News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Amey Takes Aim

April 16, 2012

AMEY TAKES AIM: Huntsville’s Stars, Havoc take back seat to GGS

The second-best thing about the Amey family’s spring-break trip to Huntsville, Ala., is that we left a lot of things on the table to do the next time we’re down there.

The best thing, and the reason we’ll be going back, is Nathaniel Halbrooks, our great-grandson (and by the way, Jenny and I are pretty ticked off that nobody has yet told us we are way too young to have such a thing).

Nathaniel lives with his parents Danielle (our granddaugher) and Daniel in the little village of Arab (rhymes with Ahab, for you Ray Stevens fans) which is just a short drive down U.S. 231 from Huntsville (or, to put it another way, just a little ways down the road from Greencastle and Cloverdale).

I hadn’t been terribly optimistic about the scenic possibilities of Alabama, but the drive from Huntsville to Arab is gorgeous (and a couple of mountains just outside Huntsville are among the things that have yet to be explored).

The kids also kept telling us as we were planning the trip that there’s nothing to do in Arab, but they were too modest. Even though we didn’t see a real sidewalk on our two trips down there, Arab is big enough to have a Wal-Mart, a McDonald’s and three or four stoplights, not to mention a couple of restaurants that we’ll also revisit.

We didn’t see Arab on our first day, however. It’s almost 400 miles to Huntsville, and by the time we’d driven most of the day to get there — with a thunderstorm, Nashville traffic and a huge wreck on the other lane of the interstate to deal with — we just wanted to settle into our hotel.

We found the place without getting lost and without help from a GPS, which might actually be a first, but that didn’t mean our evening was uneventful. For one thing, we got there on the final night of the Little People of America convention — JoJo was thrilled to be one of the taller people in a crowd of about 100 as we checked in — which was kind of quirky. Then, in trying to plug in some of our electric equipment, I managed somehow to disengage the support that served as the back legs of an end table in our room, sending it crashing to the floor (I blame Union Hospital’s Center for Fitness and Performance for my brute strength).

By the next morning we were ready to meet Nathaniel (almost seven months old by now) so we were off to Arab. Daniel and Danielle weren’t sure we could find a restaurant open (it was Sunday), yet we wound up with probably our best meal of the week. The kids know the owners of Sierra’s, a Mexican restaurant in town, and if you are ever in Arab it should be your first stop. Darcy doesn’t have many favorite foods but ribs is one of them and — because she can’t usually finish a half slab — I was able to enjoy some of those after I finished my enchiladas suizas.

I’d never thought about the fact that Mexicans could be good at barbecue, but I was fairly confident that native Alabamans would be. So the next day, when the kids brought Nathaniel to us, we got to one of Huntsville’s landmarks, Little Paul’s. As good barbecue places should be, it’s kind of a nondescript little building (vaguely reminiscent of Big Shoe’s, right down to one of its vinegar-based sauces) but the food is good. It’s also right across the street from Huntsville Hospital, where Danielle works, and she clued us in to the necessity of avoiding the lunch-hour rush. (I talked them out of the ingredients to a couple of their sauces, including a unique white sauce that I’d never tried before.)

Jenny was content to spend the rest of that day with the baby, and Daniel and Danielle — who don’t often get days off at the same time — were amenable to that too. JoJo and I went to see ”Hunger Games” while the rest went to a mall, and that enabled he and I to be the only ones in our family to enjoy another fast-food franchise new to us: Zaxby’s, whose menu is limited (mostly chicken strips and wings) but whose execution is impeccable.

With only one more full day to go, we had to visit Arab one more time, especially since we hadn’t had our Midasburgers yet and because we had one more gift for Nathaniel. The previous day Jenny and all the kids had picked the only mall in Huntsville with a Build-a-Bear Workshop to walk around in; you can’t sneak those past Darcy, so both she and the GGS now have new stuffed animals.

As far as lunch was concerned, Jenny had even found mention of Midasburgers on one of the food websites, and Arab is the only place in the world that has them. They are really chicken sandwiches and not burgers (gold in color, Midas, get it?) but they are big and tasty and have a secret sauce to go with them. (No, haven’t procured that recipe yet. Maybe next trip.) And for our last big dinner in Alabama, went looking for one of Huntsville’s famous restaurants, and couldn’t find any of them.

But high-end restaurants and mountain scenery aren’t all we still have to look forward to. Here are a few more things.

Huntsville is probably most famous for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, a research and testing facility that helped develop the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo space program and more recently the rockets for the space shuttle program. Werner Von Braun worked in Huntsville after defecting from Germany more than 60 years ago. We haven’t toured that yet.

The city has a cozy little downtown area surrounded by a whole community of historic homes. We saw a few of them and could stand to see more. We didn’t get to the city’s art museum either.

The home opener for the Huntsville Stars, the Double-A team of the Milwaukee Brewers, wasn’t until a week after we left, so we haven’t yet experienced Joe Davis Stadium (he was a former Huntsville mayor), interacted with mascot Homer the Polecat or enjoyed (?) the atmosphere of a place that’s not-so-affectionately called “The Mausoleum.” Former Indiana State pitcher MItch Stetter might be starting his second stint on Don Mincher Drive in Huntsville as you are reading this, and former Sycamore Joe Thatcher once pitched there too.

One of several things in Huntsville named for Von Braun is the city’s hockey arena. Maybe the most avid hockey city in the South not only has the Havoc, who were hosting the first game of a second-round SPHL (Southern Professional Hockey League) playoff series against the Columbus (Ga.) Cottonmouths the day we left, but also the only Division I college team in the South. The University of Alabama-Huntsville — Daniel’s alma mater — was host school for the Frozen Four in Tampa a few days ago.

So there’s plenty more for us to do and plenty of reasons for us to return. We even found a nice food stop along the way in La Fontanella, an Italian restaurant in the Tennessee countryside just this side of Nashville (near the Fontanel Mansion). To steal a trademark line from Bob Arnett, we’ll be back.

• It’s a new phone — In case 124 of you are wondering why I haven’t tweeted much lately, there’s been a phone upgrade. I’m still learning to negotiate my new keyboard, and my children are not very patient teachers.

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at (812) 231-4277 or 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at andy.amey@tribstar.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321. Follow @TribStarAndy on Twitter.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Amey Takes Aim
  • SPT 013114 AIMONE FILE.jpg Amey Takes Aim: Columnist’s boys basketball tradition continues

    In marked contrast to my recent whiny column about girls basketball, I was blessed this winter to see virtually every high school team in the Wabash Valley during the boys season.
    Some might suggest that was a mixed blessing, since a few of our teams weren’t as successful as they are used to being (particularly in the 2014 portion of the season), but the Tribune-Star was still involved with two teams that came within a game of the state finals, one of them in an Indiana final four (no capitalization anymore, new system) and two teams that were in the top eight of their class. That’s only three great teams — Paris was both a game away and in the final eight — but that’s still a pretty good haul.

    March 26, 2014 3 Photos

  • Amey Takes Aim: Tourney provided a few Classic moments

    This column was falling into place nicely until about 1:15 p.m. Saturday. Then youth and inexperience reared up to bite it.

    January 1, 2014

  • This time don't use your head

    My personal suggestion is leather helmets.
    As frightening data on concussions filters its way from the National Football League on down to colleges, high schools and youth leagues, I can’t help but think back to the time when I was standing on the sidelines watching my teammates play.

    December 12, 2013

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: WNBA is part of travel plans

    Columnist prepares for vacation destinations.

    July 4, 2013

  • Amey Takes Aim: NHL playoffs to put TVs to good use

    If Jenny had known, she probably wouldn’t have bought that TV.
    But four or five years ago, my Fathers Day present — for those unfamiliar with Amey family traditions, the Fathers Day one is “let’s get something we all really want and pretend it’s a gift for Dad” — was a 42-inch Vizio. It’s been used even more than the cell phone I never would have bought for myself, or the TomTom that disappeared since Jenny’s smartphone arrived.
    And it came with high-def.
    I’m not going to insult you by telling you how great high-def is, because to do so would be to imply that you are even farther behind the technological curve than I am. I’m guessing, however, that not all of you have yet discovered what it does for hockey.

    April 25, 2013

  • Amey Takes Aim: Can’t bottle the joy of Amey vacations

    The first bad sign was the Gatorade bottle.
    In the Bataan-Death-March drive to Orlando that got the Amey family spring break vacation off to a bad start, seeing it between lanes of I-24 — as we zipped along at a 100-miles-in-five-hours clip — filled with an ominous yellow liquid was a little bit scary. And although we didn't stop to check for sure, I'm fairly certain I knew about its contents.
    And the person stuck in the same traffic jam with us, the one with the existential license plate YMIHR4, couldn’t have asked a more pertinent question.
    But, after seeing a lot more of Oak Grove, Ky., than we’d planned, and after enduring more traffic slowdowns in Nashville, we were on our way. Even some rain in the dark in the Smokies didn’t slow us down much, so you would think our first-day troubles were over.
    You would be wrong.

    April 14, 2013

  • SPT 123112 MAHURIN FILE.jpg ANDY AMEY: Farewell to basketball

    I believe you’ve heard me say before — just about a year ago, perhaps — that a boys high school basketball season that ends with the Tribune-Star in Bankers Life Fieldhouse can’t be considered a bad one, which is why we have a little celebrating to do thanks to the Linton Miners.
    Lover of irony that I am, I’ve also got to point out that this season was another branch sprouting from the Wabash Valley’s most legendary coaching tree, that of Joe Hart.
    Joe never got much credit for his work at Dugger, but he took Brody Boyd, Clark Golish and the Bulldogs to a state championship game in 2000, and since then three of his former players — Joe Pigg, Clint Swan and now Joey Hart, his son — also have coached teams in the final game of the season.
    Joe probably wishes he could take credit for Doc Nash, another down-home type who gave a banjo lesson earlier Saturday in leading Borden past a bigger, more athletic Triton team (banjo lesson is a Howard Sharpism, for you younger readers), but his lineage is still the best I can think of around here.

    March 27, 2013 4 Photos

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: Maroons, Rox final a true Classic

    I don’t make predictions nearly as often as I used to, but I had one several months ago that was proven correct last week.

    January 7, 2013

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: Nitpicking aside, West Vigo Hall of Fame selections spot on

    I can’t imagine a better first class of inductees into the West Vigo High School Athletics Hall of Fame than the one that was feted Saturday night in the Jim Mann Green Dome.

    November 8, 2012

  • SPT090812THNFBbarrett.jpg Tough bunch of people

    I’m getting my warm clothes ready for a trip to Linton this week, and if a few thrills from the Miners, Casey or North Vermillion happen the next couple of weeks, I hope I get to see them.
    But high school football is over in Vigo County for the season — as coach Chris Barrett of Terre Haute North said, prematurely — and I’m sadder to see it go than usual.
    Walking the sidelines and doing midweek or postgame interviews enables me to meet quite a few of the guys whose names you are about to read, and haven’t been more impressed than I was this fall. What outstanding groups of young men. What a tough, tough bunch of people.
    Many know that one of my favorite athletic adjectives appeared consecutively in the previous sentence.

    October 31, 2012 1 Photo

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: A weekend to remember with ISU’s ’72 football team

    They’re all still pretty hale and hearty, the boys of the fall of 1972 who returned to campus over the weekend to honor their former football coach.

    October 8, 2012

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: ISU reunion raises more questions than answers

    One of the wrestlers I used to hang out with occasionally claimed to be a pretty good second-story man — although he may have just been talking, since I never saw any of the goods — and it was with him in mind that I was able to get access to the Indiana State Wrestling Alumni Reunion late Saturday night.

    July 26, 2012

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: Deciding not to ‘vacate’ during ‘vacation’ – & other ventures

    Flaunting the law, setting a bad example for the kids in other ways, grooming and acquiring dogs … not a typical Amey family vacation, but an appreciated one just the same.

    July 23, 2012

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: Huntsville’s Stars, Havoc take back seat to GGS

    The second-best thing about the Amey family’s spring-break trip to Huntsville, Ala., is that we left a lot of things on the table to do the next time we’re down there.

    April 16, 2012

  • SPT 032412 MCFALL FALLS.jpg AMEY TAKES AIM: Rox well represented on Amey teams

    If having the state finals in town makes it a successful girls high school basketball season, then certainly having a team to follow at the state finals makes it a very successful boys high school basketball season . . .

    March 26, 2012 1 Photo

  • SPT 032412 MCFALL FALLS.jpg AMEY TAKES AIM: A feeling of pride, not disappointment, comes from watching Rox play

    It’s not going to come as a startling admission that I — once the rest of the local opposition has been eliminated from consideration — am an unabashed fan of whatever team the Wabash Valley sends onward in postseason high school sports competition.

    March 25, 2012 4 Photos

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: This private school plays basketball the right way

    Any girls high school basketball season that ends with state championship games in Hulman Center is a pretty good one — even though I wished I’d seen Riverton Parke and Seeger knock off a couple of private schools the week before to even the public school-private school battle a little bit.

    March 19, 2012

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: Even 2 of state’s best once had doubts

    Look at them now.

    February 20, 2012

  • SPT 012712 SCRAMBLE.jpg AMEY TAKES AIM: Getting ready for the dance

    Terre Haute North got the good news Sunday night — or did it?

    January 30, 2012 2 Photos

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: Harrowing path for state hopefuls

    The bad news is that the winner of Class 4A Sectional 13 in boys basketball heads northeast instead of southeast for regional play in March — to Hinkle Fieldhouse instead of Seymour as a result of Indiana High School Athletic Association’s changes.

    January 23, 2012

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: A superior all-star arrangement

    I don’t work on Wednesdays, so I wasn’t able to attend the first Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association draft last week to set up the annual all-star game that will be June 23 this year.

    January 16, 2012

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: The biggest & baddest of a holiday classic

    There are more things to love about the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic than could fit in this newspaper, but one of this year’s best things was that for an hour or so on Wednesday, it was Justin Paddock’s world and we were just living in it.

     

    January 3, 2012

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: Taking note of ISU’s latest football win

    The biggest difference I’ve noticed, as I transition from the high school football beat to quasi-official status as the Indiana State football beat writer for a few weeks, is the length of the games.

    November 14, 2011

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: IHSAA playoff draw not as bad as it could have been

    First reaction to the Indiana sectional football pairings drawn late Sunday by the Indiana High School Athletic Association? It could have been a lot worse.

    October 10, 2011

  • ANDY AMEY: Between the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & a hard place

    Just in case any of you noticed — with some anticipation — the recent lack of my bylines, I can tell you that your wish (and mine) did come true. It was vacation week for the Amey family.

    July 21, 2011

  • AMEY.jpg Amey Takes Aim: UFC fighter’s bloodines traced back to ISU brothers

    As a mild-mannered reporter from a great metropolitan newspaper — or thereabouts — I admit I haven’t paid much attention to the burgeoning mixed martial arts scene.

    July 7, 2011 1 Photo

  • AMEY.jpg AMEY TAKES AIM: Predators’ win is music to new fan’s ears

    For many, many years, the number of live games televised on WGN has been cited as perhaps the main reason for the popularity of the Chicago Cubs (it’s got to be something besides masochism, right?).

    April 28, 2011 1 Photo

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: You’ll be having a good ol’ time on vacation with the Ameys

    When one of the first people you meet is Tammy Wynette’s stepdaughter, when you’ve stepped on the feet of people you haven’t met while trying to navigate Ernest Tubbs’ old Silver Eagle tour bus, and when the activities director of your resort is, well, Elvis, you might be vacationing in Nashville.

    April 14, 2011

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: The Annual All-Amey basketball teams close out the prep season

    The most encouraging boys high school basketball event I’ve attended so far in 2011 has been the Lafayette Semistate a couple of weeks ago.

    March 31, 2011

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: Family remembers Cheryl Weatherman as caring grandmother

    As far as Riley and Keely Davis are concerned, Cheryl Weatherman was simply their grandmother, and a pretty darn good one at that.

    March 24, 2011

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Today in History for April 17th
NDN Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity