Every time I walk down the hall into my office, the first thing I see is a bowling pin propped against the wall. It came from Zodiac Lanes, a bowling alley that operated in Camdenton, Missouri for more than thirty years. It was owned and run by a man named DON BARRETT. Sandy and I owned part of the shopping center where Zodiac Lanes was located, including that building and a Glen Block Hardware and Building Supply next door that was part of my own business, Glenstone Block Company.
When the highway was rerouted around that area, Don was eventually forced to close the business he loved so much. There is a long, personal story about how the Zodiac was eventually torn down and we sold the land to the City of Camdenton and how I came to have this bowling pin my office.
I will tell you that Don Barrett is a man of honor, a man of strong convictions who loves his family, community, his country, and his friends. You who visit my blog know his name and have read his poetry and comments. This morning, coming down the hall and seeing the pin he gave me made me want to say, “Hi, Don. I’m glad we are friends.”
Last week Sandy and I drove to Camdenton, Missouri and sold property we’d owned there for forty years. The City bought it to build a community center. Glenstone Block Company operated a supply yard there from 1977 until I sold the company in 2008. Since then the office building has been vacant. Today it looks seedy and rundown, the inevitable effect on buildings and people alike when they no longer have a purpose and the light goes out. Next door to the office was a bowling alley, Zodiac Lanes, owned and operated by Don Barrett. When Highway 5 North was bypassed a few years ago, businesses up and down the street began to suffer from loss of traffic. The Zodiac, after decades of providing good times and memories for its patrons, finally fell victim too.
As part of the sale, The Zodiac was torn down. By Don himself. His wife Viki and other family members pitched in to help him through the long, bittersweet ordeal of destroying the building where he had spent much of his adult life. The bowling lanes are gone now. All that’s left is a smooth vacant lot. I hope that people don’t forget the Zodiac and what it stood for. The other day when I stood there taking these pictures, I felt a profound feeling of sadness for what once was and will never be again.