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SIDEBARS: A serving of history at the Pioneer Village

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SidebarsFor the second year, I received an invitation to a coveted spot at the dinner table located in Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. This supper prelude to the Indiana State Fair, hosted by Lou Gerig and Shelley Troil, brings many community leaders to a serene dinner (I was corrected when I referred to it as “lunch”) around the table that is part of the 1930s kitchen display located in Pioneer Village. When the dinner bell (yes, a real dinner bell) rings at noon, the guests are seated and surrounded by the diligent volunteers who put our agricultural history on parade for the visitors of the state fair.

While this article generally recommends places to dine, this particular article is to recommend a more important aspect of dining – the company and conversation that make a meal as or more special than the food. However, before I get to the philosophical stuff, I just have to share with you what was served: chicken and noodles, served over mashed potatoes; corn on the cob; stuffing; onion and cucumber salad; bread; and your choice of apple, gooseberry, or rhubarb pie. While I am no farmhand, I can match one in food consumption.

As we bowed our heads to pray around the table, there sat some heavyweights of our community, but those doing the heavy lifting were the agricultural specialists who take care of the artifacts that have adorned Pioneer Village for 50 years (this year being that milestone). These dedicated workers refurbish, maintain, and catalogue the relics of farming history. More importantly, they know the history they preserve. The manager, Mauri Williamson, blessed me with a personal tour of the grounds while providing me a firsthand chronicle of Indiana’s farm history. As a farmer and the director of the Purdue Ag Alumni Association for 40 years, he experienced what to me was history. Folks, this priceless recitation of facts from the past cannot be gleaned from a book, TV show, or even documentary. Mauri regaled me with stories littered with hilarities that revealed a subtle mischievousness a younger man could not have gotten away with. I spent an extra hour following Mauri around the barns and what, ultimately, the public tours as Pioneer Village.

What the heck does my afternoon at Pioneer Village have to do with this column? Well, it reminded me that we, in the legal profession, have our own “Mauris” from which we can get live history lessons about the law and the practice. You know that partner, or retired lawyer or judge, whose bar number is below 300? Well, they hold more than a low bar number, they hold a host of memories that translate into the history of our legal system. This article is to encourage you to engage, via a lunch invite, a “legal Mauri” you know who has been practicing years and years and ask them to impart stories and knowledge about the development of their practice. Within those stories is incredible, historical insight into the development of our profession. You may even learn, first hand, about the development of a legal doctrine we all assumed just appeared on the books one day. All you have to do is extend the invitation. For example, a couple of months ago, I went to lunch with Carl Overman, of counsel to Bose McKinney & Evans. Now Carl, I’ll just say, has been practicing a real long time. He described the legal layout of the land starting in the 1950s, he went on to talk about the partners he had and shed, and then he waded into the area of law he helped birth that now is a common business practice, employee stock ownership plans (aka ESOPs). What Carl imparted was by no means a history lesson but rather stories from which I extracted significant, historical intel.

sidebarspioneervillage-15col Guests and Pioneer Village volunteers gather around a farmhouse table in the Pioneer Village for an annual supper held as a prelude to the state fair in August. Attorneys Jim Voyles and Jennifer Lukemeyer sit at the center. (Photo submitted)

To determine the future one must examine history, which is what we lawyers do all the time. How about getting it from a live source rather than Westlaw or a memo written by an associate? There are plenty of Carls and Mauris out there from which we can all learn. Thanks gentlemen for paving the way and sharing your trip with me.

So pick up the phone and make the invite – you will not be sorry. And, when you head out to the Indiana State Fair this year, you can pick up a book about the 50 years at Pioneer Village containing all sorts of tales about the village and its characters, such as Mauri, titled “Harvesting History, 50 Years of Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fair.”

Pioneer Village gets 4 gavels, but not because of the food, because of the company.•

__________

Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn Paul Hogan & Merriman in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Vaiana is a 1992 graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Lukemeyer earned her J.D. from Southern Methodist University in 1994 and is active in the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indianapolis Inn of Courts, and the Teen Court Program. The opinions expressed in this column are the authors’.

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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