Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The "Staycation" - Part 4

Mary and I are taking a stay at home vacation - a "staycation" - this month. During this week, we're visiting a number of places here in Indianapolis that we have never seen. This series of blog posts records our adventures.

Monday...the day that vacations really begin. The day when you get up knowing that your friends and colleagues are fighting traffic and facing another day at work, while you're free to do whatever you want. No matter how relaxing the weekend might have been, Monday on vacation is sweet! Even better on a staycation - you wake up in your own bed!

Today's activities included:

Golf at Saddlebrook Golf Club . My neighbor Alan, a retired professor from Purdue, invited me to come play with his "old guys" league. They play on Monday and Thursday mornings. They were a congenial group. The outing began with coffee and banter in the clubhouse, including the "joke of the day". (I won't try to repeat it here, but it involved a guy getting Viagra as an anesthetic for dental work.) Shortly after, we broke up into three groups of three and headed out.

It was a beautiful spring morning, with a deep blue sky rarely seen in Indiana. The course winds through a residential area, but feels very open and park like. It's also very forgiving, with some wide fairways and large greens - both of which I managed to stray from periodically as I tuned my swing. I shot 101, which took me well below my goal for the year to break 120. I was helped in this department by the old guys' liberal interpretation of the rules of golf - no penalties for going in the water, no score over 8 on a hole, and frequent use of the foot wedge to improve the lie.

It was a delightful morning. Very reasonable too - the greens fee, with cart, was $26.

After returning home and cleaning up, Mary took me to lunch at the Creation Cafe in Buggs Temple.

From the outside, Buggs Temple looks like the church it once was. Originally built in the late 1800's, in the 1970's and 80's it was home to a congregation of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). The church was led by Elder James C. Buggs, a trumpet-playing pastor who attracted large crowds and nationally-known gospel groups to the church.

In 1993, the building was donated to the City of Indianapolis. In 2003, redevelopment began that led to its current reincarnation as home to two restaurants.

Buggs Temple sits at the north end of the Indianapolis Canal Walk. The Creation Cafe has an outdoor patio that overlooks the canal.

In the spirit of adventure, we decided to try a couple of new beers with our lunch. Mary had a "Horse Piss Beer", brewed in Louisville (we hope not too close to Churchill Downs). I tried a Stone Ruination IPA, which came from California. In this case, the Horse Piss was a better choice, as the Ruination was too hoppy.

Mary's lunch was homemade tomato soup (delicious!) and the Gobbler sandwich (turkey, swiss cheese, bacon, avocado) on sourdough bread (also very good). I had the Heavenly Chicken Salad - a mix of chicken and Yukon Gold potatoes, among other things, topped with greens, with a maple ginger dressing on the side. Delicious!

After lunch we drove to the Indianapolis Central Library to look at the new sculptures that had recently installed out front in late April.

The installation, called "thinmanlittlebird", was created by Peter Shelton, an artist from Venice, California. According to the library web site, the two pieces were set on pedestals that were part of the original building erected in 1917. Because of budget limitations then, no statues were installed when the library opened. Ninety years later, a combination of private donations and Library Foundation money was used to purchase and install the two Shelton pieces.

"Thinman" is self-explanatory.

But you can't see the "littlebird" in the photo - he's dwarfed by his round perch. Watch the videos of the actual installation:

Part 1
Part 2

and you can see him up close.

The library faces the American Legion Mall, a large grassy field where we have often walked the dog on sunny afternoons, and where we saw Barack Obama speak on a rainy evening last year.

Today, though, we spent some time and looked at the war memorials that flank the field.

Directly in front of the library is a monument to soldiers who died in World War I. It includes a plaque in memory of James Bethel Gresham from Evansville, Indiana, the first US solder killed in World War I. Other monuments remember those killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. These memorials include inscriptions from letters written home by the soldiers. From their words we get brief glimpses of the humor, the humanity, and the courage of these fallen heroes.

I expect that as we walk through the Mall in the future, it will be with a greater respect for what it symbolizes.

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