News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

July 25, 2011

MIKE LUNSFORD: Overheated in Hobart and other vacation tales…

TERRE HAUTE — My family climbed into our van and headed to Michigan a few weeks ago, just as we do every other year or so, to stay on the great lake there, for we have come to love its cool breezes and blue water and lighthouses.

It was a fever blister of a morning as we packed too much gear into our wagon and drove north, our onboard thermometer already showing off a nasty 95 degrees before noon, but we wiped the sweat off our foreheads and settled into a not-so-unpleasant 4-hour drive to the land of beach sand and low humidity. 

We had no problems whatsoever as we peeled off the miles through the flat, endless fields of corn and wind turbines in Benton and Newton counties, driving through Kentland and Schneider and Lake Station on the way to I-94 and the last leg of our journey. We stopped for gas and a bite to eat, stretched our legs, and soon dove into the five-lane madness of semi-tractor trailers and boat-toting pick-ups just as the day’s heat peaked at 97, content in our refrigerated front-wheel drive cubicle. Then, we smelled trouble — literally.

It came in the way of our front brakes locking up. The constant stopping and starting on the crammed interstate apparently put the finishing touches on a brake system that had ironically been inspected and declared “good to go” at a local garage just a few days earlier. We limped to a stop, managing to drag ourselves off the main road to an off-ramp, our right front wheel sizzling and smoking.

We keep a roadside service plan for such emergencies, so I took cell phone in hand and called its number. Due to “heavier than usual” business, I was told by machine before I ever spoke to a human being, it would be 90 minutes to five hours before anyone could come to assist us. After being cut off a time or two, I reached a young lady who seemed to be much more concerned about the color of our van than actually getting someone out to help us drive it, so instead of sitting along the road like an ant under an hourglass, I decided to creep our crippled wheels into the next town that happened to be along Indiana 6. It was Hobart.

I took the first left turn off the down ramp into town and immediately saw a huge brown sign that miraculously read “Brake and Muffler Repair,” so we crawled into the baking parking lot that sat beneath it. Within minutes, the problem was assessed, an estimate was delivered, and despite it being past 4 in the afternoon and all of the shop’s bays filled with other disabled cars, an already soaked and tired technician named William had our van up on a jack, its calipers and brake pads and metal lines dropping to the pavement at chop-shop speed.

What one does on the outskirts of Hobart with no transportation proved no conundrum: We sat and waited. But as unpleasant as that sounds, the five of us — my son’s fiancé, Lucy, went along — actually had a good time. We found a little shade under an awning, catching an occasional whiff of breeze, and we talked, and took part in the fine art of observation. I struck up a conversation with a lady who works as a cook at the local high school; she was concerned that her car’s transmission was kaput, but after numerous test drives, nothing could be found wrong with it. She left us with wishes that our repairs wouldn’t cost much and hopes for a better day.

By the time William was wiping the grease off his hands, co-manager Pete had done a test drive, and fellow co-manager Jim had us swiping plastic at the cash register; we were back on the road by 5:30, my credit card doing the smoking by then. But I have a lifetime warranty on that new brake system, by the way, and we were driving again. Life was good.

Within two hours, we stood on a breezy Lake Michigan beach, and in contrast to that sweltering asphalt in Hobart, I felt as though we were a world away. On that first evening, we were drawn to the water like moths to a back porch light, and we all waded and walked and gazed and sighed with our sandals in our hands until hunger drove us up the hill to supper and a bath and a bed (although they proved too small for this reasonably tall writer and his even taller son).

Early the next day, we returned to the beach, and I began a too-short string of days sitting in a chair, book in hand, feet buried in the sand; it was as ambitious as I wanted to get. In the time I spent in that place, and in the solitude that the sounds of the crashing waves helped me find in my own head, I tried to count the shades of blue reflected in the lake. I became a watcher of wind-blown marram grass, an observer of shorebirds, and a collector of round, smooth stones. I often gazed upward to see small glints of silver flying thousands of feet above us, but doubted that anyone on those jets was going anywhere I would rather be at the moment. I soon became interested in watching a sailboat that ambled along the horizon, its snow-white sail cutting a path across a bank of deep blue, and I heard Frank Sinatra crooning “Summer Wind,” despite there not being a radio in sight. 

There was much to do besides read and work crosswords and tell my wife how pleased I was we were back at the lake. I watched a woman pull a Keystone Kops routine as she chased down a runaway beach umbrella and spied a Tony Siragusa look-alike drifting in the surf, the waves pounding his considerable bulk like a forlorn buoy. I observed people who, like my clan the day before, came out to the water for the first time, standing and staring out at the horizon. Like us, I suppose, that endless expanse of water drove them to dreams and deep thoughts and lower blood pressures.

The shorebirds kept us entertained. I wondered more than once how the big white and brown gulls could hover in one place without moving a wing as the wind blew straight off the lake so hard it threatened to tear my book’s pages. A flock of them — hundreds, I believe — landed en masse some 75 yards from us, bobbing in the waves like white apples in a blue-green barrel. They eventually took off together and headed north before testing the waters again.

I noticed that as the days wore into evenings, and the sun played tricks with its angles, that the water turned to bronze. I would occasionally take a short walk to stretch out the kinks in my legs and soon learned that not all on the lake was timeless and pleasant. The flotsam brought onto shore held an odd mixture of the natural and the man-made. Among the tiny brown shells and water-worn rocks was the detritus of the careless and uncaring. Cigarette butts and wads of gum, a rubber band and a length of balloon ribbon, the useless tubes of exploded fireworks and a long-drained beer can, all brought me back, for a few minutes anyway, to the messes people often make of such a place.

As we drove home a few days later, groggy from sleeping in strange rooms, too red from too much time in the sun, and tired from our long and full days, I could still see that stretch of beach and hear the rhythm of those endless waves, even as I maneuvered the highway lunacy that carried me away from it. 

I daydreamed about that blue water for a long time, but I was just as thankful that we found a steam bath of a brake shop in Hobart, too. 

Mike Lunsford can be reached by email at hickory913@aol.com or by writing to him c/o The Tribune-Star, P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN 47808. Read more of Mike’s stories at http://tribstar.com/ mike_lunsford, and visit his website at www.mike lunsford.com. His third collection of stories, “A Place Near Home,” is due to be released in the fall.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • Purdue Shooting2.jpg Purdue shooting leaves one person dead

    A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 042014 DOUBLE-DEATH.jpg 2 bodies found in Pimento home

    Police were at the scene of a death investigation on Sunday in southern Vigo County.
    “It’s a double death investigation,” Vigo County Chief Deputy Clark E. Cottom told the Tribune-Star at the scene.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Purdue Shooting_Will.jpg THS grad Miller among students in adjacent building when shooting occurs

    Kris Miller and his roommate were in a computer lab of Purdue’s mechanical engineering building Tuesday when they received a call that a shooting had occurred next door.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bosma Bosma moves gay marriage ban bill to friendlier committee

    Republican House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma sent a bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage to a more conservative-leaning legislature committee Tuesday, because it lacked support on the first committee to which it was assigned.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET012014 snowtracks.jpg We enter the deep freeze again

    If you had to step outside to get your newspaper this morning, you might have noticed it’s painfully cold once again.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET012014busses weir.jpg Levy redirects school funds

    If the new “protected levy” legislation goes into effect later this year, it would mean “a substantial reduction” in revenue for Vigo County School Corp. bus transportation, capital projects and bus replacement funds, according to the district’s chief financial officer.

    January 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • School debt levy redirects funds across Indiana

    School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.
    More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.

    January 21, 2014

  • MET 012114 DONNELLY BOARD.jpg VIDEO: Sen. Donnelly updates T-S editorial board

    Passage of a long overdue U.S. farm bill could be completed by the end of this month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Tuesday.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • Vigo coroner tries again for salary increase

    After being denied last year, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos is again seeking to have her county salary increased to match that of several other county office holders.

    January 21, 2014

  • SPT041614 morrismorris.jpg BOSTON MARATHON: Not intimidated

    One reason Mike Morris — and many runners can relate — has been a distance runner for 30 years is it’s restorative powers. Not to the body but to the mind.

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 041814 HUXFORD PAT.jpg Overcoming symptoms

    Even when he was in grade school, it was obvious Justin Huxford was a special kid.
    He was the first at Rio Grande Elementary School to walk 100 miles around the school grounds over the school year, one of just a handful of kids to meet the goal.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET 042014 POWELL EASTER.jpg Answering the call

    Static was the only thing on TV or radio. People were on their knees as they prayed. It was, as if for three whole days, the world stood still.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • TH wins 8th Tree City USA ‘Growth’ award

    Terre Haute was named a 2013 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.

    April 20, 2014

  • ISU hosts Ukraine panel today

    In Ruth Fairbanks’ morning commute to work recently, she heard two news stories on the radio about Ukraine. Considering her drive-time is just five minutes, it demonstrates how unstable — and newsworthy — Eastern Europe is these days.

    April 20, 2014

  • MET041714 harvest hands.jpg Their dream rises: Mother-daughter duo team up to expand eastside bakery

    As she gently formed a round sourdough, Marta Shelton seemed to hold her dreams in the palm of her hands.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET041814church medina cut.jpg Church resurrected: Prairie Creek church that burned in the midst of a winter storm ready for rebirth

    From the ashes of a devastating winter fire comes out a church reborn.

    April 19, 2014 4 Photos

  • Vigo School Board to approve central pool bond resolution

    On Monday, the Vigo County School Board will receive an update on a planned, $9.8 million aquatics center that will be built in Voorhees Park.

    April 19, 2014

  • Kokomo Tornado 02.JPG Inconsistent help: FEMA’s disaster decisions frustrate state, local leaders

    Pamela Jackson thought she was lucky to escape harm as a tornado bore down on her neighborhood last November. She huddled in a bathroom with her two disabled sons, critically ill husband and six other family members as the twister blew out windows and tore the roof off her house. Hers was one of scores of homes and businesses in Howard County that were damaged or demolished by the storm.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET 041814 ROBOT BRUBAKER.jpg Gearing up

    A team of Vigo County high school students — and its robot — are gearing up to compete against 127 teams from throughout the world in an upcoming international robotics competition.

    April 18, 2014 5 Photos

  • MET041714 little library.jpg VCPL to install free ‘little libraries’

    Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: A Little Free Library.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Flaws in new ed standards ‘too substantial’

    A State Board of Education member formally requested Friday that an education panel abandon a proposed overhaul of Indiana’s education standards and instead recommend that the state’s previous benchmarks be reinstated in classrooms this fall.

    April 18, 2014

  • Spike in mumps cases reported across Illinois

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Public health officials are investigating a sharp increase in the number of mumps cases recorded in central Illinois.

    April 18, 2014

  • Police: Fatal fire began with dropped cigarette

    SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (AP) — State police say a fatal house fire in a southern Indiana town began when a disabled woman dropped a cigarette.

    April 18, 2014

  • Board member asks for old Indiana school standards

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A State Board of Education member is calling for a proposed overhaul of Indiana’s education standards to be ditched and that the state’s old benchmarks be reinstated in classrooms this fall.

    April 18, 2014

  • MET 041714 BOOKS OUABACHE.jpg A real page turner

    Victory was sweet for the Franklin Elementary teammates, who won their first ever Battle of the Books competition Thursday at Meadows Elementary.

    April 17, 2014 6 Photos

  • MET041714 bucshon.jpg Rep. Bucshon leads discussion on minority care in Vigo County

    The list of problems seems endless: Lack of health insurance, mental illness, cultural barriers and stigmas about routine medical check ups, to name only a few.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vigo County students, educators recently made a 2-week trip to Terre Haute’s sister city of Tajimi

    Six Vigo County high school students and two educators, including superintendent Dan Tanoos, recently returned from a two-week cultural exchange trip to Tajimi, Japan.

    April 17, 2014

  • tsBennett Tribune-Star columnist named company’s best

    The Tribune-Star’s Mark Bennett has been named CNHI’s Columnist of the Year for 2013 in its large newspaper division.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay man arrested on drug charges

    An eight-month investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies resulted in the arrest of Wednesday of a Clay County man on meth-related charges, authorities said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Drug raid leads to arrest of siblings

    Siblings were arrested Thursday after police said they discovered an active meth lab in a Terre Haute home, authorities said.

    April 17, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Obamas Attend Easter Service Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Raw: Crowds Rally at '420' Celebration in Denver Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
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