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One tourist’s destination a moon show

JACK-REMEMBERS-SIGWesley Dickhout graduated from Oak Grove High School in 1957 and moved to southern California. His dad was an electrician. His mother and three sisters all worked at Mac’s Place.

His sister, who is a close friend of mine, has always said he never got past 16 years of age. One year, when he came to his 50-year class reunion, he told me he had organized a group of beer drinkers from the local bar in his hometown every Saturday to line up by the railroad tracks and “moon” the Amtrak train that came by at 4 p.m. He said the group kept getting larger and larger. They had been on television and in all the newspapers and had now grown to hundreds of “mooners.”

I asked him why he started this ritual. He replied, “economic development.” I said, “What do you mean, economic development?” “Oh,” he said, “we bring a lot of business into the community. The bars are full and restaurants are doing a land office business. Convenience stores are full.  Not only that, we are helping Amtrak fill up the train every Saturday afternoon, which normally had low occupancy.”

One Saturday afternoon, I turned on CNN and there were 8,000 people on camera lined up to “moon” Amtrak in Wes’ hometown in southern California.

I was on the Jackson County Economic Development Commission for eight years. We hired an executive director with a college education who had been development director for several counties in northeast Missouri. Every meeting we brought in experts with master’s degrees to tell us how to attract business in Jackson County and never did I hear one of these experts recommend the commission go over to the railroad tracks, drop their drawers, and moon a train.

Jack can be reached at P.O. Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or jackremembers@aol.com.  Visit www.jackremembers.com

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