Mounds State Park has special meaning for many people in Madison County, and for the folks it draws from across the state and across state lines.
For me, Mounds evokes a series of fond memories, some funny and some poignant.
The first came in 1983, my freshman year at Anderson College. A few weeks into the school year, my roommate Doug and I ventured out to explore Anderson and, quite by accident, came across Mounds Park.
It was a sun-drenched, cool fall day, the sort of day that could make you a millionaire if you could bottle it.
Doug and I ended up spending an hour at the Great Mound, walking around and around its perimeter and talking about what life must have been like for the Adena-Hopewell People who built it for religious ceremonies more than 2,000 years before. That trip to Mounds captivated our minds and gave us a brief mental respite from the anxiety of starting a new life in college. It also deepened our appreciation of Anderson.
As a student employee of the AC sports information department over the next few years, I attended a few cross country meets at Mounds. It was an exhausting course, hilly and rough, and racing at Mounds, where they often trained, gave coach Larry Maddox's superbly conditioned Ravens a distinct advantage.
My freshman girlfriend, Tammy, had joined the cross country team at the behest of a friend. Her participation would help give AU enough runners to qualify for the team title at various meets. But Tammy wasn't much of a runner.
During one race at Mounds, as she lagged behind the field, she managed to draw even with another runner. The girl implored, "It's OK. Go ahead and pass me. I'm injured, and I'm just trying to finish the race."