News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

October 19, 2013

RONN MOTT: Watching people — and the world — stroll by in downtown Rockville

I used to think of myself as a people person, but this recent Congress, made up of people, has totally changed my mind. Most of them aren’t worth voting for ever again. So, I have to re-adjust, I guess, what I think of myself. Maybe I’m just a people watcher. Or, if I want to sound arrogant, an observer of my fellow humans.

I suppose it comes from trying to get people to listen to me on the radio, or read my stuff in the newspaper, or in the web pages in the Tribune-Star.  

I’ve been sitting in the WAXI booth on the courthouse square in Rockville these past few days watching people. No, it isn’t what you think. I’m not just watching women. There are as many men out there as there are women.   

You can tell where somebody is from by the sports team paraphernalia they are wearing. On opening day of the Covered Bridge Festival, there must have been buses of people from Chicago because there were a lot of Cubs hats and sweatshirts and even some Chicago Blackhawks (that’s the Stanley Cup ice hockey championship team). I saw a lot of IU stuff, some St. Louis Cardinals sweatshirts and hats, even a University of Southern Indiana sweatshirt.

Ironically, I didn’t see a single ISU hat or sweatshirt. You would expect me to see quite a bit of Rockville, Riverton Parke and Turkey Run stuff, and I did. And some other unidentified letter jackets coming from far away.

Traffic in front of the radio booth went both south and north, so it was at times congested, but it moved rather nicely. I saw a whole bunch of cute kids. If cute is something we can depend on for the future, America is in great shape.

I was amazed at how many people recognized me because I have been away for a few years, but ego being what it is, it was very nice.  

I saw a gaggle of boys, elementary or junior high age, trailing behind about four girls going south in the tent where I was, and about 15 minutes later they came back going north. Two of the boys were holding hands with two of the girls, and two other girls had two boys in close proximity to where they were … enough, certainly, to indicate an interest in the two boys. Ahh, to be young again at the Covered Bridge Festival. Of course, I never have been, but it’s good to see and to be there and watch the flow of humanity.

I ate a Kruller and had a glass of milk, to start my people watching, from the St. Joseph Krullers Shack. I also drank some lemonade from the Chamber of Commerce Cobbler Shack, and I ended the day with a large sack of kettle corn I would eat while watching the Cardinals send the Dodgers back to Los Angeles in defeat.  

I think those who do not live around here, and come into the area for the Covered Bridge Festival, feel as if they are taking a step back in time. And, in many ways, they are.  There’s a friendly spirit of “welcome neighbor,” just about anywhere in Parke County this time of year. It is certainly enjoyed by this writer and I intend to see my diet kicked asunder during the festival. I know I’m going to love it.

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.

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