Across the Tracks
Across the Tracks
"The Perils Of Stuttgart"
Perfect Bound Softcover
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The law said the city would shut down Across  the Tracks. The  'Cross the Tracks goers said that was impossible. "Nothing would ever shut Across the Tracks down!" predicted the dwellers of the juke joints and sidewalks Across the Tracks.

But when "crack cocaine" hit the streets of Stuttgart, the drug saved the city a task and proved those dwellers dead wrong, as Across the Tracks became a thing of the past.

You drove through Across the Tracks today, it's like a residential area of a neighborhood under curfew. You rode through there yesterday, it's alive, like a Boom Town of the Old West, full of honky-tonks, drinking, gambling, trysting, a pool hall, peril and loud music. . .

The story you are about to read, isn't about the cocaine days, but the days of marijuana, before the "rocks" hit the streets Across the Tracks, back when the place was full of fun, laughter, calamity, jukeboxes, and everybody having a goodtime . . .

From Chapter One:
St. Louis, Missouri. January 19, 1969 - the year man was to set foot on the moon, which would be a small historic step for Neil Alden Armstrong. 1969 was also the year our troops started home from that war in Vietnam; the year Diana Ross left The Supremes to persue a solo career, leaving the group with one, last big hit:
      "Someday We'll Be Together".
      Seven months had passed since the car wreck at Lookout, Arkansas back in 1968 the night Roland "Ping" Hill's 1962 Pontiac convertible left the highway, crashed into a soybean field, overturned, and left four passangeras - Verna "Ground Hog" Sims, Freddie Gene Green "So-Toe" Goodlow, Eugene "Gene" Settles and the driver, Roland "Ping" Hill - wounded; and one, Kenneth Matthews "Ken" Sims, dead.
      I was lying on the couch in the upstairs-living room at Aunt Georgia and Uncle George Johnson Sr.'s redbrick two-story house on the corner of 4027 Kossue Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri, when a sudden urge to leave Missouri and come home to Arkansas overwhelmed me. I had been in St. Louis since July of 1968, but had come there in June of 1967, following my estranged girlfriend Selma Roe.
      Selma Roe was a dark-skinned, medium-height, nineteen-year-old girl back in 1967 with short black hair, as beautiful as "Black Beauty" the mare, and just as wild. But neither Selma nor God, it seemed, wanted us together, because, not long after arriving in St. Louis, she left me again, going back to Stuttgart. I had tried to be strong and not rip and run behind her. But the love I had for her was stronger than my will. And I followed her that time too. She stayed in Stuttgart until after Ken's death in the car wreck at Lookout. And then she left Sugar Town and me again; this time going to The Windy City. I did not follow her that time, as even a fool's road has an end to it.
      And that was as far as mine went.
                                                                                 *   *   *

From Chapter Sixty-Seven:
January 7, 2007. Thirteen years; and I ain't touched another cigarette since I smoked the last one in the pack I showed to Vickie that day on January 7, 1994. I felt kind of proud - no proud of myself - because, after a 30-year addiction, I quit smoking Salem cigarettes . . . "Cold Turkey!"
      Things were changing in the new millennium:
      In the new millennium, Rock Island produced its first NFL football player, Oren O'Neal, third oldest son of six boys and no girls born to Mr.Lawerence Clifton O'Neal and Mrs. Linda O'Neal, when the Oakland Raiders drafted the young fullback -  ex-Stuttgart  High School Ricebird - into the National  Football League out in California. Oren had not been the first Stuttgart African-American drafted into the NFL.The Kansas City  Chiefs had drafted James Walker, a big, dark-skinned, tall dude that had put me in mind of basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson into the NFL back in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, the Kansas City Chiefs had "cut" the young football player due to leukemia, an illness to which he later succumed.
      For the first time in its history Stuttgart, Arkansas appointed an Affrican-American, Michael Smith, of Casscoe, Arkansas, police chief of the city. For awhile, we'd had an African-American fire chief, Wallace Owens, of Casscoe, Arkansas, for the first time. And Mrs. Marianne Maynard, wife of Main-Mart owner Mr. Neil Maynard, was elected the first woman to become mayor of Stuttgart, beating out close-running rival Mr. Wade Hobbs, an African-American, who, had he won the election, would have been the first black mayor of Stuttgart. Wade Hobbs, though he lost the election, had not been the first African-American to run for the office: In 1993, his cousin  Robert Chambers had also run for the  position.
     The new millennium had also given us Tiger woods.
     And I heard on the news that in 2008, a woman, Senator (D) Hillary Rodham Clinton, would be the first woman to run for president of the United States, competing against Senator (D) Barack Obama - an Aferican-American that, if elected, would be the first black man elected to The White House - Arkansas Governor (R) Mike Huckabee, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who'd burdened the perils of 911; Pepublican John McCain, who, if elected, would be the oldest candidate elected to The White House; Republican Ron Paul and Republican Mitt Romney, in a race on The Road for The White House.

Although "Across the Tracks" is his second nonfiction book published, Earnest "Tex" Sims Sr. has wrtten four other books: a western trilogy titled "Once Upon A Time In The Past", and "Love Hurts, Love Kills," a crime-drama of love, jealousy and murder, all works of fiction.
      Aside for a love to read and write, he is a collector of coins and stamps - his biggest the Statehood Quarter Collection inserted into a beautiful, colorful map, at which four coins would complete all 50 States.
      In addition to his state map collection, he possesses the panel Statehood Quarter and Stamp Collection consisting of two binders: Volume I and Volume II. Volume I is complete. And he is working to complete Volume II.

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