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Friday, April 19 2002

The Lincoln Mine project

While reviewing the thoughts shared this week about Joe Yobaggy, another incident came to mind that's worth recounting for the annals, whatever that may mean.

When we were getting well acquainted, Joe was the owner of the Lincoln Mine in Nanty Glo, which had in an earlier period been an economic factor in the borough, but at this time wasn't "working" in any meaningful sense. My take was that he didn't have any employees working there, but that he was himself doing a little mining, which I found totally incongruent with my earlier impressions of him (though my grandfather had been a "housecoal miner," and my dad worked virtually his whole pre-retirement life in the mines, I certainly was never interested in extracting coal or any other minerals from the ground with pick and shovel or, for that matter, the latest mining machines).

As part of his getting to know me, and, in retrospect, I think ways to encourage me and perhaps have a part in any promise I might fulfill as the "most likely to succeed" member of the Blacklick Township Class of 1960, we discussed tourism development. He thought Lincoln Mine would make a great tourist attraction and be much more accessible to tourists than the county's only operating tourist-accessible mine, Seldom Seen, which is in the remotest corner of the county and not on any major highway. He asked me to work on developing it with him and we did some of that on the cerebral level. I remember thinking how much fun it would be (as I'd be, naturally, in charge of publicity and advertising for the project) to promote the Lincoln Mine and how it would complement the existing and well-advertised Lincoln Caverns in Center County as a major tourist destination. I would adapt the likeness of Abraham Lincoln that's on the Lincoln penny as the promotional hook or logo. We would develop the property with a tourist motel near the mine (I have never, however, seen the mine nor do I know exactly where it's located, though I do recall some relatively small rockdumps in the Lincoln section of town).

Joe went so far as to ask L. Robert Kimball to create a picture of the motel to use in promoting and raising funding to get started. I later saw the drawings, which were in color and worthy publication. But, though I was not present at the time, when Joe got the bill he must have nearly fainted...it was about 10 times what he expected and nearly twice the salary of a school teacher at the time for two months. He got no sympathy from the drawings' producer, so opted to go to court rather than pay, and asked if I would back his claim that he was expecting to pay for a drawing taking a couple of hours of an artist's time at a then-normal wage. Though I was then living in New Jersey, I readily agreed. But when our day in court came, there was no formal testimony...as with my other (thankfully rare) court experiences, everything was resolved outside the formal arena. I can't testify to this, but my impression is Joe was told by the judge to pay everything. There are lessons to be learned in that unfortunate episode.

To this day, Seldom Seen remains the only coal mine I've ever actually been in.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Notes to God

A parochial school teacher asked her class to write notes to God. Here are some of the notes the children handed in:

Dear God: Are You really invisible or is it just a trick?

Dear God: Is it true my father won't get into Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house?

—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for the day

A... sure sign of spiritual pride is that the proud man tends to think very highly of his humility, whereas the truly humble man thinks of himself as very proud. This is because the proud man and the humble man have different views of themselves. We measure a man's humiliation by our view of his proper dignity and greatness. If a king knelt down to remove the shoe of another king, we would consider this an act of self-abasement, and so would the king who did it. By contrast, if a slave knelt down to remove the shoe of his king, nobody would think that a great act of self-abasement or a sign of great humility. The slave himself would not think so unless he were ridiculously conceited. If he went about afterwards boasting about what great humility he had displayed in removing the king's shoe, everyone would laugh at him. "Who do you think you are," they would say, "that you think it very humble of you to remove the king's shoe?"

—Jonathan Edwards
Sent by Nick Needham

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