May 14, 2015
My Indiana Home
This year, unlike past years of
attending the Indy 500, I made the decision to stay in Indianapolis for the
week between the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the qualification weekend. This
allowed me to take advantage of my Indy Car hard card pass during the entire
week of practice. It also gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time
with many friends and family and to enjoy the late Indiana spring.
The week began with one of my
absolute favorite annual events, my dinner with the girls. This group of lovely
ladies have been close friends with me for more than 30 years and each year
while I am in town for race activities we get together for dinner. My friends
Amanda, Jody, Kristi and Stephanie all made it out for a fabulous meal, only
Laura could not make it. We had a great evening catching up, laughing, drinking
and recalling our crazy youth.
Jody, Kristi, Amanda & Stephanie
The next morning, I took a drive
back into my own heritage, heading first to the small town of Hope, Indiana
where both of my paternal grandparents were from as well as the extended Blades
and Donner families. I still have a ton of relatives and I wanted to visit the
Hope Moravian cemetery and find the grave sites of my maternal grandparents as
well as my mother’s mother, who is also buried there.
Even though I walked and walked
over the cemetery grounds, I had no luck finding any of those sites, though the
place was packed with other relative’s gravesites and it was like a walk back
through my own family history visiting the beautiful place. I need to find out
more detailed information about the locations and return to visit again in the
Next I headed to another
significant location in my own family history, the tourist town of Nashville,
Indiana and the beautiful Brown County State Park. I spent many long days of my
childhood in Nashville, when my mother and a family friend had a retail store in
the tourist hotspot that is Nashville. Every weekend during the summer and fall
of those days when they had the Emporium, we kids would ride down to Nashville
and hang out for the weekend and I love to go back and visit the town even
today to see those spots that meant so much to us then.
The place has changed somewhat,
but it still maintains its artsy character and better yet, now has a tasty
microbrewery in the form of Quaff On Brewing right in downtown Nashville.
Between that and hot fresh nuts from the Jack & Jill Nut shop, I was in a
good place while visiting.
Back in Indianapolis later in the
week, I went along with my friend Wes to catch a concert from the band
Interpol. Another close friend from my childhood, Ed was there As well, so it
was like a cool home coming watching the show and hanging out at the Murat
Theatre where the show was held. The show itself, was not one of the better
concerts that I have seen, but I had a great time anyway seeing Ed & Wes.
Ed, Michael & Wes
Of course the main reason that I
remained in Indiana this week was to hang out at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway to watch practice for the 99th Indianapolis 500. I spent
many of the afternoons of the week at the track, wondering through the garage
and pits, sitting in the stands watching practice, eating track dogs and other
terrible for you, yet glorious trackside food items.
The access that I had allowed me
to get right up close and personal with the cars, drivers and teams competing
in this year’s race and allowed me to fulfill my passion of taking photos and
being close to the action as the practice sessions got underway and the speeds
of the cars started creeping closer and closer to 230 mph.