Thursday, March 27, 2008

Crescent Memories


There are several old hotels in Eureka Springs. The Crescent was built in 1886 and is on the hill overlooking the valley where the main part of Eureka lies. Eureka has many mineral springs and they are known for their medicinal powers. The Crescent Hotel has had many incarnations and it is haunted according to many sources. I have stayed at the Crescent Hotel several times but unlike the New Orleans Hotel, I have never seen a ghost there. Ghosts aside, I did have a particularly memorable trip that involved the Crescent Hotel.

During the oil boom I had a girl friend named Gayle. Friends of ours, Carol and David, decided to join us one weekend on a camping trip to northwest Arkansas. Carol, Gayle and I worked at Texas Oil and Gas and David was an oil and gas lease broker. We left Oklahoma City after work on Friday in David's car and drove to a large lake east of Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was dark when we arrived and we had all been drinking. As we were trying to raise the tent, Gayle slipped and fell down the sloping terrain. She grabbed her leg in pain.

"Are you okay?" I asked, finding her in the dark with my lantern.

"It hurts but I think I'll be okay," she said.

Carol and David had joined us by this time and we all commiserated with her pain. "There's probably an emergency room in Fayetteville," David offered.

"I'll be all right," she said.

We soon realized the temperature inside the tent was almost unbearable and the mosquitoes outside it on a rampage. "Let's go into Eureka Springs and find a room," Carol suggested.

None of us needed much convincing. We drove to Eureka and found a room at the Crescent Hotel. There is a bar on the third floor. After taking our bags to the room, we hurriedly retreated to the bar for drinks. There is a scenic deck outside the bar from where you can see downtown Eureka, and in all directions for many miles. There was also a band playing. Gayle wasn't a big drinker but she slugged two vodka tonics in a matter of what seemed like minutes. The night was moody and rich with sound - perfect for imbibing a little too much alcohol. The rest of us followed her lead.

The next day we toured the scenic spa town. Gayle kept favoring her leg and looking like a whipped puppy, so we decided to head back to Oklahoma City early. After David and Carol dropped us off at my apartment, I took Gayle to the Baptist Hospital Emergency Room. An x-ray showed that she had a broken leg. The doctor's set the break and thankfully gave her pain medication.

Gayle was quite a trooper and her leg healed well. We didn't see any ghosts on that trip but maybe it was because we were all in such an alcoholic haze that we wouldn't have known it if we had.

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