Posts Tagged ‘Hammond’

We all tell stories to our young ones. Whether they’re true or not; to make a point or just for entertainment, stories are important because they can be helpful. Well, I came up with a story that soon spread to all my nephews and nieces. I titled it…

The Little Boy Without a Coat

Always Put Your Toys Away


Winter 0f 2013-’14

My nephew Julian had his toys all over the living room. He seldom picked them up on his own (if at all) so he was constantly being told to pick up his toys.

It’s not that there were toys out, but it was every toy he had that was out. To top it all off, he’s just sprawled out in the middle of the mess watching television (actually, the Spiderman DVD for the thousandth time).

One day, driving home from pre-school, he spots a little boy in the neighborhood running down the sidewalk. Now, it’s cold outside, damn near freezing, and my nephew notices that this little boy doesn’t have a coat on! Julian was beside himself! He couldn’t believe it! He just looked at me through the rear-view mirror pointing at this coatless little boy.

“He doesn’t have a coat on!” Julian exclaimed.

“I know. It’s cold outside,” I explained.

“Why doesn’t he have a coat on?” Julian asked sounding a bit concerned.

“Maybe his mom and dad couldn’t buy him one,” I added trying to tug at his heart-string.

Julian was quiet for a moment while he looked out the window. I was about to pull into the drive when asked me, “Do you think he has any toys?”

“I don’t know,” I said. I put the car in park and looked at him through the rear-view mirror. “Do you want to give him some of yours?”

I thought Julian would have said “yes”, since he sounded so concerned, but he shocked me by giving me a serious face and shaking his head “no”.

“No?” I asked him. “Why?”

“Because he’ll break them.”

I exited the car and got Julian out of his child seat. That’s when I came up with the story.

“That’s okay,” I said calmly, “people don’t need give the “little boy without a coat” any toys.”

Julian looked puzzled.

“Yeah, the “little boy without a coat” just goes around and takes other kids toys. Since his mom and dad won’t buy him any toys he has to take other kids toys.”

Julian slowly walked to the front door and listened to my story.

“So whenever you leave your toys out and if you’re not watching, the “little boy without a coat” comes and takes them.”

I started opening the front door and Julian looked up at me and asked, “Even in the house?”

“Even in the house.”

We entered the house and I could tell that Julian was still processing the story. He took off his coat, hat and gloves and walked into the living room. He saw the living room and how cluttered it was.

“Look at those toys the “little boy without a coat” could have taken, had he known they were here. Good thing the curtains were drawn,” I said to really get him thinking.

Actually, the curtain was drawn so the mailman couldn’t see that my living room was a wreck.

“Here… maybe if I open the curtains….” I started to say but was immediately interrupted by Julian screaming in terror.

“Noooo….  wait!” Julian yelled out.

“Well, I’m not sitting in here with the curtains drawn all day, you better pick up these toys,” I warned him.

He started to whimper and whine, but he slowly picked up his toys and put them away.


My nephew Julian

It may have taken him almost an hour, but he did it.

Now, the “little boy without a coat” has become my ‘GO-TO’ guy.

If you need to, you can borrow my “little boy without a coat” story.

I’d be honored.
Thank you.


Not many Hammond residents are aware
that back in 1980 a Hessville pastor 
turned up missing.

Supposedly abducted by a Satanic cult.

That’s right, Dan LaRose was kidnapped by Satanists

A satanic symbol; possibly a shrine.

Pastor Dan LaRose claimed that Satanists kidnapped him

He told his fellow followers, friends and family in Hammond he was abducted by a Satanic cult in 1975 from Maine, N.Y. , so this isn’t the first time Pastor Dan LaRose has been kidnapped by these Satanists.The Satanists decided to man-handle the pastor and kidnap him, because LaRose was “talking shit about Satan”.

Satanists “don’t take to kindly” for such blasphemy.

The day before Pastor Dan LaRose disappeared, people in the parish claimed that LaRose stopped in the middle of his sermon and stared towards the back of the congregation. Witnesses who turned around to see what LaRose was staring at saw nothing. However, Pastor LaRose claimed he saw one of the Satanists kidnappers in a window.

Witnesses also stated that LaRose was acting strangely and said that Satanists were threatening him and his family.

He’s been missing for 27 years.
Dan LaRose left behind a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.

Why didn't he try to contact his family?

Dan LaRose even claimed that the Satanists used “shock therapy” to erase his memory, then they dumped him off in Minneapolis – bastards.

Hell on Earth

If there’s a “Hell on Earth”, it must be Centeron, Arkansas because that’s where Dan LaRose popped up – in 2007!

Not only does Dan LaRose hang out in Centeron, Arkansas – he’s the freakin’ mayor!

Yeah…no shit!
But you see, Dan LaRose wasn’t known as Dan LaRose.
Nope. He wanted people to call him “Kenny”.
His new name was Ken Williams, and now owns a radio-show program.

Those Satanists hooked him up – bastards.

But wait a minute, it gets better.

Satanists turn out to be an “underworld” crime group

Yeah..I know – wtf?

Well, I guess nobody was buying the “Satanists kidnapper” story, so LaRose decided to tell the truth.

He was kidnapped by the fucking mafia.
Well, not actually by the mafia – the mafia told him that he had to pretty much…kidnap himself.

Yeah, the mafia couldn’t or didn’t have the resources themselves at the time to arrange a proper kidnapping, so they made Pastor Dan LaRose kidnap himself.

That’s fucking brilliant.
I’m totally buying this story.

Pastor Dan LaRose claimed that he walked to Calumet City, Illinois and bought himself a bicycle, then rode west – ended up in Arkansas. He’s been there ever since, where he maintains his talk-show radio program and spends time with his new wife.

“I had an idea that sometime this would come down,” LaRose said. “It had been a lot of years, though.”

“I was told I had crossed the line and had to disappear again.”

LaRose’s original missing persons report from Hammond police in 1980 said he was born in Allentown, Pa., in 1940.
The fake I.D. that LaRose had came from a BRUCE KENT WILLIAMS – who died in a car crash in Middleport, NY in 1958.

LaRose said that his abductors threatened to kill his family if he didn’t cooperate and provided him with the Williams I.D. when they erased his memory and dropped him off in Minneapolis. He starting using it again after he left Hammond because he “didn’t know what else to do.”

“I’m afraid even now that because this has come out, that my family and friends might be in danger.”

This BLOG is in association with TryJimmy.Weebly.Com

Americans and their love for the middle finger.

Americans love their middle finger.
A greeting with an unruly gesture.

I believe this to be true.

It seems to me as if every child born in the United States knows that the middle finger is a “bad thing”; some I believe know this even before they learn how to spell their name.

As an American, raised in the midwest, in a little section known as “the Region”, I became accustomed to the middle finger in my early childhood. I thought it was a strange phenomena that by simply making a fist and raising just the middle finger could bring such dismay.
In order for it to work properly you must be making eye contact with the person or thing. I say thing because I’ve witnessed my father giving the middle finger to the television.

I also never understood as a child the whole “giving” somebody the middle finger. Aren’t you pretty much just showing them your middle finger? It’s also called just “giving them the finger”, you know,  instead of saying the word “middle”? It seems that this mighty, unruly, disrespectful gesture that when in use or in conversation, the middle finger has been given the notoriety when the word “finger” is being used or talked about.

For example, if you heard that somebody gave somebody else the finger, you know right away what finger is being refered to – the middle finger, of course.

Growing up as a “Region Rat” here in the Region, giving somebody the finger doesn’t always have to mean disrespect. It still may mean “fuck you”, however, there’s more to it.

For example, if I saw my friend win $100 from across the street; he saw me and knew that I knew he just won $100, being so far away, we’d probably just give each other the finger. Congratulations.

To understand the “middle finger” – I had to know how it started

I see people giving each other the finger at least once a day – strangers even. Whether somebody is taking their time crossing the street, or changing lanes without proper signalling (or while signalling) and cutting somebody off, even if by accident. A long honk from a car and then somebody usually showing their impeccable middle finger stamina.

Really…? How odd.

So, after a little research I came across a couple of sites and found a little bit of history on the middle finger.
Interesting…very interesting indeed.

Giving somebody the middle finger dates back at least over 2500 years ago from ancient Greece. It started as a crude joke from a playwright named Aristophanes. He was a very popular playwright and was given the same notoriety as we do to our favorite modern-day celebrities. The crude joke is that in one of his plays there was a mix up with a middle finger and with a penis.

I also found out that it can also mean a sign of sexual superiority and you’re wanting to make someone (anyone, obviously) your bitch. It means you are becoming “phallic aggressive”, so instead of threatening with an erect penis like a wild animal (it doesn’t have to be your own, you can threaten with a dildo also), giving somebody the middle finger will do just fine.

Repeated use of the middle finger can cause “phallic aggressive behavior”. Having a phallic aggressive attitude and behavior can lead to “flipping the bird” excessively (aka giving somebody the finger). So you’re not just showing that you’re a better man (woman) than that person, but that person is your sexual inferior.

During the middle ages giving somebody the finger was almost unheard of – it went away, some say it went underground. I say it just lost its popularity. That is, until the 19th century and the invention of photography.

"Old Hoss" Radburn brought the middle finger back

Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn brought the middle finger back in this 1886 photo of him on the professional baseball team the Boston Beaneaters. This photo is documented proof of the first person to be “flippin’ the bird”

There could be a lot of things that would upset Charles Radbourn enough to provoke “The Old Horse” to give the finger right before this photo was taken. Back then, professional baseball players didn’t make enough to support a family so most found part-time jobs. Charles Radbourn was by trade a butcher.

So everybody thank Charles Radbourn (December 11, 1854 – February 5, 1897) for bringing back the middle finger – so we’re able to express how we feel when others are out of an earshot.

So what is this obsession with the middle finger and Americans?

Frankly, I just think it’s our way of saying, “I don’t want to deal with that right now…I got something else going on.”

Some people get easily offended and will try to escalate it into something bigger. It’s like if they feel they’re being told that they’re sexually inferior, wait…
…I guess they kind of are, especially if that person is being phallic aggressive.

Yeah, we are quick to flip the bird, but at the same time, we’re sensitive about it also.

Can exercise play a role in an addiction treatment program?

Fighting off addiction can be a lengthy and difficult process. The pain addiction can bring on is sometimes intolerable and many may fall into a regretful relapse. Many patients fall into a relapse after a short time attending an addiction program, but some may even have a relapse after years of attending and completing a program. The creators of sympathize and understand the difficulties of fighting and eventually overcoming the powerful hold that comes with addiction.

Exercise can help the brain resist temptations and is sometimes suggested and/or prescribed by doctors and addiction experts. It has been proven that vigorous exercise increases dopamine concentrations in the brain and according to Mark Smith, a neuroscience professor at the Davidson University, gives the brain the same effects as the addiction. This study has been going on for years and researchers were surprised the connection between increased physical activity and the decreased risk in substance abuse. Exercise has the same effect on the brain as do anti-depressants taken orally. Doctors have seen that longtime abusers have an increased risk in developing mental disorders such as stress, anxiety and depression and found that exercise can also help in treating such conditions.

Recovering addicts have been reported in saying that they prefer to participate in groups when performing physical activities associated with treatment. Treatment programs do sometimes organize outings such as bicycling or hiking encouraging physical activity to their patients, so that they may continue with being physically active when they have completed the program successfully. Doctors have discovered an increase in successful recoveries when exercise takes part in a treatment program.

It is said that a recovering addict will never be fully recovered and that the temptation will always be there. However, exercise and a proper diet can help in trying to calm these cravings to a degree where the recovering addict is no longer at risk in having a relapse. Some experts believe the key a successful recovery and to remain drug-free is to continue with an exercise regimen even long after the recovering addict has completed the recovery program. The brain is used to an increase of dopamine. Exercising has now taken the place of supplying the brain its increased need for dopamine instead of whatever the recovering addict was abusing. If the exercises or physical activity suddenly stops, the risk of a relapse can be at risk. It seems “boredom” can trigger the brain in wanting a quick fix of dopamine which can cause an addict (or a recovering addict) to rely on drugs to motivate the brain to want to engage in some sort of activity.

Consult a Personal Trainer

Just like everything else in life to much of a good thing could be harmful if not fatal. Consulting with a doctor to involve a physical trainer may be beneficial in the recovery process. Overdoing certain kinds of exercises may harm the body in many different ways such as serious sprains, or fatal injuries to vital organs and even brain aneurysms. It’s been suggested that a recovering addict should pick up a hobby of some sort to help minimize the risk of over exercising.

Rest in Peace - Adam Yauch

Rest in peace, the Beastie Boys will never be the same.

Thinking of you, Scott Ryan

Today I thought of an old friend, because of the passing of Beastie Boy member Adam Yauch and I say old friend because I knew him and his family practically all my life.

I also say old friend because I haven’t seen him for a very long time.

And I also say old friend, because even though he may not be with us physically, his spirit lives in all of us.

I miss you Scotty.

I remember when I was introduced to the Beastie Boys – it was Scotty Ryan. He called me up and told me to come over to do “whatever it was”…so I did. I walked that dreaded train track that followed along Lyman Avenue to Scotty’s house from 165th Street so many times by then I knew exactly how many steps it took to get there.

(a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point)

When I got to his house he immediately took me to his room so I could hear this new rap band. What was so weird about this was that they were ALL WHITE. There were other white rap groups – but they sucked.

(even Kid Rock was known then, but he REALLY sucked – remember “Yodelin’ in the Valley”?)

The Beastie Boys were different. What made them different was that they were actually good. They rocked. Yeah, we know that RUN DMC helped them BIG time, wrote some of their BIGGEST hits…so what?

They pulled it off.

Plus, RUN DMC saw something in these guys, that’s why they staked their reputation on them. RUN DMC is a rap group that pioneered the way for A LOT of black rap artists and for them to put up three white dudes from New York…something’s up.

Anyway, Scotty put the cassette in his “boom box” that was underneath his bedroom window that faced the driveway and blared away.

The first thing I heard from the Beastie Boys was… “No sleep ’till… (nah nah – na naah…) …Brooklyn!”

(I fell instantly in love and was going to base my entire life around their philosphy…not one of my better  judgements)

I looked at Scott and we started laughing, Scott was laughing so hard he accidentally drooled on the inside of cassette case.

I remember him saying, “Aw, man,” looking down at the cassette as he used the bottom of his shirt to wipe it up. He looks at me…looking at me in a way to see if I saw him drool on his shit – I did.

He walked past me, with that infamous grin on his face, “That sucked, ” I heard him say.


A father and son built two of these “flawless” boards from scratch.

Hammond, Indiana loves the Cornhole

Yes, it’s true! The residents of Hammond, Indiana is now involved in a REGIONal epidemic known as none other as  “Cornhole”. Some prefer “Corn Hole” – not me.

Board dimensions:
4'x2' playing area
The circle is 6" in diameter and is
   9" from center of circle to 
      top of board and
  12" from center of circle to
      either side of board
The playing board has to be 3" thick and
   needs to be raised 12" from ground
The Cornhole bags are 6"x6" and weigh 
   between 14.5 -16ozs

 Building your own set is easy, but you can still find somebody who will build you your own custom set – for the right price.

– They’ll give you the most reasonable price possible*
*minus shipping

If you want to build your own, here’s the best website that shows you how; step by step at

 A little history on Cornhole

Unbelievably, the history of Cornhole is mostly unknown, there are rumors floating around but nobody knows for sure. However, there is a story that’s claiming that the game was discovered during the 14th century in Deutschland (Germany), then rediscovered in the great state of Ohio in the United States within the last century or so. Experts and researchers confirm that a game very similar to Cornhole was played among the Indians in the area now known as “the REGION”, who would fill the dried out inner organs of pigs (mostly the bladder) with dried beans and competitively tossed them for entertainment.

It was the Blackhawk tribe in Illinois who were first known to do this, however, it’s also been said that the game was actually created in the Kentucky farmlands, this argument is still ongoing. The game began to increase in popularity in the late 1990s in Cincinnati & Athens, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois & Hammond, Indiana then on to East Lansing, Michigan.

Michigan State University & Ohio University is where Cornhole REALLY took off.
It was played majority of the time as a drinking game.

Black & Red - Chicago Bulls - Cornhole Bags

It’s best to use cornhole bags that are filled with real corn.
That’s the way the game was intended to be played.

James Peters - HoBoTrails

One of the strangest things I’ve done when I was “under the influence”.

I was asked:

 What was the strangest thing
 you ever did while drunk?
      I went to a party in St. Petersburg, Florida with a bunch of night stockers. I worked for a local department store and the guys who stocked the shelves were all off work on this particular night and they threw a party.
      I went there and as soon as I walked into the place I started doing tequila shots. I didn’t plan on staying that long, because unlike the stockers, I had to be at work in the morning.
Needless to say, I got drunk and ran out of the place like a madman (so I was told).

I woke up very early the next morning on wet ground and the first thing I saw was the full moon. I also saw a palm tree, then I noticed that I was surrounded by tall grass.

      I thought to myself, “My God, those guys were trying to kill me by throwing me on Alligator Alley.”
Now if you’re not familiar with Alligator Alley, look it up. But let me tell you that it’s notorious for being heavily populated with alligators.
      I couldn’t believe it, I was all the way down by Alligator Alley. I raised my right hand. I was holding onto my pants.
My pants were off?
      What the…? You mean to tell me that those guys “butt raped” me? Oh my God…NO!!!
      I sat up…wait a minute. I looked around.
      I wasn’t in Alligator Alley, I was in someones front yard.
      It was like 3:30am and I had no idea where I was. All I saw was a tiny red neon light in the distance.
I followed the light.
      I got to a car dealership, I found a payphone (luckily) and made a collect call to my wife. She stayed on the phone with me until some girlfriends of hers came and got me. I was standing at a payphone with my pants in my hand.
      What a sight I must have been – I mean… really.
            P.S. – I wasn’t “butt raped”, thank, God


…Under the Bridge & along the River

Image by James Timothy Peters630

Under the Borman (80/94) Expressway Bridge; near the town of Munster’s border, runs the Little Calumet River.  This river separates the town of Munster from the city of Hammond.  And as teenagers, we would hang out along the river under this expressway to drink beer & smoke pot. Depending on where you stood along the bank of the river (back then), you could always see this humongous blue water tower in the distance.  In the evening, you were able to see the bright blinking red light that was at the very top.  It was pretty isolated from the street (173rd), the heavy brush shielded us from  being seen by the Hammond Police.

This water tower is an icon to the city of Hammond and it was time that I introduce myself to it.

As usual, my friends and I came up with a plan. We were going to climb the water tower and walk completely around it.

Back in 1982

It was like any other night, hanging out behind the Hammond Water Tower.  Empty cans of Keystone beer litter the ground around the older McDonald brothers’ GTO. The smell of marijuana came from the slightly opened windows of another friends mother’s station wagon. The “boom box” belted out tunes from bands like Van Halen, Aerosmith and Gun’s & Roses.

But not that loud, we didn’t want to bring the cops.

With the song “Jump” by Van Halen in the background, my Mexican American friend, Pepe had a thought and said, “I wonder how messed up you’d get if you jumped off the Hammond Water Tower?”

“Dude, you’d die,” my other friend said.

“I know, but what I’m trying to say is, is like, would your head be spun around? Or would your legs break in half, or if…”

Pepe was interrupted by my friend Dougie Flesh, “Why don’t you do it and see for yourself you crazy ass Mexican? And why don’t you smoke another joint while you’re at it,” Dougie said trying to be funny. Dougie was high also.

“I should climb the Hammond Water Tower, ain’t it Jimmy?” Pepe asked me.

This is how & when I got involved.

“Come on, let’s do this!” He took off for the water tower. “Come on Jimmy, you’ll do this with me, won’t you?”

Drinking beer, smoking pot – yeah, sure…let’s go climbing!

Second Thoughts

Can’t back out now!

We approached the six foot fence that surrounded the Hammond Water Tower. It had barbed wire at the top, which is suppose to make it that much more difficult to climb.  However, being a couple of  “Region Rats”, it’s going to take more than a barbed wire fence to keep us out.

We managed to climb over without much trouble and ran to the ladder that led up to the top. The start of the tower’s ladder was like ten feet in the air, so another ladder is needed to get hold of and climb onto the tower’s ladder. The tower’s ladder was also enclosed with a steel cage with a hatch at the bottom that had a padlock on it. If you unlocked this hatch, you were able to climb inside this steel cage and use the tower’s ladder.

We didn’t have a key to the padlock…
…so we improvised.

The huge columns that held the Hammond Water Tower were reinforced with cross-bars. These cross-bars connected all the other columns together. We managed to climb these cross-bars to get to the steel cage that enclosed the water tower’s ladder. It was a bit tricky (and a little daring), but we managed to get a hold of the steel cage.

If we can’t climb INSIDE the steel cage – we’ll just have to climb on the OUTSIDE of it.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

You read that correctly.

We drank enough beer and smoked enough pot that common sense ceased to exist.
We were young, dumb & unattached.

When I think back at some of the stupid things I’ve done – this is one of them.

This Hammond Water Tower is high. As you can tell in the photo above, it’s pretty high. Climbing on the outside of this steel cage HUNDREDS OF FEET in the air was completely insane.

I HIGHLY recommend that NOBODY ever try this!

I didn’t even get past the tree line before I started having second thoughts. I couldn’t believe I was doing this. I followed Pepe, climbing further & further; it seemed like it went on forever. Being that it was night, I couldn’t see the ground. I noticed that the moment my ball cap blew off my head.

I stopped climbing as I watched it fall into the darkness.

“Come on! Don’t stop! Keep going!” Pepe yelled down.

The view from the Hammond Water Tower was remarkable

The view from the Hammond Water Tower was remarkable

This was crazy.
Here I am, over a hundred feet in the air, climbing on the outside of a steel cage with what looks like another hundred feet yet to climb. I looked up and saw Pepe kept climbing.
This was crazy.

I gathered my nerve and continued on. I saw Pepe lose his footing for a second, but it was no big deal. He caught himself and continued on.

I want to say it took a couple of minutes to finally reach the top hatch. This hatch led to the walkway that went completely around the entire Hammond Water Tower.

Unfortunately, this hatch was also locked.

Now things were about to get crazy.

Stupid is what Stupid does

Pepe climbed up as far as he could go and waited for me to catch up to him. We were both hundreds of feet in the air, clutching to the side of this steel cage with me directly beneath Pepe. We were so close and I could tell that Pepe was determined to walk around this water tower. He was NOT going back now.

The platform stuck out a couple of feet from the steel cage we were “hanging on for dear life” to, and I couldn’t believe what I saw next. It made my heart jump into my throat.


Pepe reached out with one hand (with the other hand still gripping the steel cage) and grabbed the platform.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked hysterically. “You’re going to fall!”

“No I’m not.”

That’s all he said – I said nothing back.

Then it was like something from the movies. Pepe very quickly reached with his other hand (the one holding on to the steel cage) and grabbed the platform and was hanging from this platform.

He was hanging HUNDREDS OF FEET in the air from the platform.

“Oh my God,” I said.

Pepe started pulling himself up and was able to climb up over the handrail that also went all the way around the Hammond Water Tower.

He made it look easy, crazy also but fairly easy.

It was my turn.
I could hear Pepe cheering me on the “region rat” way, “Come on you puss!”

I finally got the nerve and reached over and grabbed the platform. God only knows how I was able to reach over with the other. When I was hanging from the platform – HUNDREDS OF FEET in the air – I can honestly say that I felt no fear.

It may sound a little insane, but I felt “uplifted” – if that makes some sort of sense…if it doesn’t – I can’t explain it.

I pulled myself up and over the handrail and stood next to Pepe. The view was awesome!

Pepe tapped my shoulder and said, “Let’s go.”

Pepe took off and started the walk around the Hammond Water Tower and I followed.
I mean, that was plan…right?

So we did.

Now guess what?
Now we got to get down.

We didn’t think about that when were hanging from the platform.
We got to do this again – but in reverse.

Oh shit.

A Mashed Defeat

Hammond Indiana's "A "Christmas Story: Mama's Little Piggy Mashed Potato Eating Contest"

James Peters was the first to finish the very first plate of mashed potatoes, but lost the event regardless


Hammond, Indiana’s – A Christmas Story’s “Mama’s little piggy” Mashed Potato Eating Contest


To eat more plates of mashed potatoes than the other participants in the time allotted (2mins)


To never have entered in an eating contest I knew little in how to prepare for one. So, after I registered online to participate in Hammond, Indiana’s – A Christmas Story’s “Mama’s little piggy” Mashed Potato Eating Contest I went and did a little research.

I first went to YouTube and typed in the search engine “eating contests” and came across this guy named Kobayashi. He has been a popular champion, a crowd favorite and has won many contests. I watched his method – I didn’t learn a thing. All he pretty much did was jump and down. He dunk his hot-dog (in a bun) in tall glasses of water – which seemed to be everywhere on the table and just to his left.

In this contest, however, you are not allowed to use your hands while eating the mashed potatoes. The only time you could use your hands was when you took a drink from your ONE bottle water that was placed in front of you.

I continued on YouTube and still found no help. I watched a guy attempt to eat 100 nuggets of chicken from a popular fast food restaurant in less than 20 minutes. He didn’t make it; in fact he gave up just short of fifty with time still on the clock. He did eventually eat his fiftieth nugget of chicken before the 20 minutes were up, but like I said, he already announced that he was finished – isn’t that considered his “final answer”?

Next, I went and asked all my fat friends. Everybody had their own idea and method when it came to shoving food down their throats. The only advice I later found very useful was “to lay off the water”. Getting the bottle of water opened and drinking it while the contest was soon going to be my downfall, as I will explain.

The Week before the Contest

I decided that I needed to stretch out my stomach. I drank as much fluids as I could (mainly water) and visited two all-you-can-eat restaurants. I went to one of the restaurants a day before the contest. I stayed away from mashed potatoes just so I wouldn’t make myself sick by the mere sight of them. Instead, on both visits I loaded up on vegetables covered with melted cheese and meatballs covered with brown gravy. I was even able to put down three slices of cheese cake and a bowl of ice cream. That’s all the preparedness I needed and I felt confident.

The Day of the Contest

I woke up fresh the morning of the contest at around 7:30 and thought that I would go to the contest hungry. The contest said it started at 10:30 A.M. but because of the huge turnout, my event didn’t take place until close to noon. By the time my event took place I was starving. I felt as if I was dangerous, especially behind a full plate of mashed potatoes. There’s no way I was going to lose this event.

I watched the other events, which were children. Their objective was to be the first one to finish their plate of mashed potatoes before anyone else, but in the adult event, the participants had 2 minutes to finish as many plates of mashed potatoes as they can. I watched as these kids slammed their face into their plate, some eating like they were on a mission while others looked as if they had second thoughts.

“I can do this,” I thought to myself. As I walked out of the contest area to get a small drink of water, I decided to walk and look around and see what my competition looks like. That’s when I saw him – The Russet Rampage. I thought to myself again, “Are you serious?”

This guy stood at around 6’ 2” and weighed an easy 250lbs. He had written on the back of his t-shirt “Russet Rampage” and on the front he wrote something to the fact that he destroyed potatoes, as if he did this sort of thing all the time. The more I looked at him the crazier he looked to me. I was beginning to feel intimidated.

I continued my scouting for other possible participants. I kept seeing The Russet Rampage; I think he was carrying around a lunch.

Who carries a lunch to an eating contest? Things weren’t looking good.

I couldn’t focus, especially now that The Russet Rampage kept getting in my view. That’s when my friend Rob walked up to me and said, “Did you hear? The guy who won last year’s contest is supposed to be here. They call him “The Arch Bishop” because he won by a lot.” Great, now there are two guys here with nicknames.  What’s my nickname going to be when I walk out of here, “The Flabulous Flop”? Definitely, things were NOT looking good.

Five Minutes before Showtime

The last child’s event was finished; it’s time for the adult division. I wore my brown t-shirt that I got from a tavern that a couple of friends of mine own. It has the Hammond Water Tower printed on the front where the tower reads “Think Hammond”. I wore it for good luck and I thought it would be a nice touch so that after I win and the Hammond Times takes a picture of me wearing a t-shirt that shows support to my city; and advertising my friend’s tavern at the same time. I was thinking that these were hero actions. I wondered to myself if I thought I made a mistake. There were a lot of people here. There are people who came to see me stuff myself to the gills with mashed potatoes and are expecting me to win. I can’t let them down. Where’s The Archbishop? Where’s The Russet Rampage? They’ll disqualify me if I throw up. That’s in the rules.

I saw The Russet Rampage; he was sitting in the stands waiting for his name to be called like myself. I went ahead and sat in the front row. I was waiting for my name to be called. I planned on running up there like a professional wrestler and try to look like I meant serious business.

The first participants name was called, then another, then another, then another…it seemed to take forever, but then I heard it, “James Peters!” It was followed by a thunderous applause. You would have thought from the sounds of the cheer that there was a concert of people applauding, but my fan club only consisted of about ten people.

I noticed Rampage still sitting in his auditorium seat when I got up to walk on stage. His large arms were crossed and he sat very still. The glasses he wore looked thick and bulletproof, and its strong black frames made it looked as if it were from the late 1950’s. He sat between the two people who he came with. They were both also heavy set and had their arms cross. All three of them had the same stone cold stare. I think they were looking at me, I don’t know for sure because I was afraid to make eye contact with any of them longer than half a second.

I walked behind the table they had set up for the competition. The tables were covered with white tablecloths and bottles of water placed every two and a half feet. I noticed that the participants who were called before me sat at the ends; I went and sat right in the middle. While the popular morning AM radio host announced the names of the rest of the participants I looked around the auditorium for this person they call The Archbishop, but then Rampage’s real name was called.

He stood up with a little difficultly because the seat he was sitting in was a bit too small for him. Everybody turned and watched this enormous potato destroyer walk onto the stage. He stopped when he got to the top of the stairs, turned around and faced the audience and raised his arms as if he already won. The popular AM radio host noticed the writing on his t-shirt and asked what it said.

“They call me The Russet Rampage,” he slowly turned and showed the host what he had written on the back, “and I destroy potatoes!”

There was an awkward moment of silence.

After Rampage found a seat and sat down, the host continued on with roll call. He announced the name of an old friend I’ve known for the past 25+ years. She was the first girl I ever took to an organized social function. There were few seats left so she sat down directly to my left. The both of us found it funny that we ended up sitting next to each other.

Now I can’t remember what The Archbishop’s real name was, but he was called next. Everybody looked around for him but nobody stood up. His name was called one more time; still, nobody stood up.

Could it be? Is he a no-show?

He was given one last chance to announce his presence; no one. I thought that would be one less person to worry about. Then the host noticed that the table began to get a little crowded and decided to break it into two separate events; one right after the other. I decided to stay for the first event, but Rampage decided to participate in the second event. I couldn’t believe it. I had this competition in the bag – or so I thought.

“Mama’s little piggy” title goes to Crown Point, Indiana


I started strong, in fact I was the first person to finish their first plate of potatoes and I was on a roll. Participants were able to use their hands to lift their plate to their face, but that was it. I finished my second plate with little problems. It seems I was getting mashed potatoes up my nose; all over my face, and it was making it difficult to breathe while trying to chomp down very quickly with a mouth full of mashed taters!

I felt there was a slight delay in retrieving my third helping (a complaint I kept to myself until just now). When I went to crack open my bottled water, the plate of mashed potatoes arrived, put the bottle back down and I happened to glance at the guy two seats away from me (next to my friend). He was already on his third plate. I began to panic. I took in a mouthful and tried to swallow, it wouldn’t go down. I tried again – nothing. Then all of a sudden, I felt as if I was going to throw up. I tried taking in air; I couldn’t! I reached for my bottled water and thought to myself that I was about to pass out from lack of oxygen. I finally cracked the bottle open and started chugging – and chugging.

This is where a few people and I agree that that’s where I went wrong. I drank half that bottle, but I felt I had to, to clear my air passage. Time was running out, and he was on his fourth. I was halfway done with my third. I fell way behind. I took a quick look around and seen I was in an easy second. When I got my fifth helping, he was still eating his fifth plate. This told me that I was catching up.

Then, all at once, he got his sixth plate. I was halfway through my fifth, I picked up speed, I had a groove, but then…it was over.

I lost.

The guy who won was from Crown Point, Indiana. I felt as if I let the city of Hammond down by letting a resident from Crown Point, Indiana (of all places) take the title away from the city who created it. I made it a point to be one of the last participants to leave the table. I didn’t even watch Rampage compete in the second event, what’s the point?

Reflecting back

Maybe I took things a bit more serious than I should, but I didn’t come to lose. I have a tendency to take things I find important (at the time) very seriously and if I’m going to slam my face into plates of mashed potatoes repeatedly; eating as many plates as I can, you can be sure I’m going to take it seriously.

And I’m taking it seriously next time too.

Disclaimer: these views are of the author only
Copyright © James Peters, all rights reserved.

A Coincidence
   For the past two and a half years I have been walking the grounds of Oak Hill Cemetery in Hammond, Indiana, researching its history through the internet and public records.
I’ve found nothing new on the subject of Oak Hill Cemetery; nothing worth digging deeper into.

Since my interest in the historic cemetery, Oak Hill Cemetery has seen its share of misfortunes. From trash blowing around the headstones, to fallen limbs atop huge memorial grave markers; it seems nobody is maintaining the grounds. Everything started falling apart for Oak Hill Cemetery’s owner and grounds crew when there was a complaint that there was a pile of headstones and grave markers in the corner of the graveyard right next to a trash bin towards the end of the 20th century.
Just recently, a skull was discovered but the Hammond police report that there was no foul play involved and that they presume it was most likely caused by the former grounds crew when they accidentally  unearthed and broke through a casket and exposing its contents. This was most likely caused by an inexperienced grounds crew while removing headstones and other grave markers for some mysterious reason. That incident and why it occurred is still under investigation.

The east end of the cemetery runs along Blaine Avenue which is separated from Oak Hill Cemetery by a set of railroad tracks that are no longer in use. Blaine Avenue runs north/south and the cemetery is on the east side of the street. On the west side of Blaine Avenue are homes that face the cemetery.

One resident, who asks to remain anonymous claims that since 1998 she has seen some pretty strange happenings that she would have categorized as paranormal.

They dug up that poor soldier boy from WWII and those other poor souls and now somebody is going     to have to make it right… Oak Hill has a way of making things right… she can take care of herself.”
*Hammond Resident of 40+ years, anonymous

   When our brief conversation ended I didn’t know if she was talking about the cemetery or its owner, Teresa Roark. When the elderly lady stated that “Oak Hill Cemetery has a way of making things right; she can take care of herself”, I was confused and lost for words when I heard her say this. Her eyes were fixed on the cemetery behind me when she was explaining things to me – like she was talking about an old, hurt friend.

A Reminiscing Story
She told me that she lived in this house for a long time; grew up in the neighborhood. She lived on Monroe Avenue, right off Cleveland Street when she was younger. She remembered when the railroad tracks that ran between Blaine Avenue and Oak Hill Cemetery were used more frequently, almost on a daily basis, and one day something happened to her when she was walking down Cleveland Street. She was on her way to Lyman Avenue to visit a friend when trains using those tracks made her stand and wait until it ended. Lyman Avenue began off of 165th Street and was just on the other side of these particular railroad tracks.
While she stood waiting, she noticed some girl standing in the cemetery through the spaces of the railroad cars. She couldn’t have been any older than 13-14 years old so she decided to walk closer to the moving train to see if she could get a better look at the girl through the open spaces, but the only thing she could make out was her long brown hair and her plain white gown.
She kept looking towards the end the train to see when the end of the train would come. It was still a good 12 or 15 train cars away, and at the speed of this particular train was going no faster than 5 mph, it’ll be another minute or two before she’ll be able to get a good look.
This wasn’t the first time she seen a train on these tracks before, so it was normal for her to walk all the way up to a moving train; to the point where she could touch them– but being extremely careful, of course. At the last couple of spaces where she could see this girl standing in the cemetery, she was at least a good 30-40’ away from the inside of the cemetery’s fence, just enough where she couldn’t make out any details about her face.
It struck her kind of strange, towards the last couple of spaces through the moving train – where the girls could see each other and how this other girl in the cemetery hadn’t move since this all began. When the second to last space of the train cars came she was as close to a moving train as you could get.  The second to the last space came and went and now one more train car to go; one more space.

This is when a cold chill went down my back.

When the last space finally came and enabled her to see the girl in the cemetery before the end of the train – it took her by surprise. The girl in the cemetery was now exactly on the other side of the train! She wasn’t in the cemetery anymore!

“She was 6 ft away from me…she was wearing a pinkish sweater over her plain white gown now…her face was rotted…teeth were exposed…her eyes were large…her hair was still long and brown…”

The woman said she started to run but when she looked back, the girl was no longer there. She didn’t care though and continued running all the way home.

I came back a few days later to ask some follow-up questions, but she told the person who answered the door to tell me that she was done talking about Oak Hill Cemetery and the door was quickly shut.
I walked over to the tracks and looked south and saw how the tracks crossed 165th Street and followed all along Lyman Avenue until 173rd Street. I then looked north and followed the tracks to as far as I could see; the tracks just seem to disappear into the scenery.
I looked back at the cemetery and deep into its beautiful natural landscape. Even though the cemetery hasn’t been properly maintained for so long, the wider beauty it possess is “soul elevating”.

Oak Hill Cemetery is located at the city’s highest elevated point and there is no point higher within the city limits.

Word of Advice
We the residents of Hammond, Indiana have a civil duty to care and maintain of our beloved historical cemetery, Oak Hill Cemetery. There is NO REASON that this cemetery is on the brink of becoming ruins. The founding fathers of Hammond, Indiana are buried there, such as Marcus Towle (one of the first mayors of Hammond) who has a street named after him that’s located in north side of Hammond. Once these problems have been resolved, peace should once again fall over Oak Hill Cemetery and its surrounding residents.
It’s a terrible shame that a historical cemetery such as Oak Hill Cemetery has seen such a terrible disregard. Volunteers from all over the region are making an effort to have Oak Hill regain its respect and its natural beauty.