DeWayne's World - Peoria is full of quirky characters
Editor’s note: Peoria Times-Observer news editor DeWayne Bartels, a former Morton Times-News editor, and current Morton Times-News editor Nathan Domenighini have had an ongoing feud about whether Peoria or Morton is a more interesting community. Today, their feud spills onto these pages.
Nathan, a while back I was at a District 150 school board meeting when I saw your mayor, Dr. Norm Durflinger, in the room. He has been serving as interim treasurer for District 150. Durflinger is the prototypical Mortonite. He is steady, affable, honest and reliable. In other words, boooooring.
I’ve known Durflinger 20 years. He has the potential to be interesting. But, he’s not going to suggest a concealed carry test in Morton or that Morton host a gay-rights parade. Nope, not going to happen.
That is why I have to say I’m hard-pressed to think of any “interesting” characters in your town.
Peoria, on the other hand, is full of “interesting” characters. And, I don’t even have to go to city hall to find them. My neighborhood, which I consider a good one, has had a stabbing take place in front of my house. I’ve had my van stolen from my garage. I witnessed a shooting up the street. A neighbor was murdered in his driveway. I was threatened by Nazis. And, I’ve had a death threat scrawled on my house.
I guess that makes me one of the “interesting” characters in my neighborhood.
Recently, neighborhood kids came to me to tell me there was a man exposing himself to kids. The kids tell me they call him the “Ding-A-Ling Man.”
Later that same afternoon, a jolly fellow with one artificial leg sauntered up to me as I lay in my hammock and offered me a swig from his 750 ml bottle of vodka.
The next day as I sat on my front porch, a young fellow walked by, and upon seeing my daughter, offered her some flowers. He was carrying a plastic bag. He pulled out aluminum cans, a book, assorted papers, then a large bayonet wrapped in paper and finally some small wilted flowers. My daughter was thrilled.
DeWayne, while your experiences within a walking distance of your residence might be considered “interesting” to those within your realm, I would contend it would scare the living beegeezus out of just about anyone in Morton.
In my time in Peoria, reluctantly spent on the “once-interesting through history” Moss Avenue, I encountered several interesting experiences that were far from historical. I engaged in daily conversation with residents who refused to use sidewalks to get to their destinations. Instead, they chose the green route, passing by my ground- floor apartment unit.
Those individuals were certainly very interested by the contents housed within my dwelling unit.
And, the police were even more interested to find fingerprints after sweeping broken glass off the surface of my window frame to gather evidence leading to the arrest of a burglar. Interesting, huh?
Morton does not have a “Ding-A-Ling” man ... yet. Our perverts typically keep to themselves out here. Our criminals are certainly interesting, however.
Perhaps Peorians remember the “Blow Dart Attackers” that plastered the front page of your town’s major daily.
Or, maybe you would appreciate the time an attempted robbery at the local Jimmy John’s was carried out by a former employee who ended up mopping the floor at the business instead.
I recall a series of running-car thefts in Morton a while back that prompted an investigation by the police department. They found the cars were eventually returned to Morton. You see, DeWayne, in Morton, our criminals are kind by nature. If they steal your stuff, you’ll likely see it again. If they attempt to rob you, they will lend a helping hand and mop your floor.
If you are looking for interesting, Morton is the place to find it. And, that is why I enjoy being a resident. Unfortunately, I have to lock my doors because your “interesting” Peoria characters keep stopping by off Interstate 74 to take stuff without giving back.
Nathan, you make a point. I’m sure now I belong in Peoria.
A woman who lives not far from me was flabbergasted a few years back to learn I grill on a small patio my wife made for me in my front yard. In my neighborhood, people talk to each other because we have front porches. She said it was actions like that by “poor white trash” like me that was destroying Peoria. Interesting.