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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 will continue to pray that God keeps giving you the strength and courage to keep fighting for what is right and just so you are aware, you are an inspiration to those that are feeling weak and helpless as they are trying to figure out why evil keeps winning. God Bless.....

  2. Some are above the law in Indiana. Some lined up with Lodges have controlled power in the state since the 1920s when the Klan ruled Indiana. Consider the comments at this post and note the international h.q. in Indianapolis. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/human-trafficking-rising-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/42468. Brave journalists need to take this child torturing, above the law and antimarriage cult on just like The Globe courageously took on Cardinal Law. Are there any brave Hoosier journalists?

  3. I am nearing 66 years old..... I have no interest in contacting anyone. All I need to have is a nationality....a REAL Birthday...... the place U was born...... my soul will never be at peace. I have lived my life without identity.... if anyone can help me please contact me.

  4. This is the dissent discussed in the comment below. See comments on that story for an amazing discussion of likely judicial corruption of some kind, the rejection of the rule of law at the very least. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/justices-deny-transfer-to-child-custody-case/PARAMS/article/42774#comment

  5. That means much to me, thank you. My own communion, to which I came in my 30's from a protestant evangelical background, refuses to so affirm me, the Bishop's courtiers all saying, when it matters, that they defer to the state, and trust that the state would not be wrong as to me. (LIttle did I know that is the most common modernist catholic position on the state -- at least when the state acts consistent with the philosophy of the democrat party). I asked my RCC pastor to stand with me before the Examiners after they demanded that I disavow God's law on the record .... he refused, saying the Bishop would not allow it. I filed all of my file in the open in federal court so the Bishop's men could see what had been done ... they refused to look. (But the 7th Cir and federal judge Theresa Springmann gave me the honor of admission after so reading, even though ISC had denied me, rendering me a very rare bird). Such affirmation from a fellow believer as you have done here has been rare for me, and that dearth of solidarity, and the economic pain visited upon my wife and five children, have been the hardest part of the struggle. They did indeed banish me, for life, and so, in substance did the the Diocese, which treated me like a pariah, but thanks to this ezine ... and this is simply amazing to me .... because of this ezine I am not silenced. This ezine allowing us to speak to the corruption that the former chief "justice" left behind, yet embedded in his systems when he retired ... the openness to discuss that corruption (like that revealed in the recent whistleblowing dissent by courageous Justice David and fresh breath of air Chief Justice Rush,) is a great example of the First Amendment at work. I will not be silenced as long as this tree falling in the wood can be heard. The Hoosier Judiciary has deep seated problems, generational corruption, ideological corruption. Many cases demonstrate this. It must be spotlighted. The corrupted system has no hold on me now, none. I have survived their best shots. It is now my time to not be silent. To the Glory of God, and for the good of man's law. (It almost always works that way as to the true law, as I explained the bar examiners -- who refused to follow even their own statutory law and violated core organic law when banishing me for life -- actually revealing themselves to be lawless.)

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