Sidebars: Lunch at Pioneer Village most fulfilling, leisurely

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Remember folks, the premise behind this article is not merely to make eatery suggestions, it is also to encourage a bit of leisure over the lunch hour with your colleague, mentor/mentee, opposing counsel, or a friend. To break from our billing, our motions, our conference calls, and most importantly, our PDAs for lunch will not cause the judicial system, in whatever capacity you work, to come to a screeching halt.

I was reminded of that when I ate the most of leisurely, entertaining, and fulfilling lunch at the dining table located in Pioneer Village at the State Fair about one week before the fair’s opening. Just hear me out. I promise I’m not writing about fried Hostess treats or candy bars.

I gained this prestigious invitation from a fellow female lawyer who I have always looked up to and respected. Around a humble table within Pioneer Village, about 15 of us gathered at a long table covered with a checkered tablecloth, a mix and match of flatware and dinner plates (not plastic utensils, not paper plates), and ice-cold lemonade. At the table were some of Indy’s “big hitters,” but the important people were the gentlemen, the agricultural professionals – from farmers to Purdue professors – who dedicated so much time to the preservation, presentation, and production of Pioneer Village.

Pioneer Village tremendously displays our state’s agricultural history and the extensive collection of artifacts is that of Purdue University Agricultural Alumni and is among the best in the nation.

The fair was about one week away and a lot of work was still to be done to prep Pioneer Village for this year’s fair. Yet, every day at noon, the dinner bell rings. They gather, often with guests like us, they bow their heads in prayer, and then enjoy the fellowship of the meal for about an hour. They regaled us with stories of particular pieces in the museum, of life on the farms across the state, and of their long history with each other (the ages of our hosts ranged but went up to 88!) Their sophistication was evident in the knowledge they imparted about the agricultural business, then and now. I listened, learned, and laughed. And, crazily enough, I didn’t catch a one of them pulling out their Blackberry from their overalls to check their e-mail!

Of course, when the family-style meal came out, I almost broke into tears given the menu. Cold cucumber and onion salad followed by fried potatoes, big ol’ biscuits and sausage links that were passed around family style. Then my heart skipped a beat as they brought out the biggest bowl of sausage gravy I’d seen in my life! The meal was clearly homemade in the kitchen behind this dining area right inside the Pioneer Village building. The hearty meal only added to the warmth I felt from the setting and my dining companions. The homemade cherry pie completed me. When you stop by the State Fair, check out Pioneer Village and you will see the dining area about which I write and at noon, you will see many of these folks gather around for such a lunch as I have described.

Now, why do I tell you about this experience? Well, it reminded me of why Fred and I write this article. Taking time out of our busy day to stop for lunch and focus on something other than a legal crisis is therapeutic and refreshing. Your e-mail can wait for an hour. The calls can be held for an hour. Believe it or not, that motion, pleading, answer, or whatever it is can wait for an hour. So, go grab a bite with that person, you know the one, you have been promising to hook up for lunch for the last six months. Remember that friend you keep telling yourself you need to call because you know they need someone to confide in, vent to, or share with.

To encourage you, I’m closing with some of Fred’s and my favorite places we have written about over the last couple of years to give you a nudge: Richard’s (Johnson County); Matteo’s (Hamilton County); Shipley’s (Madison County); Carnagie’s (Hancock County); Triple XXX (Tippecanoe County); Country Kitchen (Indy); Vera Mae’s (Delaware County); R Bistro (Indy); Lisa’s Pie Shop (Tipton County); Siam Square (Indy); Bu Dah (Indy); and The Downtown (Warsaw).•


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 those of the authors.


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  1. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  2. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  3. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  4. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  5. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well