Kentucky In One Word: Home

To distill Kentucky’s essence into one word is to try to distill my own. It is a land of bourbon and bluegrass music and horses. I am redheaded and a mother and a writer.

The latter describe the wholeness of my being no better than the former describe the state I love.

My ancestors have lived and died on this land for over two hundred years. Generations of Jennings and Stewarts and Lovelaces who made homes and livings and families in the same state I now raise my own sons. I think about them often. How did they describe Kentucky to family members far away in Virginia and North Carolina?

I think about how my own children will describe Kentucky as they go out into the world. Will they describe their birthplace with fondness? Will it be place they defend or a place they disown?

Kentucky has never been a mere place to me – a descriptor of a small part of my own history. No matter where my story took me, Kentucky was never just the beginning. Kentucky was the foundation – the framework – of all that had been and ever would be in my history.  Kentucky was my mother, my birthplace, my friend.

When I returned after years “abroad,” my dear friend looked me in the eye and welcomed me back to the promise land.

Kentucky is in my blood. Knitted into my very DNA is a love of this land – this state. I can no more imagine myself without it then I can imagine my body without blood. It is my past. It is my present. It is my future.

It is my home.


~ Sarah Stewart Holland