A Motherís Journey† -† The Pickup

A motherís journey began in the summer of 2007 when I contacted David Kocka of Laconia, Indiana, to create a particular life-size sculpture for me.† There has been continued communication with David these past three years ó emails, photos, calls ó and finally in May of 2010 the project was completed and it was time to pick up the Ave Maria and bring her to Victoria.†

Allan and I left Victoria early in the morning on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, and spent the first night of our planned five-day road trip at the stately bed and breakfast in Rensselaer, Indiana.† Called ďThe White House,Ē it was large and love as can be.† Allan had found it on the internet.

The next morning, Thursday, April 8th, we took off about 8:00 a.m. and enjoyed seeing a countryside that was new to us.† We were surprised to see rows of windmills in Indiana and even more surprised to see that none of them were moving.-

Scads of Red Buds poked their blooming heads from hill and dale.† How interesting that this colorful spring tree is sometimes referred to as the Judas tree because it dates back to biblical times.

Did Judas hang himself on such a tree?† Yikes.

We landed around noon in Corydon.† I had earlier learned from David that the history city of Corydon was home to the Kintner house, a quaint bed and breakfast where past U.S. presidents had stayed.

Allan and I got William Henry† Harrisonís room.† Very nice.† The fireplace mantle was made of handcarved cherry with a beveled mirror above it.† Didnít make sense to me.† You couldnít see in the mirror unless you jumped on the bed.

The bed was handcarved walnut.† The sofa was Victorian Brocade.† We didnít sit on it but we did watch television.† They should put a big flat screen TV above the fireplace.

We sat on the porch out front and waited for David to pick us up and take us to see the Madonna I had only seen in pictures.† She was a shop in Corydon for sandblasting.

My Ave Maria was standing outdoors in the sun, and since this was the very first time I saw her in person, I wonít forget it.† She was awesome.† Breathtaking, in fact.† It was also good to see David.

She stood there graceful and love, glistening when the southern sun peeked at her from behind the billowy clouds.† She was more impressive in real life than in photographs.

The Child, whom she was holding close to her heart, smiled and tenderly caressed His mother.† David brushed her bronze with final touches of wax.† I chose David because he has a Victoria connection.† His parents are Dave and Loretta Kocka of Victoria ó and because I remembered a Thomas Merton sculpture he had done, which I liked.

Iím happy to have chosen David M. Kocka.† Often I bombarded the dear artist with a barrage of commentary and criticism that didnít lit up until I was satisfied at every turn.† David, always patient and kid, and with the collaboration of another sculptor, David Lind, created a masterpiece that turned the heads of every passerby.

The sculpture of beautiful burnished bronze was commissioned nearly three years ago because of a motherís prayers (mine) and a motherís intercession (Maryís).† In every way this is a story of a motherís journey, though not all of it.

Then the men came and tied a thick rope around her waist and carefully, and slowly, tipped her backwards onto a thick yellow foam pad about the size of a twin bed.

A forklift moved into place with a boom and a hook and swivel, and the men placed the hook over her rope.†

The forklift raised the quiet mother from the foam pad and, again slowly, carried her across the parking lot to my white pickup truck.

The men helped the bronze mother keep her balanced in mid air in the supine position about three feet off the ground.

We had come from Victoria with a full size mattress† that covered most of the eight-foot bed of my truck.

Everyone worked diligently to maneuver the heavy sculpture into the truck.

The back of our truck would be Maryís resting place for the next few days as we journeyed through springtime from one state into the next.

Davidís studio, of which we were given a personal and detailed tour, includes an array of rooms in attached metal buildings that sprawl from one into another.†

After the Ave Maria was comfortable in our truck, we parked it at the Kintner House, climbed into Davidís PT Cruiser, and sped with him 15 miles to the picturesque countryside of the Kocka homestead.

The artist took us through each of the large rooms, explaining the process and the series of steps that were required in making my beautiful bronze Ave Maria.†

We learned that not only is a sculptor an artist but also an inventor, a machinist, a welder, a chemist, a detailer.

We had no idea that the work was so labor intensive.

The sculptor is, in fact, a manual laborer with an artistís eye for the final creation.

David showed Allan how the molten bronze heated, lifted, carried, and readied for pouring.

Then we climbed back into Davidís PT Cruiser and headed for his home around the bend, only about 500 feet away from the studio.† The Kocka (pronounced kotchka) spread is 180 acres of rolling hills, green meadows, a small lake, hay land, and trees green or blooming.† Notice the Red Buds.

David and his wife Judy designed and built their nest here about 20 years ago.† It is easy to see why they love their home and like to spend as much time there as possible.

Their large deck offers some of the greatest views.

Judyís gardens, which are neat and orderly, are growing with herbs and vegetables and flowers.

The artistís home is warm and inviting with big wood, big stonework, and many pieces of Davidís artwork, including his paintings as well as his sculptures.

A variety of furnishings, many of them antique, bring the old world into the new world.

David, who once wore the Franciscan habit, maintains a little altar room in their home.† Once a priest, always a priest.

David paints, and sculpts, and also carves.

Allan practiced going up and down the novel steps in the Kocka home.† David explained that stairs constructed in this manner donít take up very much space.

Then Judy arrived home from work and prepared snacks and wine for us.† Notice the walls of their home.† Judy worked alongside David in building their home, and she even helped with chinking, a process where cement is troweled between timbers.†

One more picture ó this little arbor nook is near the front of their home ó and then we headed to Corydon for dinner.† After dinner David and Judy brought us back to the Kintner Inn where we waved goodbye as our new friends rode off into the sunset in their PT Cruiser.† We check on our precious cargo under lock and key out back and she was doing just fine.

This was the view as we enjoyed our wine and appetizers in the screened porch off their kitchen.

Thank you, David and Judy, for your hospitality.† Your home and yard is a beautiful piece of work.

This view is from another porch window.