Youth's ingenuity creates patriotic farm display
By JANE UTECHT, Staff Reporter
One Madison family has figured out the perfect ingredients for a spectacular Fourth of July tribute.|
Take nine hay bales, a dozen cans of red, white and blue spray paint, one artistic high school student, and in a couple of hours you have a traffic-stopping patriotic display. Literally.
Shortly after finishing the display Monday afternoon, cars on US-81 three miles north of Madison honked their approval, and tourists even stopped to take a picture.
"That doesn't happen," said artist Mack Meier, "because people are always on the go."
A few years ago, Meier's stepfather, Craig Hoffman, started using the bales in his alfalfa field to show his American pride, spelling "USA" on some bales. Last year the tribute expanded to include Mack's artwork, spelling "USA Rocks."
This year they went with the same theme. Hoffman plans to add an American flag near the hay bales for Independence Day.
Meier, who has autism, has been sketching and designing since he was little. This fall he will be a junior at Madison High School, and he says art is simple: you just sketch in the notebook, then visualize it in real life. When he draws the designs on the bales, he does so freehand -- no tracing, no chalk outlines.
Hoffman said that Meier's attention to detail is how he finds his niche. Meier sees his art as something almost innate.
"You just think what's in your mind, then bring it out to the world so all can enjoy it," Meier said. "It's a God-given talent."
And it's a fitting tribute to this country that Meier is sure even Uncle Sam would like. Next year, however, the field will be rotated out of alfalfa back to crops, so there won't be an open field in a highly visible area to make a similar display.
Still, the family is already thinking about ways to modify the patriotic recipe for another display. Uncle Sam is pretty sure they'll find a way.