Township of Fruitport – Perched on a street corner, the historical figure does not wave a hand when welcoming visitors to a township area.
In fact, Abraham Lincoln doesn’t move at all, sitting rigidly on a wooden chair. Dressed in black, he could be in mourning. He can also be alone, but it’s hard to tell when you don’t have a head.
In July, someone stole the noggin from the life-size statue, which has been in Jim Dynes’ backyard for four years.
Instead of suppressing the strange appearance, Dynes kept it going. Like the former president, he believed in the best angels of our nature. Against all odds, he thought the body would be made whole.
âI was hoping. I thought it was beautiful,â Dynes said.
For months, the decapitated emancipator sat in the courtyard, threatening to become a Halloween decoration. He had no place to put on a stovepipe hat, no idea which direction his beard was pointing.
Lincoln shunned religion but believed in the power of words, and it would be a combination of the two that would help unravel the mystery of the missing Presidential Pie.
The 5-foot concrete statue was a curiosity in this western Michigan township long before it lost its mind.
It even appears on Google Maps, but its face is blurry, whether for privacy concerns or perhaps the tech giant knew problems were brewing.
Across the street is the Broadway Baptist Church, whose members sometimes walk around to pose for photos with the sitting president.
Cody Christensen, 37, of Muskegon loves the statue but not half as much as his 5-year-old son, Milo.
âWe think it’s pretty cool,â he said. âThe first time we saw it my son gave the owner a thumbs up and he gave it back. “
Dynes, 74, is more of a fan of the person who made the statue than of the man she represents. But he does like Lincoln.
“He was a good president, even though he’s a Republican,” Democrat Dynes said. âHe ended the civil war. He freed the slaves.
He’s more excited about Jack Price, who created the statue decades ago. Dynes was a friend of the sculptor and wanted something to remember him after his death in 2016.
Dynes hoped the family would give him the statue for free, but the family asked for $ 1,000. They settled on $ 400.
âGrandchildren,â Dynes said, âyou know what they are like. “
The video offers clues
In July, Dynes wakes up to find the statue lying by the side of the road.
It had been moved several meters, which was quite an achievement given its weight 350 pounds. It had taken four men to move the statue when Dynes bought it.
Besides the head, the sculpture also lost its left index finger.
Dynes doesn’t have security cameras, but the church does, he told the Fruitport Township Police Department.
A church worker said the video footage had already been deleted but had previously viewed it after hearing about the vandalism, according to a police report.
The worker, Randy Johnson, said a white van pulled up at Dynes’s on the evening of July 16. Four or five people jumped up and started running, Johnson said.
It was too dark and too far away to see the vehicle’s license plate number or make, Johnson told police.
Police speculated that the group attempted to steal the statue, but that it was too heavy to put in the truck. They may have broken the appendages while trying to lift the object.
The culprits left the finger but took the lead.
Who would try to kidnap Abraham Lincoln? Were they fans of Stephen A. Douglas, still skinned by the debates? Or maybe progressive millennials with new grievances?
The police had little hope of finding the answer.
In the follow-up section of the police report, Constable Rob Atkinson said he would check the area for white trucks.
“I love this statue”
If the statue was a surprising sight before the madness, it became so afterwards.
Residents wondered if Headless Abe had been driven into the coconut by a falling branch. Others thought he was one of the first props for Halloween.
Dynes considered replacing the concrete head with a wooden head. A friend contacted a carpenter but, perhaps luckily, he said he couldn’t do it.
A neighbor offered $ 20 for the transplant, but Dynes didn’t feel good about taking the money without knowing how he would spend it.
Resident Brenda Kella broke down in tears when she learned what had happened to her beloved President. Whenever she visits a nearby mall, she gets out of her way just so she can get past politics.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” she said. “I love it. I love this statue.
Kella, who has loved Lincoln since kindergarten, said she was struck by his kind demeanor and penchant for storytelling.
She has all kinds of Presidential material: puzzles, bookends, a brass bank, even socks. She has another item that could have solved Dynes’ dilemma: a bust of Lincoln.
After two months with his head of state beheaded, Dynes had had enough. He paid $ 140 for a large banner that he hung between two trees next to the statue.
“Beautiful story destroyed by vandalism”, he said. “Please bring my head back. Shame on you.”
The banner also showed what the statue couldn’t – the bearded face of the Illinois rail splitter.
It wasn’t a Gettysburg address, but Lincoln would have appreciated the brevity. Also, like the famous speech, it apparently stirred someone’s soul.
Shortly after hanging the banner in September, Dynes received a visitor to his modest home. The stranger was holding something in his arms.
âHere’s your face,â he said.
The man, who was in his 30s, told Dynes that a friend took the nob on a drunken jaunt. The friend refused to return it, so the man took it upon himself to do so.
Dynes was not angry but grateful.
âI’m glad they didn’t throw it away,â he said. “It looks 100% better.”
The man who returned the head has a fine sense of history. He brought it to Dynes on October 11. He had been missing for four tens and seven days.
A figure is still missing from the statue. Her finger is resting on the table in Dynes’ kitchen. The owner has to run to the store to buy glue.
But Abe’s rest are seated in the courtyard, as solid as the neighboring oak trees that give her shade. With his head tied and wearing straight, he reset his gaze to a nearby Sam’s Club.
With the weight returned to his shoulders, what relief is sought by our struggling president?
Does he dream of wandering the aisles of the cavernous store, looking for a case of his beloved corned beef and cabbage? Or, more likely, is it heading straight for the home security service?