Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Staycation

This week my son Mike and his wife Mary have been enjoying what Mike is calling a “staycation”—a stay-where-you-are vacation without any travel. Mike has been telling about it in almost daily posts to his blog, The View from the Roof. (Yes, I borrowed from him in naming my own blog.)

Mike and Mary and Beans, their miniature Boston terrier, live in a condo in downtown Indianapolis. I had supposed that they were already well-acquainted with the city, for they have lived there for several years and they are great weekend walkers. Their staycation blog, however, reveals that Indianapolis, a city I know hardly at all, has a wealth of cultural, recreational and culinary treasures, many of which Mike and Mary are discovering and enjoying for the first time during this week.

On just one day (Wednesday), The View from the Roof tells of a mouth-watering lunch at The Creation Café, located in a century-old church overlooking the Indianapolis Canal Walk, part of an ambitious public works project that bankrupted the state of Indiana in 1841. (Take heart, California.)

At the Creation Café Mike and Mary discovered Horse Piss beer, brewed in Louisville, “we hope not too close to Churchill Downs,” and Stone Ruination IPA beer. Not being a beer aficionado, I never realized how creative small breweries can be in naming their products.

On this same staycation day, M & M went on to the Indianapolis Central Library, where they saw two newly-installed (April) sculptures, also creatively named--thinmanlittlebird.” One was the thin man, abstract but recognizable in the picture Mike posted, and the other was the little bird, hardly discernible as he perches on a humongous bronze donut.

Then, on to the American Legion Mall, down which the Central Library faces, to see the memorials to servicemen in American wars. And that’s just one day--a long day and an interesting blog.

Their experience gives me a new appreciation for Indianapolis. It also prompts me to wonder, what does Mobile have to show me that I haven’t seen in the six years I’ve lived just across the bay?

I can hardly take a “staycation,” since I’m retired and am supposedly at leisure every day of every week. But I could get up off my duff, find a good city guidebook, and take an occasional day to mine the unsuspected riches that undoubtedly lie beneath the surface of the city I see so superficially in occasional visits to the library, the mall or the eye and ear clinic.

Now ask yourself: what is waiting just to be discovered and enjoyed where you live?

~ Bert Johnston
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