Indiana Road trip, part III


When last we left Leslie, it was Friday night. She, Lucas, and Terry would all be driving back to Chicago the next day. She had been sad about leaving until a herd of chiggers set up shop near her belly-button, turning it into a Chigger Navel Base.

Leslie was itchy from the chigger bites, and loopy from Benadryl. Well, she’s always a little loopy, so the Benadryl probably had nothing to do with her loopiness, but it made her tired and a tad less itchy.

Lucas and Terry spent the rest of the night trying to erase images from their brains of Leslie running around the house, shedding chigger-infested clothing so she could boil them in the washing machine, and then boil herself in the shower.

Leslie will tell the rest of the story:

As much as I didn’t want to leave Paul and Terry’s house, the chigger bites – – whether a natural consequence of playing with Rudy among low-flying plants, or karma from Paul for overstaying my welcome – – definitely made it easier for me to leave Saturday morning, as planned.

Rudy playing with me at dusk in the  low-flying grass, the perfect spot for chiggers.
Rudy playing with me at dusk in the low-flying grass, the perfect spot for chiggers.

Lucas and I had stayed with Terry during the week of Paul’s birthday until Saturday, when the three of us headed to Indianapolis to attend an incredible event, before caravanning to Chicago.

Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) had invited our family to “Greening the Statehouse,” Indiana’s largest gathering of environmental advocates, at the Indiana State Museum’s IMAX Theatre. The three of us were happy to represent our family, as my mother and sister would not be able to attend.

The program was to begin at 8:30 A.M., but Indianapolis had other plans…lots of other plans. Almost all of the streets we needed to be on were not accessible by car due to a plethora of events all taking place at the exact same time in the exact same location. We circled, zigged and zagged, for over an hour, missing most of the program.

If we had been able to get to the theatre on-time, we would have heard Jesse’s opening remarks, the panel discussion. And, we would have heard the keynote speaker, Josh Fox, Director of the Academy-Award Nominated film “Gasland,” give a presentation about fracking.

I’ll be honest with you. I had no idea what fracking was. I thought it was one of those Internet trends, like Planking, or Batmanning, and wondered how a movie about something like that could possibly be worthy of an Academy Award nomination.

Web planking

But we got there in time to hear Josh Fox answer a few questions from the audience, and in those few minutes, I learned that fracking is hydraulic fracturing, the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil from the earth. But, because my inquiring mind wanted to know, I did due diligence about the event we almost missed.

Health effects chart

I read Online, “Greening the Statehouse will be an opportunity to learn about and engage on Indiana’s most pressing environmental issues with a panel of policy experts, network with hundreds of others, and find new ways to be effective environmental advocates.”

Jim Poyser the Editor of “Indiana Living Green”wrote, “Each year, the Hoosier Environmental Council stages a Greening the Statehouse event to highlight the most essential environmental issues that will be faced in the coming legislative session.”

But, the main reason we had been invited to “Greening the Statehouse” was because Jesse wanted to present Terry with the official Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize plaque, an honor Jesse first announced at the beautiful memorial service for Paul we had attended in Indianapolis in July.

Jesse spoke beautifully about Paul , and I began to cry as pictures of my brother emerged on the movie screen. Yes, he had been an advocate for so many people and so many causes to make the world a better place, but most of all, he was the best brother a girl could ask for. Hopefully, our love for each other will guide me and help me through any situation I might face in the future. The one I can’t face is that he’s gone.

PMCprize plaque

The Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize will ensure that his legacy will continue. The HEC website,, captures Paul’s essence:

Paul Chase was a great advocate, lawyer, son, partner, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend. In his more than thirty year career as a lawyer and advocate, Paul stood up for the chronically ill, the disabled, the elderly, and the financially struggling.   

He advanced the causes of affordable energy, climate change action, civil rights, consumer rights, health care access & affordability, and renewable power.   Paul’s remarkable abilities, character, humor, and warmth were widely appreciated by the entire breath of the Indiana public interest community (as seen by the tributes below), including our organization.

Paul, our treasured personal friend and professional colleague, was tragically taken from us, due to a car accident, on June 25, 2014.

In celebration of the life of a true champion of social justice, the Hoosier Environmental Council has established the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize.

HEC aspires for the Memorial Prize to be not only an annual honor to a worthy young Hoosier who follows in Paul’s footsteps, but a fund for a modest annual scholarship.    

We are very thankful that this Memorial Prize has the blessing of Paul’s beloved partner, Terry, and that our announcement of this honor at Paul’s memorial service on July 2nd provided comfort to Paul’s family overall.

If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund, please go to our Donation page and write “Chase Memorial Prize” in the comments box of the Donation page. If you would like to give a general gift to HEC in memory of Paul, please write “in memory of Paul Chase” in the comments box. In either case, we will notify the Chase Family of your thoughtfulness and your generosity.

Proof that my brother, Paul, really does walk on water
Proof that Paul reallly did walk on water.

We had to be back home Saturday because the next day we would gather at the cemetery to unveil my Father’s headstone, and pay tribute to him, and Paul. Afterwards, like all good Jews do when sad and heartbroken, we went back to my mother’s house and ate a huge deli lunch.

My father's famous quote was, "Dancing is my life!"
My father’s famous quote was, “Dancing is my life!”