In search of Lincoln’s hand

PeckF17The 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.

hamFans may recall that Lincoln used his mitts to good effect in frontier wrestling matches. He now routinely dunks over that chump Woodrow Wilson in the Presidential Afterlife Basketball Association.

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.