Indiana at 200

Featured image: These goats and a flock of wild turkeys were finding good pickings in this harvested field of corn in Westfield. All around Westfield, subdivisions, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, and a big sports complex–one building with three regulation size soccer fields–are sprouting up in former corn and bean fields.

You don’t say #8, Saturday 29 October 2016–The State of Indiana is 200 years old.

On Thursday night we attended a performance of Finding Home: Indiana at 200, produced by Indiana Repertory Theatre in the state’s capital, Indianapolis. The acting and singing company   of 13 drew on the works of 30 writers from across the state, with songs by Tim Grimm.

Of course, we wanted to hear niece Shari Wagner’s contribution to the show. Shari is Indiana Poet Laureate 2016-2017. Four of her poems were selected to tell their own dramatic parts of the Indiana story. We went with Shari’s parents, Mary and Gerald Miller, who live in Westfield, north of Indy. The show runs from October 18-November 13.

Drama unearths the real, core, engaging stuff of life. Light and dark are illuminated in the dramatic portrayal of the human experience. Author and Historian James H. Madison in the program notes, “What’s a Hoosier?” wrote: “We’re an interesting people, we Hoosiers. Some think of us as a simple people living on a flat, boring land, thinking small thoughts, eating white bread. We should be charitable to such ignorance, since we struggle ourselves to understand who we are.”

At each performance during intermission attendees are asked to write their answer to “What’s a Hoosier?” No one is absolutely sure where the word came from. It’s simply a colloquial term for a citizen of the state. I like one answer I saw on the corkboard, “If you have to ask the question there’s still hope for you.” I wrote that I’m an adopted Hoosier, married to a life-long Hoosier, a Hoosier in my own right, having lived here for 47 years. Since seeing the dramatic and musical production I find it easier to say “I’m a Hoosier.”

I agree with what Madison wrote, “More than most Americans, Hoosiers are blessed to hear voices that came before, the kinds of voices you will hear on this IRT stage. These stories help us to live in dialogues of past, present, future. They help us find our Indiana homes.”

The bicentennial celebrations included a torch relay through each of the state’s 92 counties.

A visit to a one-of-a-kind park, The Ruins

While in Indy, Gerald and Mary took us to The Ruins at Holliday Park. It’s a public park, an environmental center, a one-of-a-kind tribute to artistic expression that took two decades to complete. The artifacts part of the park include “rescued” parts from churches and other buildings in several states.

In 2016 The Ruins were revitalized at a cost of $3.2 million. It’s a place that draws in people of all ages, a happy, contemplative place to walk, run, sit, and in the summer, for children to step into the skiff of water in the reflective pool. Check it out at

Other scenes from the week



Fall clean-up day at church

This morning, Saturday, volunteers from Prairie Street Mennonite Church painted, cleaned out unused furniture, and trimmed flower beds. We are in the middle of a construction project that expands the Fellowship Hall, adds a patio, and creates a brighter entrance hallway. Gorgeous day to complete these tasks.

From our home to yours–blessings! -John

One thought on “Indiana at 200

  1. “HEY – that turkey’s getting ahead of us. Step on it!”

    Always enjoy your blog, John; and goats are my favorite thing. Any idea why they were given such a lousy rap in the Bible??


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