David's Yellow Brick Toad Restaurant
I've included this on the layout as something of a memoriam. Perched atop a hill, the restaurant—originally a big old playhouse—overlooked an endless vista of open farmland, where hot air balloon races, music festivals ("Toadstock"), weddings and other events were held regularly. Regrettably, it's now completely surrounded by a sea of houses; it's utterly heartbreaking to see what's happened to the area. Thankfully I have my memories. Seemingly a lifetime ago, I was friends with the owner, Dave Duthie, and also his bartender, John Blaze Sr., sadly now both deceased. We had some great times together, and I get a massive lump in my throat as I think about them, when Dave, my wife and I would ramble all over the Toad property in his jeep, helping to organize the hot air balloon races and other events. Not to mention the countless fantastic meals we shared. "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
W. David "Dave" Duthie, II (1943-2003), a New Jersey native, was a first lieutenant in Vietnam, part of the First Air Cavalry Division. He was awarded a Bronze Star, Bronze Star with Valor, Air Medal, and Army Commendation Medal, among others. Discharged in 1972, Dave owned and operated the Yellow Brick Toad for 22 years, until he closed the doors in 2000 to pursue his dream of sailing around the world. He and his wife sailed for about a year before he succumbed to bone cancer, most likely a consequence of exposure to Agent Orange. RIP, Dave.
Out of necessity, this will be scratchbuilt, and mostly from memory: the building has been substantially modified to suit its new owner—a communications company—and so far I've not found any images online of the restaurant in its heyday, regrettably, aside from one vaguely helpful photo taken shortly before Dave bought the place.
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