Dinner With Friends

Tonight, the wife and I had dinner with some dear friends.  I have just retired from the military after a quarter of a century.  Wow, saying it like that makes it seem like a eternity and in truth, it has been.  I joined the Army in 1993 and finished yesterday.  My final duty station has been in Jasper, Indiana and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect.  Tonight’s dinner was a celebration of my military career and a celebration of new friendships.

Southern Indiana was a mystery to me and certainly to my Canadian wife.  We didn’t know what to expect.  One of the most pleasant things that has happened to us has been developing a relationship with new friends.  Without question Peter and George have become our dearest friends and without them we wouldn’t have been able to assimilate into the small community of French Lick.

Let me explain, I worked in Jasper, Indiana but my wife found us a beautiful home in the small resort town of French Lick.  Look it up on the inter-webs and you’ll soon see why French Lick is a resort town.  It’s a gem nestled in the Hoosier National Forest and well worth the trip.  So, that’s why we’re here.  Now, how did we meet Peter and George?  In an attempt to immerse into the community my wife volunteered at the local museum in addition to managing events at the resort, and it just so happened our friends Peter and George are pretty big deal at the museum and the rest is developing into a great friendship.  Who are these two wonderful gentlemen?  Well, let me explain.

Peter and George are partners and have been sharing life experiences for a long time.  They have stories that could easily become Hollywood blockbusters (I mean, Shirley McClaine would be jealous of their stories).  They have seen and done it all.  Peter actually went to college with my father and they knew each other, which I think is amazing.  I love that part of our story with these two.  My favorite part of our friendship with these fantastic guys is that, we’re just friends.  That’s it.  They are successful retired guys who don’t want for anything and simply want to be friends.  We are equally interested in finding friends who only want to be friends.  No pretense.  No agenda.  Just people who enjoy each others company.  We have other friends like this but many of them live far away.  Of course, they treat us like their children which makes it hard to pay bill.  Every meal is a fight to determine who pays but they are incredibly creative in getting their credit cards to the waitress before we can.  It’s like dealing with Gandalf which isn’t easy.  We love these two and are lucky to consider ourselves their friends.

Now, back to dinner.  Ballard’s at the West Baden Resort is a great place to dine mid-week. It’s casual with a hint of sophistication and it provides a great opportunity to enjoy the atrium of this world-class resort.  Peter and I had the steak and frites while my wife enjoyed the salmon salad and George chose the airline chicken, worst name for a meal ever.  I mean, who associates good food with air travel and George was sure to let the server know, as well as the risotto.  Risotto in the Midwest can’t compare to the dish served in Italy and since George lived there for years as a model (I’m telling you, these guys have some amazing stories which I may get into in future blog posts, with their permission, of course). The evening was fantastic.  The food was very good and the desserts, decadent.  There were stories told, laughs had and plans for future travel, discussed.  Personally, I haven’t laughed and enjoyed my time that much in quite some time and I think my wife would agree.  Honestly and a bit selfishly, we needed this night.

Thank you to our friends and we look forward to many more nights like this and we hope to add some adventure to our story with these two great men.

I’m a lucky guy.  I have a fantastic wife and some really good friends.  Raise a glass and toast the future.  It’s going to be fun.

About Last Night

Living in a small town should be delightful.  Less crime, a tighter sense of community and a comfortable respite from the over-crowding of big cities.  Unfortunately, French Lick, Indiana is not that and not what I thought it would be.

My wife an I moved to French Lick due to Military obligations, in the winter of 2016 after ten years in Indianapolis’ inner-city.  We were expecting to get away from the issues that come with living in an urban environment, like drug trafficking, gang-related violence and all of the petty crimes.  Downtown Indianapolis wasn’t a hot-bed of gang violence, it had some but it did have it’s share of petty crime, to include, theft, burglary and domestic disputes almost every night.  In all of our time in Indianapolis, we only called the police twice and that was for suspicious cars parked on the block.  When the Indiana National Guard promoted me and stationed me in Jasper, Indiana, we thought we’d find a small community, grow some roots and start a family.  Boy, were we wrong.

Eighteen months after moving into our new city and establishing ourselves as productive people in the community, our world changed.  Directly across the street in, what had previously been a rental property, a family of degenerate dirt bags moved in and no one’s sure how.  One day there are “renters” quietly living in the home and the next a multi-racial, multi-generational family moved in with no discernable leader amongst them and providing no value to our adopted city.  I immediately contacted my friends that are local realtors to find out how this could happen.  The house was never officially put on the market so how did this “family” get the inside track?  No one can explain to me how this happened.  I spoke to the local police department. Nothing.  I spoke to the local town hall and they acted surprised that this had happened, however, they did know the family and this is how we found out that we are, now, screwed.

Some time before we moved to the little community of French Lick, the local police gunned down one of this families “uncles”.  Shot him dead in the street which, of course, upset the family.  I can’t imagine why, because from  all the reports the uncle was resisting and threatening, either way the family vowed to get revenge.  They have, of course, not gotten revenge but because of this situation the local police are “apprehensive” to confront this family.  ANNND that’s just magical.  I suppose, by being a scourge of humanity, they have gotten revenge on the police and the entire city.

I say all of that to get to last night.  The police were called several times and I didn’t even pick up the phone.  Someone else was calling the police because the family was sitting on the front porch blasting music and carrying on like it was Mardi Gras, which isn’t a huge problem except the fact that it was midnight, on a Wednesday in a small town in Southern Indiana.  The police finally stopped and spoke to the family and after a fifteen minute discussion, which I couldn’t hear because I was watching from inside my home, a few feet away, the police drove away.  During that fifteen minutes a young lady wearing a very skimpy outfit approached the cruiser and talked to the officer as she leaned quite invitingly into the vehicle.  From my angle it appeared as if she was offering the officer a “hand” but I can’t confirm that so I may have to delete that part later.  Nevertheless, after speaking to the neighbors, this morning, it took five phone calls over a four hour period before the police would do anything about this family, which is unacceptable.

The sad part is that last nights debacle was minor compared to some of the other calls to the police because of this family and to some of the things my wife and I have seen.  A short list would include; an unconscious body being carried into the home the morning of Christmas Eve, fist fights in the street directly in front of our home on several occasion, scantly clad teenage girls dancing to loud music at midnight, suspected drug deals at all hours and drugs and alcohol being consumed in broad daylight by young people that may or may not be legal drinking age.  On each occasion the police were called or showed up on their own accord and on each occasion zero arrests were made and in one instance, high-fives were given to the family by the police.  What the fuck?  I call the police for a disturbance, the police arrived and start high-fiving the very same people that played NWA’s infamous song, “Fuck The Police” as the police pulled up.  This city is pathetic!

I’m supposed to be slipping into retirement from the Army and starting a new career, while my wife continues her climb through the ranks of the nearby resort.  We’re supposed to be starting a family but instead we’re dealing with a bunch of trash that no one will do anything about.  I feel like my only option at this point is to call them out on my own, get physically injured by them and then, maybe, just maybe, enough attention will be churned up that the city will have to make a move.  Unfortunately, I’m to old for that sort of behavior so if it comes to that, it’s really going to hurt.

It’s a ticking time-bomb and everyone is turning a blind eye.  I’ve written this post to capture this time in our lives so that when the bomb goes off, there will be proof that people were warned and chose to do nothing.

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