Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 226

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 226

…”When Fanny and I came to Chicago, we expected to solve a crime and go back to Florida, now here we are, surrounded by old friends and new and hating to leave”

Reflection CC-fm-001

“This has been one helluva 5 months you guys,” Constance glances apologetically at the present preacher in deference to Helluva-001her use of words, “I mean heck, one heck a bumpy ride, but we all made it here in one piece. Eddie did take two for the team and my partner did her best to get kidnapped and top that off by having her neck broke, but all things considered…”

“… Amen,” her assessment is punctuated by Reverend Graham, who raises both hands high, “Thank you, dear Lord of us all, for your loving protection.  Please use us to accomplish your good, on the Earth that you created. May this weary world see you for who you really are, our Father who loves his children.”

“And would you place your blessing,” he holds the Holy parchment high, “on this, your instructions for the banishment of demons.”

Amen and amen’s make their way around the semicircular gathering of Libbyites; from those who have always believed, to the ones who have recently seen the light; both equal is the sight of God.

“Thank you Billy. You have given us the gift of an ultimate goal and we’re 2 hours from achieving it. When Fanny and I came to Chicago, we expected to solve a crime and go back to Florida, now here we are, surrounded by old friends and new and hating to leave.

“But after seeing what we’ve seen and learning what we’ve learned, we are changed women. Fanny can tell you that a case like this would never happen in Tallahassee; messy divorces, petty extortion, that’s what we do down there. What did we get here in Chicago: kidnappings, murders, conspiracy, demoniacs?

“Having guys like Worth and Ace around doesn’t hurt either.” CCPI’s heart and soul, bares both. “And what can I say about that Eddie D. and his Cousins. Rex is the only one of them we have met, but the rest have been with us, ever since we came to town. I can tell you this Eddie and Edie; you will be the cousins they will be talking about from now on. Thank you for your friendship.”


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 224

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 224

…From the moment that she answered her Florida front door on the day before Christmas 1950, the road to Chicago was being laid out for her……Libby thoughts-001

Constance Caraway has assembled an employee meeting of her own sort, recounting the series of events that brought her odd troupe together.

From the moment that she answered her Florida front door on the day before Christmas 1950, the road to Chicago was being laid out for her and she didn’t even know it. It was her rambunctious dog Molly – who heralded the approach of Jimmie from Western Union – who carried a message from some perfect stranger – who was missing one good scientist.

God has a habit of using some of the least likely people to rise up and seize the moment.

**When Willard Libby went missing, Martin Kamen needed a course of action that was swift, immediate and without an obvious local choice to aid him. He Libby Dead or Alive-001came upon a paper written by Libby, referring to a private investigator (Constance Caraway Private Investigation) from Tallahassee who had the moxie to navigate the fuzzy border between legal and not so much, while skirting the hornet’s nest that is local and federal law enforcement.

**Back in WWII, while the FBI fumbled, the OSS stumbled and internal security at the Manhattan Project tumbled into a paranoiac stupor, Constance and Fanny were able to ferret out the double-crossing German where the others failed.

Seal of Approval-001**Is it a coincidence that Eddie Dombroski was the taxi driver who picked up the girls at the airport? On the surface, he is a human run-on sentence, with more relatives than smarts. But no other single driver knows more about Chicagoland roads. And not only the city proper: His regional knowledge has taken them, accurately & timely, to rural DuPage County (Argonne), Kane County (Elgin State Hospital), Olympia Fields (Tolentine) and every path from there to here. Constance has managed to make this odd coupling work to a tee…

Continued


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 206

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 206

…We are going back to Chicago and finish what old Satan has started…

Mark LLanuza on flickr

outdoor guy photography

outdoor guy photography

Connie and Ace are able to leave a message (about the Holy Scroll) (by Carrier Pigeon-Word of Mouth-Rumor) for Graham to wait  a bit before boarding the American Queen paddle wheel riverboat; so he is waiting, very curious as to what the fuss is about. He should trust Constance’s expressions of urgency by now.

When he gets his hands on their special delivery and briefly looking it over, he drops directly to his knees, raising both hands skyward, speechless.

“A local Wisconsin historian hinted that this was probably of divine origin,” relates Constance, “and you would not believe where we found it. Is it possible that it was intentionally placed in our path?”

Nothing should surprise her anymore. Graham certainly is not.

“Nothing is impossible for God and I truly believe that He has had His hand on you all through this entire year. This is a direct message from the Lord,” Billy concludes after consulting his on-staff Biblical scholar, “and we cannot ignore it.We are going back to Chicago and finish what old Satan has started.

“Written by hand on Holy paper, with Holy ink, wholly Holy; what a way for the Lord to communicate with us. I was fully expecting an angelic visit or God’s strong voice telling me what to do.

“There is Revival spirit spreading throughout this land and we must put on the show of our lives!” Graham has never been more convinced.

Comiskey Park Card“It is warm enough for an outdoor event, Billy,” Samuel Goldwyn is in on the meeting and still with the Crusade, even into mid-April. His keen business sense has proven invaluable. “I took the time to check with the Chicago White Sox and they are in Detroit on Saturday April 28th; why don’t we do a Comiskey Park blowout meeting?”

Goldwyn Jr. has dedicated himself to see the Crusades through and until they go back to California. He has also become the venue guru for Graham, freeing the good young Reverend to tailor his messages to each new audience.

“We will race back to see how things are shaking in Chi Town,” Race rhymes with Ace.

Constance rhymes with constant, “Let’s get back in one piece.”


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Billy Graham-001

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 199

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 199

…”Ajax Caraway, that definitely has a ring to it,” therein lays the root of Constance still being single…

“What is the Saturday Special?”

“Hasenpfeffer stew,” counters Polly Pabst.

“What kind of stew is that?”

“German for good, let’s go dear, it’s…I’ll explain it in the car…we’ll be seeing you again Polly.” Ace predicts that they will be back. “Did you ever have a pet rabbit?”

“No, we had a parakeet.”

“Then order the meat loaf, if they have it”Luft's-001

Not far down the road, tucked into a lightly forested foothill, they locate Luft’s Route 67 Inn. It is a “motel” by every definition: 10 or so rooms on ground level, each with their own door.

The kindly innkeeper takes their money and passes a register Ace’s way. Mr. and Mrs. Caraway are now official, if not unofficially married guests in Eagle, in the short time before heading into Cooney (Oconomowoc’s  odd nickname).

“Ajax Caraway, that definitely has a ring to it,” therein lays the root of Constance still being single. If she could figure out a way to keep her surname, maybe she could bridge that commitment disconnect.

Once you wing your way north out of Eagle, the terrain flattens out, carved smooth by ice age glaciers. The forests thin out, exposing acres of corn fields and large fenced in pastures that nourish hundreds of Holsteins, the four-legged machines whose milk help make this America’s Dairyland.

pabst-farms-signIf your destination is Oconomowoc Lake, you never do make it to the city proper, having to veer off of Hwy. 67 to less obvious road choices. Bodies of water dictate where roads go and if you come upon a fork in that road, you are given the opportunity to make a wrong turn.

To the right, you will pass away from the lake and the fields of Pabst Farms, 1500 acres of working agriculture that acts as a buffer zone; the Pabst family and Al Capone’s lawyer are tucked away on sprawling acreage.

Hang a left and you will soon see the waters of one of the cleanest fresh water lakes in the state. Sure, the winter’s ice is still floating off shore, but the Caraways can understand why this hidden gem is the destination for meat packers, brewery owners and gangsters; Armour, Miller, Uihlein and Capone; mansion after mansion line the hills along Beach Road, which runs along the western shore.

Right before you round the corner again, just as Ace’s friend’s directions say, P.A. Valentine’s Danforth Lodge sits high above, the royal landlord to the rest of the lake’s residences.


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Oconomowoc Lake Club

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

…Wouldn’t you know, both liver & onions and  meat loaf are not a part of today’s menu…

Pabst Diner Menu-001

The would-be diners look at each other and say jointly, “We’ll have the fish fry.”

“That is locally caught perch with rye bread and a choice of coleslaw or french fries,” the waitress, a young woman with a farm girl look, recites by heart.

Guest check-001

“Can we have both,” asks Ace. “We are starved. It’s been a long drive.”

“Chicago… that will be $1 dollar extra.” She is unintentionally ambiguous.

“Is the dollar for coming from Chicago or the extra food?”

She ignores the question as stated, “We get a lot of folks from Chicago in here, but you two are way more polite than most; you don’t even sound like you’re from the north. I’m good at guessing where a folk is from.”

“Give it a shot darlin’. I’ve got an Alexander Hamilton here that says you can’t guess what states we are from.”

She looks around, after seeing there are no other customers, then offers, “The lady looks like a true Southern Belle, maybe Georgia or the Panhandle.” She looks at Ace from his head and stopping at his feet, “You sir are from Texas.”

“Tallahassee, Florida,” CC raises her hand, while Ace adds, “Austin, Texas and I bet my rattlesnake boots gave me away.”

She grabs the $10 Silver Certificate and stuffs it into her apron, “Do you want tartar sauce?”

“I like you, you, you are ____,” prompts Ace?

“Polly, Polly Pabst.”

“I like you Polly Pabst, but I wouldn’t play poker against you; you’re cold.”

“I have a mortgage to pay.”

“We are headed to Oconomowoc; do you have a name of a good place to stay for a couple days?” Constance is planning ahead.

“Cooney is only 20 miles away…we have a cute motel on the north side of Eagle, you can’t miss it. Are you two married?”

The would-be overnighters look at each other and say jointly, “Yes-no, no-yes.”

“I ain’t being nosey, just that the older gentleman running the place used to be the preacher over at the Lutheran church and his wife is a bit of a prude.”

“We thank you for the head’s up,” Constance locks arms with Ace as they head out. “What is the Saturday Special?”

“Hasenpfeffer stew.”

“What kind of stew is that?”

“German for good, let’s go dear.”


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 197

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 197

…they traverse the un-glaciated sliver of land named the Kettle Moraine State Park; bluffs, hogbacks, escarpments and kettles…

ROAD TRIP-001Thanks to a State Farm Travel Atlas and Ace’s keen sense of direction, they do not get lost on the twisting 130 mile trail through the Dairy State. Once they pick up Highway 67 outside of Lake Geneva, all signs count down the mileage remaining until you reach the city with the 5 letter Oconomowoc-001‘O’s in it. The road sign reads:

There are only 3 towns of note on this two-lane highway, an indication that there isn’t much else along the way. “You don’t go to Yellowstone Park to see skyscrapers,” the driver makes an analogy.

But not before they traverse the un-glaciated sliver of land named the Kettle Moraine State Park; bluffs, hogbacks, escarpments and kettles give it an out-of-place feel. “Are we still in the U.S.?” asks the passenger, even though she is the wiser.

Pabst Diner-001“Can we stop for a cup of coffee?” At 108 miles out of they have reached the inconspicuous berg named Eagle, 500 some odd folks who thrive on people traveling by automobile, hence the two filling stations, a general store and the Blue Ribbon Diner.

“I bet you that restaurant has coffee and a good home Pabst Diner Menu-001cooked meal,” Ace guesses. “Liver and onions, that’s what I’m hoping is on the menu.”

“Eeeuuwww!” Connie holds her nose. “I’ll settle for meatloaf and mashed potatoes.”

They stroll through the wooden screen door and discover a place frozen in time, like it hadn’t changed, even the stools at the lunch counter, since the 1920’s.

Wouldn’t you know, both of their menu wishes are not a part of the handwritten chalkboard list that includes homemade: chicken soup, pot roast, clam chowder and today’s special, the Friday Fish Fry.

“Liver and onion Special is on Sunday,” the cook (with long ears) reports from the back.

The would-be diners look at each other and say jointly, “We’ll have the fish fry.”


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 196

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 196

…Come to think of it, you seem to know just about every Tom, Dick and Harry around this and every other country…

Tom Dick Harry

You don’t have hit old Ace over the head with a hammer. He can tell that Connie is feeling left out and now that April has rolled around, outdoor activity possibilities are sprouting just like the crocuses and tulips. Having spent her time in the nation’s second biggest city bundled up and dodging frozen precipitation, it is time come out of recreational hibernation.

“Well, as luck would have it, I have a friend who is an executive at Armour Meats up in Milwaukee and he has told me that one of the most lavish country estates in mid-America may be torn down soon. He said that if I wanted to see it, he would meet me there for a personal tour.”

“Just who isn’t an old friend AB? Come to think of it, you seem to know just about every Tom, Dick and Harry around this and every other country, than Eddie Dombroski has cousins!”

Eddie's Cousins-001

“Now hold on CC; I’m not talking about some schmuck shirttail relative here,” he is offended by being compared to a Chicago cabbie.

“Take it easy here Ace. Don’t be flappin’ your flaps. Eddie’s cousins are merely closer to home than yours and his stories… are stories.”

“But mine help get us around the world.” He should know better. “Okay, I get it. I should know better than to minimize one of your pals.”

“Alright then, your bud is a businessman in Milwaukee…? That is in Wisconsin. Is that where the estate is?”

“No it’s on Oconomowoc Lake.”

“I-can-no-more-walk on a lake?” Connie’s ears are playing tricks.

“No, o-c-o-n-o-m-o-w-o-c,” he is reading off a piece of paper or he would not come off so phonetically smart. “From what I gather, Oconomowoc Lake is the playground for the captains of industry and gangsters from Saint Louis to Chicago.”

“Gangsters, oh swell. Shouldn’t we be getting away from them?”

“Retired gangsters.”

“That’s better.” She reframes her position. “It would be nice driving through some scenic home-grown countryside for a change. Italy was a great adventure, but I want to cruise, not fly, out of Illinois on fresh pavement and forget about creeps for awhile.

“Let’s see what we can see, go where the wind blows us, miles and miles of smiles, up one hill and down another……”

“How about, we see if you can steer an automobile better than you can land an airplane!”

Constance hits below the belt. What’s new.


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Forever Mastadon


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