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January 1, 2013

BEAM: Mourning a fallen father

It’s a boy!

Yes, Baby New Year has arrived to the cheers of many around the globe and even to the drunken snores of a few across Southern Indiana. Even the Mayans and their unfinished calendar of doom couldn’t stop the little plump munchkin from donning his elitist top hat and 2013 sash.

But what about the death of poor Father Time? God rest his soul; few mourn his passing. Perhaps the excessive alcohol on New Year’s Eve has made them forget about his legacy. Or maybe the noisemakers drown out the memories of his all too brief life. At the very least, shouldn’t we celebrate his 2012?

And how better to glorify the old man and his hourglass than making a list! Not just any list, but an inventory of the best moments of 2012. Better yet, let’s award honorary titles to those who made the year so special. Of course, these accolades do not come with any medals or trophies, just Internet immortality for those listed. You can thank me later.

For me, this past year was a time of growth. I started writing feature stories and biography pieces for the News and Tribune last January. Through these assignments, I was able to meet some pretty fascinating Hoosiers. I’ve included a few of them in the list below. I’m thankful to everyone who allowed me to tell their stories.

Without further ado, here’s to the Best of 2012 that Southern Indiana had to offer:

Unsurpassed compassion and bravery in times of trouble: the Southern Indiana communities affected by the February tornadoes. As Rahul Singh said, “Together we are stronger, together we are unbroken, together we can do anything.” Few situations illustrate this quote better than the outpouring of aid after the horrific tornadoes that tore through our area. People like Michael and Lisa Clapp of Marysville lost their homes and so much more; yet they turned around and helped others in their own time of need. They demonstrated that in times of turmoil and heartache, hope can always be found.

Best up and coming Realtor who really isn’t a Realtor: Ed Meyer. Did he or didn’t he break the law? Who knows? That’s not for me to judge. However, if he did in fact help get those great land deals, I want Mr. Meyer to help me purchase my next house. I’ll let him put as big a political sign in the yard as he wants. I don’t live in Clarksville, so we shouldn’t have a problem with the size.

People who I wish would adopt me: Chuck Ledbetter, Father Mike Hilderbrand and Anne Caudill. If you haven’t met any of these outstanding Hoosiers, you really should. Charlestown native Ledbetter was a recipient of the 2012 Bales Humanitarian of the Year Award and might just be the kindest, most humble man I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. When you meet Father Mike, a priest at St. Mary of the Knobs, you can’t help but smile. His carefree personality and true caring spirit will make any day brighter.

And New Albany resident Caudill has stories that will captivate you for hours. Wife to a prolific writer, friend of publishing giants and Medal of Freedom Winners and keeper of Floyd County history, she’s done it all. If any of you do decide to adopt me, I’m pretty cheap. College and the wedding have already been paid for.

Greatest chance of Southern Indiana having a NBC Thursday Night Sitcom: NA-FC Parks and Recreation. Of course, since the split we’d need to label the show one or the other. The original program is already set in the Hoosier state. They’d just need to relocate a little further south. Who’s ready for their close-up, Mr. DeMille?

Hoosiers that, if they had an entourage, I’d like to be a member: Mary Ann Sodrel, Pat Harrison and Dick Jones. Jeffersonville’s Jones knows everyone and goes everywhere. The man grills raccoon for a local fundraiser, for heaven’s sakes. Sodrel and Harrison, both Southern Indiana Woman of the Year nominees, are just flat out fun. Their unabashed honesty and vigor for life is something all of us should aspire.

Forums most likely to embrace the revolutionary spirit of our forefathers: Clark County Chatter and GAWnews. Say what you want about the hearsay being reported on either website, both provide an accessible medium for local residents to be heard. Are they biased? Yes. Gossipy? Of course. But no more than what has gone down in American politics since colonial times.

Added to this group of rebel rousers should be Roger Baylor. I’m not sure if he would like to be called a revolutionary. Although his ownership of two watering holes and the subsequent political dialogues held there does lend itself to some Revolutionary War comparisons.

Greatest living historical basketball treasures: Borden High School Boys Basketball and former Charlestown High School Basketball coach John Wood. Borden basketball sums up what the sport should be about; good kids playing fundamentally strong ball in front of a cheering hometown crowd. Coach Doc Nash just got his 100th win at the school and the boys remain undefeated this season. Not too shabby for a team that was once called the Borden Berries.

Likewise, just the thought of all that coach Wood has seen in his many years playing and coaching hoops should bring a tear to any true basketball fan’s eye. Not only did he run up and down the court for the glory of my beloved Indiana Hoosiers in the 1950s, but he was brother to Marvin Wood, the head coach of Milan High School’s 1954 state champions on which the movie “Hoosiers” was based. Martha the Mop Lady would be proud.

So there you have it, my ode to 2012. RIP Old Man Time. You’ll be missed. And best of luck to all in 2013. May all your upcoming stories be written with only happiness and joy.

— Amanda Beam is a Floyd County resident and Jeffersonville native. Contact her by email at

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