There was a fierce storm in Santa Claus.
“It’s a hateful rain,” proclaimed Dodie as we traveled farther away from Louisville as fast as we possibly could.
Earlier we stopped in Frankfort, Kentucky to pay our respects at American frontiersman Daniel Boone’s gravesite. He’s buried next to his wife Rebecca at one of the most beautiful locations we’ve ever seen.
Living in today’s society, I have to constantly remind myself not to think of things the way they are now. In fairness, and in honesty, it’s important to allow the characteristics and customs of past generations to be what they were. It’s not for me to judge or speculate based on their mores.
The marriage of Daniel Boone and Rebecca Bryan proved remarkably resilient, despite so many challenges of their times.
They lived through the perils of Indian attacks, the squalor of frontier settlements, frequent and large financial reverses, repeated moves over thousands of miles, the killings of two sons by Indians, and Boone’s recurrent and prolonged absences on long hunts and military campaigns.
The Boones were originally buried near Marthasville, Missouri just west of St. Louis, but in 1845 both bodies were disinterred and moved to Frankfort Cemetery. He died on September 26, 1820 at age 85.
As I sat at their tomb, my mind considered the same thing it did at burial site of Meriweather Lewis (of Lewis and Clark expedition fame) a week ago. Leave our nation’s monuments alone. Preserve our heritage and history.
Peacefully overlooking the Kentucky River and the State Capitol Building, we paused for awhile to thank God for our journeys and the privilege to live in America.
Fellow McCollum High School alumnus Richard Dean suggested we tour the Louisville Slugger Museum while we went through Louisville. We added it to our list, along with the Muhammad Ali Center (constructed for $80 million and opened in 2006).
Have you ever had that instinctual feeling in the gut that tells you not to do something? I always follow my instinct (not worry or doubt, I’m talking about sheer instinct). I followed it in Louisville. Something was wrong and I told Dodie I’d like to get out of there.
Not a minute later, driving on West Jefferson Street we saw this beautiful white statue of King Louis (city’s namesake) had been grossly vandalized and spray painted. Mark us down as two more would be tourists leaving their city immediately.
Later I found out Slugger bat museum was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition, we learned three idiots were arrested for the King Louis statue vandalism that occurred at 5 a.m. in front of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Forget Louisville. We moved west on I-64 towards Santa Claus.
That’s right, the one and only Santa Claus, Indiana, a town founded in 1854.
I saw it on the map the night before and thought I’d surprise Dodie with a stopover. The weather was turning bad quick, so I mentioned the town to her. She looked it up and read it to me as I drove through the rain that was just beginning to hit us.
“In 1856, when the town was working to establish a post office, the Post Office Department refused their first application as there was already a Sante Fe, Indiana established with the Post Office Department. Several town meetings were held, during which the name Santa Clauswas selected.”
The town has the world’s only post office to bear the name of Santa Claus.
“Because of this popular name, the post office receives thousands of letters to Santa from all over the world each year.”
Suddenly lightning lit the skies in brilliant cracks. Darkness squeezed the foggy sky and siezed every tree, every square inch of ground. Thunder declared its supremacy and sheets of rain poured on our windshield faster than the wipers could swipe.
That’s when Dodie proclaimed, “That rain! It’s hateful.”
Immediately in front of us, about 40 yards, a semi-truck started a quarter spin on the slick highway. The credible driver was able to prevent a serious wipeout and at that very moment we saw a blue sign: “Rest Area Right.”
We exhaled simultaneously in relief. I maneuvered into a safe parking spot and remained there for a good half hour. But it was a long 30 minutes plus of high winds shaking the car as “hateful” rain pelted the roof and windows.
“Why do they call this the Hoosier State?,” I asked.
While Dodie looked it up, I began writing this blog article.
“There was once a contractor named Hoosier employed on the Louisville and Portland Canal who preferred to hire laborers from Indiana,” she read from the State’s government site. “They were called “Hoosier’s men” and eventually all Indianans were called Hoosiers.”
Now you know the best of the story.
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.