News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 15, 2012

RONN MOTT: A most enjoyable Christmas ride

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — A Christmas ride along familiar roads is very good this time of year. So far, no ice, no blinding snow, and the temperatures have not been bad. I always enjoy looking at all the houses and the different ways they light themselves for Christmas.  

We, the wife and I, were going up the road to meet Dave and Doris Mae Frisse (yes, that Doris Mae of radio, and singer for the Dave Frisse Band) for dinner in Clinton. Many houses along the highway are lit and decorated and when we got down over the hill to Ninth Street and the traffic light, we turned left. As we went north on Ninth Street we noticed a great decorating scheme. There were Christmas trees every hipstitch attached to telephone poles and the like. They were white, green, blue, red, multi-color, and looked very festive. And a very good idea on how to decorate a business district for Christmas.

I’m often amazed at how far the Christmas tree has come from its humble beginnings. Long before the birth of Christ, Germanic tribes took bows of evergreen into their huts and houses as a remembrance that a green Spring would come again. Then, if legend is true, Martin Luther, radical priest who started the Protestant Reformation, lighted the tree he brought into his house in celebration of not only the Christ Child, but on how the stars looked at night against the black sky. That practice has now spread all over the world. So, as I drove up to the Castle Restaurant, it was nice to see the trees.

Which reminds me … getting to the Castle is easier now thanks to a new, lighted sign on North Ninth Street that points the way to the restaurant. I intended to have a full order of spaghetti with the opportunity of taking some home to have the next day. I ate the whole thing! And the veal, and the salad! It was very, very good.

We noticed right away the old-fashioned breadsticks that Clinton had become famous for. It was like coming home.

While I was there, I ran into Ruth Ann Ferrare and Marilyn Wilson, two high school classmates of mine, and Fran Fenoglio, a lady who used to listen to me on the radio. Ironically, our waitress didn’t recognize me from my tenure in radio, or the fact I’m featured in this newspaper three times a week. She remembered me as a boy cheerleader who cheered with Leroy Gibson, the now deceased postmaster of the Post Office in Clinton. (You never know what’s going to make you famous or infamous.)

There was a large group having a Christmas party, and a darling little girl wearing a green velvet dress who captured everybody’s attention. Doris reminded me that she got her first Shirley Temple drink at the Castle and has always loved the spaghetti we had there that evening.

Ahh, home for Christmas. Dinner with family and friends. My wife and I and Doris all grew to love spaghetti when we had it in Clinton as kids. Seems like old times. Spaghetti at the Castle isn’t something you necessarily think of at Christmas, but it sure was good.

From J.C. meetings, family dinners, golf games, and luncheons with my old high school class, the Castle conjures up fine memories and exhilarates the taste buds. Happy holidays!

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.