My Kentucky is growing up in a small town where everyone’s dad, including my own, worked for Peabody Coal Company. My hometown of Greenville, Kentucky is a tiny green jewel nestled in the black belt of coal mines and tobacco farms. My parents met as teenagers while cruisin’ the strip and saw Romeo and Juliet on their first date at the Palace Theatre. The Palace was later revamped as a playhouse and is where I saw my very first non-school play, The Ten Little Indians (donning, as I recall, my red cowboy boots). My brother and I spent long summer days riding our four-wheelers in the woods behind our house, collecting all manner of bugs, tadpoles, and turtles. We had Friday night fried chicken and homemade ice cream at Mamaw’s and Sunday after-church chicken and dumplings and an array of made-from-scratch cakes and pies at Granny’s. We also learned a new string of curse words every time the Cats played.
My Kentucky is moving to the big city of Lexington to attend college and see the Wildcats play in person. My social life primarily revolved around attending every home UK game and tailgating at Keeneland each weekend in April and October. I learned to like bourbon. I worked part-time as a runner at a law firm downtown (we used to fight over who got to take runs to the horse farms that make Lexington famous) and spent many a happy hour at Cheapside, High on Rose, and Dudley’s, and nursed a fair number of hangovers at Charlie Brown’s. I moved back to Lexington after graduate school and practiced law there for a few years, and was delighted to discover that it had lost none of its charm in the three years I’d been gone. We lived right off Arcadia Park, where I would run after work with our beloved weimaraner, and learned to hunker down in our house on weekends during football season as our driveway was always blocked with game attendees (sorry, folks, I am strictly a basketball fan). We had our wedding reception at The Bell House and, shortly thereafter, we moved to Atlanta so my husband could attend culinary school.
My Kentucky is falling in love with the bluegrass all over again. Six months ago, after ten years in Georgia, we moved back to Kentucky, to Louisville, a city in which I had spent very little time. Although I was excited about the prospect of being closer to my family and leaving law firm life, I was also anxious about moving back after living in such a large city. Atlanta is where my husband and I launched our careers, made so many close friends, had our babies, and learned to depend solely upon one another to make our little family work. Louisville took me by surprise. It is a distinct blend of Southern graciousness and style and mid-western practicality and live and let live attitude. Louisville has a love affair with food and a sophisticated restaurant scene. We go to the farmer’s market on weekends and rarely have to resort to a chain restaurant, despite the fact that we have two preschoolers. The cultural opportunities and family friendly activities rival those of a much larger city, except that you can actually take advantage of them since you can be anywhere in 15 minutes and don't work every weekend. I look forward to raising my children here. I may be new to the city of Louisville, but Kentucky has always been home to me.