Thursday, August 15, 2013

An afternoon with Cousin Shane

Oaken Bucket patioI was very pleased to get an email from Shane a couple of days ago asking if I wanted to get together for lunch Wednesday or Thursday. Turns out he had the week off and was doing a “staycation,” and I was happy to say, “Yes! How about Thursday?”

So I headed out around noon and met Shane at his and Matt’s place, and after he showed me around out back to see all their new plants and stuff (looking good, guys!), we hopped in Joan Jetta and motored up to Hensell’s Oaken Bucket. I’d link to it, but they don’t have a website...they really should get one. All the cool kids have one!

The Oaken Bucket is a well-known little local place. Nothing fancy, just a pub sort of atmosphere. We’ve been there several times, and Ken and I took his Mom there a while back, but I don’t think any of us had ever had a chance to sit out on the patio. Shane and I were happy to get a chance to do that, because it was a lovely day. The Bucket sits right on the St. Joseph River, so we had a pretty view and got to see a couple of kayakers go by. We realized there is another, lower level, that is just a few feet above the river, and there’s a neat little bar down there. I’d love to sit down there one of these days.

The Oaken Bucket has a reputation of having one of the best burgers in town, and although I haven’t sampled all the burgers in town, I’d have to say the Bucket's is my far! Even with ordering mine well done, know...E coli, they’re always juicy and flavorful. A generous size, too, and I could only eat half of mine, so sent the other half home for Matt if he wants it. Shane’s post about the “best burger in town” generated a bit of a discussion, and Shane and I agree that when discussing such things, chains are automatically left out of the equation. We only bring local places to the discussion table. Five Guys and BW3 have good burgers, but they aren’t unique to our area, and that’s what we’re the most interested in. (I also happen to think the Oaken Bucket’s burgers are better.) I know most newspapers don’t make that distinction, but that’s how it is in our universe!

Lustron House2After a good lunch and a pleasant chat, we were off, and Shane drove me by the only Lustron house he knows about in the area. You know, I don’t recall if I posted here about the Lustron service station near us that is going to be torn down because of the new highway, but I stopped and got pictures the other day. I’ll post them all here at some point. Lustron was an interesting late-’40s phenomenon: a home built entirely of steel panels. Even the interiors were steel. The link I’ve included here is a Lustron site, and the specific page is of Indiana Lustron homes. The first one seems to be the one we saw today. (If you click on “Home” on that site, you’ll find the main page and lots of great information about Lustron. Really unusual and fascinating mid-century modern homes!)

Lustron houseAs you can see from the photos I took compared to the ones from when the home was maintained, it has deteriorated greatly. It is for sale, but there are signs posted that it is contaminated with mold. From looking in the windows, it looks as though they modified the interior, putting up drywall, wood cabinets, and other modifications. You know, if you’d just stuck with the steel walls, previous owners, you probably wouldn’t have a mold problem! For the home to be rehabilitated, Shane and I speculated that they will have to completely gut the interior. I hope someone will see the value in this unusual home and decide to preserve it. Wouldn’t it be a great little home to furnish with MCM furniture and decor? I wish I could get a grant from somewhere to make it an art project...a living art installation of a Lustron MCM home! How cool would that be? I could rent it out for Notre Dame home football weekends, no problem. The kitschy design would be a big draw and....

Well, that’s not going to happen. I wish I could do something like that. If I ever win the lottery and blah blah blah. Fun to think about, though!

After bidding Shane a fond auf wiedersehen, it was back to Nutwood, where I got a few more things together for our upcoming Chicago weekend (we’re heading up tomorrow). Yay, Chicago! I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting on here over the weekend, but I’ll try to squeeze in a brief update or two. Firm plans are a Cubs-Cards game on Saturday (look for us behind third base, in about the fourth row...great seats!) and a visit to the Art Institute on Sunday. Hopeful plans are dinner and great music at Buddy Guy’s Friday night (if we can get in). After the game on Saturday, it will probably just be a casual sports bar in Wrigleyville for a bite and beverages. We’re going with my sister Diana and my brother-in-law Tom, and we’re looking forward to a good time. I went up with Tom and Di and my sister Sue last year for a Cubs game, but Ken and I realized that we have never been to a Cubs game together! We have been at Wrigley Field together, for the Springsteen show, but never for a game.

Like Harry Caray used to say, nothin’ beats fun at the ol’ ballpark, and I guarantee that we’re going to have fun in the Friendly Confines!


  1. Should be a great weekend, love me some Cubbies!

  2. Hope the Cubs win a game while you are there... and what was up with America in the 50's..? I mean, they came up with some stuff..! Little wonder their's is the imagination that so much of our current era is being built upon..!

  3. Everything about your day with Shane sounded great, particularly the Lustron house. Love it! Now, about those burgers. . . I've made a personal decision to risk Ecoli if it means I have to eat a burger well done. Just can't do it. If it's not raw in the middle, I can't even swallow it. But then, I was kind of on a raw diet even before it became fashionable -- meat, fish, veggies... love 'em all undone!

  4. Oh yeah, I might add. . . no raw poultry. :-)


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