. While it takes a $10 elevator ride to get to the outdoor observation deck, the view from 90 stories up is free but worth a lot more. And you don’t have to spend any money to shake and shock yourself on the carnival rides atop this 1,149-foot building. Some spectators get wobbly knees just watching screaming passengers swing dizzily in the desert air hundreds of feet above the shimmering streets below.

Back at ground level, it’s a short hike to the monorail that, for $5, takes you to the MGM Grand, where you can walk across the boulevard to New York New York and over the Tropicana Avenue bridge to Excalibur to catch a free tram connecting it with Luxor and Mandalay Bay, which anchors the south end of this megaplex.

Then decide whether to meander or monorail your way back, catching free sights and sounds in the art shows and exhibits in the lobbies of the various hotel casinos with such mind-massaging names as Bellagio, Casino Royale, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, Paris, and Treasure  Island.

Stop by Aureole in Mandalay Bay and you might catch a glimpse of the “wine fairies” in this upscale restaurant. You can peer through outsized portholes in the front wall to watch as servers are winched up and down a glassed-in four-story wine tower to fetch special orders from among the 9,500 bottles in its inventory.

There’s also the Memorabilia Museum in Mandalay Bay that has sports and Presidential mementos available for show and for sale. You might see the shot of Cassius Clay’s memorable heavyweight-boxing victory over Sonny Liston, along with Beatle stuff, and an Abe Lincoln-signed military appointment with its $30,000 price tag.

At Circus Circus a few minutes away, you can gaze at glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts rolling along their assembly line. Farther along the Strip are white tigers padding around their enclosure in the Mirage, singing gondoliers cruising canals through the Venetian, and the never-ending dancing-fountain show in front of the Bellagio.

– 30 –

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 20, 2015 at 10:28 am

Some Day …

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han10

…  when I get around to it,

I’m going to start procrastinating.

                  — Cecil Scaglione

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Posted in A Musing

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