Splashin’ superheroes

How cute are these little guys?

Crocodile Isle sliders

Rachel took this photo last week down at Crocodile Isle (thanks to the parents for giving us their permission to do this).

We had chilly temperatures that day, so those little fellows must have used their super-powers to keep warm!
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Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Bahari wave pool

We and our friends (old and new) certainly intend to enjoy this weekend.

Who wouldn’t?

Bahari wave pool is open!

Bahari wave pool

In case you’ve been wondering where in the world we put Bahari wave pool, the above photo should help put it all in perspective. (It really is a photo, I assure you. For some reason it looks a bit like an artist’s rendering.)

Bahari has a lovely “resort” look, right on down to the fossil-bed finish on the multi-colored decking.

Let’s zoom in a bit to get a better look at the theming …

Bahari theming

There are lots of new deck chairs (which we refer to as “towel holders”). And the new Bahari Snacks food outlet even offers fresh fruit!

Okay, it’s fresh fruit dipped in chocolate, but that doesn’t cancel out the health benefits, does it?
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I said I wouldn’t do it …

Painting water tower

… but here’s one last story about our new water tower.

My husband is a dairy farmer … and he needed some equipment welded yesterday.

The fellow he normally calls wasn’t available, as he was doing some work at Holiday World (oops! sorry, dear).

But the welder was available today and got the milking parlor stanchions all fixed up.

He told Gary this story …

Remember that photo of the painters, suspended high about the ground, touching up the paint on the “bowl”?

Yes, this one:

Painting water tower

Apparently, when one of the painters returned from the water tower to terra firma, he remarked about the view:

I could even see the high-dive team rehearsing their shows.

Those guys are crazy!
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Mother’s Day hits twice

I tease Thomas that he’s my egghead son.

John, 13, is my musical son.

And James, 5, is my farm-boy son.

Here they are on Christmas morn a few years back.

Christmas 1999

James, Thomas, and John Werne

They’re all bright fellows, but Tom is what I sometimes refer to as “scary smart.”

I have, by the way, a newspaper clipping of an article stating that bright sons get their brains from their mothers. (Just thought I’d throw that bit of scientific fact on the heap.)

Tom is finishing up his second year at Rose-Hulman. If you’re not from Indiana, this may sound like a school for florists. It’s actually a highly regarded school of engineering. He’s double-majoring in Electrical Engineering and Math and has tested out of enough classes that he could graduate a year early (if he didn’t love school so much).

Slacker!

Anyway, Tom was home on spring break shortly after the start of the HoliBlog. I asked him to explain the whole concept of “RSS” to me. (I listened to, but didn’t thoroughly retain, his explanation. It’s a “syndication” that delivers the blog posts to you, rather than you having to check repeatedly for new posts. Something like that …)

So Tom granted me a demonstration on his souped-up laptop. He set up RSS delivery of HoliBlog posts on his system.

Cool!

He then promptly deleted it.

A knife to my heart would have caused less pain.

How could you, my son?

Shall we talk about the many hours of labor … and that you were delivered naturally so that no foreign substance might taint your precious brain?

… okay, I won’t go there. You were the smallest of my three babies after all. (If you can call 8 lbs. 13 oz. a runt!)

Trying to keep the pout out of my voice, I told him how I’d received an email from another local college boy … who said HoliBlog was “like a letter from home.”

Didn’t work.

He didn’t take the hint.

Cleaned up his laptop and moved on to some unpronounceable engineering project (for some light reading, don’t you know).

So imagine my joy — my rapture — when my beloved first-born called a bit ago,

Mom … what’s going on? You haven’t posted on the blog lately …

(Cue the music — lots of violins swelling in unison.)

The prodigal son has returned. Kill the fatted lasagna!

Mommy’s tiny touch of revenge, of course, is this rather silly post. Tom will see it immediately since he has that RSS thing, right?

It’s nice to know — sniff! — that you care, Tom. (I also know my double-hyphens annoy you — don’t they, dear?)

Motherhood is a precious, precious thing.
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A new road in town

New road in town

Santa Claus is a cute little town. About 2,200 population, with street names befitting the town’s theme: Snowbell Lane, Sled Run, even Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (I swear! I’ll post a photo of the very long street sign someday).

When a new road appears, it’s a bit startling

And when the road is improved from a dirt lane to lovely white gravel, it’s a sight to behold!

New road in town

Your intrepid reporter decided it was important to put the location of … let’s call it the Snowy White Gravel Road … into perspective for you. Grabbed the digital camera, hopped in my car and drove over to the site.

Once again, I risked life and limb (and this time — chigger bites!) to get the proper photo. The hillside, I’ve discovered, is remarkably steep. And full of colorful flowers interspersed with mean, scratchy weeds.

So steep, in fact, for a split second, I thought I was going to fall over backward. At that point I realized if I moved ten yards or so to the south, the angle would be better and the tangly weeds were not quite as thick.

In the lower foreground, you’ll see the entrance to the Snowy White Gravel Road:

new road in town

And to the upper far left, squint a bit and you’ll see the top of Liberty Launch. Working your way to the right, you’ll see the water towers and then the top of The Legend’s lift hill.

Got it?

Hopped back in my car and carefully meandered up the Snowy White Gravel Road.

Please note: Do not try this at home. Seriously, as a park director, I have access. This is definitely an “Authorized Personnel Only: No Trespassing” area.

At the top of the hill, I wanted to head over toward the piled-up wood. If you are a faithful reader, you already know about this. If not, please go back and read this and then this.

Luckily, with no recent rains, it was no problem moving from the “improved” Snowy White Gravel Road to Proceed With Caution Lane.

Apparently, we’ve had several more deliveries since we last took a look.

Not sure, but this looks to me like some sort of fancy roofing material:

more mystery material

What do you think?

I glanced up after taking that photo and got rather spooked.

There was a gigantic bird hovering overhead. With a huge wingspan.

Looked rather threatening, actually.

First I thought it was a hawk. But maybe it was one of those wild turkeys that hang out around here. Whatever it was, it wasn’t worth waiting around for a proper introduction; I snapped this and headed back to safety:

mystery material

As much as I’d like to stick around and speculate with you, I’m heading home.

There’s a big bottle of Calamine Lotion waiting for me!
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Must be “sweeps week”

Oh, my: It’s Sweeps Week

Erica and Jackson got married after 17 long years.

Carrie and Bo are prepping their pipes.

Thirty million headed over to Wisteria Lane to get some answers.

… and Pat Koch is featured in a “Close Up” on Evansville TV this evening.

The producer called yesterday and needed some additional archival photos of Mrs. Koch; Jerry was kind enough to dash over with a batch.

Mrs. Koch as a child

We’re told a condensed version of the profile will air tonight at 5:00 pm CT on WFIE-TV Evansville, with the full four-minute feature on at 10:00 pm.

“Sweeps week.”

If you’ve ever been here, you’ve probably seen Mrs. Koch out in the park.

(Did you catch the pun?)
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So, who won the truck?

Remember the amazing truck that was on display in the Christmas plaza?

And the contest sponsored by our friends at WBKR radio station?

The 33 finalists gathered here Saturday morning and each picked a spot on Revolution.

A quick spin of the wheel and…

A tie

The special arrow added to the ride just for the contest didn’t determine a clear winner.

Spin the wheel again, Vanna!

(Am I the only one who would have seriously considered getting off the ride at this point?)

This time …

… we have a winner!

winner of truck giveawayAnd here she is, Stacy Lloyd of Utica, Kentucky,

And who’s that cutie in Stacy’s arms?

That’s her son. No one thought to ask his name, so we’ll just call him Little Squirt.

There’s a reason, you know.

Before the park opened Saturday, the truck was moved to our guest parking lot — up by the front gate in the Raven Lot.

Right next to the truck was the registration table for the 33 finalists.

As Stacy signed in, she stood Little Squirt next to her, cautioning him not to go anywhere.

He didn’t … well, not really.

He turned around, and, facing the pretty new truck … um … put in his vote for his mum to win.

Perhaps we should call him The Whizzer of Claus.
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Oh, the emails we receive …

Bahari theming

We chuckle at the emails asking “how do we get there?” and not mentioning their location.

And the ones asking us to mail them a brochure, but they don’t include their address.

Then there are the phone calls asking, “Are you on the same time with me?” Only they don’t tell us their Time Zone.

Hey — we’ve all been there. Rest assured, we’re laughing with you.

Really.

We also receive feedback, comments, suggestions, questions, and an occasional bit of intriguing trivia.

Bahari theming

Benny gave me permission to post this tidbit of intercontinental info:

I am currently working in Manila, Philippines. Checked out the site as I am planning on being there when I get back home sometimes early June. One of my students saw the site and the page about the new wave pool … and told me that in Filippino, Bahari means “King of Flood.” It is actually made up of 2 words Baha meaning flood and Hari which means King which translates into King of Flood. I like that one better than the Swahili translation and thought I’d share it with you and maybe you would be so impressed you send me some free tickets!

Somehow, Benny, I still manage to prefer the Swahili image of “immense sea.” And sorry … we’re intrigued, certainly, but not quite that impressed.
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Can we tie in with today’s big nat’l news?

Star Wars poster

You betcha!

Star Wars sign

This banner is hanging outside the building of the town’s sole C-store.

It made me think of a story from a few years back …

It was the summer of 2002, less than a year after Mr. Koch passed away. A lovely bipartisan effort by our state legislature resulted in the renaming of a portion of Highway 162 the “William A. Koch Memorial Highway.”

We put together an unveiling ceremony of one of the huge highway signs. It was to be in the Hoosier Celebration Theater, the outdoor theater located not far from the entrance to Splashin’ Safari. And Governor O’Bannon would be on hand to talk about his friend Bill Koch and take part in the unveiling.

I’m one of those cross-the-t’s-and-dot-the-i’s person. A multi-page memo was in everyone’s hands well ahead of time to make sure everything went perfectly.

And it did.

Well. Almost.

The Hoosier Celebration Theater is located in the 4th of July section. I was rather proud of myself that I’d remembered to include a note to make sure the themed music for the 4th of July section was turned off shortly before the ceremony commenced. That way, the speeches and vocal performances within the outdoor venue wouldn’t clash with the park music.

The news media arrived en masse. Former Indiana Governor Whitcomb, local officials, the Koch family, curious park guests, and some of our staff packed the theater. We were just waiting for Governor O’Bannon to arrive and make a suitable entrance.

The spirit was jovial and the Governor was only a few minutes late. Just as he entered the back of the theater to thunderous applause, I realized that just turning off the 4th of July music wasn’t enough.

Halloween was still going strong.

If you’re familiar with Holiday World’s layout, you can picture how to the left of the seating area there’s some “green space,” then a walkway, and then HallowSwings.

That’s how close Halloween is.

And just as Governor O’Bannon, beaming, entered the theater, those of us located on the left side of the seating area heard it immediately.

From the Halloween section, the unmistakable anthem:

Daaaah-dum dah daaaaaah-dum!

Darth Vader’s Theme

Oh, no! I looked over. The Governor was still surrounded by his constituents. Lots of hand shaking, back slapping and chatting.

Good. They couldn’t hear it.

Yet.

I then turned to look at the news media.

They were in stitches. Watching me instead of the governor. Enjoying my discomfort far too much!

I clutched my two-way radio and called Base: Please turn off the Halloween music immediately!

The reply was that the Entertainment Director would have to do it.

Chris just happened to be in the theater’s tech booth — mere yards from me. I looked back there — our eyes locked (his were as big as saucers). I knew he couldn’t leave the booth.

Daaaaaaa-da-da duh-dah-duh …

I thought I heard the Dark Lord’s labored breathing.

Oh. That was me

The news media’s mirth was becoming audible. Chris made a quick phone call. Suddenly the Darth Vader Theme (aka Imperial March) ceased. Thankfully, the ceremony continued without further incident.

Bill Koch Highway sign unveiling

I always thought the Governor (on the far left) would get a kick out of that story. Sadly, that kind and gracious man passed away the following year.

I’ll always remember that day as a mixture of tears and laughter.

And the day the Force was with us.
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Would you want this job?

Painting water tower

I tease a lot of the directors here at the park:

I’m sure glad you like your job — I sure wouldn’t want to do it!

Happily, not too many of my fellow employees are camping out at my office door, either.

It’s nice to be well-suited to your job. Your career.

What about these guys?

Painting our water tower in 2005

Painting the water tower.

Could you imagine?

Of course, there are those who love to build (and maintain) coasters. And others who hunger to feed the masses. Another who wheels and deals to squeeze every bit out of our advertising dollars. And still others who pay the bills and balance the books.

But hanging on the side of a water tower?

Oh, my!

By the way, for those of you who have been reading this HoliBlog for a while, you may be astonished that the logo in the photo is not the one explained by Will a while back in his Zinga Ball post.

Apparently, plans changed back to the preferred “stacked-format” logo when a painter specializing in distorting-logos-so-that-they-look-right-on-a-curved-surface came into town.

Amazing.

By the way, I needed to come back to work last night for a few things and when I left, it was quite dark out. As I headed toward my car I wondered if, indeed, the bright yellow water tower would glow a bit.

To be sure. A gentle beacon in the night.
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