We are here!

Well, I am, anyway.

Like the Whos in Horton’s dustspeck, NouveauSoileau is very tiny indeed in the great enormous  internet, but as those Whos would say, I am here, I am here, I am here!

And I’m here today with an update from a post last fall, when my brother Mark emailed me a photo of The Hung Jury, a print that the West Publishing Co. , purveyor of law books, gifted to 1950s lawyers.

My father, you may recall, was not a ’50s lawyer, but assumed the practice of one who was, and presumably the contents included this print, which hung on the wall of his office throughout my childhood. After my father’s death, my mother gave my siblings and I some mementos of my father, including The Hung Jury. It was in the possession of the aforementioned Mark when a fire completely demolished his home a few years ago.

Well, last week an extremely pleasant comment landed here on the blog from a lady in Albuquerque, N.M., who is in possession of a copy of The Hung Jury. It belonged to her late husband, who got it from his father, a lawyer who practiced in Elizabeth City, N.C. Curious about its origins, she Googled and arrived here at NouveauSoileau and learned the history of the print, which I, your humble investigative journalist, had unearthed last September.

Since she kindly left her telephone number, I gave her a jingle and we had a wonderful conversation. We talked about small towns. We talked about genealogy. And, unsurprisingly, we discussed attorneys.

One of the reasons she and her husband liked the print is that the more reasonable-looking jury member, positioned to the left of Grumpy Mr. Holdout, looks a lot like her father-in-law. Interestingly, the apoplectic guy on the left, he of the pounding fist, closely resembles another figure from my childhood, a Mr. Pierce, who ran a liquor store downtown and, memorably, gave me a free candy bar on my seventh birthday. I’ll never forget it because, in addition to the unheard-of gift from heaven of a candy bar, I also couldn’t help but notice that half of the store was decorated in my honor; lots of Seagram’s 7 posters and 7-up advertisements about.

So there’s another quirky thing which makes this strange and wonderful print so interesting: anyone who’s seen it finds someone they know among the hung jury.

I’m anxiously awaiting the news if The Hung Jury will be among my eclectic art collection at some point in the future. Oh and hey —I know it’s not Art. But it’s also not Dogs Playing Poker and by golly, just because I didn’t go to law school, it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a little courthouse humor. After all, I practically grew up in one.

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