2017: A Summer of Notable Visitors to the East Shore, Notre Dame Football and even a Vice President
It's time for the Clemens to put on his Walter Winchell hat on and report on some interesting visitors this summer to the East Shore of Lake Max, along with some opportunities this fall.
At first it was indeed a rumor.. word was getting around that Vice President Mike Pence might be coming to the east shore and, while this old casket maker never laid eyes personally on him, the State Police helicopters and Secret Service checkpoints seem to attest to the facts of the matter. It turns out that Mr. Pence, while originally from southern Indiana before taking up the governor's mansion in Indy, and then the VP's home at the Naval Observatory in DC, has some family connections to the academy and ol' lake max. Not only did a sibling or two attend the academy as family fortunes were enhanced in the 1980's, but it appears his brother rented or bought a home not too far south of us to host his brother for the 4th of July in. At first there were rumors that he might attend the 4th of July festivities at the Culver Academies, and the police couldn't help but admit they were talking to the Secret Service about something big. Then came troopers on motorcycles, unmarked cars and SUVs exploring routes around town, tents and kilieg lights and sign posts arrived and you know something was up. Finally, like a mosquito that won't quit, a state helicopter started flying round and round the east shore and it became obvious the big #2 was headed our way.
While no one likes the invasion of a vehicle search, everyone said the young guys on the job were courteous and professional, and they took over a swath of east shore drive to keep an eye on on both sides of Maxinkuckee Golf Club, it was all a bit surreal and a bit fun. One family visiting the house had already had their kids show up early (which is fine and they were nice kids), and got an urgent text saying that they were going to be late because some really serious looking dudes with crew cuts and dogs seemed to have the authority to stop them and search their pontoon boat. It gave the V house staff just enough time to finish watering the garden and make a bed we overlooked and skedaddle the other way so that the rest of the family could arrive to an empty house. We sure didn't plan that, but it worked out for us. They even had a boat out on the lake patrolling around for trouble, and one funny story was that someone on long point kept looking for him with either a telescope or binoculars only to see agents staring back at him with curiosity. One of the agents it turned out has a family connection to lake max and enjoyed a homecoming of sorts in a fairly tender way, which did engender good relations between our armed visitors and the town.
Pence played it low key, but around he was if only for a day or two, maybe a mile South of the Vonnegut House. It was reported that while Culver has hosted some 4 sitting or former vice presidents, we have yet to get a visit from the big guy himself, a president.
Then for the 5th time over some 25 years, Notre Dame football showed up. It's (I think) well known to many locals that Coach Lou Holtz liked bringing his team down for a kind of Football Boot Camp in the isolated and relatively spartan atmosphere of the Academy, and the Academy enjoyed the opportunity to shine in that quiet period after camp ends and before school begins. The players took over the Barracks, and were known to have been a bit shocked by the lack of air conditioning. Many also know that current coach Brian Kelly has Culver connections as well, so he decided to revisit that tradition for the last 3 years. On foot or by car it's .6 miles from the V house driveway to the academy football field.. To be closer you would have to be one of our neighbors or live in the barracks, and many would attest that's still almost a half mile walk!
They arrived and departed with almost more fanfare than the Vice President: three buses, a tractor trailer or two, and some 10-16 troopers and sheriffs on motorcycles to give them an escort. They made themselves at home on campus and went about their practices.
There was some controversy. Some felt that the academy didn't get anything for what it gave to host them, that they should at least take an hour or two to work out with the arriving for early workout Academy Football Team or press the flesh for a fundraiser..
Almost more alarming were their attempts to enforce a closed practice astride two public highways and an almost public campus.. One felt the need to remind security and the cops that a boys game does not trump the first amendment to the constitution (it's the first one by Jiminy!!) and it was made a bit more absurd by the professional Chicago Bears practicing in nearby Kankakee Il for a similar amount of time to rumored opened practices.
Nevertheless, we support the Irish as so many Hoosiers do, and want to mention that there are 3 home games left that we are unbooked for. As South Bend fills up, it's an under an hour drive up to the campus to enjoy the game and come back to the lake to unwind with the view and the sunset. Sounds like a great way to enjoy it to me, as the South Bend area does fill up on those weekends. It's almost more enjoyable to be in Culver if you ask us, since we have run up for a game and found it pretty unstressful.
So come on by if you are an NC State, Wake Forest, or Navy Fan (for whom the view might be a familiar one!) and we'd love to host you.. Call or email Kathleen Aman, and we'll root for whoever you root for! Vonnegut's just like a good clean game!