The Railsplitter always remains newsworthy. Perhaps you remember the recent Lincoln-related crime wave in Kankakee, Illinois, where a thief or thieves took a plaster sculpture of Abraham Lincoln’ hand. Let’s go to local reaction, as reported in the January 3, 2016 edition of the New York Times:
In addition to being outraged, museum visitors were perplexed. “I think it’s kind of crazy,” said Kelly Lambert, a college student whose aunt works at the museum. “Why would someone want to walk off with a fake Abraham Lincoln hand?”
Not just a plaster hand, but a plaster hand “the size of an 8-10 pound ham,” according to police.
When a coworker told me what happened, I initially thought she meant Abraham Lincoln’s real hand somehow ended up in a Kankakee museum. Anyone who grows up in Lincoln-venerating Illinois wouldn’t be surprised by that blockbuster revelation. But no. It’s a plaster sculpture, and it’s the size of a ham. Not a grotesquely large ham. More like one of those hams that puts up a respectable feed for a party of, say, eight, with leftovers for the dog.
His earthly life, meanwhile, fascinates historians and reading Americans alike. Why not purchase a bit of scholarship to celebrate Abe’s birthday? You could bake a ham while you read about his friends, his poor wife, his generals, or his nemesis Stephen A. “Boy, I’m on the Wrong Side of History” Douglas.