What is a Hoosier* anyway?


We are trapped in Indiana.  Or at least it sure seems that way.

Yesterday, about 45 minutes outside of South Bend, we had rain.  Our nice hotel was on the Notre Dame campus, with a restaurant on-site, and lots of nice feather pillows and a 100% chance of rain all night.  So, we modified our plans, stayed in, relaxed and watched the Olympics.

At the stroke of midnight, things went south.  The entire campus, including our hotel, lost power until 6:30 AM as a result of massive storms. Good news, we had windows we were able to open.  Bad news, no hot water. Good news, the rain was stopping.

We decided not to tour Mammoth Cave in Kentucky later today and spend part of the morning seeing the beautiful Notre Dame campus.

We were after all, on assignment from a friend to find the statue of Moses with horns. We did.  He is also known as “Notre Dame is #1 Moses,” only out-ranked by “Touchdown Jesus.” Check-out the photos for clarification.

DSC_0152I do need to set the record straight about Moses’s horns.  There is no bizarre message or meaning. What we have is a basic translation error. It seems in the original Hebrew text there was some mention of some radial beams of light emitting from Moses’ head when he came down from Sinai with the 10 Commandments.  The Hebrew word for “shone” is qaran, a denominative verb from a noun meaning “horn.” A mistranslation from Hebrew to Latin resulted in Michelangelo putting horns on Moses – an error that has been replicated throughout history.

Several who read this blog are far more experienced than I am in art history and translation; so please feel free to embellish on this topic!

When we left the campus, we found out just how bad the rain had been in South Bend- 7 ½ inches. There was lots of flooding and many streets were closed, as well as some businesses. Bad news, our first attempt at a lunch spot was not open.  Worse news, it was like a maze to get out-of-town due to the floods. Finally on our way, we found out that about 30 miles of I-65, south of Indianapolis, was closed for hours due to a bad accident.

So, we were trapped in Indiana, four hours behind schedule, alternating between wandering through back roads and sitting in traffic, trying to get to Kentucky.

A fitting conclusion was when Carlye, our in-car voice commander, ordered us off the interstate just before Louisville, at the last exit for Indiana.

We weren’t buying it.

Sidebar:  Good news.  Made a brief side trip to Peru, “Circus Capital of the World” and home of my Grandfather’s, recently discovered first wife (as well as Cole Porter). I wonder if that first wife was with the circus.

*In use since 1827, the origin of “Hoosier” to describe those from Indiana is still debated.  Likely from an early reference to people who lived west, maybe for attributes of bravery and self-reliance. Can’t believe I never asked my Dad about this, now it’s time for my Hoosier friends to step-up with any insight!

5 Comments on “What is a Hoosier* anyway?

  1. Glad you were finally released from Indiana!! We all miss you and look forward to your safe trip home!!! Bette However, we will miss these wonderful blogs of your trip. Gives me itchy feet!!!

  2. Best blog ever!!! Love your sense of humor and of course I’m going to have Jeff read your explanation of Moses’ horns!! Please drive safely! xoxo

  3. Hoosier is from someone coming to your house. The person knocks on the door, and the person inside says, “Hoosh air.” (Who’s there?)

  4. Karen, glad to see you were in the state of my upbringing and education. I once slept almost directly under the Golden Dome on a too-short Naugahyde couch. Never again.

    Assume you came south on US31 to see Peru. That area was also the last holdings of the once-mighty Miami Indian Nation — war chief Little Turtle defeated two armies sent against them by Pres. Washington and he’s an unknown. Then Rev War Gen’l Anthony Wayne -who benefited from the British who stopped supplying arms- defeated Little Turtle near Toledo (Ft Wayne then named in his honor). The Miami nation was eventually banished to Oklahoma but a faction split off and returned to IN. Another sad and too often repeated story of Native American displacement.

    Finally, two more versions of ‘Hoosier’ origins. 1. The Hoosier Brothers were a construction company early 1800’s out of KY and they had so many work gangs in IN that it was a way to ID them. 2. Cabin pioneers, always wary of strangers, would grab their flintlock and yell “Who’s yur?” When a stranger came knocking. So many rustics did this that the contraction stuck.
    Like the ending of “Life of Pi,” I ask ‘what story do you want to believe?

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