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By VINCE LUECKE
A collection of memorabilia from the past was dropped into my lap over the past few months, part of the process of my mom sorting through a cedar chest filled with keepsakes.
Among the semiprecious treasures given to me was a ceramic handprint I made in 1972. I was a kindergartner then, one of Sister Mary Joyce Trimble’s eager learners at Fulda Grade School.
The handprint project was no doubt fun but I can only remember bits and pieces of it. I do remember Sister Mary Joyce’s hand on top of mine, gently pressing my fingers and palm into the soft clay. She etched my name into the clay, as well as the year. All grade-school teachers, especially nuns, have perfect penmanship. She was no exception.
Once fired, the handprints were coated in a blue glaze and returned to happy kids. I remember running to my mom to show her the handprint, forever frozen in clay.
Today, the child’s handprint seems small compared to the fat paw I’ve grown in the past 40 years. That’s a long time and I’ve thought about all the things my hands have done over the years, things I’m proud of and bitterly ashamed.
The hand set in clay, and its left-arm partner worked hard over the years – on the farm, at school, hammered at newspaper keyboards and literally held hammers. The same hand held pencils, books, guns and the hands of others. My hands at times have been tools of violence, clenched in fists of rage but also engaged in acts of love.
My hands, like yours, have done much, good and bad. Our hands are tools. They define you.
My classmates and I had the distinction of being the last kindergarten class at the parochial school. It closed and its students were divided between two grade schools at Clay-Huff and St. Meinrad. I’m not sure what my classmates did with their ceramic handprints. Some, perhaps, were lost. Others are tucked away in dressers, closets and, like mine for many years, cedar chests.
I keep my handprint on a shelf at work, next to memorabilia from trips and keepsakes important to me. I do much of my work from this office and the hand is a reminder that we are often defined by what we do with our hands.
Clean up After Your Pets
Kay Seibert’s letter to the editor in this edition hit home after a recent run-in at Sunset Park.
I was in the park ahead of Thursday’s Movies in the Park when I ventured off the asphalt walkway and stepped squarely into a small but pungent pile of dog poo.
I’m not a pet owner nor a pet fan, so forgive me for making such a fuss, but I despise the smell of dog and cat crap.
I’d rather live directly next to a herd of cattle or hog farm than have to walk around with dog stuff on my shoes.
I know most pet owners are responsible but too many aren’t. I’ve watched more than once pet owners walking Main Street stop and let their dogs do serious business in the grass strip in front of the office. I guess they think it’s the most natural thing in the world. I wonder if they would like it if a parent tossed dirty diapers in their yard. I might trade them a few cow pattys from the farm.
The next time I see it happen, I’ll be out front voicing my discontent.
So, pet owners, public property does not mean you can spoil it for others. Be responsible. Clean up after your pets. We’ll all be grateful.
Generating Station Tour
Thanks to Marlow Smethurst, superintendent of the Tell City Electric Department, for organizing a June 26 tour of the Prairie State Generation Station in southern Illinois.
The Indiana Municipal Power Agency owns a portion of the new station and as Tell City is a member utility of IMPA, the plant provides the city with some of its power.
The plant itself was interesting and impressive but the highlight of the day was the underground coal mine. The plant was built on a coal supply capable of lasting 30 years. Underground conditions are dust free and surprisingly clean. Our group traveled in the same carriers miners use to enter and exit the mine. It’s a state-of-the-art facility.
Amazingly the coal taken from the mine is often burned within a few hours.
It was an impressive tour. More photos are posted in the multimedia area of this site.