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Having visited Silver Dollar City for many years, it wasn't long before we noticed the same SDC citizens year after year. Without fail we seem to be greeted at the Hospitality House by Gene Bortner (Gene doesn't know us but it doesn't matter because he gives everyone the same generous welcome). We enjoy walking into the Gun and Knife shop and seeing all the regulars including Ray Johnson making knives out front. With each trip we make our way around the park welcomed by the familiar.

Only in the past few years did I start to capture pictures of the city and its staff to preserve the memory of some great times. Even at that, the best you can do with a still camera is to capture the essence of the moment. I try to capture people at their best -- most often accomplished when they are just being themselves. I started taking pictures at SDC because I enjoy the color and style of the late 1800's but more recently it has become a mission of sorts. It is my hope to someday look back on the memory of some very special times and remembrances of those that made it so.

Pictured in the picture above is Danny Eakin of the Homestead Pickers. A singer, musician and entertainer extraordinaire. He likes to say 'we're here to entertain ourselves' but the benefit goes to those who have gathered around to enjoy a genuinely great time.

It's not uncommon to find many who have been with Silver Dollar City for 25, 30 or 40 years. Every one of these individuals (and many more not referenced above) have had a remarkable career doing something that they enjoy, brightening the days of many, many people. Hopefully, they will be there for many more.

It is with great regret that I missed the opportunity to capture the picture of some. Shad Heller was the long time blacksmith and mayor of Silver Dollar City. Another individual was the gentleman who worked in Aunt Molly's kitchen. I don't even know his name but he was always tending to the breakfast buffet. With each trip it seemed as though we would see him bringing out a big tray of steaming scrambled eggs or grits or bacon and sausage.

Of all the missed pictures the one individual I wished I had the presence of mind to take was the gentleman that humbly walked the streets of Silver Dollar City sweeping with a long handled broom and dust pan. Tall and lanky, his slow but determined job was to keep the walkways and paths clean. What made Luke Standlee special though was that he always gave a little extra. Whenever Horsecreek band was up on the gazebo stage he would set down his broom and dance a jig. I suspect he was a performer at heart. We always enjoyed seeing him.

"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper,
he should sweep streets
even as Michelangelo painted,
or Beethoven composed music,
or Shakespeare wrote poetry.
He should sweep streets so well
that all the hosts of heaven and earth
will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper
who did his job well."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Picture Location: Silver Dollar City
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Copyright 2003-2007, Stephen Rogers