Last weekend Kum and I made our annual trip to Flora, Indiana to pick up our beef.  We travel there because the farmer’s daughter (sweet!) is friends with the female Kum and he has awesome beef.  He takes care of his livestock and it translates to the taste of the meat.

Anyway, we left from his house at around 4 in the morning to make the trip.  I needed gas when we left but I decided to wait until we made it into Indiana and avoid the high Illinois prices and taxes.  We cleared the border the gas light kicked on just as we were approaching Gary, Indiana, so we pulled off the highway to fill up.  This is where the story begins.

It is still dark outside as we pull into the station.  After finishing at the pump we both head inside to get a coffee and some smokes.  We decided to hang around and have one so that Kum could warm up.  He was generously loaned a truck by his father-in-law that didn’t have heat, and it was the coldest day of the year.  Standing in front of the station I take the plastic and foil off my fresh pack and absent-mindedly toss it on the dirty snow-covered asphalt.  I get the cigarette up to my lips, look up, and my gaze is met by a bald-headed, youngish looking Gary police officer that had been sitting in his cruiser 20 feet away the whole time.

“I’m about to give you a $290 ticket for littering if you don’t pick that up”, he snapped.

“Are you serious?” was my stunned reply.

“Do I look like a man who isn’t serious?”

I give him one last look, reading his face and without a word I turned and started chasing a clear scrap of plastic across the wind-swept parking lot.  I disappeared around the corner and finally caught the damn thing.  Cursing this guy in my mind the whole time I toss it in the garbage can and continue back to the both of them.  Before I can stop walking over he jabs his gloved finger towards my feet and says,

“There’s one more right there.  It stuck around for you”.

At that point I saw red and was ready to unleash a torrent of obscenities on this clown, but I choked it down, bent over and picked it up, whatever it was.  Satisfied that he had humiliated me enough the cop turned to get back in his cruiser and I just couldn’t help myself,

“Have a nice day”, I said in my least sarcastic-but-hoping-I-sound-like-an-asshole voice.

“Don’t get mad at me because you threw it on the ground” he said.

“I said ‘have a nice day’ sir.  I’m sorry if there was inflection in my voice”.

At that point I was pissed and wanted him to know it.

The cop got the last words though and I will never forget them for all their absurdity.  Turning from me, while walking away he said, without laughing,

“That’s the reason this city looks the way it does.”

Here are a couple of pictures of beautiful Gary, Indiana, a city of civic pride.

Gary lakefront

Gary train station

Gutted house in Gary, IN


4 thoughts on “I *heart* Gary, IN

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