.....The BiKeWriTeR

TheBiKeWriTer | Dodging the rain in Indiana

There are so many small town charms to find while bicycling.

Making my way northwest out of Milan, IN and ran across this peach stand. The father- son team of Art and Mike Johnson had been working the same busy intersection for 34 years.

“You’re going to get wet today,” said Mike. Dressed in a straw hat and sporting wire rimmed glasses he picked out two peaches and told me to wait two days and they would be super juicy.

Art was 88. ”I was here when the old Oak still stood,” he said pointing to the stump. Mike pointed out the line of power poles and said the farmer sold the land but with the caveat they build their line around the old Oak. ”That’s why it curves out here,” he said pointing to the odd pattern of the poles.

A little ways up the road dark clouds were coming in. Had to make a quick stop to get this big boy off the road.

Spent about three hours watching the rain from inside a McDonald’s. Before I got there I sought shelter in a mom and pop wood carving shop in Batesville, IN.

It was 1922 when William Weberding received a woodworking set from his dad; it was a set of chisels to help pass the time during his recovery from pneumonia and an appendectomy.

William’s interest in woodcarving continued after he recovered. He became an apprentice at a furniture company in Batesville in 1932 and when he was 16 he would spend evenings carving religious statues.

William started a small shop in a 10’ x 12’ building. He was always very Catholic and religious and did a lot for the community. He said, ”We were raised to treat people right.”

William and his wife Monica had five children and over 70 years made one-of-a-kind religious carvings and creations for many parishes across the archdiocese and even the country.

There was an extensive effort involved in recreating the beautifully ornate partition wall behind the altar of Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Indianapolis after a fire gutted the church in 2001.

Photo credit: Del Vechio, Jennifer, The Criterion, 4 May 2001, https://n.b5z.net/i/u/10004198/f/Criterion_Sacred_Heart_1.pdf

Recently the family business was contacted by the Batesville Casket Company. It needed carved gold eagles added to a casket which could also be removed so that family could keep them.

The catch is they had to be completed in four days. “We were able to meet the deadline. We had no idea who the customer was until Mr. John McCain passed away.

“We were very honored to have a little piece of making Senator John McCain’s last wishes fulfilled. A big thank you to Batesville casket for the opportunity.”

Some interesting small town Americana while ducking in out of the rain.

On a side note:

The 2022 Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s is raising money this year for music programming for seniors at Cedar Community, a 501c3, so all donations are tax-deductible. Donate via the secure website through Cedar Community.  Donations should be marked “Amazing Ride 2022.” Click HERE to make a secure online donation. Checks may be made payable to “Cedar Community” with “Judy Bike Ride” in the memo line and mailed to 113 Cedar Ridge Dr., West Bend, WI 53095 Be sure to include the Federal Tax ID Number for the Foundation: 39-1249432 You may also find a downloadable donation form HERE. Cedar Community is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible.

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