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The Silver Dollar!!

Take A Mulligan

September 8, 2019
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Over the years things change, don't they? The Chelsea of 1960 is a whole lot different than today. But that's the way life is...........always evolving, always changing in some way, shape or form. Many times the older we get them more we probably don't like the changes. But we all adapt and adjust to life's changes. As we say today, "it is what it is."

And speaking of change, I noticed several weeks ago that The Silver Dollar is changing hands and ownership. Wow! Double Wow. For as long as there is a history of Chelsea, this mainstay bar has been in only two ownership's; Sheda's Tavern, owned by none other than my Uncle Ludy Sheda and The Silver Dollar, owned by Larry and Doris Frese for the past 46 years. But now Lisa Murty has become the third owner in the past hundred years or longer. Congratulations to her and to Larry and Doris for their many years quenching the thirst of those Chelsea Bohemian's. And we have been a mighty thirsty bunch!! Here are a few of my thoughts on the Silver Dollar....

It's been many a year since I've even walked through the doors of the Silver Dollar, but I still regard it as a very special place in my heart. Sort of like my home away from home for a number of years.

Article Photos

John Sheda

And over the years, if I ever did go in, it would feel just like old times. That's the flavor of this grand old place. And I'm sure the atmosphere will remain the same as ever.

Not sure if this is official or not, but Deb and I kinda met at the Silver Dollar. At least in some old round-about way. Years ago, we had the old Chelsea Gang, comprised of such notorious individuals as Larry Behounek, Ken Behounek, Jim Hayek, Joe Behonek, (oops, Deacon Joe), Joe Plesek, Marla Behounek, Joel and Craig Willaby, and several quite innocent ladies, Mary Jean, Lois, Debbie and (my) Debbie.

On any given Friday or Saturday night, several from this gang would "hole-up" at the Silver Dollar. And enjoy each other's company. Then we'd all jump into Ken's '63 Chevy Imapala or Larry's Gran Torino and just drive around the Bohemian Hills for a while. Then back to the Dollar. That was our weekends in Chelsea.

So somewhere during this time in the early '70s, Debbie Veit, became a member of the Chelsea Gang. And we simply corrupted her. As we did so many. Except for me, of course. I was the only one that remained cute, innocent and oh so humble.

Larry used to purchase a special deal from Uncle Ludy and perhaps Larry too, so his trunk of the Gran Tornio was always filled with a can of Schlitz............or two. My choice was PBR.

I can still remember when the 5:15pm Mass was introduced to St. Joseph's. At 5:10 p.m., the crowd at the Dollar would quickly clean out as guys jumped in their cars, trucks and even tractors and head several blocks south for Saturday evening church. By 6 p.m., everyone was back in the bar finishing up what they had started just a little while earlier. The bar seats were still warm.

And finally just about anytime, day or night, you could find a good 'ol Pepper game going on. Quarter a game and ten cents a point, if I remember right and the game was seldom played with teams. It was every man for himself. There's an old saying in cards that there is always on fool at every game. Many many times I looked around at the other three Bohemian Farmers, in their bib overalls and wondering which one of them was the fool. It never was any of them. Those old guys could really play.

The Silver Dollar is very dear to my heart. One of the landmarks of Chelsea, Iowa. hank you Larry and Doris for the great times we all had over the year. And welcome to Lisa who now has the challenge of keeping the memories going and I'm sure she will.

If you have a memory or two to share, let me know at or call me at 319.327.4640

And a very special shout out to Dave, who I met while eating in a restaurant last week in Toledo. It was good to re-connect with you.



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