Roland Rein + Bogart | Basketman | Friendship, IN

Roland individually handcrafts every single basket in his humble studio and showroom in Friendship. He is well-known as the Basketman. 

​”My goal is to make America’s finest baskets. I stand behind the quality of my workmanship; I guarantee every basket that I make, unconditionally, for life.”

​He is photographed here with his buddy and studio assistant, Bogart. 

Robin Dyer | Dyer Moccasins | Friendship, IN

Robin took over the business and the craftsmanship of Dyer’s Original Moccasins when her husband, Carl Dyer, passed away. He was the founder of the shoe company. Robin’s workshop is based in Friendship but her moccasins are being worn around the world. 

​”All the moccasin designs are original and authentic. I hand sew every single pair that I sell. Each pair lasts a long, long time.”

​She doesn’t believe in bragging but her moccasins clients include John Lithgow, Jennifer Aniston and Calvin Klein. 

Kathy Gray | Gooseberry Flower Shop | Versailles, IN

“In June 2014, I found out that I had breast cancer. I felt a lump on my left breast and I went to see my doctor pretty quickly. They got me through all the steps to determine that I had Stage 2 breast cancer, and I ended up having a mastectomy, and then I went through chemotherapy. I have since been in remission. I do see my oncologist a couple times a year and I still have to take daily medicine for preventive recurrence. Other than that, I don’t think about it. I’m basically back to the same health I was, prior to finding out. All is good. The future is bright. 

​But at that time, I was scared to death. Being a florist, death is something I dealt with a lot, and I’ve seen so many people find out that they had cancer, and just within a few weeks, they are gone. That was what I somewhat expected for myself. But if you catch the diagnosis early, and you do what the doctors tell you to do, it is something you can get through. It’s not fun - I wouldn’t wish cancer on anybody. It was a horrible experience but I made it through.

​When I was going through the treatment,my mom was very supportive. She drove me to every single appointment I had. My husband and children were always there for me too. What I found amazing was that a great number of people that stepped up and offered to help - checkingon me and brought me meals. I just felt that I had a community that was willing to do whatever they needed to help me through this ordeal. I am blessed.”

Greg Holt | The Reservation Restaurant | Milan, IN

The Holt family owned and ran the Reservation Restaurant since 1985. 

“Our family has always been in the hospitality industry. We love to entertain and feed people. We are very involved in the community, and we should, as they are the reason that have kept us successful and growing strong for 34 years. We’ve seen every generation at our restaurant - we’ve seen the parents, then we see the kids grow up and come back, and then their kids come here. Likewise, they also know we love helping them in some small way, by giving them a place to come and visit. 

Our theme is ‘Where Families Gather’, so we have a lot of family meetings here; after funerals, before weddings, and after church on Sundays. We’re a Christian family - our faith is very important, so we give all the glory to God for our success here.”

Hope for Milan

I just hope that we, as a business, can continue to support Milan and it can stay the great community that it is; where people will live and graduate, and come back to continue to support it. It would be great to have resources here where people want to come home and use their talents and businesses to continue to support the community because that’s going to keep it growing.”

650 North | Osgood, IN

650 North is an alternative rock band formed in Osgood in 2003. The members are Andrew Vollmer (guitar, vocals), Cody Buchanan (drums), Chris Bultman (bass, vocals) and Matt Schuerman (lead vocals, guitar). The band’s extensive touring and three self-released albums have earned them national radio airplay and opening slots for Guns N’ Roses, Seven Mary Three, Fastball and Ryan Cabrera.

Opening for Guns N’ Roses

“Opening for Guns N’ Roses is definitely one of the highlights of the early years of 650 North, which were an absolute whirlwind. We wrote and perfected an album’s worth of songs, and self-recordedthem in Matt’s parents’ basement over the 2004 Christmas break. We released the album the following summer, promoted it regionally and on MySpace, and by fall, we had a record executive fly in from New York City to see us play at Lefty’s Pub in Batesville.

We showcased for the Warner Music Group executives that winter in New York City, signed a record deal, and were opening for Guns N’ Roses in Warsaw, Poland the following summer, 2006. It was an unbelievable experience - in just a matter of a few years, to go from rehearsing in Andrew’s parents’ garage to opening for one of the biggest rock bands in the world—in Warsaw, Poland! The European crowd was amazing and very receptive to our music, and we made many fans and friends at that show that we still have to this day.”

Plans for the future

“We love doing this thing called 650 North,and we plan to write new music, play live shows, and make new fans for as long as we can. We’re mature enough now to know that nothing is forever, so we’re gonna keep grinding and loving every minute of it!”

Zelpha Naylor - The 106 year old Pie Baker

Zelpha Naylor is a very special lady. Born on 11 December, 1911, so today is her 106th birthday!

“God. Trust in Him most of all,” was her answer when asked the secret of longevity. This was exactly the same answer I received from Ethel Mathias, my very first Centenarian whom I met on her 105th birthday.  

Back in the days, she would bake different variety of pies to sell at the Fairgrounds in Osgood. I’ve been told that her pies were popular and would be snatched up by the locals. 

What kind of pies do you make? “Anything you can mention, down to a poor man’s pie. The easiest pie there is to make is a poor man’s pie. A little bit of vinegar, a little sugar, a little flavoring and put it all in there and you got it. 

The hardest pie to make? “Well, I don’t like to make custard pie, but I sure love to eat it! I love my pies.”

What is your favorite? “Apple pie.”

A few weeks after the first meet, Zelpha invited both Katherine Taul and I to show  us how to make an apple pie. She made the crusts herself using only shortening, flour, salt and water. Everything was done from memory and eyeballing the amount needed. It was such a pleasure to see her work in the kitchen.

While waiting for the pie to bake in the oven, she went on the clean the kitchen top before sitting down to chat with us, while keeping her eyes on the clock at all times.  

And that my friends, is Zelpha’s delicious home baked apple pie. Both Katherine and I had a piece each. It was super yummy! 

I feel truly blessed to have Zelpha as my first feature on Project RIpley 200. She is such a pleasure to know and I pray that God keeps her healthy, happy and faithful to the Lord. 

I encourage you to send your birthday wishes to Zelpha on the comments below. I will be sure to pass them along to her. 

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