Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2018

Archive for the category “Indiana”

I Don’t Want To Know The Score

“O, HAIL THE MIGHTY SYCAMORES!” At home along the banks of the Wabash. There, that sounds majestic enough. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense though when you’re talking about a football team.

The Indiana State University football team goes by the fearsome name of “The Fighting Sycamores.” Doesn’t that just put a tremor loose in your heart? No. Me neither.

Their football stadium is about a minute away from our front door. We can hear the bands at halftime and the oohing and ahhhing of the crowds. When the Fighting Sycamores score a touchdown they fire off a cannon in sheer delight. We haven’t heard the cannon much lately.

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Throwback Thursday from Sept. 2015 – “She Just ‘Sort of’ Robbed The Bank”

Throwback Thursday

She Just “Sort of” Robbed The Bank

tripleI WAS CHATTING WITH THE USUAL SUSPECTS the other day when the topic of bank robbery came up. Sometimes they scare me. This bunch of Geezers couldn’t rob the Food Bank, let alone an actual – “Money in the vault, Can I see some ID, please,” type of bank. This group would be called the “Don’t forget to take your meds gang.” Even so, they would be a bigger threat than a person I once knew who really did try to rob a bank.

About ten years ago B.R. (Before Retirement) a female coworker whom I knew and liked working with, called in to her Supervisor one sunny morning. She said that she was going to be in a little late because she “Had some business to take care of.” Little did we all know that her “business” was knocking off a bank.

While I and everyone else at work were getting ready for another day on the job, she was out pulling into the parking lot at a local bank.

From later reports it went down something like this –

My coworker drove to the bank, checked her .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun to be sure it was loaded (it was), got out of the car and walked up to the front door of the bank. At this point things began to fall apart for her.

She pulled the handle to open the door – nothing. It wouldn’t budge. The door was locked. It was locked because, in an effort to rob the bank and still get to work, she got an early start to her day and arrived, fully loaded, before banking hours. The bank wouldn’t be open for another half hour.

There is an old adage that says, “Plan your work and work your plan.” My friend, the would-be bank robber, skimped on the first part of that. If this plan was to be as easy as 1 – 2 – 3 you can’t skip the 2 and go straight to 3.

So, there she is – standing at the front door of the bank, holding her shooting iron, and she can’t get the door to open. It was then that she made the decision to try again another day. Perhaps it was best to just go on to work like nothing had happened. No harm – No foul.

No way.

While she was standing there contemplating her “Plan B” the people who worked in the other bank, just across the street, witnessed this entire fiasco and had already called the Terre Haute Police Department. Terre Haute – that’s French for, “Mama don’t ‘low no bank robbin’ round here.”

Before she could get back to her car and go off to work, she found herself surrounded. It was not even 8 AM and her day was not going to get any better.

Since she never really robbed the bank, they couldn’t charge her with that crime, but they had a list of others to present her with.

It turned out, upon further investigation, that she had lied on her job application – in that part about “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” She had done some hard time a few years back for some other failed misadventure. This, of course, made her possession of the .45 caliber semiautomatic weapon a serious “No – No.” Added to that – she had no Concealed Carry permit for the gun – which was not registered anywhere. At least she did have a valid driver’s license – but the car wasn’t hers.

Fast Forward about three years –

I was tooling up and down the aisles of a store in town when I hear a voice behind me call out, “Hey, John!” This happens a lot to me. It is usually a former client or parent thereof – not this time. I turned around and there was our own local Bonnie Parker Wannabe.

“Hi, John. Remember me? We used to work together.”

Now this was one of those moments when you really don’t want to say the wrong thing. So, of course, the first words out of my mouth were,

“Sure, I remember you. Where you been keeping yourself?”

“Oh, I’ve been out of town for a while.”

Courtesy of the State of Indiana.

I really don’t remember the rest of the conversation.

I always enjoyed working with her. She was friendly, confident, and easy to get along with. Lucky for me she never needed an accomplice.

Back Home Again In Indiana

“LUCY, I’M HOME”

OK, so I don’t really know anybody named Lucy, but we are home – back in lovely Terre Haute (That’s French for “You don’t have an accent anymore.”)

After about ten days in the deep south we have crawled our way back north, into the land of, if not milk and honey, then Half and Half and Sweet n’ Low.

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Call Me Mr. President 

IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL’S WORKSHOP or so I’ve heard. I have been officially retired for about six years now and I’m thinking that maybe I should get a part-time job – just to keep active you understand.

On the front page of the local daily birdcage liner I saw a very detailed Want Ad announcing a job opening that looks right up my alley.

It seems that the President of the Indiana State University is retiring. I could do that job in my sleep. I bet that the person who gets that job gets free pens and some ISU sweatshirts anytime they desire and I say that you can never have too many of either item.

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Three Little Words

dnraI KNOW A YOUNG BLOGGER, whose work I really enjoy. Recently she mentioned that she had decided to sign a “DNR” form. For the uninitiated “DNR” stands for “Do Not Resuscitate.” It is an alert to medical personnel that the person who signed the form does not want any measures, like CPR, to be taken to keep them alive if their heart stops beating or they stop breathing. Serious business.

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I Can See It All Now

newsflashNEWS FLASH!

Terre Haute (That’s French for “99¢ Shrimp Cocktails!”) is seriously considering leaping into the 21st century!

The local Chamber of Commerce, a body with all of the power and influence of a grilled cheese sandwich, has expressed its support for the idea of having a casino open here. This is an idea that gets floated about every two years. So far that’s all it has ever done – floated – like a dead fish.

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Let’s Do Lunch

deer2WHAT’S FOR LUNCH TODAY? If you’re anything like me it is a last minute decision about some form of organic matter on a plate. After a quick scouting mission through the kitchen I usually end up with something that falls under the general heading of “Leftovers” – also known as “Muzgos,” – as in “If we don’t eat this today – it Muz Go.”

This morning while driving down to St. Arbucks Sunrise Service/Brewing I heard something on the radio that might change the concept of Lunch for millions of people.

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Throwback Thursday from October 2015

Throwback Thursday 3

From October 2015

Leaves of…uh…Leaves

covered_bridgeIT IS THE LATTER PART OF OCTOBER IN INDIANA. The trees are at their peak of Autumnal color. The leaves I saw this morning were red, yellow, gold, and blue. Blue? That turned out to be a plastic bag stuck on a branch.

People come from all over to look at the trees and go “Ooh” and “Ahhh.” After that they eat lunch and drive away. They never stay to help clean up the leaves as they fall to earth.

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Hey, Gomer!

tdn1“I’VE NEVER BEEN TO SPAIN, BUT I HAVE BEEN TO GOMER.”

OK, so that is a paraphrase of the old Three Dog Night song and I have to agree that the Gomer part doesn’t work. But I have been to Gomer.

Recently my wife, the lovely and true to her calling, Dawn, and I made a short visit to the town of Gomer, Ohio. We had to drive there (260 miles) because the Gomer International Airport was fogged in.

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Throwback Thursday from October 2015

Throwback Thursday 1From October 2015

Start Planning Your Vacation Now!

Casey windchimeIT IS PART OF HUMAN NATURE to want to excel, to be the best, at whatever one attempts. That is why we keep records of achievement. Sports keep records of just about every facet of a game, important or not. This mania for record keeping is why there is such a thing as the Guinness Book of World Records.

Starting in 1955, the Guinness Book of World Records now keeps track of more than 6,000 records with 50,000 attempts annually to break into The Book.

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Throwback Thursday from October 2015

Throwback Thursday 2Throwback Thursday from October 2015

Love Among The Lattes

Barista weddingIT’S NOT OFTEN that you can have an, “Awwwww,” moment at St. Arbucks. Most of the time I have “Oh, for crying out loud,” moments there.

But not yesterday.  It was, “Awwwww,” all around.

Two members of the St. Arbucks Corp of Baristas were on the scene to make an announcement – they were going to be getting married!

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Go Long For Jesus.

isu3The Time: 6:43 AM

The Place: St. Arbucks Main Chapel.

As I pulled into the parking lot, headed toward my usual Gimp Spot to leave the Toyota I noticed something unusual – the lot was almost full.

Normally at this time of dayscratch that – this time of night, the lot is all but deserted except for the cars belonging to the Early Shift Geezers who must sleep over. No matter when I arrive they are already there swilling coffee and comparing hip replacement stories.

When I stepped inside there were about fifteen additional humans in there. The extras were all young, male, and large – College students.

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It Couldn’t Hurt

ellaYOU KNOW IT’S A SLOW DAY when the conversation at St. Arbucks scrapes the bottom of the intellectual barrel. An example:

“If you’re in an elevator that’s falling would jumping at the last second before it hits bottom help save your life?”

It got real quiet when one of the Usual Suspects asked that question. I’m not sure if it was a stunned silence or a thoughtful pause to reflect. An answer to that came shortly.

“That depends.”

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Throwback Thursday – from August 2015

Throwback Thursday1

A New Shiny Object

Parking lotTERRE HAUTE (That’s French for “I hope there is enough parking.”) is a town that loves something – anything, that is new. If you want to create a stir in this town just open a new store or restaurant.

“Build it and mail out coupons and they will come.”

— Paraphrase from “Field of Dreams”

Maybe it is because for many years Terre Haute was just an exit off of I-70 – a place where nothing happened. That seemed to have started changing about twenty five years ago.  The local colleges began to make headlines as innovative and exciting places. New businesses began to come here and my wife, the lovely and inspiring, Dawn, moved here in the late 1980s and it was, “off to the races!”

(I showed up here about 13 years ago and that put the seal of approval on it.) OK….maybe I’m being a bit facetious there, but I still think I helped.

The town is expanding and new growth is bringing jobs and a sense of mild excitement to this old river town.

If you want to turn that mild excitement into something near to frenzy all you need to do is open a new store or place to eat.

Late last year a “Cheddars” restaurant opened up on the south side of town and you would think it was a branch office of Fatima the way the crowds mobbed the place. Nobody was getting cured and tossing away their crutches there, they were just getting some decent chow.

Last month a new “Five Guys Burgers” opened and if you drive past it yet today you would think that it was the site of a gold strike or the discovery of Jimmy Hoffa’s grave.

And now…

Yesterday was the unofficial official grand opening of a new Meijer mega-store with 195,000 square feet of retail delights. That is one honking big store. The “Official” official grand opening is in a couple of days.

I’ve watched them build it as I was on my way to the Wal-Mart that is squatted directly across the street. What a coincidence!

Can you say “Free Market Competition?” I knew you could.

Both of the stores are on the east side of Terre Haute. Up until less than ten years ago that stretch of road was farm land and an onramp to the Interstate. Now it has turned into the hottest property in the area with these two behemoth stores, a Holiday Inn and more construction going on than this town has seen in years.

(Scuttlebutt has it that one parcel of land has had a building permit issued to “Hooters.” That I find hard to believe. Cracker Barrel maybe, but Hooters? Naw.)

Some people don’t like it when these big stores open up. I have no problems with them at all. Increased competition does two main things:

  1. It makes existing stores improve the way they do business.
  2. It makes for lower prices.

New stores also bring jobs. This Meijer store means 270 new jobs according to the morning paper. There isn’t a small town anywhere that wouldn’t welcome that.

It will be a while until I go out there to investigate the new store. Right now the parking lot looks like the world’s largest used car dealership. I figure that after a month or so the glow will have worn off and the crowds will dissipate to a degree and move on to the next new shiny object. By then I’ll be in the market for something or other and I’ll give them the once over.

Until then I think I’ll go out to dinner at Cheddars. It doesn’t seem to be as crowded lately.

Leave The Gun, Take The Donuts

donut1WHEN I GET UP EVERY MORNING one of the first things I do is turn on the TV to catch the Weather and local news. The Weather helps me to decide on how to dress and the News either confirms or dispels my decision to get out of bed at all.

One day a week or so ago the lovely Dana Winklepleck (Anchorwoman) ran a story that grabbed my attention like a hungry pit bull on a pork chop.

Dateline: New Albany, Indiana.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

4th7A LITTLE DRIZZLE NEVER HURT ANYBODY. This year on the 4th of July, the day for fireworks and celebration, we had low clouds and misty rain here in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Has anybody seen my thumb?”).

The larger civic displays were postponed a day or more, hoping for clear skies. The rain, however, didn’t slow down the individual, beer-fueled, ad hoc, displays.

It seems that every year, rain or shine, there are countless people who think that they are qualified to fire off skyrockets and assorted quasi-military grade explosives in their backyards. The more alcohol consumed – the bigger the show.

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Now You See It And Now You…

Cliff1

Charley Weaver

“THINGS ARE FINE IN MOUNT IDY, SHE GOES ON.”

That was the opening line that an old comedian used at the start of his act. He would read fictional letters from his Mamma back in the old home town of Mount Idy. I think you would have to be at least 60 years old to remember him.

He was always introduced as “Cliff Arquette as Charley Weaver,” and he was a regular guest on the Tonight Show for years. Later he was part of the “Hollywood Squares” collection of celebrities.

The reason I bring him up today is that I feel a bit like Charley Weaver some days as I report on the “goings on” in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Elsie Krack doesn’t live here.”). This is a town that has a rather sordid past and a questionable future, but right now there is an abundant supply of strange, unusual, crazy, and “you gotta be kidding me,” stuff going on.

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Summer Better Than Others

summer1Well, Summer is ready to go into full swing here in beautiful Terre Haute (That’s French for, “You sure can sweat.”). All the signs of Summer are blossoming.

The colleges and universities are spewing forth a fresh crop of graduates – most of whom are trading in their mortarboards and tassels for paper hats and napkin dispensers.

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100 Years Of Turning Left

Indy 1946

Indy 500 – 1946

AUTO RACING IS BIG, VERY BIG IN INDIANA. This year it is even bigger.

“Why, Oh, why?” I hear someone ask.

The reason is that this year is the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500 race. This year, as in every other year, 33 cars will tear around the 2.5 mile track for 500 miles – turning left the entire time.

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The Benefits Of Travel

1I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A GYPSY AT HEART. All the clichés are true when it comes to me. “The lure of the open road,” “The grass is always greener…yada, yada, yada,” “On the Road Again.” There must be a hundred or more that call out about the sound of the train whistle in the night and the hum of the tires on the pavement. A gypsy, a nomad, and wanderer, even terms that carry a negative aura – hobo and drifter. All of them pick at the deep seated strings of my being

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