The Adolphus Ghost & A Giant Eyeball

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DALLAS – We wandered about the 19th floor of the Adolphus Hotel on Thanksgiving eve, not knowing at the time that the ghost of a jilted bride who hanged herself when her groom-to-be skipped out has allegedly haunted that floor since her death in the 1930s. We had the 19th floor to ourselves, since it consists primarily of meeting rooms, some fancy (I guess) suites, even a wheelchair lift since the floor is split-level. We didn’t see a ghost; we didn’t see anybody.

My Beautiful Mystery Companion and I weren’t staying on the 19th floor, just wandering around this grand hotel. When it was built in 1912, the Adolphus at 22 stories was the tallest building in Texas. It held that title a decade, until the Magnolia Hotel was built just down Commerce Street from the Adolphus. It consists of 29 stories.

In the lobby of the Adolphus, a photographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip hangs on a column. It is an official royal portrait, possibly taken by Lord Snowden. He was married for a time to the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, and was a noted photographer but a bit of a scoundrel. The queen and her husband stayed at the Adolphus in 1991, joining a long line of famous folks, from presidents to entertainers, who have stayed here.

Now we were guests, ensconced on the 10th floor, decidedly unfamous if not infamous. The Adolphus wasn’t especially busy the night before Thanksgiving. I figure most folks were either headed to where they’ll enjoy their turkey or were already there. When I realized my BMC had a doctor’s appointment in Dallas late in the afternoon the day before Thanksgiving, I quickly started searching for hotel rooms. I wasn’t about to leave Dallas at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve, headed east on I-20, along with about half the Metroplex.

I had nearly enough credit from hotels.com to pay for a night at the Adolphus. What I had to shell out wouldn’t rent one a room at a Motel 6. This was a good deal and a chance to stay in a luxury hotel practically free and have a mini-vacation. The Thanksgiving meal would have to wait a day.

We left the hotel as darkness set in, searching for Mexican food. Downtown Dallas was festively decorated with Christmas trees and lights on nearly every corner. My favorite “tree” was in Pegasus Plaza, a red junkyard sculpture put together from vintage car parts. It is officially called the Neiman Marcus Car Tree and has been a part of the downtown holiday season since 2003. The purple and pink lighted angels along a fountain were a popular attraction, with little kids darting daringly close to the fountains spewing from the ground. We checked out the window displays at the flagship Neiman Marcus store across from Pegasus Plaza, with its high-fashion displays of clothes no woman not strolling down a runway would actually don. The store itself was closed.

Next we came across the Giant Eyeball, a 30-foot sculpture inside a sculpture garden created on Main Street several years ago. It was fenced off since it was dark, but still highly visible. It’s hard to hide a 30-foot eyeball plopped down in the garden outside the Joule Hotel. The Eye, as it’s unoriginally called, did not sport any Christmas decorations.

A cold front blew through Wednesday night. Thanksgiving morning arrived with fierce winds and rain. That didn’t deter thousands of folks from running, walking, jogging or pushing strollers in the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot. Several runners came by below our hotel window wearing turkey headdresses. Others pushed strollers or pulled dogs behind them. Some did all three. This provided an hour’s worth of entertainment as we also watched the Macy’s Day Parade on television.

Finally, it was time to leave the Adolphus. Traffic was mercifully light as we headed east. As always, we stopped at Buc-ees in Terrell. By then we were famished. Our Thanksgiving Day meal ended up being brisket sandwiches. I had potato salad as a side, while my BMC opted for chips. I fished a couple of Topo Chicos out of the cooler.

We ate in the car, out in the parking lot, after giving thanks.

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