For the longest time, I found myself rooting for the Casiello family to bring the Hideaway Restaurant back to life along the Fox River in the area once known as Valley View.
It was a cool place in its time, one shrouded with the mystery of Al Capone and his mobsters hiding from the law. Mostly, it had great steaks.
But in the past year, the Casiellos have been denied a liquor license, were shot down on an idea to provide video gambling, and most recently had a notice from the county posted on the building saying it wasn't safe -- a verdict that essentially means the place could get demolished.
I am sure the family has poured a lot of money into this project already, and they know the restaurant business. They operate Alley 64 in St. Charles, and the Dam Bar and Third Street Station in Geneva.
I still like the idea of it all, but the "reality" voice in my head says that reviving the Hideaway on Riverside Drive in a secluded spot may not resonate the way the original place did years ago.
First, going to the Hideaway in the 1970s or 1980s meant the diner was willing to make the trip to this "secret" location and share the experience with friends or family. But those deciding to do so from the Tri-Cities area didn't have many other dining options. One could argue the Hideaway was near the top of a fairly short list.
Not so anymore.
Someone driving up to the northern township area of St. Charles might pass 40 other restaurants in the downtowns or along Randall Road that might trigger this thought: Why should we go up there when all of these other nice places are right here?
It's just a thought from a guy who has no money or much of anything else at stake in whether Hideaway rises from the ashes or not.
Still dodging balls:
It does my heart good to see that one of my favorite high school physical education periods -- an hour of dodgeball -- is alive and well.
The Geneva Library Foundation likes that thought as well, as it appears its "Dodge, Drink and Dine" dodgeball fundraiser event last year was so popular it is expanding.
This year, 10 teams can join the adults-only, double-elimination tournament from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Stephen Persinger Recreation Center.
Cost is $25 for spectators and $35 to play. Those looking to register a team or just come to watch can get more information at genevalibraryfoundation.org.
After the teams get finished battering each other with dodge balls, a buffet dinner with food from Rosati's Catering, and drinks from Fox River Distilling Company, Stockholm's, Penrose Brewing and Two Brother Brewing, will be available.
And what was it about dodgeball that I found so appealing? I was good at dodging. That was about it.
I could get somebody out with a good throw on occasion, but mostly I drove opponents crazy when trying to hit me. It was an instance in which being of a smaller frame and fairly quick afoot came in handy.
And that was 46 years ago. Today? I'd be out on the first throw.
They are hazards:
It's almost always helpful to know your city's policy for hazardous waste pickup.
Otherwise, you get caught scratching your head about what to do with old cans of paint, fertilizers, household chemicals and cleaners, fluorescent lights and other items.
In Geneva, residents have the option of scheduling a collection of those materials at their home once a year. When you send an email to email@example.com to schedule a pickup, you'll be sent a 30-gallon bag and instructions on what to do.
This type of service is possible because of an agreement between the city and the county.
Even though our federal and state governments haven't figured out how this sort of cooperation works, it's good to see the locals still realize how to make helpful things happen.
Just so sweet:
My mother-in-law's ability to fill a small carry-home container with cookies and brownies each time she went to the monthly First Tuesday Suppers event at United Methodist Church in Geneva was the stuff of legends.
She could get enough goodies in that small carton to satisfy her sweet tooth for a week or more. And it was her favorite part of the month for about four years before her passing.
We still go to this great community dinner event, and I have taken up my mother-in-law's baton in seeking those treats at the end of the evening.
In fact, I have come to discover that the long dessert tables at the church indeed qualify as a "happy place" for me.
The volunteers who make baked goods for the dinner guests are coming up with some of the tastiest items on the planet.
For that, we can't thank them enough.