Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ties, baby


We go to Cumberland Falls every year.  My daughter feels the pull as much as I do, and insists on it.  She'll be 21 in July. !!!.  She was 2 or 3 in this picture, and my grandma had talked us to the edge to get a great shot.

We're Kentuckians, through and through.  Even though I was an Army brat and lived in a lot of different places, it was a relief to come back home.  I'll never want to live anywhere else.  Why would I?  This is the best place in the world.

I blame my grandmother.  She raised all of us to be like this.  I'm not kidding when I say that when I was little, she'd sing me to sleep with a lullaby that began, "Kentucky, you are the dearest land outside of heaven to me...".

I'm a city girl, but I can trace my dirt poor tobacco-farming eastern Kentucky ancestors back to the 1700's.  That's because they're all buried in our family cemetery in Blackwater, KY, where we go every year on Decoration Day.  My grandmother is buried there, and my great-great-great-great-grandmother is buried there. There's still room left for me, too.

We were taught how to handicap the Kentucky Derby by the time we were 5, the basics of country music at 6, and had field tripped the state's major landmarks before age 10.  The UK Wildcats basketball worship training began in the womb.

It's a good thing the brainwashing began early and intense, because it might not have otherwise survived the big 3-year move to Germany.  We didn't get basketball over there, I had to rely on country music cassette mix tapes sent to me via APO mail, the only mountains were the Alps, and the only landmarks were various castles and the Schwarzwald.

I got shipped back home right before I turned 13.  A little culture shock.  But my family!  My trees, my basketball, my Derby, my bluegrass, my mountains, my falls, my Kentucky...

Edit: My mom reminded me exactly how the song goes:

Kentucky, you are the dearest land outside of heaven to me,
Kentucky, I miss your laurel and your redbud trees…
When I die, I want to rest upon your graceful mountains so high..
For that is where God will look for me
.