Most of you can recall some trip you've taken, either for vacation or on business, that sticks in your mind, maybe even months and years later. Maybe it was a great hit, or a terrible flop - those are the kinds that stick in our memory. If nothing happens, it's not very memorable.
My trip to the corner of Whitely County and Heritage Farms, a unique livestock farm, there this past Wednesday is one of those I'll likely sit around and remember when I'm older than I am now. Hopefully I cant get any grayer than I am now. I wont be able what I had for breakfast, but I will be able to recall this trip.
First of all, it started when Jeannette Keating of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture said we had a unique chance to visit a farm that is usually off-limits, especially to reporters. Turns out it's not because Pete Eschelman and his wife, Alice, or their son, Pete, aren't friendly people. They certainly are. Young Pete even gave me a ride on an ATV to catch up with the group, already at the barns, when I arrived several minutes late.
The Eschelmans, who operate and own Joseph Decuis Restaruant, a four-diamond restaurant, hid away in tiny Roanoke, Ind., don't open the farm gate to the barn very often because they're raising a type of cattle that don't like excitement. They like things to remain calm. Raised properly, these Japanese-based cattle produce excellent, well-marbled meat.
So I decided to go, even though it was a road trip. I allowed enough time, had step-by-step directions someone had included with the meeting announcement, and hit the road. Well, a tanker trailer had already bit the dust up on I-69, backing up I-465 to 56th street on the east side of Indianapolis. I lost a good half hour.
Once I got clear road ahead, somewhere around Anderson, I decided to keep my foot into it to get there not more than 15 minutes late. For one reason or another, I tend to show up late. It's a habit I'm trying to break. I usually pack too much stuff into the schedule. Today, I made sure I didn't do that. Now this traffic jam was going to make me use an excuse to apologize for being late, yet again.
We purchased a new Ford Escape about a year ago. It's a four cylinder, but it doesn't lack for zip. I've never really thought the speedometer was accurate. It seemed too easy to push it past 80.
Well, guess what, it's accurate. As I pulled off the exit ramp where my directions told me to get off near Huntington, a white squad car with red lights flashing pulled up behind me. The friendly trooper said I was going a bit too fast, OK, those weren't his exact words. I thanked him for being so quick to write me a ticker, so I could get back on my way because I was already late.
Then I found out that whoever put together the directions had something against staying on I-69. The farm turns out to only be 5 minutes from an exit. Instead, I wondered through 25 miles of country and state roads, arriving a good half hour late. When I finally found the place, it looked like an estate. All cars were near the house, but no one was in it. That's when young Pete rescued me.
So I got back in the swing, heard the talks, saw the cattle, took pictures, asked questions. Then the defining moment- corned beef and cabbage from Waygu Japanese beef. Man, that stuff was tasty. The only thing that kept me from going back a dozen times was the stare of the chef of the big-time restaurant, who was cooking on the farm in a picnic shelter that day.
If I never see another Waygu cow, I'll remember that day. Some days are like that. This one featured both high and low moments. And as it turns out, I wasn't the only one who was late due to the traffic jam, or who got a speeding ticket.
Reckon that will get me off paying it? I thought not. Check is already in the mail.