|Tea, pie and poltergeists|
The old Hillix Drug Store was on the ground floor of 501 Main Street for the first half of the 20th century and chain-smoking Beno and Creola lived in the apartment above. Some Weston residents can still remember Beno, in his crisp white shirt, smoking Lucky Strikes near the pinball machine on the lower level. Some days the aroma of Lucky Strikes is still pungent right in that area of the shop. That means Beno's back, checking on things, says Verna.
You can see photos of Beno and Creola up on the second floor, where the Tea Room serves lunch Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can stop in for a piece of pie, too, which is what brought me to the Tea Room in the first place.
Verna's been operating the Tea Room for 13 years and hosts a special dinner in the spacious dining room during Weston's "Ghost Tales" celebration every October (the historic hamlet was a riverfront town that lost the Missouri River when it shifted after a flood in the 1800s; it's is apparently well-populated with ghosts). She's happy to sit down with customers and tell them the story of her life in Weston (she used to own the Weston Cafe, just down the street) and all about Beno and Creola. Beno got his nickname, she explains, because the couple were childless. He used to tell people that after he died, there would "Beno more." Maybe that's why he continues to hang around, frequently moving items and hiding things around the restaurant.
Creola is the more vocal of the two spirits: All the staff members have heard her chattering. Sometimes, according to a waitress named Lynette, it sounds far away, like in a different room. Other times her voice is plaintive and clear. Verna says that once, when she was walking downstairs, she heard Creola ask, "Where are you going?"
|Verna's Black and Blue pie|
"It's just like my Granny used to make," he announced. He turned around to look behind him. "I hope Beno heard that."