Alan & Teri's Travels travel blog

Who is He?

James Whitcomb Riley House


This morning we listened to the “child” soldiers chant as they marched around the campground in their military fatigues. We question the intelligence of parents who allow their children’s minds to be warped so early. Some of these boys haven’t even reached puberty yet.

On to more pleasant topics. We visited the James Whitcomb Riley house. The name was familiar, I’m sure we covered some of his poems in Literature Class. After reading a couple of them, T decided she didn’t remember them because she didn’t really care for them at all.

Riley, who was born on October 7, 1849, is known as the Hoosier Poet. He wrote his poems in the Hoosier dialect. Although Riley wrote a considerable amount of prose, it was his verse that brought him distinction, and of this, his poems in dialect were his original contributions to American literature. According to the museum brochure, he wrote with his eyes on the character; The Raggedy Man, Little ‘Orphan Annie , and Old Aunt Mary were real people whose own talk and philosophy were set down by a trained observer. When Riley died in 1916, the whole world mourned this writer.

Greenfield Indiana observes his birthday of October 7th with a huge Riley Festival whose theme is chosen annually from among his poems. We missed the festival by one weekend but at least we didn’t have to wait in line to tour the home.

We were more impressed with Augustus Riley’s (James’ father) handiwork than we were with the poet himself. Augustus was a lawyer. Apparently he had quite a bit of time on his hands because he built the house his family lived in. All of the woodwork, including the floors, is black walnut. He built many of the furnishings in the house out of black walnut, oak and pecan. Of particular interest is the spiral stair case he created (without power tools).

We decided to “tool around town” a bit and stumbled on the Farmers’ market. We were ecstatic to find homegrown vegetables at a decent price and picked up a little bit of everything. We also picked up some grass fed beef from a local family owned ranch and pork chops and ham from another local farmer.

We did note that Greenville has some really gorgeous old buildings. We didn’t look too closely so we can’t pinpoint the dates or architectural styles. They were just visually pleasing and on the ornate side.

Despite the humidity, which is driving T nuts after 3 months in the desert, we are enjoying being back in green farmland. There are monetary advantages to living in states east of the Mississippi where fresh produce is generally less expensive than in the mountains or deserts.

After supper this evening, we were startled by what sounded like fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. It turned out that the Heartland Resort has a unique way of celebrating Halloween. 12 golf carts with flashing lights and all sorts of horns and whistles made the rounds of the campground tossing candy to all the children. They even threw some our way! (It was tough knocking those little kids out of the way, but we wanted our share too! SMILE). It was an activity that brought a chuckle, entirely entertaining.

Tomorrow we’ll be heading to Dayton, OH and aviation-land



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