That’s the only way to describe my day today – I was coddled all day long! Maybe I *am* a VIP … nah. SOIP is the best I can do.
This morning I was scheduled to tour the Leonhard Building at 10 AM. This building is the home of the Industrial Engineering Department at PSU, and the School of Engineering folks thought that, as an IE alumnus (obligatory grammar note here: “alumni” is PLURAL), I’d be interested in touring it. YES!!! The tour got off to a slightly-late start, but quickly moved to the lab, where they have a foundry corner (where you get to cast stuff out of molten metal), a robotics corner (where you get to program assembly-line robots to do a certain set of actions), and a whole bunch of milling, shaping, and lathe machines (where you get to cut metal and do various other things with it). I didn’t actually get to *do* any of that, but I love that they still get hands-on experience with these pieces of equipment. In fact, I was so engrossed in the lab, we never got to the rest of the tour – which, I suppose, gives me the perfect excuse to come back again. Here’s a shot of the building’s “lobby”:
But I had to get to the building first, and I didn’t know how to do that, so I decided to unload the Honda and ride it over from the hotel. When I asked for my keys so I could start unloading it, I explained what I was doing and they said, “Well, we have a shuttle we can use to take you over there, and we can pick you up for your next meeting, too.” Oh. Okay. So I gave my keys back and used the hotel shuttle. That was Coddle Number One.
Then I found out that my School of Engineering liaison, Courtney, was going to drive me from Leonhard Building, which is on the very west side of the campus, to Wagner Building (the ROTC building) which is on the very *east* side of the campus! That meant I didn’t have to call the hotel for a pickup; I already had a ride. Coddle Number 2.
At Wagner Building I was met by both the outgoing and the incoming Professors of Aerospace Studies (both men are Air Force colonels), as well as an AFROTC cadet. When I mentioned that I was having dinner tomorrow night with an AFROTC graduate who had recently retired as a 4-star general, the colonels asked who I was referring to. I gave them Bob’s name, and then I really got the royal treatment! It turns out that Bob (aka General C. Robert Kehler, USAF (Ret.)) has been very active and involved with the Detachment and the University over the years, and they wanted me to give him a glowing report. 😉
So I got to see all the AFROTC offices and both classrooms; the student lounge; the cadet-staff office space; the uniform room (which, by the way, is *EXACTLY* the same as it was 45 years ago!); and the Honor Guard space. The Honor Guard was known as the Drill Team in my day, but they still use the same chrome combat helmets, the same rifles (rifle type, really; I think the actual rifles have been replaced a few times since 1973), and the same routines. The cadet with me actually asked if we had used a maneuver he described (I can’t remember what he called it) back in 1973. I said, “Oh, yeah – that’s the Staircase, and it predates even me!” It turns out that they had done the Staircase recently (in the past couple of years) with the Nittany Lion mascot! Here’s a shot of the rifle rack:
And all that was Coddle 3.
Coddle 4 was lunch in The Allen Street Grill, which is upstairs from the Corner Room, which is one of the classiest locations in State College. Courtney and the AFROTC cadet had lunch with me and Courtney paid for it with a corporate card.
After lunch came Coddle 5: We walked over to the Alumni Center and I got to take a one-on-one tour with a Lion Ambassador (a college student who gives tours to visitors) through the original building of the Center, which in my day was the President’s Residence. It was built in the 1800s sometime, and it’s a very typical stone Pennsylvania home – for a wealthy or important person. I had wanted to walk through that house since I was here in 1969,and I finally got to do it! YAY!
And Coddle 6 came pretty much right on its heels, with a visit to the Old Main bell tower! They *do* have group tours up to the tower (inside it, and then out on the parapet – kind of like a combination of the rooftop tour at Biltmore and climbing into the Statue of Liberty’s torch), but only by appointment. So first, I wasn’t a group, and second, we hadn’t made an appointment, but somehow we got the keys to the tower and I went up inside! Woo-Hoo! My two all-time goals for a Penn State visit have been reached!
Anybody can get Coddle 7 – it was a bowl of ice cream from the Creamery. You can actually order this stuff and have it shipped to you, but I got it fresh at the Creamery. Yum!
Coddle 8 was a delicious dinner and even better dessert in the hotel restaurant – both the meal and the service were superb.
And Coddle 9 was getting some of my laundry done so I have enough to get to Richmond. Sure, I paid for it, but it’s still a coddle.
It rarely gets any better than this.