Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Family Fun II

New Castle, Indiana (mile 894)

June 7-8

New Castle, Indiana is home to the world's largest high school gym—a field house that seats nearly 10,000 people, over half the population of New Castle. But, more importantly for us, it is the home of grandsons Andrew and Collin. We followed them home from Patrick's graduation (see previous post), and had lots more family fun. They made us many different paper airplanes, performed a magic show, demonstrated stunts on their Razor scooters, and took us on a guided walk on their nature trail.

Since Andrew had an orthodontist appointment in Muncie on Monday, we took the boys and mom Jennifer to Minnetrista, a small museum and large garden complex endowed by the Ball family (of Ball canning jar fame, now into aeronautics and other high tech businesses). What could have been a quick and somewhat disappointing visit turned into a very special morning when Becky, an enthusiastic volunteer, adopted the boys, and let us come along with them for a private educational tour. She took us on a golf cart ride to a cabin, where she told us all about the lives of the turtles, snake, and frog inside, and let the boys touch a turtle and some skin shed by the snake. Then we were off to the Children's Garden, where she gave the boys food pellets to feed the fish in a big lily pond. After we spent a little time in the museum exhibit areas while Becky had to work at the front desk, we were back in her golf cart, on our way to a private tour of the home of one of the five Ball brothers (who all built their homes side-by-side on a private river-side road). We hope Becky had as much fun as we did being the only visitors at Minnetrista that morning!

We met son Mark for lunch at a bakery café where every meal comes with a big cookie—our kind of restaurant! Mark took the rest of the day off from work to spend time with us, and our computers, which were running night and day during our visit doing back-ups and other healthy tech stuff that we don't know much about, but Mark does.

We ended our perfect day with a trip to "The Show," the only movie theater in New Castle. It has just one screen, and is dedicated to family entertainment. We all enjoyed the latest Pixar film,"Up," featuring a variation on the "Wizard of Oz" plot--with an old guy doing Dorothy; his sidekicks a talking dog, a boy scout and a giant bird; and the witch and wizard rolled into one character, a heroic explorer gone bad.

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