Essie didn’t want to go.
“But come on….” coaxed Hank. “It’ll be fun. There will be a lot of flowers and you can get your grandma some plants for her garden.”
Essie sat in her swing in the window at Over the Moon, 1710 Barton Avenue, and fiddled with one of the decorative white spots on her red dress.
“You look so nice,” said Hank, his clenched fists buried in his pants pockets. “Nice and patriotic for Memorial Day.”
Deb came into the store carrying an easel from the back room. “You might as well go young lady – I don’t know who turns down time off on a holiday weekend,” she said.
Essie looked up with her big doe eyes.
“Plus you’re gettin’ in my way … and so is he,” said Deb intentionally bumping into Hank as she walked out the door.
For the life of him, Hank couldn’t figure out what was going on with Essie.
“One hour and that’s it,” she said as she picked up her hat, quick-stepped down the stairs and marched up the sidewalk.
Hank was fast on her heels. “You know Jeff is going to be so happy to see you,” said Hank.
He was still trying to soften Essie up a bit. Jeff had reserved a spot at the West Bend Farmers’ Market and Hank and Essie were going to help promote Barton Day along with Barton t-shirts and bumper stickers and there was to be a contest to name Hank’s newly adopted dog.
The pair walked in lock step down the hill, past Bob’s Auto and C&C Business Management and past where the small Dairy Queen used to be near the bottom of Barton Hill.
“Remember the old Park-Way Frozen Custard,” asked Hank reminiscing about the old custard stand that was also a popular soda fountain, deli and corner grocery store.
“My mother and grandmother all worked at the Park-Way spending their weekends preparing German potato salad, baked ham, and baked beans,” he said. “Sure do miss that place. You could get a fried hamburger and a scoop of custard on a cone up to midnight seven days a week.”
The pair were making good time. They walked quickly past the lot where the old Clark gas station used to be and within a couple minutes they found Jeff sitting on a park bench in front of the old Ziegler building.
“What took you so long,” asked Jeff.
Hank stood on his toes behind Essie and gave a quick, silent motion across his lips. “Zip it,” he mouthed.
Essie spun round to see what was going on – she was in absolutely no mood.
Jeff had set up several easels with photographs on the history of Hank and Essie and now a beagle that was in desperate need of a name. Folks started writing down and tallying suggestions with some names a bit more popular than others: Pickles, Cooper and Bart drew the most attention.
People asked to have their picture taken with the couple. “Can I just get one with Essie,” said one man. “I don’t need Frank in the picture.”
Hank smiled uneasily. Essie good-naturedly complied; she managed a grin.
As the market started to buzz with activity, more and more people stopped to visit and more and more people asked to pose with Essie.
“Popular gal,” said an older fella to Hank. “Yeah, she’s something else,” said Hank with a nervous laugh.
He was starting to feel a little protective of Essie. Some folks were getting a little too comfortable for his liking.
Hank was also beginning to figure out why Essie was a little hesitant to come to the market – who would have thought being popular would be a bad thing.
New podium to debut at Memorial Day ceremony
Earlier in the week Hank and Jeff Slais, from Wisconsin House Woodworks, worked to finish a new podium specifically designed for Monday’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the Old Courthouse Square.
Terry Vrana, from Vrana Lock & Safe, approached Jeff on behalf of the Memorial Day Committee.
The podium is designed with a POW MIA stained glass piece in front along with a special box for a folded American flag.
The flag belongs to veteran Richard Limbeck’s father.
This year Gold Star Mother Liz Kryst will be the guest speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony which gets underway around 11 a.m. after the Memorial Day procession.
Build. Boost & Buy in Barton – – Shop these local businesses
Wisconsin House Woodworks
Reflections by the River
Lake Lenwood Beach and Campground