Green Valley. It’s a neighborhood in Noblesville where I grew up. You might describe our little community as the “Mayberry” of neighborhoods. Everyone knew one another, kids could stay out all day without parents worrying about their safety, and summers were filled with lots of free time. When I was around eight, a new family moved in across the street, and I quickly built a friendship with Rob. We both love ball, it didn’t matter if it was a football, basketball, or baseball. If it was football, most often I was the receiver, and he was the quarterback. The Green Bay Packers were the team, I was Carrol Dale, he was Bart Starr, and whether it was two on two or three on three, we were unstoppable. Our real love though was basketball. God only knows how many hours we spent playing one on one, horse, limme, or around the world on the asphalt drive at his house. The competition was fierce, almost as if we were competing for championships, and I must admit, though he was a year younger, he won more games than he lost, regardless of what we were playing. If we played against others there was always one rule, “Hudson and Cutter couldn’t be on the same team.” Together we were unstoppable. Breaks from the court would mean Mrs. Cutters chocolate chips cookies, milk, and maybe an episode of Gilligan’s Island, but those breaks would be short and soon we would be back on the court. Though we were neighbors, occasionally we would have sleepovers. It was on one of those occasions that Rob showed me his dad’s office. It was filled with basketball plaques and trophies, and he would tell me that back in the day his dad was a really good basketball player. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I fully understood who Rollin Cutter was. The trophies and plaques were from his high school championship at Milan Hight School. To be specific, the 1954 Milan basketball team that inspired the movie “Hoosiers.” I now realize I wasn’t just playing against Rob, but the genes of his dad. As we grew older Rob became more dominant and slowly our time on the court began to disappear. By 1982, when I graduated and he was a sophomore, most of his evenings were spent at practice, whether it was football or basketball. His dominance wasn’t something I alone experienced, but now, others were as well. He became the starting quarterback for the Noblesville High School football team and starting center for the basketball team. He was so dominant that he was being recruited by colleges for both sports. He eventually chose football, going to Butler University, where he was their starting quarterback. Reflecting on my childhood days, I remember how frustrated I would be that my best friend, who was younger than I was, was always beating me. I often felt as though I was a failure, that I wasn’t gifted, and as much as I practiced, I just couldn’t beat him. As I have grown older, I’ve come to appreciate my losses on the court to Rob. Why? Because while I was losing, I was winning. As he has for so many, Rob made me better than I could have ever been on my own. His challenging play caused me to find myself on the winning side instead of losing when playing other competition. Beyond his talent is his impeccable character. He is one of the most unassuming individuals I have ever met, one of the kindest persons you will ever meet, and his successes in life far surpass what he ever did on a football field or basketball court. Rob, thanks for your friendship and congratulations on being inducted into Noblesville High School’s Hall of Fame. Your life has been a demonstration of how to live a life of integrity and you are worthy of the honor.
My Home Town. Noblesville at Christmas
A holiday postcard. A Norman Rockwell Christmas painting. The Christmas song, “Silver Bells.” All will give you the essence of the town Mary and I get to call home. It’s Noblesville during the Christmas season. The light posts all have snowflakes, bells, and ornaments attached that light up in the evening. Santa’s house sets on the town square reminding you that Christmas will soon arrive. Drive through in the evening and the county courthouse is lit in red and green. On any given Saturday you may see an elf on the square, and you will definitely see families lined up to visit Santa in his cozy little workshop. If you come early, stop in at the Uptown Café, Rosie’s, or Erika’s for a homemade breakfast. If you aren’t able to catch breakfast, at least stop into Noble Tea and Coffee, and grab a mocha or coffee before hitting the quaint shops. Each shop has its own unique décor, and all make you feel as you just stepped into Christmas. There is the Logan Street Mall with nearly 50 local vendors and the Old Picket Fence Shop filled with antiques. If your taste is for something more of the retro style or Magnolia, step into Vintage Adventure or Persimmon’s Avenue and you’re sure to find something you can’t leave without. If you plan for a December weekend visit, you will want to take the kids on the Reindeer Express train ride. Still need more? Grab dinner at one of the many restaurants, I have an affinity for Grindstone Pub or a good Italian dish at Matteo’s. Finally plan on finishing off the evening with a horse driven carriage ride through downtown, a walk through the Christmas Light village, or some ice skating at Federal Hill Park. I may have a bit of a bias and be a little nostalgic but add a big snowstorm and you have the perfect opportunity to see a Norman Rockwell scene in person, and the place Mary and I get to call home.