Local woman finds humor in final resting place

When her time comes and loved ones gather at her gravesite, Delores Thomas-Farley will have the last laugh.

Her headstone is already one of the most unique in the cemetery: It’s the one with the parking meter that reads, “Time Expired.”

After the city removed the meters from downtown, Thomas-Farley bought one as a keepsake. Years later, she came across a photo showing a ran-out meter next to a woman’s headstone, and wanted her final resting place to look the same.

The elaborate idea almost didn’t come to be.

Digging the meter out of storage last spring, she put in a nickel, twisted the handle and waited half-an-hour. It never budged.

“The parking meter’s supposed to be expired, because I’m expired — or will be,” said Thomas-Farley, known as “D.J.” to family and friends.

Her husband, Gordon, went to the police department, where meter department manager Cyndy Fields had the keys to the device. Fields unlocked the meter and flipped it to “expired.”

To prevent more coins from being fed in, Moore’s Gold Jewelry & Repair sealed the meter shut.

With the help of Jerry Link, Gordon hunted down a metal post from a scrap pile in Lake Holiday. Once the post and meter were locked in place, they called on friend Don Gould, co-owner of Gould Body & Paint, who had painted the sprint car the couple sponsored at Lincoln Park Speedway.

For Gould, it was just another day on the job.

“He got a kick out of doing it and telling people why he painted it for her,” said Gould’s wife, Diana.

By late May, Thomas-Farley was ready to bring the meter to her family plot. She doesn’t want the name of the cemetery published due to vandalism concerns.

She helped Dennis Olin pour the concrete and set the meter in place. Olin told her it was the first time the “deceased” was there to assist.

“There was a lot to it, a lot of steps, and really he needed another set of hands,” Thomas-Farley said.

The headstone, which she designed and Crawfordsville Monument Co. made, reads, “Her Humor Lives On.”

Setting up her eventual resting place wasn’t morbid for Thomas-Farley, who is 79. This week, she was back in the cemetery putting mulch around the headstone.

She said purchasing the marker was one less thing for her family to do after she’s gone.

But Thomas-Farley isn’t done with her slice of the family plot. The common funeral phrase, “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” gave her another idea.

Next to the headstone, she wants a plaque with the words, “Big deal. I’m used to dust.”

Semi Fire

A semi tractor-trailer fire briefly shut down Interstate 74 between the 37 and 38 mile-markers Tuesday afternoon. The driver, who was en route to Nucor Steel, said the fire was caused by a mechanical issue. After trying to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher, he called the fire department. Crawfordsville Fire, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Indiana State Police, Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency and Froedge's, Inc. towing all responded to the scene.

Paddle Sugar Creek on Saturday

Saturday is going to be a busy day on Montgomery County’s major waterway with two popular events sponsored by the Friends of Sugar Creek.

The Annual Family Float Trip begins at 9 a.m. Saturday followed by the re-scheduled Friends of Sugar Creek Canoe race at 1 p.m. The canoe race was originally scheduled for May 20, but race officials were forced to postpone it due to inclement weather.

Race officials have said the only thing changed about the race is the day, and hopefully the weather.

“We are excited to get the race in this weekend,” said Heather Shirk, Montgomery County Visitors Bureau Director and race committee member. “We are thankful that all the volunteers are willing to go this weekend as they were in May. The Friends of Sugar Creek have done a good job coordinating both events this Saturday.”

For those still wanting to register for the race they may do so beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sugar Creek Campground, which is the starting line for the 15.5 mile race. Each paddler will get a goodie bag and a watercraft identification number. After a 1 p.m. safety meeting of all racers, recreational paddlers will start at 1:15 p.m. and the United State Canoe Association paddlers’ race will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Registration fees are $20 for USCA entries; $10 for recreational adults; and $5 for ages 5-18. There is no fee for retired military and active military personnel. Canoes or kayaks can be rented from either Clements Canoe Rentals or Sugar Creek Campground if needed. There will be a shuttle service provided free of charge by the Crawfordsville Park and Recreation Department for paddlers who need a ride back to the starting position.

The race concludes at Deers Mill with an awards ceremony scheduled around 4 p.m.

The family float trip will launch at the Coke Plant on Lafayette Avenue and ends at Yountsville Bridge. Families are encouraged to leisurely travel the route and enjoy the sites of the creek.

Canoes can be rented from Clements Canoe Rentals. However, the FSC will sponsor the first 10 canoes for participating families needing to rent a watercraft.

For more information about either event, contact FSC president Cindy Woodall at 765-364-0050.

Celebrating 30 years of serving Waynetown

WAYNETOWN — Tony and Linda Arrigo have dedicated their lives to serving Waynetown area residents, but the long-time downtown business owners have decided to retire.

The public is invited to an open house for the couple 1-5 p.m. Sunday at the Waynetown Merchants Building. The Arrigos owned the Waynetown Pizza King, the Waynetown Laundromat and the Cracker Barrel Cafe for 26 years. They also owned Hudson Grocery Store for 17 years.

The decision to retire did not come easily. Both Tony and Linda have health issues and the daily grind of keeping three buisnesses afloat is no longer feasible.

“Physically I know it is time to get out,” Linda said. “But, mentally I am not ready. It is bittersweet.”

Tony’s dedication to the community went beyond the front doors of his businesses. He has been a driving force in the Waynetown Merchants Association and was the ring leader for organizing the Waynetown Fish Fry for many years. He also has volunteered his time and resources to many local events and groups.

Linda, like her husband, has done more than manage the Pizza King. She is in her second term of serving on the Waynetown Town Council.

Their daughter, Angie Arrigo, said closing the businesses she grew up with is emotional for the whole family. It was Angie’s idea to have the celebration for her parents.

“It is a little surreal,” Angie said. “Mom and Dad retiring is for the best, but I have my moments when I really don’t know what to think about it. My son grew up running around the restaurant in his onsie. I am pretty emotional about seeing it all go.”

Sunday’s celebration will also celebrate 50 years of marriage for the Arrigos.

“I am looking forward to the party,” Tony said. “I appreciate the people who supported us. It is just hard for a small town grocery store to make it. I am proud that we were able to do it for 26 years.”

For years the struggle to keep small businesses in a small town have increased. However, the Arrigos never gave up and saw their efforts as a way of keeping downtown Waynetown more active.

After the decision to retire, the Arrigos placed their businesses for sale. The building with three of the businesses, the Pizza King, cafe and laundry mat have been purchased by Brad and Kathryn Eads. The Waynetown residents plan to remodel the Pizza King and re-open at noon June 21. They have already purchased new equipment for the laundry mat and hope to find someone to operate the restaurant.

Linda was happy to sell the businesses to someone living in the same town she has lived in her entire life, and she is looking forward to the planned improvements.

“I know Brad and Kathryn will do a good job,” Linda said. “It is a relief to know the Pizza King and cafe are going to still be open.”

Linda said the search continues for someone to purchase the grocery store.

Toddler injured in crash

A 2-year-old child was injured today when the vehicle they were riding in struck a porch.

Crawfordsville Police responded to the crash at 1008 E. C.R. 150S at 11:13 a.m.

Authorities say Justin Aldrich, 29, Crawfordsville, was driving eastbound when his vehicle left the road for unknown reasons. It struck a parked vehicle and continued into the porch of a residence, where it came to rest, according to a news release.

Aldrich walked away from the scene and was found a short time later carrying the injured child, authorities said.

The child was taken to Franciscan Health Crawfordsville, treated and released.

Aldrich was cited for driving while not having a valid license, authorities said. More charges could be filed.

Police were still investigating the incident.

CPD was assisted at the scene by Crawfordsville Fire Department, Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power and Vectren.