Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
IT started out as part of a 45,500 lb steel coil. You know, that kind you see going down the road on a flat trailer. Yeah, that kind, the one you wonder if it fell off would it unroll like toilet paper, that kinda steel coil.
Later a little part of the coil was reshaped into a rectangle, painted green and white, lettered and mounted on two 12 ft posts along the highway. Now as all Indiana Licensed Drivers know well from reading the Drivers Education Manual published by the Indiana BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES in preparation for obtaining an Indiana Drivers License, that sign along the way means “INFORMATION”
Oh, by the way the one I saw that reminded me of the 45,500 steel coil, it said “INDIANAPOLIS 62”. Yep, ya got that right. It’s Johnny and me and we’re on the road again. We’re south bound this Thursday before noon and Indianapolis will soon be in our sights.
Johnny and I have traveled around the country on the interstates and have had more fun than most. It’s not that we’ve seen the whole wide US OF A, we’ve not. We’ve seen the Atlantic Ocean. We’ve not seen the Pacific Ocean. We’ve seen the sea gulls on the Great Salt Lake. So I guess we got as close to the Pacific Ocean as Brigham Young. Yep, we’ve seen the Gulf of Mexico. It hard to tell the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic Ocean at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Guess all oceans look the same. After all, salt water is salt water.
We also know what Mount Rushmore looks like up close and personal, and Crazy Horse Mountain was a go to place when in the Dakotas. Johnny and I drank whisky in the same saloon where Wild Bill Hickok go shot. Except whisky cost more now than then. They don’t let ya sit in the chair. Aces and Eights, the dead mans hand.
Today Johnny and I travel south bound not for fun, but for family. My oldest nephew, Peter Push passed away in Lexington KY this week. Johnny and I are traveling today day in sadness as we go to attend the memorial visitation for Pete later on this Thursday Evening in Lexington.
We’re not yet to Indianapolis IN this morning and encounter the start of the spring road repair and construction on the Interstate Highway System. Stop and go, stop and go. 30 minutes later it’s all go. Three mile in 30 minutes makes for a long day.
Indianapolis in the sunshine is a site to behold. Indianapolis on a cloudy day is an equally pretty place to see. Like most major cities, Indianapolis has an interstate circle roadway which allows one to choose whether to circumvent the city or not. We chose not. With Johnny at the helm, we took the 65 mph downtown tour of the capital of Indiana.
It seemed like before we knew it, once again open country on the interstate and time to talk of where to eat lunch. Now one of the things that never happens when Johnny and I go places, we never travel hungry. Thursday was no different. A Cracker Barrel sign along the way provided all the enticement we needed to determine the dining place for the noon time meal. It was after our lunch that Johnny spotted a Cracker Barrel Chicken Clock that I decided we could not live without, and so another chicken jointed the EastWing Flock. Then it was back on the road and back into road construction.
It was well past the 6:00 PM target time before we arrived where we needed to be in Lexington KY. We’d come 325 miles to hug our family. We stood in line and waited our turn to do so. Nephew Steven, his wife Linda, and Pete’s Wife Vee, greeted those coming to pay their final respects to Pete. Tears of sadness, tears of joy, hugs for everyone. I was glad to be where I was at that sad moment.
Johnny and I had arrived after the memorial visitation for Pete had begun. Upon entering the room, I immediately realized I was in the presence of the Fayette County Police Force Honor Guard. Pete had served the force for 19 years. When Pete passed, the honor guard remembered Pete.
Pete’s lifelong friend and cousin, Dave Trusty, a Baptist Minister from Alger Ohio read Pete’s official obituary, said a prayer, and talked of Pete. After his remarks, David invited anyone wanting to speak to do so. Four people chose to talk of Pete. I was one of the four.
I said: An interesting story about Pete and me is he’s the older of the two. Guess you can work that one out by yourself.
Pete and I spent way too little of our lives in each other’s company. But when we did, it was such a time. One time when Pete and I were about 9 or 10 years old, my sister Thelma, her husband, Arthur and Pete and Steven came to visit. We lived in the old house in downtown Toto. A house way too small for the number of people needing to sleep there. Just not enough beds to go around.
Pete and I were to sleep on the living room floor on a pallet. Now pallets on the floor is a hillbilly thing that many of my EastWing friends may have never experienced. It’s kinda like sleeping between a rock and a hard place. And so me and Pete were on the pallet talking and carrying on well after everybody else had gone to sleep.
Somewhere way into the night, Pete’s dad, Arthur, came into the living room where we lay on the pallet, between the rock and the hard place, and said “If you boys don’t go to sleep I’m going to step on both like a bug”. I was scared, ‘cause my Uncle Arthur was the tallest man I’d ever seen. So I told Pete “let’s go to sleep”. Pete said “he won’t step on us ‘cause he’s afraid of my mom”. So me and Pete and the party on the pallet carried on into the darkness.
‘Bout twenty years later I was a Hospital Administrator, and Pete was working in law enforcement. One morning I received a call from Pete telling me that he was flying up to Starke County airport to pick up a prisoner to take back to Fayette County KY and I should meet him at the Starke Co Airport. I went to the airport and very soon Pete descended from the sky. Within minutes the prisoner was delivered by a member of the Starke County Sheriff Department, the paperwork was processed. The Starke County Police went back to their routine, confident in the fact that the prisoner hand off had been accomplished to the Metro Force from Fayette County KY.
What the Starke Co Police Officer did not realize was he’d just turned a prisoner over to Peter Push who had other plans for activity in Starke County Indiana before returning to Lexington.
After the officer departed, Pete opened up a little side compartment on his plane, took out a nylon rope about the size of your thumb. Pete told the prisoner “Now Cupcake, I’m going to make you a little more comfortable here in this plane while BobbyRay and I go to lunch. After lunch, me and you will go to Old Kentucky” Pete then proceed to tie up “Cupcake” in such a way that if he moved any at all, he choked himself.
After he was satisfied that the guy was secure inside the plane, Pete told the prisoner not to run away ‘cause he’d be back, then locked the doors of the plane. Pete and I went to lunch. About an hour and a half later we came back from lunch and sure enough the guy was waiting for Pete right where he’d left him all tied up.
We said our goodbyes for the time being, Pete and me. Pete flew off into the west wind. Then I went back to being a dull Hospital Administrator for the rest of the day. It was a fun afternoon that day just remembering the look on the face of Cupcake as Pete as was tying him up inside the plane. To this day, I still smile when I think about that.
That Thursday, Johnny and I had traveled 8 hours to spend less than 3 hours in Lexington. As we walked to the car, Johnny said “You know Dad, it’s not how much time nearly so much as the quality of the time you spend. Our time here this evening is the highest quality time I’ve even experienced in my life. I agreed.
Before we slept that night, we were be Back Home Again In Indiana.
Stay Safe in Afghanistan.
From The EastWing, Coils of Steel, Information Interstate, Building Roads, My Nephew Pete
I wish you well,