Hoosier Daddy?

Well, it’s my blog and I’ll pun if I want to. We flew eastward last week to visit my father in Indiana, a trip that is now safely in the rearview mirror, tornadoes and lightning and delays, oh my! It wouldn’t seem possible, but we managed to leave LAX on time yet arrived at our Chicago O’Hare gate three hours late. There was an hour of circling the airport, then two more idling on the runway due to lightning strikes closing down the gates. Saw this photo from the Daily Mail (UK) of what was going on during our holding pattern:

Lightning simultaneously struck Chicago's Hancock building and Willis (Sears) Tower that evening

Sometimes I think the Midwest just doesn’t like me. Can’t remember the last time I visited that there wasn’t some kind of weather tantrum being thrown. Oh, wait. It’s the Midwest, why would I expect otherwise?

However, another constant of fly-over country is that the folks are more or less unaffected by the cynicism of coast dwellers like myself. Our B&B host, Ann Andre, waited up past 1 am that night for our tardy arrival to Bristol, IN and I can’t really imagine that happening in SoCal or NYC.

My father and niece enjoying the garden at Murphy's Guest House

The CE is not much of a B&B’r but even he could not resist Ann and Gary’s hospitality or the sumptuous breakfasts prepared for us each morning. They even hosted our Indiana family for breakfast at our request on the last morning of the stay – and then declined to let us pay for the meal! (The CE left some $$ on the kitchen counter which they hopefully found after our departure.)

There is such a thing as a free breakfast! But only in Indiana.

While in the Hoosier state, I showed the CE around a bit. For all of Elkhart’s economic woes (see “The Blur That Is Life” post from 20 March 2010) my little hometown (population: 52,647 in 2009) has spiffed up a bit since I lived there. A new “Riverwalk”, consisting of a series of bridges that span the Elkhart and St. Joseph rivers which flow through the community’s downtown area, has brought a sense of cohesiveness to the area and makes for a nice walk on a summer day.

The spot now known as Island Park, located at the confluence of the two rivers, was thought by Indian tribes to be shaped like an elk's heart, thus the name of the town.

Some of our fellow tourists in the park.

While downtown, we walked over to visit the store my father and my maternal grandfather before him operated for a collective fifty or sixty years. Or more? The building itself dates back to 1868 when it served as the site of the community’s first post office.

View from the back of the building

We also checked in with friends Fern and Jerry Hostetler, parents of my childhood friend, Nancy (“Past is Present, May 14, 2010). One thing you can say about the Midwest is that the denizens certainly age well!

Fern and Jerry, looking good!

Another day, we shifted our touring back to the metropolis of Bristol (population 2,000) and visited the Bonneyville Mill, where they’ve been stone-grinding flour continuously for 150 years using power generated from the adjacent Little Elkhart river: http://www.elkhartcountyparks.org/properties_locations/bonneyville_mill.htm

Bonneyville Mill

Lots of wheels and pulleys, etc. Somehow the end product is flour.

Technical difficulties with WordPress just disappeared the rest of this post, so I’ll try to re-construct it later, but wanted to get something up for those of you who are waiting for the weekend edition of Polloplayer…

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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1 Response to Hoosier Daddy?

  1. Katherine says:

    This may be the first time I’ve ever uttered the phrase “I want to go visit the Midwest in the summertime.” It looks like a beautiful trip (Chicago weather not withstanding.) And I see you come by your love of pets honestly – couldn’t help but notice the sign on your family’s store.

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