The Liberty Gazette
August 16, 2011Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: At the center of the city of Indianapolis the road forms a circle, Monument Circle, where four downtown streets provide access to make the round-about drive. In the center is a war memorial monument, and around the perimeter are a fancy restaurant, hotel, some high rise business offices, and, of course, a Starbucks. Emmitt Broadcasting takes up a fair piece of Circle real estate, including four radio stations and a magazine. It kind of reminded me of the TV stations in New York, where folks walking the circle can listen to the live broadcast and see inside through the ground level windows into the studios of WIBC Radio, the largest station in Central Indiana. The popular evening radio host, Denny Smith, invited me to join him on his show the Wednesday before The Indy Air Race, to talk about the excitement of air racing – something new to the auto racing capital of the world.
After we finished the show, my sister, niece and nephew and I went to grab coffee drinks. Enjoying the cool evening temperatures, chatting about airplanes and radio and other fun things, we noticed a group of high school aged kids go into the coffee shop. All but one, that is. One young man stood outside, and then turned to my nephew and asked him to clap twice. Good thing he did. It turns out the game was that the boy couldn’t go inside with his friends until he could get someone to clap. Twice. That silly little game opened the door to conversation. We noticed one young man was carrying a trumpet, so we asked what they were doing, where they were from.
The really nice group of kids said they were from Texas and were there to compete in a world drum corps competition.
I soon discovered they were from the San Antonio and San Marcos areas. One young man had worn his shoes out so much they had come apart at the seams, at least the full front half of them. These kids had to come up with $1,800 each for this trip. We talked about where they’d been, the competitions, and the fun they’re having, when one of them mentioned Hardin, Texas.
Two things these kids said stood out about being in Hardin in July this year. One was the sweltering heat. The other was the generous spirit of the people. As these youngsters had to earn their own way to the competition, they became impressed with the people of Hardin, who, they told us, had purchased so many t-shirts and other items from them and donated more money so that little Hardin, Texas became the one place that has supported their group more than any other place they’ve been.
Two important lessons in meeting these kids are that it’s a small world, and that a reputation can go far and wide, whether it is a person, a school, a sports team, a business, or a community. These were pleasant, friendly, polite teenagers, who were fun to visit with, and who spoke highly of one generous small town in Liberty County, Texas, that will remain in their memories for years to come.