Pass It On is a new, bi-weekly peek inside the heart and mind of Francis Pass…
When I was a wee little youngster, you would often see me roaming the streets of Dongola. Even though I wasn’t supposed too. Looking back, I was too little to be walking all over creation by myself. But that was another era…
Years later, I got paid to walk around town. At the ripe age of ten, I was given my first paper route. It was hard work. And I grew my route to 109 customers. That’s a lot of people … particularly considering I started with 29.
As I got older, I brought my brother, Mike, into the operation. We divvied up the work. One day, he’d take the east side of the railroad tracks and I’d deliver to the west side. Then, the next day, we’d switch.
Back then, as I walked those streets of the town I called home, I couldn’t fathom ever living anywhere else.
Why would I? Dongola had everything I’d ever need.
Two car dealerships, three grocery stores, two hardware stores, a barber shop, one bank, a drug store, and the train depot.
We also boasted three gas stations, three clothiers, two restaurants, a skating rink, a feed store, a movie theatre, and a tavern over there on the other side of the creek (because it wasn’t allowed to operate in town).
I told you it was a different era.
Dongola was a bustling hub for the farming community. I never thought I would ever leave. It was my home.
Then, in September 1966, Wayne Corzine, Tim Reeves and myself took a train to the induction center in St. Louis. For the next year, Vietnam was my home.
For a while, I didn’t know if I would ever leave there either.
But I did. I came home. But not to Dongola.
Make no mistake, I love Dongola. But another kind of love led me to my new home in Herrin. We lived there for 17 years before moving to our current home in Energy. And I love living here.
I hope to have another home someday. But not just any home. I would love to own a motorhome and travel the highways and backroads of this great country.
Anywhere you live is home. After all, everybody’s gotta live some place.
And then – some glad morning – I’ll go on to my eternal home.
What a day of rejoicing that will be.
Be well. Stay well. Thanks for readin’…
P.S. – The best time to visit Dongola is when the daffodils are comin’ up at Russel Dillow’s old place. It’s a magnificent sight. Let me know if you need directions.