Snortin' "66" Norton

Snortin' "66" Norton
"Humpin' to Please!"

Sunday, May 6

Day 2 and 3 Formally Trained and a Michigan drive-by

We got up early so we could make it to graduation on time - Ball State is in Muncie, about 20 miles from Anderson, and ceremonies started at 10 AM. We made it to the site of the outdoor ceremony just as the graduates were filing in, and as luck would have it, we were right next to the spot where Kerry would be walking by. I had no sooner gotten my camera ready than she walked past us, proudly wearing her "sombrero graduation helmet" (translation: since it was Cinco de Mayo, Kerry decorated her mortarboard with dangling red pom-poms, which made her very easy to spot even though she's on the short side!) We yelled at her as she went past and got a fine thumbs up from her. After a good bit of careful navigating and negotiating, we made our way to the seats that were being saved for us by Kevin and Colin (Kerry's brother and her boyfriend). The weather was perfect - sunny blue skies, no wind, and just the right temperature (if you weren't wearing a gown over your clothes). The ceremony was typical, except much more sedate and serious than those we are used to in the south. Even outdoors, the graduates and the audience were quiet and respectful.

Once the main ceremony was over, we reconvened at a building across campus for the departmental gathering where the graduates actually crossed the stage to receive their faux diplomas. From here we went back to Kerry's apartment to load up her dad's car with some furniture and boxes. By the time that was over, we were all starving, so we had a fantastic family celebratory lunch at the local Steak and Shake. After lunch, Kevin left with his dad and stepmom and Kim and I went back to Anderson for a much-needed nap. We woke up just in time to see the Derby (my horse won!) and then we went back to Muncie for yummy pizza at Greek's with Kerry, Colin, and our cousin Gary and his wife Jill. After we left the pizza place, Kerry took us to Timbers Lounge to see one of the TWO fiberglass lumberjack giants in Muncie. It was a wonderful day - the only downside was that I accidentally re-formatted one of my cameras in the middle of graduation, which resulted in my losing all of the images captured up to that point... I will not make that mistake again!
Today, we slept in and met Kerry and Colin in Muncie for brunch at Eva's Pancake House. After we said our goodbyes to the now "formally trained" Kerry, we went in search of even more Muncie giants. We found a purple hippo and a big mailbox just for mailing letters to David Letterman (BSU grad) and then as we got on the interstate to go north, we found the other lumberjack! Who knew? They're on the Giant photo list on the right side of the blog. We were on the interstate for about 25 miles and then we were back on highways for the remainder of the day.

We enjoyed the ride through the small towns and very flat Indiana countryside, and of course we found several oddities and photo ops along the way. We took a side trip in Kokomo (home of the Koko Mo-tel) to see Old Ben (the world's largest steer, who is now stuffed and in a park) and a huge sycamore stump (right next to Old Ben). We then stopped off in Peru to see the International Circus Hall of Fame, which was unfortunately closed. However, the nice man told us we could go look anyway, so we spent quite a while in a big old barn full of very cool old circus stuff. Peru was Circus Capital of the country from the early 1800's - it's amazing what you can learn by getting off the interstate!

Our next stop was at Notre Dame in South Bend. We walked around campus and saw the famous golden dome, the church, the grotto, and of course, Touchdown Jesus and Notre Dame stadium. We are hoping that school is out for the semester, because the campus was like a ghost town! Only a few people were out and about - very strange for a college campus and town.

Since we were practically at the Michigan border and Kim had never been to Michigan before, we continued north to Niles and then went west toward Lake Michigan. We ate at a famous local landmark, Redamak's, which is known for its hamburgers. Man, were they ever fantastic!! I wanted one for dessert, but was able to show a bit of restraint. It was a great old restaurant - you can check out their website at if you're interested.

By the time we crossed the border back into Indiana, the sun was setting over Lake Michigan. So beautiful - the perfect ending to a perfect weekend! We'll check in again tomorrow!

Oh, forgot to mention that Peppy was photographed with the sombrero graduation helmet, the hippo, Dave's mailbox, and at the Circus Hall of Fame. When I have time to figure out how to add photos to this blog site, I will and you can see for yourself what fun we are having! Happy trails.

Jan (proud aunt to the Formally Trained One, Kerry)


SuziQCat said...

Great blog...if you want to post photos, there is an icon on the for right of the post that looks like a a square with a mountain on it. Click there and you'll be able to browse and post photos. I'll keep checking back! Suzanne

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