The Hoosierist: Ripe For Confusion
Unidentified fruit, a monster-truck museum, and bomb shelters.
Q: I have a tree that drops what a friend says are persimmons, but the fruit doesn’t look like the grocery-store variety. What gives?
Holly W., Seymour
A: The Hoosierist’s Aunt Lavenia had one of these in her front yard. Every fall, it dropped pounds of fruit on the sidewalk, which visitors trampled into a rancid orange paste that drew every hornet in Jackson County. The persimmon tree is quite common in Southern Indiana. But you won’t find that variety of the fruit in grocery stores because it’s too fragile to transport. However, some places stock varieties of “oriental” persimmons, which, in spite of the name, are propagated in California. They’re about the size of a peach, and they’re tough enough to ship from the West Coast. How do they taste? The Hoosierist wouldn’t know. With Indiana knee-deep in persimmons this time of year, why bother importing more?
Q: I swear I saw an old Civil Defense sign hanging on a downtown building recently. Do we still have Cold War–era bomb shelters?
Erica F., Indianapolis
A: Was that building a thrift shop that hung the sign for ironic effect? If not, it’s hard to imagine what it’s doing there. According to the local Homeland Security guys, there haven’t been any old-school bomb shelters around here for decades. Civil Defense became a big, government-directed “thing” during World War II, but construction really exploded in the ’60s. Indy’s Civil Defense office maintained some Dr. Strangelove–style bomb shelters, but as interest in all things nuclear declined, they were emptied of their radios, bunks, and boxes of dehydrated chipped beef and then abandoned. So if nuclear war looms, don’t go crying to Homeland Security. You’re on your own.
Q: I hear there’s a monster-truck museum in Northern Indiana. Is this true?
Owen T., Fishers
A: Yes, the town of Auburn hosts the International Monster Truck Museum & Hall of Fame (located inside the Kruse Automotive & Carriage Museum). The institution exhibits a rotating selection of the amply tired vehicles, all of which look like regular trucks with a pituitary disorder. The lineup includes “Predator,” “Goliath,” and “Shotgun Harry,” which in a strange twist of fate are also the online nicknames of the guys with whom The Hoosierist plays Call of Duty. If you’re really into this scene, you might want to attend the fourth-annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on October 31. The museum is open seven days a week, Monday through Sunday. Or rather, SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!
Number of Indiana deer killed last hunting season:
Which sounds like a bloodbath but actually constitutes a 7.8 percent drop from 2012. This includes every deer harvested with firearms, bows, and muzzleloaders but may exclude those dispatched by hunters who kill with their bare hands, like real men.
Have a question about anything Indiana-related? Send it to [email protected].
Illustration by Shane Harrison