The Harrison Boys

Trip Start Apr 05, 2013
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Flag of United States  , Ohio
Sunday, April 14, 2013

I left home this morning about 10:30 am Central time heading for Indianapolis, Indiana to visit the grave site of Benjamin Harrison.  As I headed out on I-74 East, it occurred to me that I also had the opportunity to stop by another grave site...my Dad's.  Dad is buried in Grandview Memorial Gardens between Mahomet and Champaign, IL.  Figure if I was going to pay my respects to some of our late Presidents, the least I could do was the same for Dad.

Dad was an interesting man.  He of course, actually was my step-dad, but he's the one who raised us kids.  He's the man I called Dad.  Dad was pretty strict...a State Policeman for 28 years and spent his entire career working in the police profession.  Story time:  When my sister was 2, my brother was 1 and I was 3 months old, my biological father left my Mom (on Christmas Eve so the story goes) and ran off with his high school sweetheart.  I figured he could handle the two older ones, but when I came along, he said, "I'm outta here!"  That eventually led to my attending my Mom's wedding when I was four years old.  I am told my older sister went to school the following Monday and announced during "Show and Tell" that her parents got married over the weekend. Now that may be a more common occurrence now, but in 1954, it was not and signaled an abrupt end to "Show and Tell" for the day. Dad used to tell the story that after they got married, I went around the neighborhood telling everyone Mom and Dad got married so they could sleep together! Mom was mortified.  Dad, however, who was always a good joke and story teller, said, "Doris give the boy credit for telling the truth!"  LOL!

Be that as it may, Dad died in 1992.  I try to stop by the cemetery to pay my respects whenever I can.  Interestingly, my biological father, Don Colee is buried in the same cemetery, a mere 100 yards from Dad.  I don't hold any grudges against the guy.  I'm better off by his leaving than if he had stayed.  Met him when I was 21 years old and a few times after that.  He wasn't a bad guy, except that he hurt Mom.  He died in 2000.     

Back on the road toward Indy.  Crossed the border and now can go 70 mph...at least!  The Wabash River is the main river of Indiana (with the possible exception of the Ohio in Southern Indiana).  As I crossed the Wabash just into Indiana, I couldn't help but notice that it was overflowing its banks. Springtime in Indiana.  One other body of water tells you you're almost to Indianapolis...the dam just a few miles West of Indy.  It too was releasing water at pretty heavy pace.  

I used my iPhone to get to Crown Hill Cemetery, just a couple miles north of downtown Indianapolis. It's a sprawling cemetery which is still in use today.  It takes up several square miles and even has an underpass under a significant street in north Indianapolis connecting the North and South sections of the cemetery.  Harrison's grave is, as you might expect, in the older (Southern) section of the cemetery.  It's not the largest monument in the cemetery as you might expect.  In fact, it's rather mundane.  
 
Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the US.  Born in 1833 and died in 1901.  He was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison, whose grave site I will visit tomorrow.  His great grandfather was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  His unusual claim to fame is that he defeated incumbent Grover Cleveland for the Presidency in 1888, and lost it to the same Grover Cleveland in 1892!  

His wife, Caroline started the tradition of setting up a Christmas Tree in the White House.  She died in the White House of tuberculosis shortly before Harrison's term ended in 1892. Interestingly, four years later, he got remarried to his wife's widowed niece, and former Secretary, Mary Scott.  Quite a scandal in that day and age.  They are both buried in Crown Hill Cemetery next to Benjamin.

That accomplished, I headed for something to eat.  It was already 3:00 pm Eastern time and I hadn't had anything but a Diet Pepsi today.  I had seen an episode of Man vs. Food where Adam Richman ate a 50's Diner called Edwards Drive In.  It's a few miles southeast of downtown Indy between I-65 and I-74.  Their claims to fame are their rather large hand-pounded pork tenderloins and onion rings.  If you were a youngster in the 1950s, it would be a great nostalgic place.  They have an etched glass portrait/window of Elvis, Marilyn and James Dean.  Even the restrooms don't even say Men and Women on them...they have pictures of Elvis and Marilyn on them.  And they have a great free juke box that plays only 50's tunes.  Very cool.  When I get home and download the pictures, you'll have a better understanding of the size of the regular pork tenderloin....not as large as Schooners, but large, nonetheless.  The tenderloin, onion rings and my diet root beer were exactly as advertised...very tasty!

I headed southeast on I-74 toward Cincinnati.  I had already made a reservation at my hotel of preference, HI Express.  What better place to stay while visiting the Harrison boys grave sites than Harrison, Ohio, right across the Ohio/Indiana border.  I would only be 10 miles away from North Bend, Ohio, the site of William Henry Harrison's grave and incidentally, the birthplace of his grandson, Benjamin Harrison.  

Checked into the hotel and finished watching The Masters on TV.  Congrats to Aussie Adam Scott.  First time an Aussie has ever won The Masters.  Afterwards, I headed to the workout area and pool.  Ran/walked a couple of miles and swam some laps.  Now if you're thinking I'm on some health craze...think again.  That was pure rationalization for going to dinner at Skyline Chili afterwards, which is exactly what I did.  I'm only 20 miles outside Cincinnati, and I always say, you can't get close to Cincy without eating at Skyline Chili...it's the law in some states...I think Ohio!!!

Anyway, back to the HI Express and bed.  Been a good day filled with both good food and history. Tomorrow, the grave of Benjamin Harrison's Grandfather, William Henry Harrison, or do you know him by his nickname, "Old Tippecanoe?"

Be safe my friends and family!    
 
 
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