Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Independence, Interurban Trolleys & Nellie the Nudist Queen

Plenty of meat and colorful explosions over the Fourth of July weekend this year for us, but not so much beer. I don't have what it takes to be a problem drinker, I guess, because I forget to drink alcohol. Days and weeks and months sometimes go by before I remember to take a drink. During the whole of the long weekend, it didn't occur to me once, despite my previous posting.

As for the meat, I prepared that, but the explosions weren't of my own making, due to the misguided ban on recreational explosives in Illinois, which means that I'd have to drive further than I'd like to obtain fireworks. Still, the Westmont municipal fireworks, shot off last night over Ty Warner Park in that suburb, were worth the time and effort to get there.

During the day we drove to South Elgin, Ill., to take a ride on a small remnant on the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Line that's now known as the Fox River Trolley Museum. It's a museum in the sense that it has artifacts -- train and trolley cars, mostly. It also has about two miles of track. Rides can be had on weekends and holidays during the summer, and on July 4 the rides are only a dollar.

The AE&FRE was once an interurban line. Naturally that brings to mind the line in "Nellie the Nudist Queen" (Stuart Ross & John Sargent, 1933) -- the only song I know that uses the term "interurban." What, that's not the first thing most people would think of?

Nellie was a city gal, more than nine-tenths pure,
Till a country guy came riding by on a ten-cent trolley tour!
His eyes were mean, his heart was black, and this interurban tramp
Beguiled poor Nell and took her back to his nearby nudist camp!

Not to worry, since Nell thrived in her new setting, becoming the nudist queen of the title. Listen for yourself.

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