Jim’s Blog: Postcard from Indiana
Written by Jim Bartlett on September 26, 2019
For most of the last three weeks, I have been in the Indianapolis area working another job I have, so I haven’t been on your radio (and thank you for noticing, if you did). I have not been here the whole time—I drove home for the Badger football game against Michigan, a 700-mile weekend round trip that was totally worth it. But I’m back now until September turns to October. And since I promised to send you a postcard from here, this is it.
In Wisconsin, many place-names are derived from Native American languages, but that is not how they roll in central Indiana. Many place names come from the Bible, like Lebanon, Hebron and Zionsville, or have something to do with colors: Brownsburg, Whitestown, Whiteland (and its next-door neighbor, New Whiteland), Greenfield, Greenwood, Greencastle, Greensburg. (I was down here four days before I realized that Greenfield and Greenwood were two different places, and that I had to travel to both of them.)
Indiana honors many of its natives by naming roads after them, and I’ve driven on a few, including the Highway of Vice Presidents, dedicated to the six Indiana men who have had America’s #2 job. They include current VP Mike Pence and Dan Quayle, who served under George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993. Among the others is Thomas Marshall, in office from 1913 to 1921. He was probably the funniest man ever to hold the job. Just before he left to be sworn in, he told an audience about a man who had two sons: one was lost at sea and the other became vice president, “and neither was ever heard from again.”
Here is some other stuff I noticed along the way from Madison to Indianapolis…
In the south suburbs of Chicago and northwest Indiana there’s a chain of oil-change shops called The Duke of Oil. You might have to be old enough to remember the early rock ‘n’ roll classic “Duke of Earl” to think that’s funny, but I am, and I do.
No self-respecting lawyer goes without a billboard down here. Lawyer billboards are everywhere. At least two lawyers call themselves “the Hammer,” which means there’s the theoretical possibility that the two could square off in court mano-a-mano, which would, of course, be Hammer Time.
Shortly after you cross into rural Indiana on I-65, there’s a giant black-and-white sign with letters 10 feet high that says “Hell is real.” While I strongly defend the right of people to express their religious opinions, maybe they’d wanna move that one a little farther away from the state line.
I have to stay here for a while yet, but not permanently. The current plan is for me to back on Magic 98 on Monday, October 7. Can’t wait.
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