GEN CON – DINNER PARTY IN CARMEL – BREAKFAST IN GREENWOOD – INDIANA STATE FAIR
It was a busy weekend for the Social Diary. I found myself in Indianapolis, Indiana, this week. The Gen-Con Convention was in full swing at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Saturday night I was invited to a private dinner party. Sunday was an early meeting with a group of motorcycle men. In the afternoon I boarded the Indiana State Fair train in Fishers, Indiana, for the eleven mile run to the Indiana State Fair.
Let’s begin with “Gen Con” at the Indianapolis Convention Center. I always have problems with the name Gen Con. I can never remember what the name means. So, I looked it up again. Gen Con’s name is a derivation of “Geneva Convention”, due to its origins in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It’s a play on words, as the “Geneva Conventions” are a set of important international treaties regarding war, the focus of the early and current games that draw gamers to this annual event. If you have no interest in table top or computer gaming, one thing you need to know is, gaming is big business, very big business. Gen Con is the largest table top game convention in North America by either attendance or number of events. This year (2014), at the Indianapolis Convention Center, Gen Con reached an all-new attendance record with a weekend turnstile attendance of 184,699 and paying attendance of 56,614. This represents a more than a 14% increase year-over-year.
Another record was set for donations to Gen Con’s official charity partner. Gen Con raised more than $40,000 for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana’s BackSacks program, which provides weekend food to children at-risk for hunger. This donation includes a $20,000 check provided by Mayfair Games’ Cones of Dunshire event, a charitable game played Saturday, August 16, on Georgia Street. I enjoy walking the halls of the Convention Center and taking photographs of the mostly younger people dressed as their favorite game character. They love the camera, all I have to do is raise my camera to my eye and they fall over themselves posing.
Saturday night we were invited to a dinner party in Carmel. Connie Ellsworth–Vinciquerra hosted the semi-formal dinner party in her beautiful home just because she wanted to have a dinner party with friends. In attendance were John Cross Etchison, Michael Doyle Brinkman, Robert “Bob” Mason, and Susan Kay Estelle – Moore, TW and myself. Bill and Karen Bennett -Bell sent their regrets. Karen was under the weather. It was a pitch in and we were all asked to bring a side dish, I never know what to bring to a party like this. TW is my savior when it comes to shopping and she demanded to know my plan. I told her I would stop at Kroger on the way and pick up a bottle of wine, and a shrimp ring. She seemed to be okay with my plan.
However, when I placed the shrimp ring on the table Mike Brinkman was the first to sample. Mike whispered to me, “The shrimp is frozen.” I quickly picked-up the ring from the table and Connie and I put our heads together and placed the ring in the micro-wave for a few short bursts of power until the shrimp appeared presentable and eatable. I will remember in the future to buy early and thaw…
The dinner party guests are my class mates from Pike High School back in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Living in Pike Township during that period was the best. Our class is blessed to have a close knit group of about 85-90 students. Some of us are closer than others, of course.
Susan Kay Estell Moore, John Cross Etchison, Connie Ellsworth Vinciquerra, Robert “Bob” Mason
TW, Susan Kay Estelle – Moore,, John Cross Etchison, Connie Ellsworth – Vinciquerra
Robert “bob” Mason, Michael Doyle, Brinkman
We moved from the kitchen and living area to the formal dining room. You can tell Connie loves giving her dinner parties. She scurries about making sure everything is on the table. After a few minutes we all start to encourage her as a group. “Connie… SIT!” We then enjoyed more wine, terrific food and, of course, good conversation. I was asked when we planned on leaving Indianapolis, headed for Florida. We divulged the last of our three homes is on the market now. We have a purchase offer and a tentative closing set for September 19. If things go according to plan we would be headed south in the big yellow Penske truck about the middle of September.
The conversation turned to children and grandchildren. Something I try like crazy to stay away from. But there was noise coming from downstairs and the question was asked… “What’s the commotion we here?” Connie said she is keeping some pets for her daughter in the basement for a few weeks. We all wanted to see what pet could be making that much noise. So, it was down to the lower level.
TW – Feeding the monkey.
Michael Boyle Brinkman (On the right)
After watching and feeding the monkeys it was back up stairs. TW and Connie were off in the corner talking about something, and I heard Connie say, “Come I’ll show you!” So, we all followed Connie out to the garage to show TW her Honda 750 Shadow motorcycle. Connie jumped on her bike and turned the key and pushed the starter button. Nothing! She tried again and only got the faintest amount of energy. The battery was dead.
Connie Ellsworth – Vinciquerra, TW.
Mike decided if she had a charger we could put the bike on a quick charge and maybe it would start. But to get to the battery we needed several tools to pull the seat completely off the motorcycle. Once we had the bike half apart we found the battery. The charger was attached and we waited for about 5 minutes.
Michael Boyle Brinkman, Duncan
After five minutes we felt we had enough of a charge for the battery to turn the engine. And sure enough, it came to life. So, the seat was replaced and Connie assumed her rightful position on her bike. She pushed the starter button again, this time the bike came to life. A big grin came across her face.
TW, Connie Ellsworth – Vinciquerra, Michael Doyle Brinkman
Connie looked at TW and asked if she was ready? Connie got off the bike and motioned for TW to take control. TW put on a helmet, tossed her leg across the bike, gunned the engine, placed her left foot the gear lever and pushed hard. The bike was in gear. A little revving and TW was out the garage for a late evening test ride. After the ride, TW asked Connie if she would consider selling her motorcycle. “I’ll need to look at the paper work and figure out what to do… if anything.”
Sunday Morning came yearly. I climbed in the Caddy and headed south for a 40 minute ride to Greenwood. Back in 2000 I decided I just had to have a motorcycle. I was walking the streets of downtown Indianapolis on a Sunday about lunch time when I heard thunder. The sky was clear, the sun was out. I looked to my left and right and noticed the flashing lights of police motorcycles several blocks away. Behind them were motorcycles two abreast, and row after row pasted where I was standing for at least an hour. Hundreds of motorcycles with perfect paint, chrome and loud exhaust pipes. The pipes were talking to me, “This is like no experience you have ever had in your life, come join us for the fun.”
It was too big an emotional pull on me not to give it a try. I started the hunt. I was standing in a Harley Davidson motorcycle store looking at the bikes and the prices, thinking to myself that I will never be able to own a motorcycle. The prices on these beauties were 25,000 to 30,000 dollars. Way out of my pay grade.
“I’ll buy you one if you buy me one,” a voice came drifting over my shoulder. I turned and a mature man with white hair and beard was smiling at me. “I wish I could.” I said, with tongue in cheek. We talked and he told me he was a retired Indianapolis Motorcycle Policeman. He wanted to know if I belonged to a motorcycle group or club. I told him “No… I wasn’t aware of any motorcycle clubs.” Dave suggested I might want to go to downtown Indianapolis to a restaurant called Shapiro’s, look for a group of men sitting together and ask to talk to Steve Reed. If you talk to those boys they will help you get on the right track. I thanked Dave and we parted company.
The next Sunday I walked into Shapiro’s and noticed several tables with men having their morning coffee. Most didn’t look like motorcycle people. But the table in the corner had about 10 guys sitting around a couple of tables pushed together. I walked up and stood there for a few seconds and the men at the table turned and looked at me. “Can we help you?”
“Would there be a Steve Reed at this table?”
“Who wants to know, and why?”
“I introduced myself and explained that Dave Elmore told me I should swing by and talk with Steve Reed about getting started riding a motorcycle.” The very large man at the end of the table said…”That would be me.”
Over the years I have had countless breakfasts, lunches and drinking sessions with this group of men at the table. Steve knows a lot about riding and motorcycles and I have acquired many new friends from the motorcycle trips we have taken all over the country. What Steve doesn’t know… he knows someone who has the answer.
In fact, Steve Reed has written a book called “Road Tales” and it can be purchased here.
Because I’m moving to Florida shortly, the Sunday morning motorcycle group wanted me to make an appearance. So, I reluctantly agreed to show for the 7:30 meeting.
The guys that used to show every Sunday when I was riding and attending the Sunday morning breakfast have drifted off to parts unknown. I stopped riding my Honda 1500 Goldwing in 2008, and traded for a 2007 two seat yellow Pontiac Solstice. “It’s a wise man that knows his limitations.” I am quoting Inspector Callahan, you may remember him as Dirty Harry, or Clint Eastwood.
Bill lane – Retired Indianapolis policeman / Tommy Harris (Striped Shirt) is retired from the railroad. Tommy is a top flight Goldwing mechanic. He knows his Goldwing bike and his friend’s Goldwing bike inside and out. Needless to say, he is not for hire. Tommy is staying close to home to support his wife who is in a battle with cancer. Tommy and his friend across the table, Bob Bennett, have ridden to Alaska together a couple of times.
Tommy Harris / Dave Mytinger, is a retired postman and very active in Gold Wing Road Riders Association. / Next to Dave is Bob Bennett. Bob rides his Goldwing 25,000 miles a year and rode with Tommy Harris to Alaska last year. While we are looking at this photograph, I’m told Dave Mytinger has been known to say “Welcome to our weekly MENSA meeting. Where you can feel your IQ sucked out of your body the longer you’re here!”
For those of you, like me, who don’t understand what all that chatter means I looked it up. It seems Roland Berrill and Dr. Lance Ware founded Mensa in 1946 in England. According to American Mensa, Ltd., the Latin word Mensa has several meanings: “mind,” “table” and “month.” Mensa was created to serve as a round-table society for highly intelligent people to meet on a monthly basis.
There is only one criterion for membership in Mensa: Each member must possess a high IQ. This means that your score must be equal to or greater than the scores of 98 percent of other people who take the test. Remember, I had to look up the word Mensa! What does that tell you?
Steve Reed is my personal and very close friend and next to him is Don. Don stopped riding a while back, but continues to enjoy the camaraderie of the Sunday morning breakfast.
George Jacobs is retired. We were talking about Saturday night and the motorcycle that TW wanted to buy. That would mean she would need to sell her 2002, 650 Yamaha motorcycle. George wanted me to send him pictures and the details about the bike, “Hey George, you going to buy the bike?”
As I was being served my breakfast by a very polite waitress she paused beside me, and wanted to know if I ever ate at The Lincoln Square Restaurant on the west side of Indianapolis with my Dad? I turned and looked at her and asked, “Did you work at the Lincoln Square Restaurant? She said, yes, and I remember when you and your dad would have lunch. She either has a very good memory, or we made such a fool of ourselves, that she could not forget us?
I left a little early and drove back home to pick up Dad so he could attend church this week at the Hamilton Hills Baptist Church. Dad is having problems with his hearing and sits up front so he is able to hear. If a minister decides he doesn’t need a microphone and Dad can’t hear the message I will get a resounding command as we are leaving the church, “Find me another church.” Well, it happened this Sunday. The regular minister was replaced by a substitute giving the morning message. We got in the car, and Dad said… “Find me another church.”
George R Duncan (95)
After Dad and I had lunch at Bob Evans, I hurried home to meet TW. We decided to walk to the Fishers Train Station and take the State Fair train to the Indiana State Fair Grounds 11 miles down the track. It was a pleasant and a comfortable ride. Not many people in our car on the way to the fair. It took about 25 minutes from Fishers to the Indiana State Fair. I forgot to bring my canon G 16 camera on this trip so I don’t have any photographs of the afternoon activity. I tried to take a few with my camera phone.
I did notice lots of unusual fashion at the fair. TW indicated it was more like a lack of fashion. Why do so many women feel they need to tattoo their bodies. I was standing in line waiting for an Elephant Ear and I asked the woman in front of me what the Chinese symbol on her neck meant? I felt I had seen the symbol somewhere before. She beamed as she told me her tattoo stood for Peace, Love and Tranquility. After we parted I remembered where I saw the symbol. It was in a Chinese Restaurant menu under number 3, Moo goo gai pan…
We continued to walk around the fair looking at a few pigs and a few horses… man they are big! We went into the exhibition hall and I looked at the photographs and TW looked a quilts. Nancy Bailey, a professional and very successful photographer from Anderson and a buddy of mine, was one of the judges of the photographic art. I don’t know how many photographs are judged, but its got to be hundreds or thousands… all the presentations look very professional. Its got to be a tough job to pick a winner.
Walt “Cowboy” Smith, Duncan
We found our friends Christy and Walt (“Cowboy”) Smith in the leather craft area. Walt wins several awards each year for his leather art. In fact, the black leather cell phone case on my hip was crafted by my buddy, Walt “Cowboy” Smith. If I don’t mention this tidbit I’ll get clobbered by Christy… she slipped me the tickets to get into the fair. Thank you, Christy. We ate a few of the things you must eat at the fair, but left the deep fried Twinkies to the professionals. I came away from the fair watching the people as much as the animals and promising myself to put myself on a diet.
TW got involved in Pacers basketball. The Pacers had a basketball court set up and would take people from the fair crowd for a pick-up game of basketball. TW signed up to play. Both teams were all men except for TW. She was the only woman. The game consisted of five people on a team. Each team lined up behind each other and each team was on either side of the basket. When the game started each player got to shoot one basket and then toss the ball to the next person in line until the team with seven points won the game. TW hit her first two shots. I was impressed. TW’s team won and she got to pick her prize.
Well, it was time to walk back to the State Fair Train for the 11 mile ride back to Fishers. The Indiana State Fair saw its third largest crowd ever this year with more than 950,000 visitors. Fair officials say the renovated Fairgrounds Coliseum and the new Indiana Beer and Wine Exhibition both got rave reviews from visitors. This year’s fair drew in 954,884 people, making it the third largest attended fair. The Beer and Wine Exhibition saw 48,259 visitors. There were 70 different brewers and wineries at the exhibit. Organizers say, cooler weather helped make this year’s Indiana State Fair a success.