I went to Mount Baldy last Sunday just for old times’ sake. Jim, Vito, and I went to Mount Baldy regularly when we were younger. Jim was remarkably familiar with this part of Indiana since he grew up in Hammond. Whenever he was bored, he would stop by my house unannounced and say, “Let’s go for a ride!” There was no need to ask where because we always ended up in Indiana somewhere. I have always loved Indiana ever since I attended Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson. For a while there, I seriously considered moving to Indiana. So, I didn’t mind too much whenever we took a road trip to Indiana. We often went to Mount Baldy and its beach just for the fun of it. We never actually went in the water, though.
When I went last Sunday with Beata, we had a tough time finding a parking space at Mount Baldy. Jim, Vito, and I never had trouble finding parking before. I couldn’t figure out why. Then, I remembered! Jim, Vito, and I never went to Mount Baldy during the summer, during the tourist, beach-going, sun-tanning season. We never kept a regular schedule like normal people. We always went late at night or long after beach weather had passed. Now that I think of it, we were often the only ones on the beach!
We would cruise along Lake Michigan with no destination or agenda. We just loved driving! Occasionally, when we were old enough to drink, we would stop for a beer at a bar that Jim discovered near Mount Baldy. Jim loved discovering unfamiliar places of interest and then taking us there. I don’t know about Vito, but I wasn’t so excited about these places. But I liked to humor Jim because we did have fun on our road trips!
We often went to the beach long after the beaches were closed. We even went in the winter. One extremely frigid winter, we went to the beach at Beverly Shores. Danger signs were posted to warn everyone to keep off the ice. Those warning signs only work for normal, moderately sane people. To us, they were an open invitation to go on the ice as far as we could go. The smooth sheets of ice were broken up by warm waves of water and then frozen so they looked like waves that froze as they approached the shore. They looked dangerous and inviting all at once. As I recall, Jim and I went out on the frozen waves, but Vito urged us not to go so far. Despite Vito’s cautious approach, he was right behind us. I suppose he did this as a precaution, If the ice cracked and swallowed up Jim or me, Vito could safely go back to shore. Since the weather had been so cold, we went out extremely far out on the ice, far from the shore. We kept going until we could hear the ice cracking under our feet. So, we turned back and headed to the beach. Hey, we weren’t totally insane!
We really had fun on our last road trip to Mount Baldy. I was home alone with my son at home in Bridgeport. Jim and Vito unexpectedly showed up early one Saturday morning. They wanted to go to Mount Baldy! But I had to go to work later that day! What about my son? They insisted that I take my son with me and that we would be back in time for me to go to work. I resisted with all my might. Finally, after deep determination and exertion of my strong will, I gave in. I was able to resist for a whole minute before I agreed to go with Jim and Vito to Mount Baldy for old times’ sake. Little did we realize that this would be our last trip together to Mount Baldy.
Vito, as usual, brought his camera. He brought his camera everywhere, or so it seemed. I don’t know about Jim, but I found Vito’s camera very annoying back then. Now that I look back, I’m thankful that he took so many pictures to document our past good times!