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I come from Dry Creek, Louisiana: a land of tall pines and good people.

Two Doors

The Civic Center Doors

This is a warning: Be careful with the doors at the Lake Charles Civic Center! I was there last week and as I entered the men’s room, I recalled Roy Greene’s story.
The Lake Charles Civic Center opened thirty years ago. Amazingly, it was constructed on sand pumped out of the adjacent lake that gives the city its name, Lake Charles.
In keep with the French background of our area, it was christened “Le Civic Centre” In carrying out this Acadian motif, the restrooms were labeled as “Messieurs” and “Madames.”
The thoughtful architect also designed the “Messieurs/Madames” restrooms so there was one entrance door (with no handle on the inside) and a corresponding exit door on the other end of the restrooms. This wisely (or unwisely as our story will reveal) ensured that users moved in one direction.

And that brings us to Roy Greene’s famous story. Mr. Roy, a Dry Creek native, loved basketball. He had played on Dry Creek High’s famous undefeated 1931 state championship team, coached high school ball, and was the long time principal at Fenton High. He produced a line of great coaches including his son, Larry, and grandsons Mike and Chris Greene.
Mr. Roy loved the Sweet 16 State Girl’s Basketball Tournament, and never missed a game. On this particular year, it was held at the Lake Charles Civic Center.
During a halftime break, Mr. Roy, who was near eighty, shuffled to the restroom, hurrying so as not to miss a minute of action on the court.
Maybe it was his eyesight, or his preoccupation with the game—
But when he got to the door, he thought it was “Messieurs” but (I know you are ahead of me) instead it was “Madames.” However, Mr. Roy did not realize his mistake until he was inside and saw two things: there were no urinals and the room was full of women.
Of course, he did what any man would do: he discreetly retreated to the entrance door. However, there was no handle (there you are, ahead of me again.) He stood not quite sure what to do… and then did the only thing he knew to do—He shuffled along right through the restroom, past the throng of gasping women, and out the exit door.
His son Larry, who watched from the lobby, said, “I saw him go in the wrong door and tried to catch him, but I was too late. When he came out the other end, I told him, “You ain’t nothing but a dirty old man!”

Last week as I entered the Civic Center’s “Messieurs” restroom, I did a double take just to make sure. I laughed as I noticed there is now a corresponding “Men” sign below the “Messieurs.”
Probably put there in memory of my friend, Mr. Roy Greene.

If you’re familiar with my writing, you know how I like to find a spiritual meaning in my stories. Well, here goes: Once again, staring at a new year, I think about making good decisions. i.e. “going through the right doors.”
Life is a series of many decisions, most small, others huge, but all propelling us in a definite direction. We don’t get where we are by accident, but by decisions.

Realistically, many decisions, like Mr. Roy’s Door, offer no retreat, but a move forward. Therefore, I want to choose, and open, the correct doors to lead me into the right places.

Yesterday, I read one of my “life verses” (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

In my simple Dry Creek mind that means if I trust God, listen to him, and include him in my decisions, he will help me choose the right doors. That verse is a promise, and it is a promise for you too!

Have a great day, Messieurs and Madames!

Curt Iles

I come from Dry Creek, Louisiana: a land of tall pines and good people.
I come from Dry Creek, Louisiana: a land of tall pines and good people.

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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One comment

  1. “Common sense exhibited in an unusally uncommon manner is what we call wisdom.” -Samuel T. Colerige

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