Gentle Reader, you may wonder why there is no photograph of Katrina to go with this eulogy nor are there other written remembrances of her forty years of service to Posey County and me. The reason is to be found in the adage which best describes her: “The impossible can be accomplished if praise is not the object.”
Katrina served Posey County from 1976 at age eighteen until March 27, 2017 without seeking or wanting recognition. She worked first for Posey Circuit Court Judge Steve Bach, then for Posey County assessor Mary Lee Curtis, then for Posey County Prosecuting Attorney Tom Rachels and his successor Tom McClelland, then with me in what was the Posey County/now Posey Superior Court/and from 1983 until last week with me in the Posey Circuit Court.
According to the Posey County Auditor’s Office, as of last week Katrina had 494.50 hours of unused/unpaid vacation, personal, sick and flex time (comp. time). Katrina could never find time for herself as she was always doing for everybody else. The Court came first, right after her family.
Her work required diligence and intelligence. Her diligence was legendary among her fellow workers and thousands of citizens who relied upon her for answers to countless complicated legal questions. Of course, most people did not know about her 144 point I.Q., every point of which often came to the rescue of attorneys, litigants and me.
There was no job or issue that came before the Court that Katrina felt was not her responsibility. If there was work to be done and people to be helped, she was all in without a request for assistance or thanks.
Gentle Reader, you may have never had the honor and pleasure of knowing Katrina Sue Mann but if you or your family, friends or clients needed any service from Posey County government during the last forty years, you may well owe a debt of gratitude to Katrina. However, do not feel bad for not knowing about her sterling service and generous attitude; she would have been embarrassed for you to acknowledge her.
For example, Katrina worked right up to going into the hospital last week in spite of immense pain and discomfort. I am pretty sure now, although she fought to the end, she knew this time was different. Of course, she made sure nobody else, including me, knew.
Since Katrina can no longer prevent anyone from singing a paean to her, perhaps if you knew her but also did not get a chance to tell her goodbye, you may wish to join in the following farewell:
Elegy to Kat Mann
A young girl from West Franklin came,
to work at the Court, but not to seek fame.
Her long flowing hair framed a lovely fresh face,
to me she’s the same tho’ the years moved apace.
Dreams she had many, she kept them inside,
while others she served her own would abide.
Her nephews and niece knew Aunt Sue Sue wouldn’t fail,
her Mom and siblings would always prevail.
She gave of her best each day of her life,
solving the Court’s innumerable strifes.
She never smoked, drank or cursed or pulled a trigger,
yet she is the one whose own body attacked her, go figger.
Never a word of self or complaint,
ever for others much as a saint.
Kat Mann I miss you, you know we all will,
if there is any justice, you’ll be with us still.
Please click on the following link to go to Kat Mann’s obituary:
On April 10, 2017 in the courtroom of the Posey Circuit Court the Posey County Bar Association and teachers and students from Mt. Vernon High School and North Posey High School will celebrate the Rule of Law. Law Day was established as a response to the Soviet Union’s military display on May Day.
This will be the thirty-fourth straight year the Bar and the schools have joined in the presentation of a Mock Trial in which the teachers guide their students in a jury trial. From 1984 until New Harmony High School closed the three schools rotated portraying the court personnel and each of two sides to a fictional case. Now the Bar Association provides the judge, Superior Court Judge Brent Almon, and the jury composed of attorneys.
The two high schools select students who enact the roles of witnesses called to testify by student attorneys who also argue their cases to the jury. The jury of practicing lawyers decides the outcome from which there is no appeal.
Over the years over a thousand Posey County students have learned by actual doing how their legal system works. Some of the student attorneys have gone on to become actual members of the Bar.
The Mock Trial is open to the public and will begin at 8:30 am on April 10. While cameras and recording devices are usually prohibited in Indiana courts, anyone who wishes to attend is welcome to take photographs and record the proceedings.
Next week the Mock Trial case and the names of the participants from the two high schools will be divulged.
Photo Taken by Rodney Fetcher
While not an umbrella, the EHang184 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle promises vertical take off and landing. The oval shaped 440-pound plastic egg made in China will be available for you and your one 16-inch carryon bag starting this July.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Royal Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, decreed that by the year 2030 he wants at least 25% of passenger traffic in Dubai to be via autonomous vehicles. He did not decree a price per trip but since my young friend Andy Minnette was charged $100.00 about ten years ago there for the privilege of riding an elevator to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, I presume we’re not talking rickshaw prices.
According to the propaganda sheet from EHang, there will be no need for a license or special training. If one weighs 220 pounds or less he or she would just throw in a bag, lock the dome of the 18-foot long device, punch in a destination and push a button. Then it’s, Jetsons here we come!
The E184 can travel 60 miles an hour and fly for 23 minutes on one electrical charge. It has four legs with 2 rotors on each leg, is 5 feet in maximum height and has what EHang asserts is a “failsafe system” that is also constantly monitored from a “control center”. The occupant has no way to escape, e.g., parachute out.
The cost appears to me to be rather in flux. EHang says for a mere $200,000 to $300,000 you can be the proud owner of this glorious egg. It does fold up and can be parked in a regular parking space or outside your mansion.
Autonomous automobiles are about the only analogous vehicles for comparison. As of March 08, 2017 Uber reported its 43 unmanned cars, which by the way are manned by an operator, averaged less than one mile of driving before a human had to take over to avoid an “incident”. If you should have such an “incident” 500 feet in the air in your E184, “Good Luck!”, as they say in Las Vegas.
Now, I am not a Luddite. I like technology such as Cable TV and air conditioning. However, in Posey County, Indiana it might be somewhat premature to ask the County Commissioners and County Council for a Circuit Court EHang 184. After all, the last time I arrived at the stoplight in New Harmony when there was more than one other vehicle was during the Christmas parade. As for the Mt. Vernon intersection of Fourth and Main by the Courthouse, I did have to wait almost 10 seconds once last week. Maybe Dubai is busier.
Another concern I have with the use of the EHang 184 was raised by its announcement being accompanied by solicitations for financing options and available life insurance plans. However, my true reluctance was caused by the companion article from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that cautioned it was already developing guidelines and hiring thousands of high school dropouts for strip searching anyone who wishes to fly in an EHang 184.
My friend Ilse (not Elsa) Dorsch Horacek and I met in my courtroom on March 14, 1990. As I rarely remember even the names of people I have met the previous week it speaks a great deal to the power of Ilse’s personality that I remember our first meeting twenty-seven years ago.
What speaks to her sterling character was her introduction to me of the horrific murders and pogrom of African Americans that occurred in Posey County, Indiana in the autumn of 1878. Ilse had known of and personally experienced the kinds of horrors and hardships we humans are capable of inflicting upon one another.
When Ilse told me of her childhood in World War II Germany I often encouraged her to use her excellent literary talents to record and share her unique viewpoint of that time. Our meeting came about because she, as President of the Posey County Coterie Literary Society, asked if the Society could tour the courthouse and speak with me about its history.
While Else has composed her interesting compilations of Posey County history in her It Was Written books, her own life is portrayed in her sobering and insightful new book Flowers for Hitler which she and Evansville, Indiana author Mike Whicker published in 2016. To me the book’s greatest value is its exposition of the lessons we humans just cannot seem to fully learn, i.e., we humans often inflict great evil on other less powerful humans and there are no winners in war.
An example of Ilse’s prescient understanding of this hard lesson appears at page 42 of her book. According to her first hand account, Ilse’s friend and high school classmate, Sigi, was literally blown to pieces by American bombers. As Ilse said, “My hatred for the Americans was complete”.
Of course, because of Ilse’s deep-rooted sense of justice she also condemned the evils of Nazism and she makes no apology for Hitler. The Ilse I met and have had the pleasure of knowing feels deeply the evils we are all somehow connected to, such as was inflicted on those Black people in 1878, and may even encourage, at least by our silence.
I bought my valued copy of Ilse’s heartfelt book at The Cozy Cottage on Walnut Street in Mt. Vernon, Indiana. You can also order it; ISBN 978-0-9844160-7-3. There are probably few better uses for your $15.00.
Should you be among the vast legions of loyal Gamut readers who read and preserved last week’s column you will no doubt have committed to memory the conversation between our contemporary Adam and Eve, ergo Jim and Peg, concerning the glories of spring.
Unfortunately, another of those readers was Peg. Usually she just types up my burnt offerings as rapidly as she can without deigning to take the slightest note. However, since her name was mentioned she actually read and was not amused by last week’s “Fair and Balanced” exposition of hers and my differing approaches to the Earth’s yearly awakening. Peg has demanded a retraction in lieu of filing a lawsuit or worse.
I spent at least five seconds resisting her unreasonable and incessant demands then remembered what Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) wrote:
The Female of the Species
WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other’s tale—
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.
Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.
Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!
But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.
She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.
She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.
She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.
Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw!
So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.
And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.
(Thanks to my friend Sam Blankenship for directing me to this warning.)
Anyway, Gentle Readers (at least of the male persuasion), I am confident you will agree with me on two points: (1) Peg was dead wrong; and, (2) I would be foolish to say so!
When God took a rib from Adam and made Eve He started us down a slippery slope. I may not have been in The Garden of Eden but I am pretty sure I know how the first conversation between a man and a woman transpired:
Adam: That is the most beautiful apple tree in the history of the world!
Eve: It needs to be pruned and it looks like some of those apples are ready for picking. Since you were here first, you do it.
Adam: I have never seen a finer fig tree.
Eve: Somebody needs to pull off some of those leaves so I can weave them into a new dress. You are taller than I am, you pull them off. By the way, what’s a dress?
Adam: Isn’t it great to have all this to ourselves?
Eve: It’s about time you quit just cavorting around as if you were in Paradise and helped me take care of these kids. And don’t give me that excuse about watching football. Tom Brady hasn’t even been drafted yet.
Adam: Would it be asking too much for you to maybe fix a meal?
Eve: A meal! Here, have a bite of this apple I just had you pick.
Actually, Gentle Reader, I was not thinking about the Genesis of life but the beginning of the never ending spring at JPeg Ranch and my own Eve’s inability to see anything that doesn’t involve a job for me that just has to be done right now or our home will crumble like the Tower of Babel.
For example, with this glorious February weather I thought Peg and I would both enjoy a peaceful walk about our rural home. I was half right.
Jim: Isn’t this marvelous weather?
Peg: Do you believe all the sticks and limbs that blew down this winter? I guess I’ll probably have to gather them all up myself. Of course, since you’re so much stronger than I am, you might want to do it?
Jim: Boy, the pond is sure clear. Maybe I should grab a rod and reel and try for a fish or two.
Peg: Or, you could help me put the fountain back in. However, since you weren’t around when I took it out, I’ll probably just do it myself, even though it would be a lot easier for you to reach the cable since you’re taller.
Jim: Don’t you think this weekend would be a good time to just build a fire out of that wood you want me to pick up and watch the spring flowers gradually appear?
Peg: If you mean those early dandelions, sure. Maybe this year you’ll get some of them before they reach beanstalk status.
Oh well, so much for an early Spring in Paradise.