The Blank Mural on Paducah’s Flood Wall

One time, the Kentucky government decided to encourage its cities to give lumps of coal, gift-wrapped in tobacco leaves, to designated sister cities of other countries. Sister cities were a big thing in the past. For example, Paducah sistered with a German town, Niederdorfelden, and would trade recipes, local art, and calligraphed goodwill documents, and the like.
The tobacco-wrapped coal program lasted for 2 years: 1902-1904. The abrupt ending of the “new tradition” was due to the fact that the people of Niederdorfelden took great offense at the coal.  The previous year, St. Nik had given coal to the bad children at Christmas time. In fact, a sizable lot of children had received coal. Subsequently, Paducah received a bag of manure encased in a giant orange made of marzipan.
The confusion led to anger, guilt, anger again and then laughter. “No Hard Feelings” became the motto of the kinship and they stayed true to each other’s goodwill until about 1917.