Achromatic: Chapter 1 Scene 3

I needed to find a hotel/motel/lodge that existed in Cody, Wyoming during the time frame of the story.  And, of all websites, EBAY came to my rescue.  My thanks to Kathy G, who is selling this unused postcard from back in the day.  The Internet is amazing!

CODY WYOMING Cedar Mountain Lodge

                – Î –

PM November 3, 1962

Cedar Mountain Lodge, Cody, Wyoming

In the reception office of the Cedar Mountain Lodge, Thomas and Margaret Marigold busily worked through the motel’s paperwork for the day.  The number of visitors to Yellowstone National Park had begun to recover, and the interest in the park’s new attractions had grown.  That brought new accommodation requirements for interstate travellers, and ensured that the new owners had a motel with a healthy fill of occupants.

The Redmans sat in the reception chairs, their eyes trained on the black-and-white television.  The Montana Report was playing, providing all the news from its home state and surrounding areas. William and Jane Redman worked across the road at the Buffalo Bill Museum, ensuring that the history of the town’s namesake endured.  Both were dressed in authentic western gear, Bill wearing his Buffalo Bill imitation cowboy hat, and Jane her tasselled leather vest.

Margaret briefly looked over her spectacles to the television screen.  “The girls better finishing delivering the towels soon.  The sports section is about to start.”  Her eyes moved over to Jane.  “Are you sure Scarlett didn’t mind helping Amber?”

The Redman matriarch smiled as she waved a dismissive hand.  “If she did, she needs to eat a bit of humble pie.  Getting to lead the cheer squad last night should not go to her head.”

The reception door flew open, the girls breathless as they ran in.  With their hair blowing in the evening wind, it was a storm of auburn and flaxen.

Scarlett recovered first.  “Has it started yet?”

Bill shook his head.  “It’s just the ads now.  They finished the news with elk culling in Yellowstone, and the public outcry about it.  It looks like an advisory board will be put together to figure out what to do.”

The youngest Redman rolled her eyes.  “I’d bet my allowance Emma sent half the letters.”

“Quiet!  Here it is!”

Everyone’s eyes focused on the television screen.  The greyscale screen showed the football field just across the road, abuzz with last night’s activity as the presenter spoke over the pictures.

“We continue with Cody, Wyoming.  Last night, the local high school football team farewelled their coach, Lawrence “Shad” Martoglio.  He oversaw two State championship victories for the school, the football team three years ago and their track team two years ago.  Unfortunately, the team could not send him out on a high, losing to long-time rivals the Powell Panthers thirty-two to seven.  We spoke to the Cody high school quarterback, Dwayne Matthews, after the game.”

The local boy appeared on screen, with Scarlett next to him.  Scarlett squealed with excitement, while the Redman parents smiled at their daughter’s moment of fame.

“We’re not happy with ourselves for letting Coach down in his last game.  He’s done so much for so many sport teams at our school, and he deserved to go out on a high.  That being said, Powell outplayed us, they deserved to win, and well done to them.”

The presenter’s voice returned.  “The game was attended by a wide cross-section of dignitaries.  The football fraternity who came to watch the game included the new Denver Broncos coach Jack Faulkner, as well as Wyoming Cowboys football coach Lloyd Eaton.  It is believed that local player Dwayne Matthews, as well as Powell’s centre Bailey Houston-Smith, is being considered for a football scholarship at the state university in Laramie.”

Coach Eaton appeared on the screen, his defining University of Wyoming hat covering the top half of his face.  “These teams may not be at the top of the rankings this year, but there are some prime candidates for the Cowboys roster next year.”

The dashing face of Jack Faulkner appeared on the screen, slicked black hair with a broad nose and wide smile.  The new coach of Colorado’s American Football League franchise was the hero of the state, dragging a team that finished with three wins from fourteen games the previous season to six wins from eight starts.  Many a football follower has picked him to win the Coach of the Year, though six games yet remained in the 1962 season.

“The good state of Wyoming has a proud football history, and all the high school players I have been able to see play has been an eye-opener.  There is a wealth of talent in this state that could one day make it into the AFL, and I hope to see them in Denver’s orange and blue in the years to come.”

Scarlett jumped up and down, clapping at the possibility that her boyfriend was going to go on with his football career and earn a university education at the same time.  Amber wrapped her arms around her friend’s shoulders, sharing the excitement.

Scarlett’s parents smiled at their daughter’s joy as they looked to the motel owners behind the desk.  Margaret was filing away their last piece of paperwork, while Thomas finished counting the takings in his register.  Pulling out a pair of dollar bills, he beckoned the girls over.

“Thanks for your help, young ladies.  It’s been very busy here, and we appreciate it.”

Scarlett went to take the proffered paper, before halting and looking back to her parents.  They both gave her a small shake of their head.

“It was my pleasure, Mister Marigold.  No pay is necessary.”

Thomas gave a warm smile.  “Well, that is mighty generous of you, Scarlett.”  He looked over to Bill and Jane.  “You have a fine daughter here.”

Amber grabbed Scarlett’s hand.  “Let’s go make a cocoa in the kitchen.  The tips of my fingers could certainly use the warming up.  Can we, Dad?”

“Of course you can.  Off with you.”  The girls disappeared out the door again.

Bill and Jane got up and stood the other side of the counter.  “You be sure to let us know if we can help you with any odd jobs.  We didn’t have that luxury when we started running the Buffalo Bill Museum, so we want to make sure everyone’s got a helping hand in Cody.”

Margaret gave a bright smile.  “You are far too generous.  Hopefully we can get all our tasks finished before the Ohio Oil Company president addresses the town out the front of the county courthouse tomorrow.  What do you think he’ll be talking about?”

Bill thought for a moment.  “Hopefully something good.  Everyone gets nervous when the head honcho appears in person, thinking they’ll be announcing shutdowns and layoffs.  But they’ve been in Wyoming for around forty years, I doubt that will change.”

                – Î –

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8 responses

  1. Good. It seems that in this story, you’ve bounced around setting the stage for events from several different perspectives. I am interested in how you’ll bring them all together.

    1. Thanks Doc. When there are eight main characters, setting them all up within 8,000 words (2 chapters) will be a bit of a challenge. But writing is meant to be a challenge, and I’m game =)

  2. P.S. There’s one thing I’d change–I don’t think I would use the phrase “smorgasbord of dignitaries,” even from a presumably haphazard television commentator, unless I were getting ready to write a tale of cannibals, which I don’t think you are. The word is used with food items, not to mean a gathering of people. But that’s a small thing.

    1. Haha, no zombies or cannibals. Thanks for the hint; I will go and make the appropriate change =)

  3. Plenty of colour, it’s taking on an intriguing shape. Margaret probably gave a few too many details in her dialogue at the end. Otherwise very sharp. Good bit of luck with the postcard, eh? Is the inset picture of the hotel floating…?

    1. Ah no, I see it now. On the small phone screen it looked like a surprisingly good (given the era) photo manip of the hotel hovering in the air… lol.

  4. I and my family lived in the Cedar Mtn Lodge, from about 1961 to 1968. If you are interested in how things really were

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for finding your way to my blog, as disused as it has been this year.

      Any information you have regarding regarding how Cody was in the early 1960’s would be greatly appreciated. I am trying to make it as historically accurate as possible, despite the twist it will entail.

      You can email me at djamesfortescue@gmail.com, or message me again on the site.

      Cheers,
      D. James

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