Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sister Fun in Indy

My sister and I have both been working hard all week: she's been preparing a major tax return for Eli Lilly; I've been preparing a major symposium on climate change for DePauw.  But yesterday at noon we launched our weekend of sister fun. My goal for our weekend is to visit as many of the sights on my must-see-before-I-leave-Indiana list as possible.

First up yesterday: the City Market, with its thronged customers lined up at booths and stalls offering every kind of cuisine that you can't get in Greencastle (plus those that you can). We wandered about, listening to the piano music played by a real human being piano player, and finally settled on mid-eastern, followed by gelato, eating each course at a different small table next to a window in the upstairs section of the market.

Next: walking to the James Whitcomb Riley home, where the beloved Hoosier poet ("Little Orphant Annie," "The Raggedy Man") lived for 23 years as the permanent house guest of its owners. Riley, almost forgotten today, was enormously popular in his time, earning over three million dollars from his verse, out-billing Mark Twain on speaking tours, and attracting 35,000 mourners after his death to view his coffin honored in the rotunda of the state capitol.  The house, situated in the charming neighborhood of Lockerbie Square, has been open as a museum to Riley since the 1920s and so is not a restoration but a preservation: all furniture, books, and other artifacts in the home are entirely original. 

Here I am on the steps of the house, after our fascinating tour:

Riley is still not my favorite poet, but these lines of his, reproduced on a notepad I bought in the Riley House gift shop, so echo the sentiments of my most-beloved philosopher Epictetus the Stoic that I'm sharing them here:

It hain't no use to grumble and complane;
            It's jest as cheap and easy to rejoice.—
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
            W'y rain's my choice. 
 Yesterday, as I explored Indy's treats with my sister (below I'm posting the silly pictures the two of us took of each other in costume pretending to play guitars at the Eiteljorg Museum's history-of-the-guitar exhibit), it was sunny all day.  But if God or Zeus had sorted out the weather and sent rain, that would have been my choice, too.


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