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September/October 2013

www.poseymagazine.com


A magazine for and about

Posey County, Indiana

September/October 2013

Copyright 2013 No material can be reproduced without the written permission of Posey Magazine. Contact us at: poseymagazine@aol.com

www.poseymagazine.com

“You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by. Yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.” —James M. Barrie, novelist and playwright (1860-1937) “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.” — Albert Einstein “People change and forget to tell each other.” —Lillian Hellman, playwright (1905-1984)

Cover Story

© Photograph by Michael Webster

“Boredom is the conviction that you can’t change ... the shriek of unused capacities.” —Saul Bellow “Leave the door open to the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.” —Rebecca Solnit

Jerry King has spent much of his life living in the past, not just intellectually, but physically as well. A world history teacher at Mount Vernon Senior High for over 26 years, he built the village of Old Solitude with the same methods and tools the pioneers themselves used. Thanks to Mr. King, generations of Posey County youth have a deep understanding of history and hands-on experience and knowledge of the pioneer way of life. “Beauty is whatever gives joy.” — © 2013 Story and Photographs By Michael Webster — Edna St. Vincent Millay Special thanks to the following for their help Joseph Poccia


PRECIOUS DAYS S

eptember is a two-faced month —heralding both an ending and a beginning. There is a change in the light, a different color palette and even a different smell in the air. It brings with it, if not the reality then at least the promise of, the rustle of leaves blown by a brisk wind and the chatter of a flock of migrating geese. It’s a lovely time of year when the sun shines, not to ripen anything, but simply for the sake of beauty. And the fallen leaves provide a wider horizon. It’s a time for the putting away of light and airy things and the mourning by some of the inevitable death of summer. But there is also renewed energy after summer’s torpor and the beginning of new artistic seasons — theater, concerts, even movies that have character, not characters. And that revival is invigorating and exciting. The transition reminds us of the larger things over which we have no control and of our need to embrace the variety that life brings. Writer Hal Borland said, “Summer ends and autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.” It’s a time of reflection and often we resort to the poetic metaphor of comparing a year to a person’s life span. I certainly am in the autumn of my life, with more memories than plans. But my plans now are clearer and not so driven by the frivolity of youth. I realize that I need to choose carefully how I spend my

time, reading and hearing and watching only those things worth my dwindling resources. One of my favorite musicals is “The Fantasticks” by Tom Jones and its opening song, “Try to Remember,” speaks more eloquently than I ever could about this very subject: “Try to remember the kind of September When life was slow and oh so mellow... Deep in December it’s nice to remember the fire of September that made us mellow. Deep in December our hearts should remember And follow...follow...follow...follow.” But perhaps even more aptly, there is also “September Song” by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson “Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December but the days grow short when you reach September. When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame One hasn’t got time to play the waiting game. Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few September...November And these few precious days, I’ll spend with you. These precious days, I’ll spend with you.”

—Charlene Tolbert Contributing Editor Posey Magazine She can be contacted at: poseymagazine@aol.com


POSEY POSTCARD


“Death twitches my ear; 'Live,' he says... 'I'm coming.'” —Virgil

© Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann


“...time was not passing ...it was turning in a circle...” — Gabriel García Márquez

BY MICHAEL WEBSTER © 2013 All Photographs and Text

Thanks to Jerry King, time has come full circle

in Solitude. King, a former history teacher at Mount Vernon Senior High, virtually singlehandedly built Old Solitude, an historically faithful reproduction of a pioneer village, there. Located at the intersection of Big Creek and Indiana 69 between Mount Vernon and New Harmony, the village includes log cabins, a mill, a church, a general store, and a one-room schoolhouse representative of the early 19th century. The village also includes an original railroad station that was built after the Civil War. Students, artists, visitors to New Harmony, Jerry King’s Solitude


The Lincoln Law office was built as a shrine to the Great Emancipator, who may have given a speech in Solitude in the 1840’s. and local civic groups regularly visit Old Solitude to learn its story. A number of Boy Scouts have earned badges by studying the surrounding forest and wetlands, or helping maintain the log cabins and grounds. The village is a favorite spot for local painters. Passers-by regularly stop and take pictures from the gate or, if King is there, get permission to tour the village. Two couples have been married there. “I’ve enjoyed all the people coming out here. I’ve met Germans, Japanese, Mexicans, Canadians and Americans from California, Arizona, New York, and even Hawaii,” says King. “But unfortunately, a lot of local people just pass it by. They never stop by to see the village.” “I take people there all the time and tell them about Posey County history,” says Posey County Superior Court Judge James Redwine, a history enthusiast and author of the Posey County-based historical novel “Judge Lynch!” “Solitude village is a very unique and interesting project, really good for giving people in Posey County an historical perspective.”

“It’s a hands-on learning experience,” says Redwine. “You can go into the actual buildings, feel how they were built, hold the tools that built them, and physically touch many other artifacts from that era. It shows what you can do with hard work.” “Jerry and Marsha have done all that themselves, with their own money,” he says.”They are very generous. They don’t charge visitors any money for anything.” King’s wife Marsha is the group leader for tours. “I dress up in pioneer outfits and just try to make everybody feel at home and welcome,” she says. “I explain the different buildings and demonstrate how the pioneers used to do things such as shell corn or grind coffee or work the pump organ. I help get people to sing, especially children. We do the old songs such as ‘She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain’ and ‘Clementine,’ songs that are easy to sing and remember. “It’s been good to be able to share what Jerry has done,” she says. “I’m proud of him for his hard work and what he’s achieved. It’s


The church is a favorite attraction for tourists. Everybody loves to ring the bell.


King works the original scale from Solitude’s old Home Mill and Grain Company store. Wagons loaded with grain were weighed at the store and the grain was shipped out on the Evansville and Terre Haute Railroad.

Demonstrating the pioneer tools outside the blacksmith shop.


An apple awaits the teacher inside the old school house.


All paths in the village lead to the general store.


good to educate people about how rough things were in the olden days.” An appreciation for the past and desire to educate are important parts of King’s personality. He taught history for more than 26 years, teaching more than 5,000 high school students before retiring in 1998. Best known for his elective class in world history, he also taught geography and was an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Indiana as well. When he first began buying land in Solitude in 1973, King had no idea he’d go on to build a pioneer village. The first six acres were all trees and water. “It was advertised as alligator swamp,” he says. “But I liked Solitude. I liked wildlife. I liked the lowlands surrounding Big Creek. It’s a great place to fish and enjoy nature.” He bought several more tracts over the years, ending up with approximately 30 wetland acres that are home to some 24 species of trees. There’s also some farmland and road frontage. “I was always interested in pioneer history and thought I could learn the necessary skills to build the things they built,” he says. “Ever since I was a kid I liked log cabins. “Then in 1978 a friend offered me some logs, so I took my Dodge pickup truck, loaded them up, took them to Solitude and built the first log cabin. “After that first cabin, every time I could get more logs I did. I asked for them, offered to pay for them, rescued them from the fire. Many I bought cheaply; many were just given to me.” King collected authentic tools and used them almost exclusively in the construction of Old Solitude. He used an old felling ax to chop down trees, a broad ax to hew logs, an adz for chipping and shaping them, and a canthook to flip them.

The general store is stocked to represent the year 1942 instead of pioneer days. Older Posey County residents will recognize many long-gone products such as Sunbeam Bread and Hesmer’s potato chips.


After spring rains, the ground is saturated around Old Solitude’s pump house.


Part of the tour is telling visitors about all the old toys, machines, and tools in the merchandise storage area of the one remaining railroad building. The Royal Crown sign is from Mark Dawson’s General Store which was Solitude’s main landmark for most of the 20th century. King started working on the first building, a little log cabin with a working fireplace, in 1978. That was followed in 1984 by a log barn with a lean-to. After that he built a working blacksmith and woodworking shop. Then a cooking shed, a carpenter shed, a oneroom schoolhouse, a log cabin rebuilt from where it was taken down, a law office, a general store with old signs and products, a church, a farmer’s coop, a mill and a railroad office. Solitude is just about as old as Posey County. James Black, son of founding pioneer, Thomas Black, is credited with starting Solitude around 1815. The village of Solitude was settled around 1816 with the first bridge built over Big Creek by James Black in 181718. “Solitude has been a part of everything that’s important in American history,” he says. “Prehistoric Native Americans hunted and

fished in the vicinity for at least 2,000 plus years. American pioneers cleared the forests. The village was part of the underground railroad; a place to hide and protect escaped slaves on their way to Canada. Solitude provided soldiers to the Union in the Civil War — and every war. The first court session held in Posey County was in Solitude. “For as long as I can keep it up physically and give tours as an educational place, I will,” he says. “After that, I have no plans. It requires a lot of work. I don’t know if the project will be carried on.”

Michael Webster, a former student of Mr. King, is a photographer and writer currently living in Brooklyn. He can be contacted at: www.mwebphoto.com


A new day for King begins just after sunrise on a beautiful spring morning in Old Solitude.


Feathers/By Sharon Sorenson

L

ast night’s skies over Posey County twittered with calls of thrushes, flying high, flying south, flying persistently onward, pushed ahead by a cold front, upper-level winds ushering them along their way. On quiet nights in September and October, calls from wave after wave of migrating birds reach our land-bound ears, as most migrants travel at night, dropping down to feed and rest at early morning light, taking to the skies again at dusk. One of those thrushes, a Swainson’s, spent his daylight

Swainson’s thrushes sometime stop to feed and rest during spring and fall migration.


Owls talk privately, at night, perhaps musing over where the kids have gone and where, come January, they’ll once again set up housekeeping.

© Photograph by Sharon Sorenson

A female northern cardinal on a seed stem.

© Photograph by Sharon Sorenson


hours today foraging under our pines, bathing in the yard pond, loafing in the thicket. Since we’ve not seen him since April, how I wish he could tell me where he’s been, what his trip was like, how the family fared, and where he’s headed next. In late September, migratory activity hits its peak. Some early birds have winged through; others follow relentlessly, driven by instinct and shortening daylight hours. With dogwood berries ripe and pokeweed dripping deep-purple berries, the yard welcomes, among others, returning rosebreasted grosbeaks. Last spring, more local folks spotted more rosies than usual, so will they return this fall in equal numbers, bringing the kids along? Last week, treetops revealed their leafy secret, that some rosies are already moving through, their squeaky calls divulging their presence. Of course, hummers have taken to the skies as well, their ranks thinning significantly since their early September peak. Once they double their weight to start moving, they, too, will fly at night, stopping to tank up wherever they find nectar. Keeping feeders fresh helps them on their way. Keeping a feeder fresh until December helps late migrants but may also yield a rare rufous hummer. Of course, not all birds migrate. Even so, year-round Posey County resident birds mark the season. Cardinals, feathers tattered from nesting duties, molt their bedraggled coats, exchanging them for stunningly bright new ones. Likewise, Carolina wrens, looking half plucked, replace the worn look with sleek winter warmth. And goldfinches trade in their brilliant yellow for olive drab. Other birds take advantage of autumn to share gossip. Surely that’s what they’re doing, flocked in masses too large to count, don’t you think? Like the 2,000 or so starlings that sag local utility wires, or the flocks of

American goldfinches molt into drab camouflage plumage for safety in winter months.


Š Photograph by Charles Sorenson


Red-winged blackbirds begin this month to gather in huge winter flocks to forage and roost.


Š Photograph by Sharon Sorenson


Carolina wren, a year-round Posey County resident, wears newly molted feathers, a measure by which to keep warm in winter months.


© Photograph by Sharon Sorenson

Dark-eyed juncos arrive in early October to stay the winter in Posey County.

© Photograph by Sharon Sorenson

A young male ruby-throated hummingbird, only weeks out of the nest, feeds at late-fall zinnia blossoms to fatten up for his journey from Posey County to Costa Rica.

© Photograph by Sharon Sorenson

mourning doves that settle into recently harvested grain fields, foraging on scattered beans and corn kernels, or the hundreds of red-winged blackbirds congregated around Hovey Lake. By contrast, owls talk privately, at night, perhaps musing over where the kids have gone and where, come January, they’ll once again set up housekeeping. Other birds neither nest here nor migrate through. Instead these nomads disperse after nesting elsewhere, hang out here for weeks or a month, and then retreat for warmer climes. Great egrets, scattered earlier this fall along sloughs and lakes, congregated, then moved south in flocks of hundreds. One of the more heart-stopping local sights of dispersing birds, however, is the unusual American white pelican. Folks reported a pelican pair along the Ohio River last weekend, one of those exciting here-oneday-and-gone-the-next kinds of sightings. Birds that nest north and west of here, white pelicans spend their winters along the Gulf and California Baja coasts. Sometimes, though, they cruise through here, detouring from the direct route south. Early October, however, typically marks the return of white-throated sparrows and juncos. Summer residents of the northern boreal forests, they share their winters with us, Posey County being their definition of “south.” So some birds leave us, but others replace them, brightening Posey winter yards to come and bringing a bit of pizzazz to the local birdwatchers’ world during these two months. Sharon and Charles Sorenson settled in St. Philip in 1966 and continue to improve their certified backyard wildlife habitat that to date has hosted 161 bird species and 53 butterfly species. Send your bird questions and comments to them or contact them for publicvenue programs, conferences, or seminars at: forthebirdscolumn@yahoo.com.


Dennis Herrmann has about 50 bee hives, that house more than three million bees.


DENNIS HERRMANN

WORKING THE

L

© Photographes by J, Bruce Baumann

BEES

By Linda Neal Reising

eo Tolstoy once wrote, “The closer we examine the honeybee, the more we realize the workings of a beehive encompass territories beyond our comprehension.” Dennis Herrmann, although one of the most knowledgeable beekeepers in Posey County, would probably readily agree with Tolstoy. After years of working with bees, he still seems a bit in awe of the winged creatures. Dennis, clad in blue suspenders and checkered shirt, is quick to offer one of the webbed lawn chairs gracing the porch of his “almost finished” home in a remote section of Posey County. Mature shade trees, filled with trilling birds, dot his yard. Fertile fields of soybeans and corn surround the site where he has created an idyllic setting for both his home and his bee operation. A native “West-Sider,” Herrmann graduated from Mater Dei High School before attending the University of Evansville, where he majored in elementary education. After teaching fifth and sixth grade language arts at Farmersville Elementary in Mount Vernon for seven years, he switched to the fourth grade, where he remained for twenty-six more, retiring in 2005. However, he still hasn’t completely severed his ties with the Mount Vernon school district. Since 2008, he has been employed by Nix Bus Sales as a school bus driver. It was Dennis’s teaching experience that first sparked his interest in bees. In 1992, he attended a teachers’ workshop. “One of the classes was on beekeeping, and I found it intriguing,” he explains. He does admit that the subject matter was “a little strange” for a teachers’ class, but it was the beginning of a hobby that would eventually turn into a passion. It wasn’t until 1996 that Herrmann had the opportunity to put what


Mixing a 50-50 formula of sugar and water is a cheaper method for the bees to make wax. The bees would have to eat 8 to 10 pounds of honey to produce the same amount of wax.


Front hive feeders are attached to the hives, and it’s clear that the sugar water is popular.


he had learned into practice. An aging beekeeper who lived behind him at the time had had hip and knee replacements and could no longer move his hives. The neighbor had lost most of his bees, but he gave Dennis the last remaining hive. Soon, Dennis added six more and bought the necessary beekeeping equipment. The following year, he added 30 more hives. He had obviously been bitten or “stung” with the “bee bug.” At one time, Hermann owned 50 hives, and he began selling honey at a variety of farmers’ markets and festivals in the region. Dennis is a virtual encyclopedia of bee knowledge. According to him, honey bees are not native to this country but arrived here from Europe. “They probably came over on the Mayflower. Early ships that came to this country brought bees here.” He goes on to provide a plethora of interesting facts about bees. First there is the hierarchy. Each swarm contains one queen bee that can live up to four years. She lays 1,500-2,000 eggs a day, about one a minute. The queen controls the hive with her chemical odor. If a new queen needs to be chosen, the worker bees will develop queen cells, 12 to 15 in two hive boxes. “The first queen that hatches out goes through the hive searching for her queen sisters. She chews through the cell and stings them to death,” according to Herrmann. “She then begins mating, and she becomes the new reigning queen.” If her egglaying ability becomes hampered in any way, the workers will replace her, driving her off or killing her. Nurse bees are needed to create the queen bees. They have the ability to make royal jelly in their mandibles, supplying 150 servings before their cell is capped. After approximately 500 feedings of royal jelly, a worker becomes a queen, developing in sixteen days. The nurse bees are so gentle they won’t harm a person who removes the frame where they reside. Then there are the worker bees. Worker bees make wax in the wax glands in their abdomens and draw it out. Workers have to consume eight to ten pounds of honey to make one pound of wax. In the summer,

worker bees live about six weeks, dying when their wings wear out. According to Dennis, “Drones are loafers. They don’t have a stinger. They just hover, waiting for a virgin queen to mate.” After mating the drone dies. If he doesn’t mate in the summer, he’ll be driven out in the winter and freeze to death. Herrmann also provides fascinating tidbits of bee trivia. For example, bees have no eyelids and never sleep. Also, since honey will spoil if it contains too much moisture, the bees have a ventilation system, using their wings to dry the moisture. “When it gets to 17 percent, they’ll cap it off,” says Dennis. Finally, bees always come back to the hive. “Scouts will go out to find nectar sources. They then return and do a bee dance, the waggle dance, to tell how far away the source is.” Of course, where there are bees, there is honey, and according to Dennis, it can be used for a variety of ailments. “Honey will help with allergies. People are allergic to pollen. Bees eat the pollen. When people eat the honey, they become desensitized to the pollen,” he explains. For people in this region, it’s best to eat Mid-Western honey coming from the same pollen sources. Although bees will only go up to three miles from their hives, honey within a 100-mile radius of Posey County would be helpful for allergy sufferers. “Eat two tablespoons of honey a day. If I don’t eat honey, I can tell by noon—my head stops up,” says Dennis. Dennis goes on to claim that honey is also good for treating burns, sunburns, cuts and blisters. In fact, a man he knows in New Harmony used honey to treat his dog. “The dog had a mange the vet couldn’t get rid of. He put honey on the dog and washed it off. He put it on his food. In a week, the mange was gone.” But for all their remarkable abilities, bees have a weakness. “Bees are very fragile,” says Dennis. “You must keep bees healthy.” That is a difficult task when they can contract up to 19 viruses, sometimes having six or seven at one time. Bees also have to battle wax worm moths, varola mites,


Using burlap and wood chips for fuel, the smoker promotes a calming effect on the bees allowing Herrmann to work in the hives.


Even with all the protective clothing, you are never safe from being stung.

hive beetles, skunks, mice, and snakes. But their worst enemy is man. “We need bees because they’re good pollinators,” says Dennis. “Two-thirds of all the food we eat comes from pollinators.” But in growing crops, we many times destroy bees. “They respond very quickly to adverse chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.” According to Dennis, “Pesticides on all of the Posey County farm fields are a problem for bees. Pesticides absorbed through plant roots will kill bees as well as the ‘bad’ insects. It gets into the pollen, and bees take it back to the hive, wiping out the rest of the bees.” And it’s not just in farm fields where the bees are being contaminated. “People don’t want dandelions, chickweed, and clover in their lawns,” Dennis explains. “People spray fungicides. People spray. Bees pick them up. It reduces their immune system.” As evidence of the disappearance of bees, Dennis points out that the calls he receives from people wanting bees removed from their property have dwindled drastically. Although he doesn’t do bee removals, a friend of his, Ralph Lowe, does. Last year the two of them received 12 to 24 calls about bees inside houses and 35 concerning swarms of bees. This year, Dennis and Ralph have each received four calls. This is a rather alarming drop in just one year. Despite the obvious affection that Dennis holds for bees, he admits that if you’re going to be around them, you’re going to be stung. “The queen has a stinger but no barbs. The workers have stingers with barbs. If stung,” he warns, “don’t pull out the stinger or it might release the venom. Instead, scrape the stinger off with a credit card.” According to Dennis, bees will even sting through a bee suit and leather gloves. He suggests using a smoker to calm them down. “When you smoke them, you can hear them humming. To them, the smoke is a warning, and they think they’re going to have to leave the hive, so they gorge themselves with honey. The smoke confuses them and impedes their ability to communicate with one another.”


Lifting a frame from the hive body for inspection. The honey in these hives is saved for the bees to survive the winter.


When the harvest is over, the bees clean up after themselves, and Dennis Herrmann bottles the food that never spoils.


Dennis is an expert when it comes to bee stings. In the 18 years that he’s worked with bees, he has been stung 379 times and counting. “I keep track,” he says. Once his hand was so swollen he couldn’t bend his knuckles. Another time he took five stings to his face and couldn’t open his eye for three days. But the worst incident was when he endured 72 stings at one time. He was working the bees, but since he was still recovering from hip surgery, he couldn’t pick up a whole box. Therefore, he was removing one frame at a time and transferring them into another box inside his truck. When he reached the last two frames, the unexpected happened. His bee suit, which had elastic at the bottom of the legs, slipped up, allowing the bees to get under his work boots. “I couldn’t get away from them. The whole two frames emptied on me,” he says.

His legs were stung so badly that he was sore for a week. He learned a couple of lessons from the incident—don’t work bees in the evening close to dark and wear high rubber boots. On the plus side, some people think that bee stings will help with a number of ailments, including multiple sclerosis. Dennis is a firm believer in the therapeutic advantages of the venom. “It’s good for arthritis,” he claims. But he adds with a chuckle, “Unfortunately, they don’t sting me where I hurt!” A Posey County resident since 1980, Linda Neal Reising lives in the historic “Cale House,” where she writes fiction and poetry, as well as fending off rowdy raccoons and voracious Virginia creeper. She can be contacted at: poseymagazine@aol.com.


Poetry

In September

In September, when the cornstalks are nothing more than a few brown scraps of crepe paper against the fence—somber reminders of a celebration ended—and even the geraniums and phlox grow spindly and frail as old maids, I find myself full of regret.

It’s not the death mask that October wears or January’s funeral dirge rattling through frozen spruce limbs that spiral me down into this state of ruing— quagmire of disappointment and desire— but the act of dying itself found in September. Only in September. Only then.

— Linda Neal Reising


Posey Portrait

John Crum, cabinet maker

Š Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann

Posey Portrait will feature a random photograph of a friend or neighbor — in a place we call home


Out of the frame/J. Bruce Baumann

Out of the frame focuses on moments found without a story or context. We all pass something that catches our eye and tweaks our curiosity during the course of everyday living. Sometimes it makes us smile or even chuckle. You might say it tickles the mind. Other times it makes us think about life in a serious way. Regardless of how we react, in that instant the image touches a part of our brain or heart and becomes part of who we are. For the moment it takes us out of the frame.

ŠPhotograph by J. Bruce Baumann


T

he sounds of spring—nighttime insects and early peepers in a nearby pond— wafted through the May air, as Mr. and Mrs. L.P. Cox slept peacefully in their home just outside of Wadesville. Suddenly their slumber and the countryside’s serenity were shattered by a loud pounding on their door. The dreams of Mr. and Mrs. Cox were about to be replaced by a nightmare. No doubt still half-asleep as it was nearing midnight, Mr. Cox, with his wife trailing close behind, made his way to the front door. He found two women on his porch. According to the strangers’ story, they lived in Evansville but had traveled to Crossville, Illinois, before losing their way and managing to drive their Hudson into a nearby ditch. Would he help them get it out? Because Mr. Cox worked as the cashier at the bank in Wadesville, he had learned to be skeptical and cautious. However, after consulting with his wife, the couple agreed to go with the women. Obviously, it wouldn’t look proper for Mr. Cox to accompany the strange women without his spouse. As a testament to the innocent times in which they lived, the couple left behind their three children who, deep in sleep, had no idea that their parents would very soon find themselves in a life-or-death situation. The four set out in the direction of the car, but as they neared the vehicle, Mr. Cox noticed that it was not in the ditch as the visitors had claimed. One of the women tried to convince him that one of the front tires had

indeed left the road, but by this time, the Cox couple knew that they had been deceived. When they started back to their house, three men emerged from the ditch with revolvers aimed at the husband and wife. They ordered the couple to stay perfectly quiet or “have their brains blown out.” The gunmen then forced Mr. and Mrs. Cox into the Hudson, and started toward Wadesville. As a precaution, the would-be bank robbers had severed all of the telephone wires leading to the town. Cox immediately tried to convince the bandits that the safe could not be opened since it was equipped with a time lock, but they did not believe him. The party first drove through Wadesville, checking to see that the coast was clear, and then returned to the bank, where the robbers again threatened to kill Cox if he didn’t open the safe. Two of the men took Cox to the building, while the third man and the two women stayed inside the car, guarding Mrs. Cox, who did not know whether she would ever see her husband again. From the rear of the bank appeared a fourth man, his tool kit in hand. The cashier then informed the thieves that he had no key to the door, but that did not deter them. One robber simply shattered the glass with his revolver’s butt and unlocked the door from the inside. With a gun trained on him, Cox opened the big vault door but again attempted to convince the men that the safe was on a timer. Although he worked the

combination to show the robbers that it was an unreasonable request, they still put their guns to his head and threatened to kill him if he didn’t open the safe. Once again, Cox begged them to believe him when he said they were asking him to do the impossible. Finally, the bank robbers were convinced that the cashier was telling the truth, and they began to gather the contents of the vault. Next, they forced Cox to open several safety deposit boxes. Altogether, they were only able to take $77 in cash, two revolvers, and various bank papers. The bandits then took Mr. and Mrs. Cox back to their house where their children still slept, unaware of the drama being played out in their house. Since the safe lock opened at 8 in the morning, the robbers decided to wait with the couple and then force Cox to open it for them. However, one of the thieves remembered the broken glass in the front door, and they decided anyone seeing the break-in would report that something was amiss. With that one quick blow of the revolver butt on glass, they had ruined their chances of making the “big haul.” Before leaving, the robbers warned Mr. and Mrs. Cox that if they wanted to live, they were not to report the night’s events until daybreak. Fearing for their lives, Cox did not sound the alarm until 4:00 Tuesday morning. Their nightmare had finally come to an end as darkness gave way to light over Wadesville.

—By Linda Neal Reising


Out In The Back Of Beyond/Editor’s Notebook DATES & MILESTONES

I

recently realized how much we are controlled by dates. Not just the obvious ones that we all share, calendar dates, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, or the Fourth of July. But also the spiritual dates — the dates that you share with yourself. Those moments that endure long after they have passed. As you grow older, they form the person that you are today. Some of them are happy dates. The day you got that great job or the big raise. The day you moved to that utopian place on the map. The day you passed geometry or Spanish

© Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann

class. Well, one out of two. But they fade with time and become less important to who you are. The dates that control our minds are imprinted as if they were chiseled in stone, forever changing who we are and who we might become. Losing a loved one, a spouse, a child, or a family member are dates we remember forever. The baggage we carry to the grave. They deserve a place in our mind, but must be tempered — as defined as, combined with balance and suitable proportion. I have my own chiseled stones

that I’ve collected over the years. My own baggage. The poet Jeffrey McDaniel wrote, “I realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.” I have a difficult time letting go. My friends tell me that time will help soften the sad memories, replacing them with the good ones. But the dates still linger. They are the seasons of my mind. Oh, how I wish I could be like a tree in winter — letting things go.

J. Bruce Baumann Editor Posey Magazine poseymagazine@aol.com


“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” — Buckminster Fuller

© Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann

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Posey Magazine September/October 2013  

Posey Magazine is a bi-monthly feature publication on Posey County, Indiana, edited by J. Bruce Baumann. It focuses on the people and geogra...

Posey Magazine September/October 2013  

Posey Magazine is a bi-monthly feature publication on Posey County, Indiana, edited by J. Bruce Baumann. It focuses on the people and geogra...