Sunday, July 4, 2010

Faster than the speed of souvenirs

Waving goodbye to the big city, Mr. and Mrs. Hall set a course south, and winding their way out through Peotone, headed for Indianapolis. Mr. Hall's family was born in this town and so it was a sentimental journey for him. For Mrs. Hall, it was a chance to see the Speedway for the first time and find out what all the commotion was about. After finding the old homestead (in good shape, but in an area of changing demographics) they made a pilgrimage to some old family plots to pay their respects. Mr. Hall had done his research earlier, and was pleased to find that not only was he able to locate the family, but the website for the cemetery even had pictures of his family he had not even seen before.

"Now I'll show you what we listened to all summer,"he said, and they headed for the Speedway. The weather could not have been more cooperative; the most famous bricks in the world glistened in the sun as the tourguide explained about the old track underneath. Several devotees hopped out willing and kissed the bricks at the finish line. Mrs. Hall was reluctant to engage in such a questionably unsanitary event, but it didn't stop her from taking pictures of others doing so. The tourguide explained that for security reasons, they would only be going up to the second floor of the "Pagoda" tower, as it is called. "Don't count on it," cautioned Mr. Hall. "I wouldn't be surprized if we were up on the fourth floor looking for Mrs. Hall, any moment now." Springing for the full experience, the Halls went up into the pressbox and the skyboxes and did the exciting (if somewhat slower) lap of the track. ("Watch it.... left, slow, left....pick up a little...another left..." Mrs. Hall was no help at all.) If there is one thing the Halls can agree on, it is that going fast is fun, and going faster is even better. Anything that glorifies that principle is sure to be a hit with them, and the fact that the history of aviation and the automobile are inextricably mingled just makes it that much more fun. There were several models of curvaceous speedsters Mrs. Hall just wanted to sneak home in her purse, but as Mr. Hall told her they probably frown on that sort of thing.

Back to their hotel in downtown Indianapolis, Mr. Hall was anxious to take Mrs. H. for a walking tour. "It's a beautiful town and I'd like to show it off a bit," he said, and the weather gods agreed. The light could not have been more lovely on the capital building or the monuments in the center of town. Thinking it was time for a little something, they wandered over to the Capital Grille. Dark and full of carved wood and low lights, it was the type of watering hole they loved. The waitstaff shimmered over effortlessly and draped the table with fresh cloths; frosty cold martinis appeared, along with an assortment of perfect breads. "Eating on the road can be such a trial", remarked Mr. H. as he bit into his garlic laden fries accompanying the perfect burger. "Be sure and help me with these fries- I don't want to be the only one breathing garlic on the world!" Thus fortified, the Halls moozied back to their hotel, to refresh themselves for another day. Next episode: The secrets of the Scottish Rite cathedral, and the road to Louisville. Stay tuned!

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