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Festive Mantel Decor Noted Kentuckians share their tips Plus: The Santa Express No-Kill Animal Shelters Kirk Alliman’s Wilderness Road Kentuckian of the Year John McGinnis

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JANUARY 26, 2018



The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports The Carson Center with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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In This Issue

38 Featured Fare

Departments 2 Kentucky Kwiz 4 Mag on the Move 8 Across Kentucky 9 Curiosities “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” 10 Cooking Christmas Treats 42 Off the Shelf 44 Field Notes 46 Calendar

17 Magnificent Mantels

Four creative Kentuckians offer their mantel-decorating skills to inspire you this holiday season

26 On the Rails with Santa

Family adventures on a scenic train ride through eastern Kentucky

30 2017 Kentuckian of the Year: John McGinnis

The Grayson County resident heeded a divine call to take his bass boat to Houston to assist residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

33 In the Footsteps of the Pioneers, Part I

Kirk Alliman takes his trusty bicycle on a trip to Kentucky’s beginnings

38 To the Rescue!


No-kill shelters give animals a new lease on life

3 Readers Write 45 Past Tense/ Present Tense 56 Vested Interest



Photo by Abby Laub of Heather French Henry in front of Henry’s White Christmas-themed mantel at The Rosemary Clooney House.



Test your knowledge of our beloved Commonwealth. To find out how you fared, see the bottom of Vested Interest or take the Kwiz online at

6. Before Pikeville was known as Piketon and simply Pike, it was graced with what other moniker?

1. When most people think of Western Kentucky University, they naturally think of Bowling Green, but when the school was founded in 1875, it was located in which other city?

7. Morgantown, the seat of Butler County, has one of only two statues in the United States dedicated to what?

A. Owensboro B. Glasgow

A. Freedom B. Grace C. Liberty

A. Members of the Grand Old Opry B. Survivors of the 1937 flood C. Soldiers from both the North and South during the Civil War

C. Hopkinsville 2. The largest building in the United States, in terms of acres covered, is in which Kentucky city?

8. Nancy Green, the original Aunt Jemima, hailed from which foothills community? A. Mount Sterling

A. Louisville

B. Mount Olivet

B. Lexington

C. Mount Buttery Goodness

C. Georgetown 3. True or False: While 8,200 people live in Fort Mitchell, more than 120,000 are buried there.

A. United Way B. Salvation Army C. Toys for Tots

© 2017, Vested Interest Publications Volume Twenty, Issue 10, December 2017 / January 2018 STEPHEN M. VEST, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief


Business and Circulation BARBARA KAY VEST, Business Manager JOCELYN ROPER, Circulation Specialist


9. Thomas Chisholm, the songwriter behind “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” hails from the hometown of actress Annie Potts, which is: A. Pottsville

4. Harrodsburg’s Frances Wisebart Jacobs (born in 1843) is best known for founding which organization?

Celebrating the best of our Commonwealth

B. Franklin C. Russellville 10. William Henry Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s law partner in Springfield, Illinois, was born in which historic town less than 30 miles from Lincoln’s birthplace?

5. In 1932, the Murray State Racer football team beat which other Kentucky school 105-0?

A. Campbellsville

A. Kentucky Wesleyan

C. Greensburg

B. New Haven

B. University of Louisville C. Centre College

JULIE MOORE, Senior Account Executive MISTEE BROWNING, Account Manager DAVID McMILLEN, Account Executive For advertising information, call (888) 329-0053 or (502) 227-0053 KENTUCKY MONTHLY (ISSN 1542-0507) is published 10 times per year (monthly with combined December/ January and June/July issues) for $20 per year by Vested Interest Publications, Inc., 100 Consumer Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601. Periodicals Postage Paid at Frankfort, KY and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to KENTUCKY MONTHLY, P.O. Box 559, Frankfort, KY 40602-0559. Vested Interest Publications: Stephen M. Vest, president; Patricia Ranft, vice president; Barbara Kay Vest, secretary/treasurer. Board of directors: James W. Adams Jr., Dr. Gene Burch, Kim Butterweck, Gregory N. Carnes, Barbara and Pete Chiericozzi, Kellee Dicks, Maj. Jack E. Dixon, Bruce and Peggy Dungan, Mary and Michael Embry, Wayne Gaunce, Frank Martin, Lori Hahn, Thomas L. Hall, Judy M. Harris, Greg and Carrie Hawkins, Jan and John Higginbotham, Dr. A. Bennett Jenson, Walter B. Norris, Kasia Pater, Dr. Mary Jo Ratliff, Barry A. Royalty, Randy and Rebecca Sandell, Kelli Schreiber, Christopher E. and Marie Shake, Kendall Carr Shelton, Ted M. Sloan and Marjorie D. Vest. Kentucky Monthly invites queries but accepts no responsibility for unsolicited material; submissions will not be returned. Kentucky Monthly is printed and distributed by Publishers Press, Shepherdsville, Ky.

Nancy Green, aka Aunt Jemima; actress Debra Faulk currently is portraying Green as a part of the Kentucky Humanities Council’s Kentucky Chautauqua series. 2

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 (888) 329-0053 P.O. Box 559 100 Consumer Lane Frankfort, KY 40601


I’ve been a subscriber to Kentucky Monthly for years. I enjoy the articles and the dates for events all over the state. The first thing I read is Steve Vest’s Vested Interest. I find it to be a good beginning to the issue even though it’s in the back. September’s “Mark Your Calendar” was particularly of interest to me (page 56). I’m also into genealogy. I am a seventh-generation American. Three of my fourth-great-grandfathers fought in the American Revolution. Mr. Vest thought he might have Mediterranean or Native American heritage, but feels it has been disproven because of the results from his DNA test. That is not necessarily true. Presently, the science of the DNA research can only give results from no more than eight generations back. For instance, one of my ancestors was a pioneer child with red hair who

was kidnapped by the Shawnee because they thought she was sacred because of her hair color. She lived to be with Tecumseh and produce a daughter who was later given the choice to return to the white settlement. I had written record that I had Native American heritage. I was disappointed that I had no Native American ancestry when I got my DNA test results back. I went to the Ancestry Lunch Bunch meeting at the Henderson County Library and learned the fact about eight generations. My half Shawnee ancestor is nine generations back. Brothers and sisters get different traits from their ancestors. Color of hair and eyes, dimples, recessive diseases,

Readers Write etc. are all within the DNA we get from our ancestors. A fact you should also know is that your brother or sister could send in their saliva to Ancestry DNA, and their results could be possibly different from yours. I’ve seen siblings have different percentages and even different countries or regions. The ancestry profile will come down differently just like traits do. I hope that helps Mr. Vest in his search for knowledge about his family. Nancy Voyles is the genealogy manager at the Henderson County Public Library. I learn something every time I go to the Lunch Bunch, which is the first Friday of every month from noon-1:30 p.m. Sonya Westerman, Sebree

Counties featured in this issue n

We Love to Hear from You! Kentucky Monthly welcomes letters from all readers. Email us your comments at editor@, send a letter through our website at, or message us on Facebook. Letters may be edited for clarification and brevity.



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Even when you’re far away, you can take the spirit of your Kentucky home with you. And when you do, we want to see it! Take a copy of the magazine with you and get snapping. Send your high-resolution photos (usually 1 MB or higher) to

Larry and Pam Pennington

Arizona Photographer Larry and wife Pam of Winchester took in the spectacular sandstone towers of Monument Valley, Arizona.

Stewart Home & School Students Atlanta, Georgia

Olivia Moore Orlando, Florida

Lifelong Kentuckian and Lexington resident Olivia took her magazine to the Students from the Franklin County school participated in the Atlanta Buddy happiest place on Earth—Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Walk and took Kentucky Monthly along for the event.


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Ernie and Margy Harris St. Maarten State Sen. Ernie Harris of Louisville and his bride, Margy, on their honeymoon on the island of St. Maarten.

Garnett and Burgess Families St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands Alison Garnett said Kentucky Monthly was “just as great a read at the beach on the island of St. John� as it is at home in Bardwell. From left, Noah Garnett, Josh Burgess, Ella Garnett Burgess, Stephen Garnett, Alison Garnett, Grace Garnett and Drew Harrison.

Landon Brooks China

Jonathan and Emily Milby Savannah, Georgia

Sullivan (Union County) native Landon visited the Great Wall in China with a group of students from the Craft Academy at Morehead State University. They were in the country for a six-week study of the language and culture.

The Lexington couple enjoyed a carriage ride following their wedding dinner at The Olde Pink House in the Southern city.




CONTINUED John & Tracie Hunter and Steve & Terri Fryman Aruba The couples celebrated anniversaries on the Caribbean island. It was the 30th anniversary for the Hunters of Shelbyville and the 17th for the Frymans of Georgetown.

Caroline King and Nancy Rothschild Loretto For Caroline of Bell County and Louisville resident Nancy, tasting good bourbon was a goal of their Kentucky tour.


Courtney Paige Lucas Jerusalem, Israel

Karen and Joe Montgomery Manitoba, Canada

Courtney, a Centre College graduate and native of Pikeville, visited several sites in the Middle East and is pictured at the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.

Joe, formerly of Clementsville (Casey County) and now living in California, with his daughter, Karen, on a fishing trip.

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The holidays are the perfect time to serve Kentucky Proud. Also the only time you can use the word “hark.” The holidays are all about traditions: the music, the decorations, but most of all the food. This year, when you gather around for a holiday meal, put Kentucky Proud on your table. When you serve Kentucky Proud produce and other products, you’ll support Kentucky farm families and give your family the gift of Kentucky’s freshest and finest.


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Across Kentucky

“WE ARE THE 12th” T

hrough all contemporary historical accounts, the last surviving soldiers of the American Civil War died in the 1950s. One Union regiment, however, still lives on here in Kentucky. Six members of the 12th Regiment Heavy Artillery U.S. Colored Troops visited Hopkins County on Oct. 7 to share their history and provide cannon demonstrations at the Madisonville City Park. The 12th Regiment, originally formed at Camp Nelson in 1864, provided the Union Army with more than 10,000 African-American soldiers. It was the thirdlargest recruiting and training depot for African Americans in the United States. The 12th Regiment fought against Nathan Bedford Forrest three times when he attacked Fort Anderson in Paducah. Forrest was repelled every time. In late 2001, the 12th regiment was reactivated by the Kentucky Legislature, and its members now tour several states from Arkansas to Pennsylvania preserving history and honoring those who fought in the Civil War. “We are not re-enactors,” said Sgt. Bob Bell of Louisville. “When we put on our uniforms, we are not re-enacting the 12th. We … are … the 12th.” Approximately 107 area residents witnessed the demonstration, which was jointly sponsored by the Hopkins County historical and genealogical societies. Flanked by his brothers-in-arms Lonnie Brown of Louisville, La Grange native Charles Turner, Sherron Jackson of Frankfort, Jim Hunn of Danville and Paris resident Mike Jones, Bell fired blanks from a replica cannon several times over the lake at Madisonville City Park. Afterward, the group fielded questions from the crowd, including those about Kentuckian James Stone, the first African American to serve in the Union Army, and Louisville-born John Crowder, the youngest officer in the Union Army. For more information about the 12th Regiment and its lineup of events, visit — Laura Harvey, The Messenger



entucky’s signature soft drink Ale-8-One has introduced a “can with a cause.” The 16-ounce can features an image of professional climber Paige Claassen scaling a sandstone cliff in the Red River Gorge. The company has joined the 1% for the Planet organization and will donate one percent of sales of the new can and Ale-8’s returnable green glass bottles to local environmental nonprofits working in the Gorge. “Ale-8-One has always tried to demonstrate firm stewardship when it comes to caring for our community,” said Fielding Rogers, CEO and fourth generation owner of the Winchester company. “Donating 1 percent of sales from our new 16-ounce cans and our beloved returnable bottles to the Red River Gorge, which is in our backyard, is a meaningful way for our company to give back.” 8

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B I R T H DAYS DECEMBER 7 Martha Layne Collins (1936), governor of Kentucky from 1983-87 7 Jennifer Leann Carpenter (1979), Louisville-born actress best known for Dexter (2006-13) and Limitless (2015-16) 11 Don Dampier (1936), Carlisleborn author and essayist Jennifer Carpenter 17 Bill Noel (1946) Louisville-based author of the Folly Beach mystery series 22 Diane Sawyer (1945), Glasgowborn journalist/television show host 25 Gary Sandy (1945) Cynthiana actor best known for WKRP in Cincinnati 28 John Y. Brown Jr. (1933), governor of Kentucky from 1979-83 29 Heather Renee French Henry (1974), Miss America 2000 and veterans advocate, from Maysville JANUARY 4 Patty Loveless (1957), singer and member of the Grand Ole Opry from Elkhorn City Diane Sawyer 8 Crystal Gayle (1951), Grammy Award-winning singer from Paintsville 11 Naomi Judd (1946), country music star from Ashland, mother of actress Ashley Judd and Wynonna 14 Greg Fischer (1958) Louisville mayor and businessman 16 John Carpenter (1948), film producer and director from Bowling Green 20 John Michael Montgomery (1965), country music singer from Nicholasville 25 Angie Gregory (1975) Paducahborn television and film actress/writer who has appeared in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation among others John Michael Montgomery



entucky certainly has its fair share of famous celebs. Superstar George Clooney’s hometown is Augusta. Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence is from Louisville. Country star Wynona Judd hails from Ashland. A lesserknown celebrity—though one whose contribution to the entertainment world is nothing short of ubiquitous—is Haven Gillespie. Remember him? Probably not. In 1933, the Covington-born Gillespie wrote the lyrics to the Christmas classic “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” on the back of an envelope while riding a New York City subway train. It took all of 15 minutes. The catchy, pop tune behind the words came later from composer J. Fred Coots. According to the book Stories of the Greatest Hits of Christmas by Ace Collins, Haven was born James Lamont Gillespie in 1888. Quitting school early, he began working at various newspapers in Cincinnati and Chicago as a typesetter. But he returned to Kentucky to marry Corene Parker of Covington and went to work for a local newspaper. When he could, though, Gillespie liked to entertain at vaudeville shows, telling jokes and singing. Drawn to music and the stage, he attempted a full-time career performing and writing songs, and even landed a hit in 1925 when “Drifting and Dreaming” was recorded by bandleader George Olson. But music was not paying the bills, and so Gillespie went back to newspapers, taking a job as a reporter for The New York Times. While in New York, he got a call from music publisher Leo Feist, who was looking for a bright, new Christmas tune for renowned singer, dancer and comedian Eddie Cantor. Gillespie refused. It was a bad time in his life. His brother had just passed away in Kentucky, and he was in no mood for writing cheery words. But the publisher persisted. So, for inspiration, Gillespie turned to memories of his mother, who used to caution her children at Christmastime to behave because Santa knew when they were bad or good: “You’d better watch out; you’d better be good,” she would say as a way to help keep the kids in line. After the 15-minute train ride, with words in hand, Gillespie contacted his friend and composer, Coots. Cantor debuted the tune on his radio show in the fall of 1933, and within days, the record and sheet music were

Illustrations by Annette Cable


flying off the shelves. (An original autographed score resides at the Kenton County Public Library’s History and Genealogy Department, having been donated by Louise D. Borr of Yuba City, California, whose father had once met Gillespie.) But the whirlwind success didn’t bring Gillespie the joy one might think. “While it seemed the whole world was smiling at the holiday ditty, one man cried every time he heard it,” wrote author Collins. “Haven Gillespie always associated the song with his brother’s death … Scores of artists jumped in line to record it, and Gillespie would never be able to escape the song or the memories it conjured up.” In the 80-plus years since it was written, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” has become not only a Christmas staple, but a pop culture one at that. In the 1970s, it served as the basis for an animated film produced by the famed Rankin and Bass that featured the voice of Fred Astaire, and it can be heard on the soundtracks of the films A Christmas Story, Elf and The Polar Express. It also has been recorded by hundreds of artists from virtually every musical genre: The Andrews Sisters, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, Alice Cooper, Justin Bieber, Michael Buble, The Carpenters and The Jackson Five are among those who had hits with the Gillespie and Coots holiday tune, though arguably the best—and possibly most often heard—version of the song came from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The live rock ’n’ roll rendition was recorded at a concert in New York in December 1975, and it has since become a holiday radio favorite due to continuous seasonal airplay. Rolling Stone magazine voted it the No. 1 rock ’n’ roll Christmas song of all time. By the time of his death in 1975, Gillespie had written more than 1,000 original compositions, but it was “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” that earned him $1 million-plus in royalties. In 1988, the Kentucky Historical Society approved a historical highway marker that honors Gillespie’s contribution to the music world and Covington. Fans can find it at Goebel Park at 5th and Philadelphia streets. — Cynthia Grisolia

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LOVE Text and Photos by Lindsey McClave 10

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U Lindsey McClave

ndoubtedly, when we turn our minds to holidays gone by, our tastebuds will begin to tingle. So much of our celebrations revolve around food. This is the time of year when we reference that dogeared page in a family cookbook and dig out grease-splattered recipe cards seen only in December. The more bountiful the dinner table, the better, with each dish steeped in sentimentality. Growing up, I not only looked forward to clam chowder, king cake and tenderloin, the traditional Christmas dishes in my home, but also to the powdered sugar-laced candies, warm crocks of chocolate sauce and, when I was of age, an impossibly creamy mug of eggnog. These latter treats were all gifts from friends, and our receipt of their love via food was as sure as Santa’s arrival on Christmas morning. These recipes were born of family traditions or passed down from other friends—gifts that are as timeless as they are invaluable. After all, what better gift to both give and receive than food? There is love infused into each of these recipes, all easily made in bulk and purposefully indulgent. They are five of my most beloved holiday recipes, shared with me by equally beloved friends who are family, too. ’Tis the season of giving, and I hope these treats will bring as much joy to your family and friends as they have to mine. Happy holidays!

Roger’s Eggnog Every Christmas Eve, without fail, Roger would knock on our door, his arms filled with gifts to tide us over until the main event the following morning. Most valuable among his generosities was a jar of the richest—and stiffest—of eggnogs, a recipe shared with him by friends. A mug of eggnog is part of Christmas morning in our house, and my mom has since shared in the tradition of folding whipped cream with eggs and bourbon and gifting it. Makes 8 single servings

4. Clean out the bowl of the stand mixer and add the egg whites. Whip until they are light and airy, forming stiff peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the eggnog, combining thoroughly but taking care not to over-mix. 5. Chill the eggnog in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, you will find that the liquids have settled to the bottom, and the cream and egg whites are thick on the top. Gently stir, blending back together before dividing into glass gift jars. Garnish with the nutmeg.

4 eggs, whites and yolks separated ¾ cup sugar 1 cup good bourbon 2 cups whipping cream Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish 1. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until creamy and smooth. 2. While mixing, slowly add the bourbon, beating until mixed thoroughly. 3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the whipping cream until light and airy, the cream forming stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the egg, sugar and bourbon, taking care not to deflate the cream. D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY




Cowgill’s Candy For more than 50 years, the Cowgill family has gathered together the day after Thanksgiving to craft this candy, cracking large sheets of sweetened syrup into a hodgepodge of shapes before dusting with powdered sugar. They swear by LorAnn Oils and Flavors for their recipe and flavoring oils.

4. Once the temperature reaches 260 degrees, add several drops of food coloring. Do not stir.

Makes one sheet tray of a single candy flavor Recipe from LorAnn Oils and Flavors (

5. As soon as the temperature hits 300 degrees, remove from the heat and set aside, again without stirring. Once the boiling has subsided, add the flavoring oil and stir, taking care to avoid the steam that will rise off the candy.

2 cups sugar ¾ cup water ¾ cup Karo white syrup 1 dram LorAnn flavoring oil Food coloring

6. Carefully pour the syrup onto the greased foil and allow to cool completely. Once it is at room temperature, use the end of a spoon to crack the candy sheet in several places, breaking it into small pieces before dusting with powdered sugar.

1. Line a rimmed sheet tray with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking oil. Set aside.

7. Divide the candy into gift bags, securing each with ribbon to keep the air out.

2. Place the water, sugar and syrup in a medium, heavybottomed saucepan. Secure a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom. Turn the heat to medium and stir until the sugar dissolves. 3. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and turn up the heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. While waiting for it to boil, use a wet pastry brush to brush down any sugar crystals that form on the side of the pot. 12

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Sweet Meats The recipe for these sugar-encrusted pecans also was handed down to my family by Roger, and they just happen to pair perfectly with eggnog. Makes 4 cups 4 egg whites 2 cups sugar 2 pounds salted pecans ½ pound butter 1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar and salted pecans to the egg whites and stir, until all of the nuts are coated in the sugar and egg. Set aside. 2. Divide the butter in half and place each half on a large, rimmed sheet pan. Place the pans in the oven until the butter has melted. Remove from the oven and divide the pecan mixture between the two sheet pans, tossing the nut mixture with the melted butter. 3. Return to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until the pecans are brown and have soaked up all of the butter. Allow to cool before dividing into gift bags.

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Spartanburg Toffee Originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina, my dear friend Mary Caroline looks forward to indulging in this toffee-like snack when she returns home for the holidays each year. Pro tip: Store the toffee in the freezer, as this treat is tastiest when cold. Makes one sheet tray of toffee Original recipe courtesy of Katherine Avery Anthony of Spartanburg, South Carolina. 2 sleeves saltine crackers 2 sticks butter 1 cup light brown sugar 1 11.5-ounce package dark chocolate chips 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil. Cover the bottom of the pan with saltine crackers, placing them in a single layer, side by side. 2. In a sautĂŠ pan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, mixing until smooth. Pour this mixture over the crackers and bake for 1520 minutes.


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3. Remove the crackers from the oven and, while they are still hot, pour the chocolate chips over the top. As the chocolate begins to melt, spread out like icing a cake. 4. Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator. Once the chocolate has hardened, remove from the refrigerator and break the toffee into pieces before dividing into gift bags.

Holly’s Chocolate Sauce While Holly Bandoroff was growing up, her grandmother would take her to the Maramor tearoom adjacent to Montaldo’s department store in Columbus, Ohio. As an adult, Holly searched for a recipe that mimicked their beloved Maramor fudge sauce and considered herself lucky when she came across this one, originally from a Junior League cookbook called America Discovers Columbus. She has been making it for friends and family ever since. Makes 1½ cups 1 1-ounce square unsweetened Baker’s chocolate ½ stick butter ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa ¾ cup sugar Pinch of salt ½ cup evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed) 1 teaspoon vanilla 1. Set a heavybottomed saucepan over medium heat and melt together the chocolate square and the butter until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa, salt and sugar. The mixture will have a sandy consistency. 2. Return the pot to the heat and stir in the evaporated milk, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick and velvety and begins to bubble. 3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.


1 1/2 oz. Kentucky Bourbon 4 oz. Ale-8-One Grenadine Maraschino Cherry P R E PA R AT I O N

Fill rocks glass with ice. Pour bourbon into glass followed by a splash of grenadine and Ale-8-One. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.


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9 Consecutive Years on The Washington Post’s List of Top Performing Schools with Elite Students 91 National Merit Finalists 20 Semifinalists in Siemens Competition

We come from all across Kentucky to The Gatton Academy on the campus of Western Kentucky University. We finish our junior and senior years of high school as we start college. We conduct research with professors, study abroad, and attend college classes. While we are challenged academically, we thrive in a supportive environment designed just for us and make lifelong friends. Tuition, fees, room and board are paid for by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. You, too, can have a future filled with infinite possibilities.

Class of 2020 Admissions Deadline: February 1, 2018 WEBSITE:




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PHONE: 270-745-6565

Magnificent Mantels Text and Photos by Abby Laub


n many homes, the fireplace and mantel serve as a focal point for holiday decor. With that in mind, we extended an invitation to four creative Kentuckians to offer their mantel-decorating skills as a source of inspiration for you this holiday season. Miss America 2000 Heather French Henry, up-andcoming decorator and real estate developer Emily Riddle, University of Kentucky first lady Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto, and famed garden designer Jon Carloftis accepted graciously, and the results of their efforts were striking. D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY





tepping into The Rosemary Clooney House in Augusta brings to mind the 1954 classic movie White Christmas. Among the displays in the museum house are costumes and props from the film in which she starred. One of Kentucky native Rosemary Clooney’s biggest fans, Heather French Henry, masterfully designed a mantel themed around her favorite movie. “I thought it was extremely important to bring in some of the most famous iconic dresses, being the ‘sisters dresses,’ which are blue, and [Clooney’s] red dress that is at the end of the movie,” said Henry of her colorful, whimsical mantel. “I wanted to make sure that, while encompassing the colors, we also brought in that vintage feel while still making it bright.” Though some of the decorations look vintage, all were purchased at Hobby Lobby. Henry, who grew up in Augusta, joked that initially she left out the red, and it looked like a mantel inspired by the movie Frozen. Adding the red and subtle hints of green pulled in colors from

the dress display cases on either side of the mantel. The result is a festive mantel decor that blends well with the museum’s collection. At her home in Louisville, Henry said she uses classic designs and displays her husband, Steve’s, antique train collection, as well as some pieces from Waterford Crystal, her Miss America sponsor. She advised people to think about “color, space and form” when approaching decorating their mantel. Sometimes, she said, symmetry works; at other times, asymmetry is better. Also, she recommended not displaying Christmas decorations as they appear in the store. “I could not find a Christmas garland that I really liked,” Henry said. “You can’t always find something premade, so you have to be willing to make a few of these pieces yourself. The garland on the mantel [was made from] circular centerpiece wreaths. I literally clipped them apart, and we made the garland to go on there.”

Heather French Henry

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Emily Riddle


he mantel at the Amsden building in Versailles is an antique lover’s dream. Emily Riddle and her husband, Alex, own the building on Main Street, along with the Miss Molly Vintage boutique, which is inside Feather Your Nest Antiques in Lexington. Since purchasing the Amsden, the couple has been busy converting the historical space into a multi-use business that eventually will include the Amsden Coffee Club, Amsden Tavern and a shop called Gathered Mercantile. Riddle advised starting the holiday mantel decor with a large focal point; she opted for Robert Amick’s iconic portrait of Man o’ War. “I chose the horse picture first and planned everything around that, as far as the colors and overall theme,” she said. “My husband’s whole family is in the horse industry, but I’m clueless. I like decorating with them because they’re so Kentucky, and I love the colors of that one in particular because it’s very retro looking.” 20

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After that, she decided on the greenery. “Sometimes, I’ll do a layered wreath on top of the focal point, if it’s a mirror or something, but usually it’s some garland swagged on the mantel somehow,” Riddle said. “I like all kinds of garland, and this one was a faux flocked greenery.” She often includes a second garland to create a layered effect. In this case, it was a thick strand of knit pompons. Brass hunting horns tied in to the equestrian theme. Riddle suggested adding extra textures and creating height. “I use candles a lot on my mantels,” she said. “Vintage candlesticks are one of my go-to’s. I used different colored candles to bring out the colors of the horse painting, or you can just do white candlesticks or something neutral.” If you have family heirlooms to display on your mantel, Riddle advised using a cloche or adding all of the pieces to a keepsake wreath, which ensures that “they’re all together, and it’s ready to go every season.”


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aying homage to the University of Kentucky was on the mind of Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto when decorating the classic mantel at Maxwell Place on the school’s Lexington campus. Also at the forefront was honoring the faiths and traditions of all of the school’s students. “December is really a time for [husband] Eli and I to reflect on the fact that we want this university home to really be a place for everyone that’s tied to the university,” Capilouto said. “We want it to be a welcoming, hospitable, gracious place for everyone.” The Capiloutos often have their home full of students, faculty and school guests, and though December contains primarily Jewish and Christian holidays, she said that “throughout the year, there’s all kinds of other faiths and people here, and we want everyone to feel comfortable at this home.” Raised Southern Baptist and married to a Jewish

husband, Capilouto fills Maxwell Place with pieces that celebrate both faiths and traditions. Her mantel contains a collection of ornaments she’s had “forever,” as well as fresh greenery and candles. She noted that the couple’s menorahs look lovely when lit in the windows of Maxwell Place. “In December, of course, the big holiday is Christmas and then also the Festival of Lights, which is Hanukkah … We celebrate it to commemorate how important it is for religious freedom and for people not to be persecuted for their beliefs.” The Capiloutos also honor Kwanzaa. “The candles represent seven principles of the African people,” Capilouto said. “We do acknowledge that there are many people living on this Earth and in this city, and we want to acknowledge that during this season and when they come in this house.”

Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto

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Jon Carloftis


ivingston native Jon Carloftis owns Lexington’s historic Botherum House with his longtime business and life partner, Dale Fisher. The stunning neoclassical architecture of the house lends itself well to a striking mantel decoration by Carloftis. Though the setting is fabulous, the Botherum mantel is all about ease and natural beauty. The collection of supplies and assembly took about 20 minutes, with Carloftis and Fisher collaborating to place mostly fresh elements on the mantel without using a single adhesive device. Carloftis advised starting with color first and building from there. He used white lilies as the base of his mantel. His favorite colors of the season are, as he put it, “white, white, white.” “It’s Christmas, but it’s not traditional Christmas colors,” he said. All of the flowers—most purchased from Kroger and Stems in Lexington—were placed on the floor alongside 24

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freshly cut Southern magnolia, skip laurel and Norway spruce from his backyard, still covered in raindrops. They were then decoratively arranged on the mantel. Carloftis recommended treating the greenery with WiltPruf spray from the hardware store or garden center and simply refreshing the flowers as necessary throughout the holiday season. “I use lilies as the main flower because they give fragrance, they’re readily available, and they last for a long time,” he said. “We usually start decorating midNovember, and this is exactly what we do—it’s just easy. Always start with symmetry as your base, and then layer up. Then just tuck in little ornaments.” He said his mantel style is a reflection of his garden decorating style. Stick to a color—he loves golds and browns and whites—and go with that theme. Carloftis added that he might do another room in a more traditional red theme for Christmas, and then have a blue and silver room. Q


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Family adventures on a scenic train ride through eastern Kentucky

By Sarah Dills


raveling with five kids can be fun. It can also be a colossal mess, like the time my husband and I loaded our two teenagers and three toddlers in our Suburban and headed to Disney World. Someone threw up, someone needed an emergency bathroom break on the side of the interstate, and someone shoplifted from Dunkin’ Donuts. What does one shoplift from Dunkin’ Donuts, you ask? Well, that would be a Christmas ornament. It was a tiny, brown doughnut with white icing and multicolored sprinkles, and I look back on that trip fondly every time I 26

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unwrap that little doughnut from its tissue paper and hang it on my tree. No, I didn’t return the ornament—we were already two states away by the time I found it hidden under my 4-year-old’s seat. While that drive home was the most hectic, chaotic, messy part of our trip to Disney World, it’s also the part I remember best. So when I was asked to write about my family’s adventure last Christmas to the Big South Fork Scenic Railway in Stearns, it’s no surprise that the first—and most vivid—memory that came to mind was of

Brooklynn, one of my now-6-year-old twins, laid out on her belly across an entire bench of the train car. She was not sleeping; she was sulking, and I found it—and still find it—adorable. So adorable that I took a photograph to cherish when my memory of the moment fades.

Making Memories It’s a cliché, but nothing is more important than family. And this sense of love and unity swells during the holidays. My family tries to plan something special and unique every year, and my mom taking us to Stearns for a train ride with Santa Claus was no exception. Our trip on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway was scheduled for late afternoon, which gave us plenty of time to make the three-hour journey from our home in northern Kentucky the morning of our adventure. This year, Big South Fork’s holiday-themed train rides will be based on the beloved Christmas book, The Polar Express, and will run only in the late afternoon and evenings. (See sidebar on page 28.) My mom, step-dad, mother-in-law, sister, aunt and uncle joined our crew. My aunt and uncle brought my cousin’s daughter, which was special because my cousin passed away in December 2011. I love watching my daughters grow up with his. All 14 of us loaded into three vehicles and made our way down Interstate 75. There are two ways to get to Stearns from northern Kentucky: Get off the interstate at Mt. Vernon or drive south to Williamsburg. On our way there, we took the route around Somerset. On the way home, we wised up and took the more direct route through Williamsburg. Stearns is in the heart of Daniel Boone National Forest, which is code for The Middle of Nowhere. I recently made this reference in front of my now-9-year-old, the one-time Dunkin’ Donuts shoplifter, who gave me a most profound response: “Mom, don’t say ‘middle of nowhere’ because there is no such place as nowhere. We are always somewhere.” I agree. Surrounded by the stunning forest, Big South Fork Scenic Railway is in one of the most beautiful “somewheres” I have ever been. Stearns has a small, picturesque, historic downtown. Upon entering, you see the massive Stearns Coal and Lumber Company building that immediately gives an indication of how the town made its mark.

A Brief History Lesson In the late 1800s, Justus Smith Stearns was busy building his lumber and salt empire in Michigan. With lumber operations spanning from the Pacific Northwest to

Florida, Stearns was drawn to south-central Kentucky by the vast wilderness and the Kentucky & Tennessee Railroad. In 1902, he opened a company store in the newly founded town of Stearns, where he built his lumber and coal business. The Stearns Coal and Lumber Company was the oldest continuously mining operation in Kentucky when it sold out in 1975. The former headquarters of the company, constructed in 1907, has housed the McCreary County Museum since its opening in 1988. Museum-goers can discover the history of the area, including its unique culture and heritage as a coal-mining and lumber center. While industry no longer fuels Stearns, visitors are fortunate the federally protected Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area was established in 1974, thus ensuring that we—and hopefully future generations—will be able to wander and explore this ancient terrain. The views of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River are breathtaking from the train. “Stunning scenery,” is what my husband, Chuck, said he remembered most when I asked him about our trip. The river cuts through gorges that are millions of years old, and the train winds along their ridges and descends into the valleys. At times, you are perched high—eye level with sprawling treetops. Other times, you seem to be riding the rapids of the river as it dips and curves around massive boulders. Again, please note that this year, The Polar Express will be a late afternoon/evening event, which means, unfortunately, you may not get to take in the views on that particular excursion. But mark your calendar for a return trip to the Big South Fork Scenic railway, as the train is in operation for day trips April through November.

All Aboard The train departs from the Big South Fork Depot, a restored freight depot. Inside the depot, you’ll find the Whistle Stop Restaurant & Steakhouse, where we ate lunch before our train ride, and Sweet Creations, an adorable gift shop. After lunch and several bathroom breaks, we made our way out to the platform to board the train. I must admit that I felt a little bit like Harry Potter waiting for the Hogwarts Express on platform 9¾.The train boards in a first-come-first-served fashion, so my mom made sure she was up in the front, while I was lagging behind after another last-minute trip to the restroom. We made it on board and got settled into our seats, which is when my trip derailed a bit dealing with Brooklynn and her unattainable expectations. That said,

Author Sarah Dills commemorated her trip with snapshots that included plenty of smiles with her children and husband, and a meeting with Santa.

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the 14-mile trip, which dropped us 600 feet down into the gorge, where we turned around at the historic coalmining town of Blue Heron, was quite enjoyable. I sat on the left side of the train car, which was best for views of the gorge and river. All of the children received conductor hats, and I fondly remember the smile on my 80-year-old uncle’s face as he put his granddaughter’s blue-and-white striped hat upon his head. Christmas music played in the enclosed, heated car in which we were riding. Passengers on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway holiday train rides do not disembark at Blue Heron, but the town can be accessed by car. There are also nonholiday train trips that include a stop in the town. But for us, the train simply stopped. Our tour guide then showed us how our seats flipped over to face the opposite direction, so we’d be facing forward on the return trip as the train backtracked along the railroad. At that point, there appeared a new diversion, and he was wearing a red-and-white suit.

A Letter to Santa The return ride covers the same ground as the descent into the gorge, so unless you want to move to the opposite side of the train, you will view a repeat of scenery, which can become somewhat monotonous for a youngster. However, on the holiday train ride, the most beloved figure of childhood folklore appears. Santa Claus’ reindeer drop him off in Blue Heron, where he boards the train to greet all of the children, ask them what they want for Christmas, and take commemorative photographs. My girls were so excited about the possibility of being on a train with Santa. This meant he’d have to hear their requests, because he’d be stuck in close quarters with them for an hour! They practiced what they would say. They looked through the Toys “R” Us catalog. They wrote and erased, and rewrote. They were finally ready.

Santa spoke with my oldest daughter and with my grown sons. He spoke to Brylee, Brooklynn’s twin, whom I had barely gotten to see on the train trip. And then he got to Brooklynn. At that point, she’d had a meltdown, rebounded, laughed and eaten Christmas cookies. Santa slowly made his way down the center aisle, and Brooklynn froze as soon as she saw his silhouette fall upon our seat. She buried her head in my lap and refused—even with my cajoling—to even look at the man. He hesitated at our row, despite the growing anticipation of the little boy in the seat in front of us, to no avail. Brooklynn would not budge. I finally convinced her to surface for air after he had passed by. When she did raise her head, I could see complete defeat written on her tiny face. She clutched her half-crumpled letter to Santa in her small hand. We had to right this wrong. It took the better part of an hour, and the rest of the train ride, but I finally convinced Brooklynn to approach Santa at the front of the train as we were pulling into the station. “It’s now or never,” I said as I nudged her from behind, and she shuffled her feet down the aisle. “Just hand it to him; he’s not going to bite.” She gingerly approached him, just close enough for her little outstretched arm to reach his back. She tapped him, and when he turned around, something softened in my little girl. She relaxed. We even got a picture with Santa— of course she had to sit on my lap, so it turned into a family portrait photobombed by Santa.

The Road Home Most of our family adventures end memorably, and this trip was no exception. When we stopped for dinner in Richmond, we literally stumbled upon a live nativity taking place in the parking lot of a shopping plaza, complete with animals, a choir and hot chocolate. It was too interesting and unexpected not to participate, so we parked and walked into the past. It was another reminder that life is all about the journey, not the destination. Q

North Pole Bound From Nov. 24-Dec. 23, the train at Big South Fork Railway will be transformed into The Polar Express. Before boarding the train, passengers view a short play in which the boy from The Polar Express book and movie comes out of his home to meet the train’s conductor. The conductor will then punch the tickets of the passengers as they board the train headed for the North Pole—Blue Heron—where they will welcome Santa, who boards the train for the ride back to the depot. Santa will present the children with their first gift of Christmas. Passengers can enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while listening to music from the movie and the reading of the book. Everyone is encouraged to wear their pajamas for this 50- to 75-minute trip. The Whistle Stop Restaurant & Steakhouse will serve a menu of “fast food” options such as hamburgers and hot dogs for passengers to enjoy before and after their trip. For more information, and to reserve tickets, which include free admission to the McCreary County Museum, call (606) 657-9491 or visit 28

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Photo: Rob Taber

Folk ~ Bluegr ass ~ americana

Watch performances online at and on WKU-PBS (check your local listings)

Listen on the radio and online at every 1st Thursday of the month @ 8/9e


Monthly concert series at the historic Capitol Arts Center in downtown Bowling Green. Visit us online for concert and broadcast information.

KENTUCKIAN OF THE YEAR John McGinnis: A Fisher of Men By Kristy Robinson Horine Photos By David Toczko 30

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n Aug. 17, 2017, it was official. The tropical wave that had formed off Africa’s western coast was now a tropical storm. By Aug. 24, the storm named Harvey had intensified into the third hurricane of the year. Within hours, the churning Gulf of Mexico monster grew into a Category 4 and made its first landfall on Aug. 26 in Rockport, Texas. On Aug. 27, NBC Nightly News tweeted this dire warning from the National Weather Service: “This event is unprecedented, and all impacts are unknown beyond anything experienced.” Before Harvey’s fury was spent, it made two more landfalls, dumped more than 30 inches of rain in many locations, destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, caused nearly $200 billion worth of destruction, and snatched away the lives of nearly 100 people. Professional forecasters and officials along the Gulf Coast had no way of knowing that Harvey would weaken and intensify many times. They had no way to foretell the system would stall out in certain areas, spin off tornadoes in other areas, and impact millions of people. But God knew. In fact, God had been preparing one Kentucky man for this very occurrence for more than 45 years.

Wetting a Line Grayson County resident John McGinnis tells of his childhood in Spring Lick, where he was raised by his grandparents. McGinnis was like just about every other boy in the early 1970s in rural Kentucky. He ate food his granny, Martha Elizabeth Bates, raised and cooked; learned about the Lord from her gentle, weathered lips; and tried to be fair about sneaking off to go fishing. Caney Creek beckoned him from beyond the railroad tracks behind their home. It was a draw he couldn’t resist—something he claims to be in his DNA. “I could take a cane pole and a hook and come back with dinner. I thought that was the greatest thing in the world,” McGinnis says. He slips into storytelling, and in his words, the land, the water, the people come alive. “I remember this one time I snuck over there,” McGinnis

says. “I come back with a big mess of fish, and Granddaddy said, ‘Boy, we’ve been looking all over for you.’ ” His granny warned him he was going to get “a whooping” for sneaking off, but, he says, she also told him, “That’s a good mess of fish, and I’ll get them cleaned up and cook them after a while.” He recalls she just barely spanked him, and they ate their fill of fish that night. “It was just … Granny knew it’s who I was. I never understood people, but fish …” his voice trails off for a moment. “Fishing, I think, is just a way of prolonging your experience with the water. Now, you can be with what God created in the water, and you can catch fish, too.” He lets out a laugh that would make even the most curmudgeonly souls among us smile. McGinnis tells of eating tomato sandwiches and hoping there was mayonnaise enough for all of them, of how he enlisted and served his country in the Army from 1989 to 1991, and of how he moved from fishing the waters of Caney Creek to professional bass fishing across the nation for 10 years. “I just believed every cast was a fish, and most of the time, it was,” he says. “The Bible says faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. When you go fishing, you are hoping to catch fish, and you can’t see none of them. We live our whole life believing in something we can’t see. That why it’s so easy for fishermen to believe in God. We have proof after proof after proof that there is stuff that we don’t know about, that we can’t see, but it’s still there. Ain’t that awesome?” On the night of Aug. 29, 2017, all his granny’s lessons, all the years spent casting, believing and reeling in, came to a head as he and Stephanie, his wife of 19 years, were getting ready for bed. They watched the news of the Houston flooding. “I know about water,” he says. “I’ve been in a boat for 30 years, so I knew them people was going to die. It really troubled me. I rolled over and tried to pray it away. That’s what we do when stuff bothers us; we try to pray it away so it will leave us alone. I said, ‘God, you gotta help these people.’ And God said, ‘Why don’t you?’ ” McGinnis got up and did just that.

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McGinnis in his bass boat

Fishing in Trust McGinnis, who owns a construction company, speaks plainly, throwing into his speech the colloquialisms that helped to shape his faith and his life philosophy. “When we was little, you heard those stories. Old man Knickerbocker broke his leg, and the whole family got together and went and got his harvest in and never took a dime. You heard those stories,” he insists. “That’s who we are. In the end, the only thing we can keep is what we give away. My granny taught me to love and help people. That’s just Kentucky. That’s what we do.” In keeping with “what we do,” McGinnis hooked up his trailered 21-foot Ranger bass boat to his white Chevy pickup and, with Stephanie’s careful packing, headed south and west within 15 minutes of his initial prayer and God’s clear answer to it. Ahead of him was a more than 13-hour journey. About 177 miles from Houston, his Chevy petered out. “I’m on the edge of the hurricane. This truck just quit for no reason. I ease off the side of the road, and there’s a board with nails in it. It flattened my boat tires,” he says. “I started questioning everything. ‘What am I doing? What am I going to do if I even get there? Where am I going to stay?’ Then, this cop pulls up behind me. I tell him I’m trying to get to Houston.” “I got a buddy,” the officer says. “Let me call my buddy.” “He calls this guy named Roger at R&M Towing in Henderson [Texas]. He comes and loads my truck on one truck and my boat up on another truck and takes it all the way to his shop,” McGinnis says. “He has four guys work on it for three hours, puts new tires on my boat trailer, and when he gets done, he says, ‘There ain’t no bill, son. I can’t charge you nothing. God told me to help you.’ ” McGinnis takes a breath and eases past the emotion that wells up within him. In a half a minute, he continues his story. “I’m going on through, and I see water in the ditch. The top of this car is exposed, and I see what looks like a hand hanging out of it—right beside the interstate. I pulled over, and the current was so bad, they couldn’t get their door open. I got on the other side, pulled the door open, and there was a woman and a baby and a husband in that car,” 32

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McGinnis says, and he tells of pulling them to safety. “That lit my fire. After that, I knew what I was doing. If my truck hadn’t broken down, those people wouldn’t have been there. If I had been there one minute later, the water would’ve been over top of them. God knew what He was doing. I thought my truck broke down, but He just put me on pause for a minute so He could bless somebody else.” Over the course of the next seven days, McGinnis traveled in the wake of Hurricane Harvey from Houston to Beaumont. He put his boat in wherever he could, sometimes backing it into flooded subdivisions. He fished men, women and children from floodwaters and took them to safety. He put in over and over and over. He declines to say how many, even though he may hold their count deep in his heart. It’s a number he says is between him and God. He also declines to count himself a hero. “I don’t feel like I’m doing my part unless I’m helping people,” he says. “God didn’t put me here just so I could go fishing, or go live my life. He put me here to help somebody else.” To McGinnis, the life he lives is just a “country boy” thing. He listened to God and impacted the lives of hundreds of people. But it’s also a Kentucky thing. “Most Kentuckians are like me. Everybody else wanted to be there, too,” he says. “They saw someone just like them that did go, and that made them feel like a piece of them was there. That’s what’s so beautiful.” In the days and weeks to come, McGinnis plans to spend as much of the winter months as possible in Texas, helping folks rebuild their homes and their lives. He will tell them of how God answers prayers and how God deserves all the glory. He will build hearts of faith, ever ready to cast a line in the direction of the voice of his Lord. Q

Many of the people McGinnis will be helping to rebuild in the Houston area did not have insurance. To assist in purchasing building supplies, you can make a contribution to John McGinnis, P.O. Box 427, Clarkson, KY 42726.

In the Footsteps of the Pioneers

Kirk Alliman takes his trusty bicycle on a trip to Kentucky’s beginnings, Part I Photos by Jean Alliman


t is said that no road is of greater historical significance to the settling of “Kaintuck” and the opening of America’s West than our Commonwealth’s Wilderness Road. More than half the central Kentucky population can trace family trees back to the hundreds of thousands of Irish-Scottish-German-English immigrants who departed the East Coast from 1775-1810—often from the port of Philadelphia or Baltimore—traveled hundreds of miles along the Allegheny Mountain range, walked through the Cumberland Gap south of Middlesboro, and made their way over the Wilderness Road to their new homes in Kentucky. Destitute and land hungry, the majority of these immigrants wanted more than anything to move straight to the backcountry, where they would seize, in the words of a Colonial official, “any sort of vacant land they could find.” Some had a little money left from their passage to America and could have rented land in settled areas closer to the East Coast but chose not to. As one immigrant explained: “We having been, before we came here, so much oppressed and harassed by landlords in our own country, from which we with great losses, dangers, and difficulties came to this foreign world to be freed from such oppression.”

Their remarkable journeys turned people of various nationalities into Americans … and Kentuckians. Traveling by foot and horseback, usually in single file over rocky dirt paths created over hundreds of years by woodland buffalo, deer and elk, and later by Cherokee and Shawnee, these pioneers settled the Great Meadow—now known as the Bluegrass region, central Kentucky. The route was dangerous and exhausting as it wound its way through a maze of narrow-ridged mountains and steep-sided valleys. Wilderness Road travelers forded rivers, confronted rugged rock outcrops, cleared thick stands of cane (bamboo) and dense growths of laurel and rhododendron, and struggled against the worst of weather. Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury traveled the Wilderness Road in 1793 and wrote in his journal: “What a road! Certainly the worst on the whole continent, even in the best weather; yet bad as it was, there were four or five hundred crossing the rude hills … men, women and children, almost naked, walking along bare-foot and barelegged, laboring up the rocky hills, whilst those who are best off have only a horse for two or three children to ride.” Travel along the Wilderness Road wasn’t for the weak or faint of heart. D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


A discussion of the Wilderness Road must begin with Daniel Boone, who, over the years, has become Kentucky’s most famous symbol of the frontier spirit. Boone was an experienced frontiersman and knowledgeable hunter, and he thought nothing of being away from home for as long as two years at a time. That’s why he and many other professional hunters were called “longhunters.” There was a tremendous abundance of buffalo, deer, elk, wolves, bears, wild turkeys and owls in Kentucky for them to pursue. As a result, hunters could become wealthy selling furs and hides to East Coast and European merchants. Their greatest challenge was making sure they had enough ammunition and packhorses to keep them in business. I’ll never understand why any woman would have agreed to marry Boone, except that Rebecca Bryan was herself a child of the frontier. Boone and Bryan first met deep in a dense forest around dusk, when Boone almost shot her, thinking that he was aiming at a wild animal. Bryan screamed and fled. Horrified by what he had almost done, Boone immediately sought out the Bryan home and apologized to the traumatized girl and her family. The apology apparently was accepted because, following a courtship, Daniel and Rebecca were married. Given Boone’s risky lifestyle and countless close calls, it is hard to believe that he died of natural causes at the ripe old age—for that era, at least—of 85. Boone was a natural choice when the Transylvania Land Company decided to hire someone to blaze a 90-mile trace, as trails were called back then, from the Cumberland Gap to a new settlement on the south side of the Kentucky River—today’s Fort Boonesborough, near Richmond. Boone, along with 30 woodsmen he recruited, created the trail that became the Wilderness Road. Even though historians have pretty much identified the route of the original Wilderness Road, it can be hard to find. During the 225 years since it was created, it has been neglected, rerouted and covered up. Boone may have been responsible for blazing the Wilderness Road, but he would

View from the Pinnacle Overlook


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have a harder time finding it today than he did in 1767, when he took a wrong turn and ended up near the West Virginia border. As he explained, “I can’t say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.” THE CUMBERLAND GAP As Kentucky Monthly readers likely have figured out, I enjoy riding my bicycle across the Commonwealth. The more I read about the Wilderness Road, the more intrigued I became with the idea of biking as much of the original route as possible and learning what I could about the people who traveled it and settled the Commonwealth. My Wilderness Road bike ride began on U.S. 25E a mile south of Middlesboro at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. The park visitors center provides interesting displays, descriptive movies, books and maps, and knowledgeable park rangers. As one ranger told me, “Visitors greatly enjoy learning about the settlers who poured through the Gap between 1775 and 1810. These were determined and brave folks. A few rode horses through the Gap and into Kentucky, but most walked. Even though the Cumberland Gap was a greatly welcomed 600 foot ‘notch’ in the Alleghenies, the route across the Gap was still so steep and treacherous that travelers called it the ‘Devil’s Stairway.’ ” The trailhead for those who traveled the Wilderness Road into Kentucky is a few miles south of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel near Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. American Indian ambushes along the road were so frequent in the late 18th century that travelers would wait for days on the Tennessee side of the Gap, until a sizable group with sufficient guns and ammunition had formed and it was thought to be safe to proceed. Every Kentuckian should experience driving through the 4,600 foot-long Cumberland Gap Tunnel. Completed in 1996, it is a magnificent engineering feat that took five years to construct. Bicycles are not allowed in the tunnel, but a member of the Tunnel Authority kindly put my bike and me in his truck and dropped us off on the other side so I could view the Wilderness Road trailhead.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Kirk meets up with Daniel Boone, pictured at left and top right; the 268-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail retraces the Wilderness Road. Sheltowee means “Big Turtle,” the name given to Boone by the American Indians. After visiting the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, I biked the challenging climb to the nearby 2,440 foot-high Pinnacle Overlook, where visitors can view the impressive Cumberland Gap. It’s a magnificent panorama, and well worth the effort it takes to get there. The site must have been incredibly foreboding to Wilderness Road travelers, who could see nothing ahead of them but formidable mountains and dense forests. I thought about this as I pedaled northward from the Cumberland Gap. Imagine the isolation of walking for hundreds of miles, advancing a few miles each day, while seeing nothing but a vast, mountainous wilderness. Imagine hiking over steep, narrow, often muddy and hazardous pathways. Imagine being completely dependent upon the land and rivers for your food. Imagine being severely underdressed and ill-equipped, having fled economic hardships and religious persecution in Europe in search of a more prosperous life that might lie ahead if one were fortunate enough to reach central Kentucky. These were brave and hardy souls. Due to their dire circumstances and the illiteracy of most 18th-century travelers, few personal diaries are to be found. One, written by Moses Austin, a merchant from Connecticut, stated: “I cannot omit Noticeing the many Distressed families I passed in the Wilderness nor can any thing be more distressed to a man of feeling than to see women and Children in the Month of December Travelling a Wilderness Through Ice and Snow passing large rivers and Creeks with out Shoes or Stocking, and barely as maney rags as covers their Nakedness, without money or provisions except what the Wilderness affords.”

When I wondered why pioneers traveled the Wilderness Road during late fall or winter, I was told that bare trees made it easier to see the wilderness and dangers that might be lurking there and that crossing frozen rivers was less dangerous than crossing a flowing river. In 1783, Capt. James Trimble and his family, who seem to have been well-to-do, left Virginia for Kentucky in search of the land Trimble had been awarded for service during the Revolutionary War. Their trip over the Wilderness Road was described by Trimble’s wife, Jane: “In September, a company was formed, consisting of eight or ten families … all rode upon horses with farming and cooking utensils, beds and bedding, wearing apparel, provisions, and last but not least, libraries, consisting of two Bibles and the Catechism … Each man and boy carried his rifle and ammunition, and each woman her pistol, for the long journey was mostly through a wilderness.” The Wilderness Road was a dangerous place. Hundreds of travelers, probably even thousands, died of illness or were killed by American Indians and thugs. The history of the westward surge of immigrants into Kentucky is written in the hundreds of unmarked graves that lie by the side of the Wilderness Road. There was so much death that I found myself wondering how pioneers dealt with their constant grief and sense of loss. This question was answered—at least in part—when I came upon a diary that included this poignant entry: “On the morrow we shall bury them. We shall weep for them as we have for all those who have died before. But we must go on living, and one day we shall overcome this perilous wilderness.” D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


Left, a map of 18th-century trails from Kentucky’s Frontier Highway: Historical Landscapes Along the Maysville Road, by Karl Raitz and Nancy O’Malley; right, Kirk enters Fort Boonesborough.

HEADING TO THE ‘CROSSROADS OF THE WILDERNESS’ Continuing north on U.S. 25E, my bike and I closely followed the original Wilderness Road to Pineville, Barbourville and London. Cumberland Gap receives all the credit, but 14 miles north—in what is today Pineville—is another gap, where the Cumberland River cuts through Pine Mountain. It permits easy passage at river level. Without the Pine Mountain Gap, pioneers would have moved north through the Cumberland Gap only to encounter a formidable barrier and topographical dead end a day or two later. It was then on to Barbourville, where I stopped at the town square to enjoy the magnificent life-sized bronze statue of Daniel Boone that stands in front of the Knox County Courthouse. Don’t miss it. U.S. 25E is a busy highway that isn’t friendly to guys on bicycles, so I was pleased to learn that Ky. 229 from Bailey’s Switch (north of Barbourville) to the Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park south of London follows the original Wilderness Road. Biking Ky. 229 feels a lot like what the original route must have been like: a hilly, treecanopied, narrow, winding country road that runs next to a lazy, meandering river. Biking Ky. 6 from Barbourville to Corbin provides the same experience. Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park near London includes a Mountain Life Museum that recreates a pioneer settlement and McHargue’s Mill, a working reproduction of an early 19th-century mill. Visitors also are treated to the largest display of millstones in the country. Plus, there’s a large campground and an old cemetery where more than 20 victims of the McNitt family were killed in a 1786 massacre by American Indians and are buried. Of great interest are the park’s many miles of hiking trails, which include two trails totaling 8½ miles that are said to have been part of the original Wilderness Road. Eight miles north of London on Ky. 490 is an area named Hazel Patch that Boone and others called the “Crossroads of the Wilderness.” Hazel Patch earned its unique name because hazel nut trees abounded in the area and produced 36

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a fruit on which small animals fed. This, in turn, attracted plentiful game to the site, making it a favorite of hunters. When the fruit was ripe, hunters and travelers would fill bags with nuts and carry them for nourishment. ON TO FORT BOONESBOROUGH The Little Rockcastle River winds its way through Hazel Patch and is where travelers would camp overnight and replenish their water supplies. A historical marker describes the site. It was called the “Crossroads” because from Hazel Patch, the Wilderness Road sprouts two spurs. One spur is known as Boone’s Trace, and was never more than a steep, rocky, muddy path suitable only for packhorses and people on foot. It splits off to the north for 45 miles to Fort Boonesborough and the Kentucky River. This is part of the 90 miles of paths that Boone and his party of woodsmen blazed for the Transylvania Land Company in early 1775. A mile up the road from Hazel Patch on Ky. 490 is the Mt. Carmel Christian Church. The Wilderness Road passed a couple hundred feet behind the church. Johnny Lewis, judge-executive of Laurel County from 1980-88, happened to be attending a community picnic when I arrived at the church. Lewis showed me where the Wilderness Road had been, and then cautiously opened a wide, swinging gate into a cow pasture and led me to an area where the Wilderness Road travel had worn a rut in the terrain. Continuing on Ky. 490 and the Wilderness Road past the Camp Wildcat Civil War Battlefield to Mt. Vernon, I biked U.S. 25 to Berea and Richmond, and then over scenic Ky. 388 straight into Fort Boonesborough and the Fort Boonesborough State Park. Both places are well worth visiting. You can learn about Kentucky’s early history and stand in front of a successor of the “Divine Elm Tree,” under which the first Kentucky legislative session and the first religious service west of the Allegheny Mountains took place in May 1775. Fort Boonesborough has been wonderfully reconstructed as a late 18th-century working fort, complete with cabins,

blockhouses, stockades and era furnishings. Knowledgeable living history guides, dressed in period clothing, demonstrate aspects of the era’s life and work. Remarkable attention is paid to detail and historical accuracy. Outside the fort, a striking monument honors the more than 600 people who lived within the walls of one of Kentucky’s earliest settlements. Pioneers didn’t like being crowded but ended up seeking sanctuary in forts such as Boonesborough when life outside became too fraught with danger. In 1779, the Boone family fled Fort Boonesborough, which, in their opinion, had become too crowded. With several other families, they moved 12 miles away and built a new settlement, Boone’s Station, near the town of Athens. Scholars have discovered that when neighbors got as close as 5 miles, settlers felt crowded. It is estimated that 60-80 percent of frontier families, like the Boones, moved to less populated areas within a decade of arriving on the Wilderness Road. Having finished visiting Boonesborough and feeling hungry, I pedaled a scenic couple of miles to the nearby Hall’s on the River Restaurant. Hall’s was established at its current site on the Kentucky River in 1783 as Holder’s Tavern. It’s fun to sit on Hall’s large outdoor deck and imagine what it was like 234 years ago to walk into a tavern set in the middle of an isolated wilderness and order a homemade brew and—just guessing—a roasted elk sandwich. Capt. John Holder, who established the tavern, is also famous for having rescued Daniel and Rebecca Boone’s daughter, Jemima, and her friends, Elizabeth and Fanny, following their capture by a band of Shawnee. Holder built Holder’s Tavern a few years later, after he had married Fanny. Q “Boone’s Party� by William Tylee Ranney (1813-1857); gift of Amelia Davenport Woodford, 1944, used with the permission of the Duncan Tavern Historic Center and the Kentucky Society DAR.

Part II of Kirk Alliman’s travels on the Wilderness Road will appear in the February issue of Kentucky Monthly.




TO THE RESCUE! No-kill shelters give animals a new lease on life By Jackie Hollenkamp Bentley


he beloved Disney movie Lady and the Tramp ends on a happy note when Tramp is finally settled into his new home with Lady, and all of the dogs are happy and safe. Reality, however, tells a different story for thousands of stray animals across Kentucky. A University of Kentucky study published in December 2016 revealed that only 12 percent of the Commonwealth’s shelters abide by Kentucky’s animal shelter laws, resulting in poor living conditions for the animals. Euthanasia is a grim reality at many shelters, but there are more than two dozen organizations in Kentucky working to give a Disney-like happy ending to countless animals, primarily dogs and cats. These “no-kill” shelters care for the animals until a proper home can be found for them, no matter how long it takes. Many rely solely on a network of foster homes, while others use their own shelters combined with foster care. One in particular keeps the animals to live out their lives on a large expanse of land. 38

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The Trixie Foundation Located in Lawrence County in the heart of Appalachia is a 400-acre sanctuary where animals go to live the remainder of their days under the care and guidance of Randy Skaggs. “We don’t foster anything,” Skaggs said. “When a person places an animal here, they give up their rights to regain that animal. And everybody understands that going into it. Our focus is on the happiness and welfare of that animal.” Skaggs launched the Trixie Foundation in 1990 following the death of his own rescue dog, Trixie. What began on less than 2 acres—“Eden,” as the property is known—has grown into what Skaggs calls “the largest no-kill sanctuary east of the Mississippi River.” “Over the years, we’ve bought property on five different occasions and grown and grown and grown,” Skaggs said. “Now, we’re able to do anything and everything we want.” At any given time, there are roughly 200 animals living in multiple compounds divided according to the type of

Additional no-kill animal rescue organizations, including others across the Commonwealth, can be found at

Opening quotation of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp (1955)

animal, their size and their temperament. Most of Eden’s residents are dogs, with about 45 to 50 cats, eight to 10 chickens, and even a couple of horses. All roam free in their respective compounds under the watchful eye of Skaggs and his volunteers. “I can truly control them with my voice and my voice alone,” he said. “Like anything in life, you learn how to deal with them. You never, ever leave the animals unattended.” There are no plastic doghouses for these guys. “We have 40 or 50 dog runs out here that are built like houses and elevated up off the ground, and we have insulation in them,” he said. “We keep bales and bales of straw out here. Then, when the weather starts changing, we throw the straw in there, and they sleep together two and three at a time. We have houses that have heat sources … I’ll look in there, and there will be about 40 dogs there lying around the floor, just kicked back and snoozing.” And yes, each one has a name. “Every one of them. We call them our ‘Trixie kids,’ ” he said. “We have hundreds and hundreds of graves here. They’re not thrown away. They’re not put in a landfill. They’re placed in a graveyard.” Like most no-kill facilities, the foundation operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, relying on the kindness of fellow animal lovers. “People find out about us, and they look at what we do and how we do it. It blows them away, and they contribute,” Skaggs said. “I personally went to the dogs,” he said. “I saw that there was more good that I could do here than anything else. My heart was not in being a ‘normal Norman’ as I call it.”

The Betty J. Martin L.I.F.E. House for Animals The “L.I.F.E.” in the Betty J. Martin L.I.F.E. House for Animals stands for “Let Important Friends Exist,” and that’s exactly what its volunteers have been striving to do ever since they opened the Frankfort facility’s doors in 2003. Betty Martin had been working at a local veterinary clinic when she and local developer C. Michael Davenport struck up a business relationship to open a shelter that would never unnecessarily euthanize an animal. “Because of our love for animals … we determined we definitely wanted it to be a no-kill animal shelter,” Martin said. “Once we accept a guest in, we make a commitment that as long as they’re healthy and adoptable, we would care for them, whether it took a week, a month or a year or more to find them that right home.” With the help of Habitat for Humanity, local high school students and many other volunteers, the facility opened and now houses upwards of 50 cats and kittens and roughly 25 to 40 dogs and puppies at any given time. “There are some that have a small window of adoptability,” Martin said. “But I’m a strong believer that there is someone out there for everyone. Sometimes, it does take more time to find that right match.” As a result, some cats have been residents for most of their lives, making it emotionally difficult for the volunteers when those cats develop illnesses associated with aging. “For many of the volunteers, it’s like losing one of their own pets,” she said. “It does get hard when we have some of the longer terms that face illness.” Martin said paying for such an endeavor also is a D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


challenge. However, ongoing fundraisers, sponsorships and simple donations of money and supplies keep them going. “Having a facility like this that is able to run day-in and day-out—purely with volunteerism and donations every day—is an absolute leap of faith. It’s miraculous,” Martin said. “But seeing all these beautiful faces … They’re so happy, and I truly feel that they recognize that they have been rescued. To have it all work is just overwhelming, and there’s times that I just pull up to the driveway and just sit there and say a prayer, and I’m just thankful.” Saving Paws Animal Rescue of Kentucky does just that: It saves the lives of dogs and cats that otherwise might end up dying in an overpopulated shelter. This Owensboro organization is the brainchild of John and Bridget Austin, who had been volunteering at a southern Indiana no-kill rescue. In 2004, the Austins realized that they had enough interest to start their own pet foster network, and SparKy was born. “We’re entirely foster-based at this time,” John Austin said. “We hope at some point to actually have a building, but I don’t think it’s really ever our intention to get entirely away from having most of our animals fostered, because you get a lot of benefit out of that. “When you foster a dog, you know a lot more about their temperament, and you get to see them around other dogs. You get to see how they are with all kinds of things that happen around the house. I think it helps us to be better informed about our dogs, and I think the dogs are a little bit happier in foster homes.” In addition to the foster homes, SparKy has formed a unique relationship with the Green River Correctional Complex and Daviess County Detention Center. Austin said around 10 dogs typically are fostered at the jail. “The dogs that we have fostered over there tend to do a good job with house training, and I think it’s just got to do with the fact that the dogs do live with the guys,” Austin said. “It helps us. It helps the dogs, and I think it helps the inmates. It makes for a better living environment.” Green River’s Death Row Dogs program is a bit more involved, Austin said. Anywhere from eight to 12 dogs are there for a more intensive three-month training period. While there, the dogs are taught basic commands and social skills. The “death row” in the name comes from the fact that these animals were rescued from shelters that practice euthanasia. “We’re able to put the dogs in the Death Row Dogs program, and it gives us a foster placement,” Austin said. “The dogs benefit from the training, and they become more adoptable.” Like the other no-kill operations, SparKy relies on the generosity of others, with a good chunk of the funds paying for already heavily discounted veterinary bills. Funding comes from private and business donations, grants and “fundraiser upon fundraiser,” according to Austin. “[We get funding] from a whole variety of small things here and there, and you hope that at the end of the day, it comes close to paying that vet bill,” he said. “When we pull that dog [from a shelter], we could have that dog anywhere from a couple of days to six months to a year. You just don’t know, but we’re committed to that dog for the rest of his life.” It’s a mission the Austins are proud to have, but they do hope that one day, the mission disappears. “We would love to become obsolete,” he said. “We would love it if more people did spay and neuter their animals. The need for us would decrease sharply. Many businesses are trying to grow their business, but we would love to have ours actually become unnecessary.” Q 40

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Dream Copy Photography


Top, dogs like Maui and her puppies are fosters from SparKy; above, the L.I.F.E. House for Animals in Frankfort; below, the Trixie Foundation welcomes all kinds of abandoned animals, including horses.

How You Can Help As with most no-kill facilities and organizations in Kentucky, these nonprofit operations survive on the generosity of others. Contact the shelters for further information or to make a donation. The Trixie Foundation P.O. Box 1 Webbville, KY 41180 (606) 738-4276 Betty J. Martin L.I.F.E. House for Animals 14 Fido Court Frankfort, KY 40601

A plethora of critters wait patiently for food and affection from a volunteer at the Trixie Foundation.

SparKy 227 St. Ann Street Owensboro, KY 42303


Off the Shelf CRUISIN’ KENTUCKY WITH SANTA Merry Christmas, Y’all! Written and illustrated by Jennifer Sierra For Good Media 17.99 (H)

Santa doesn’t need to search far for a clever, colorful children’s book for young readers on his list. Author and illustrator Jennifer Sierra has produced an ideal gift for the little ones with her debut book, Merry Christmas, Y’all. The book takes readers on a Christmas Eve tour of the Commonwealth, riding along with Santa as he makes stops at landmarks such as the Newport Aquarium, Cumberland Falls, Rabbit Hash General Store and Corvette Museum. With rhyming text, Sierra touches on some of Kentucky’s best-known products, including Bybee Pottery, Rebecca Ruth candies and Louisville Sluggers. Some obviously good children (or perhaps adults) will receive premium gifts, like a new Corvette, a Thoroughbred foal and even gold from Fort Knox! Other unfortunate souls, clearly on the naughty list, will get coal from Floyd County. A fine art painter for most of her life, Sierra resides in northern Kentucky and is the editor of an online newspaper she founded that serves the Ohio River cities of Bellevue and Dayton. — Patricia Ranft

Extolling Equines

A Friend in Need

Abiding Love

It is hard to deny the grasp that a passion for horses can have over a person. In his book, Spirit of the Spirit of the Horse: A Horse: A Celebration of Celebration of Fact Fact and Fable and Fable, By William author William Shatner, with Jeff Shatner shares Rovin his equine love Thomas Dunne and includes Books historical $26.99 (H) vignettes that do the same. Weaving in horse-related stories from authors such as Jonathan Swift, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Aesop (as in the teller of fables), Shatner presents a new story in each chapter, and the spirit of the horse is always evident. Best known as Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek television show and films, Shatner also is a musician, producer, director and celebrity pitchman, but he considers himself a horseman at heart. He has owned many horses and a Woodford County farm, making him a proud Kentuckian, even if adopted in. His book is dedicated to the long list of wonderful horses that have been part of his life.

It seems like ages since corporate retiree Chris Landrum left his Kentucky home to live Discord: A Folly the peaceful Beach Mystery life on Folly By Bill Noel Hydra Publications Beach Island, $14.99 (P) S.C. He’s forged treasured friendships; that’s good. But a peaceful life? Chris continually finds himself right in the middle of murders and other nefarious events, which he’s survived and helped solve. In author Bill Noel’s 13th Folly Beach mystery, Discord, Chris’ best buddy, Charles, leaves the island for Nashville to support his girlfriend, Heather, in her quest to become a country music star. But Heather can’t sing and she appears to have been exploited by a conniving agent named Starr. Further, Mr. Starr unexpectedly leaves this good Earth via a bullet from a handgun found in Heather’s car glove compartment. Starr left a trail of disgruntled clients like Heather, so a motive is obvious. But who did it? That’s for Chris and Charles to find out. This one is all about true Folly friendship.

The sixth and final installment of Saundra Staats McLemore’s Christmas Hotel Reunion series Christmas Hotel finds Jerilyn, Reunion By Saundra the matriarch of Staats McLemore the Wright Desert Breeze family, suffering Publishing from $10.99 (P) Alzheimer’s and struggling to keep a grasp on reality. Her husband, Christopher, has his own struggles. Though he is an attentive caregiver, he suffers from heart disease and fears he eventually may need to place Jerilyn in a nursing facility. The couple have planned an Alaskan cruise to celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary, a trip Jerilyn had longed to take. But with her fading memory, her husband worries if they’ve waited too late to make the excursion. Set primarily in Franklin, Christmas Hotel Reunion is a tender tribute to a decades-long love story. In one poignant lucid moment, Jerilyn tells Christopher, “You have been my knight in shining armor.” The book relates the bittersweet story of a faithful, courageous family coping with a difficult disease.

— Deborah Kohl Kremer

— Steve Flairty

— Patricia Ranft


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(P)-Paperback (C)-Clothbound (H)-Hardback

BOOKENDS Danville veterinarian Chuck Keiser gleaned a career’s worth of humorous anecdotes from the stacks of legal pads he’d kept over the years and published them in Mudding in the Muck: Reflecting on 31 Years of Veterinary Practice. His lifelong friend, Colin Raitier, illustrated the 64-page book. Keiser wanted to tell his own story, but he can’t help but think the vignettes he shared are universal. “The wonderful part of these stories is that any one of them could have been told by virtually any veterinarian who practiced in the last 50 years. Only the names of the staff, clients and pets would need to change,” said Keiser, who built not one, but three, million-dollar accredited practices in central Kentucky. Keiser has been a member and board member of the American Animal Hospital Association most of his career. The book includes stories about cats, dogs and horses and the people who love them. Even cows and pigeons make an appearance. The paperback, published by Friends of the Word, retails for $10.95. •••

The 1966 national championship game may have been the most important basketball game in Kentucky’s history—and with the NCAA men’s basketball season currently underway, Kentucky fans may be interested in this watershed moment. With Don Haskins’ Texas Western Miners pitted against Adolph Rupp’s University of Kentucky Wildcats, the game helped destroy stereotypes about black athletes. This tense moment is well-remembered both in college basketball and American history, yet David Kingsley Snell brings new insight to the story—particularly to Rupp— and renders each team in heart-pounding detail in his book, The Baron and the Bear: Rupp’s Runts, Haskins’s Miners, and the Season That Changed Basketball Forever. “The Baron and the Bear answers the question, ‘What was Adolph Rupp really like?’ It captures Rupp and Rupp’s Runts as never before,” said Coach Joe B. Hall, Rupp’s assistant and successor at UK. “It also demolishes the contention that Rupp was a racist. It’s about time.” Published by the University of Nebraska Press, the $29.95 hardcover book can be purchased through

Christmas at the KentuCKy Gateway museum Center

215 Sutton St. Maysville, KY 41056


Christmas is a special time and each family has its own traditions. Here at KYGMC, we are celebrating with two astonishing exhibits: A Russian Christmas featuring Russian art and Catherine Palace at Christmas, and Fontanini Nativity and Bethlehem Village Collectors’ Series.

Catherine PalaCe at Christmas Thru January 20, 2018

Catherine Palace is back at the KSB Miniatures Collection and decorated for the holidays! See the special exhibit depicting the lavish Russian palace at Christmas along with hundreds of other 1/12-scale buildings and fine art miniatures all celebrating the season.

Our Fontanini Nativity and Bethlehem Village exhibit, on loan from a private collection, will depict the village of Bethlehem and the Nativity complete with townspeople, a market, of course the Nativity, and much more.

The WFTM 70th Anniversary Exhibit will open following Christmas. The display will feature the radio station’s extensive history. D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / JA N UA RY 2 0 1 8

• K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Field Notes

Sandhill Crane Lessons n a cold January evening in 2011, a couple hundred people filed into the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park community center for a public meeting called by officials of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. State game officials had expected a big turnout for the Jefferson County gathering, and they were not disappointed. The crowd, as expected, was mostly male, but several women were also in attendance. They formed a mixed bag: Hunters and conservationists dominated the audience, but there were a considerable number of wildlife-loving nonhunters in the group, along with a few openly anti-hunting spokespersons. Everyone was welcome, and everyone who wished to speak was afforded an opportunity to do so. The Department of Fish and Wildlife—a state agency funded mostly by sportsmen’s dollars, with no monies from the general tax fund—is not non-political, but it’s non-political enough to afford equal footing to all parties at open forum meetings. Also, the contingent of game officials who worked their way through the crowd prior to the 7 p.m. start time included a handful of conservation officers. (Each county is supposed to be assigned at least one officer, although the law enforcement arm of the wildlife agency is rarely fully staffed.) Conservation officers always attend these meetings. Game officials rarely expect or experience trouble, but the presence of a couple of armed, uniformed officers can help spread a conciliatory air among any audience. The crowd milled about, drinking coffee and chatting among themselves and with state game officials. A few drifted outside in the frigid evening air for a smoke. A couple minutes after 7, the meeting was called to order. Opening remarks were made, and then a slide show launched the program. State game officials were proposing a hunting season for sandhill cranes, a proposal that had evolved into a surprisingly contentious issue. Pictures of the cranes—elegant creatures that the Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes as “tall, gray-bodied, crimsoncapped birds”—flashed across the screen. Sandhill cranes have a distinctive call, fly high, travel in enormous numbers, and feed and rest in prairie, grassland and marshy habitat. Only a handful of the people in attendance had likely ever seen a sandhill crane in the wild. I had not. Kentucky wildlife officials had been pushing for a sandhill crane hunting season for several months, although even inside the agency’s headquarters, opinions on the hunt varied sharply. Supporters of the hunt presented a simple but powerful argument: Bird numbers would support a limited harvest. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees and manages the framework for all migratory bird hunting, including sandhill cranes, had approved the season, within strict limits. Furthermore, it was the state agency’s 44

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responsibility and mandate to provide sporting opportunities to the public. While it is true that sandhill cranes had once been endangered, numbers had rebounded. Several states already offered seasons. Bird numbers had continued to thrive. There was no reason not to offer Kentucky hunters a limited quota hunt for the big birds, which are finicky, fickle and notoriously difficult to lure into gun range. Game officials concluded their presentation and opened the floor to comments and questions. Several hands went up. A middle-aged man with neatly trimmed gray hair and wearing a camouflage cap and coat approached the microphone. He cleared his throat and spoke plainly and softly but with controlled emotion and purpose. Those standing near the back wall strained to hear. He was a lifelong hunter, he said. Deer. Waterfowl. Turkey. Small game. He said that he’d recently taken his grandson on his first squirrel hunt. He praised state wildlife officials for their work and complimented them on their presentation. And he was absolutely opposed to the sandhill crane season. “We just don’t need it,” he said. Then quietly sat down. Game officials seemed briefly stunned but quickly regained their footing and recognized others to speak. More than three-dozen people voiced an opinion, the majority tilting toward approving the season. Afterward, I found the first speaker and asked about his opposition. He shook his head in a matter-of-fact sort of way. “It’ll be approved,” he said. (It was approved at the following June commission meeting.) “And there’s nothing wrong with having it. I just don’t think we need it.” Sandhill crane season is now part of the fall and winter hunting fabric, although the quota hunt remains limited to 400 birds per season (in the six seasons since 2011, the quota has never been met), and the season remains dotted with numerous restrictions to help protect the birds. With the approach of each sandhill crane season, my mind rewinds to the speaker that cold January night who simply rendered his opinion without rancor or anger or posturing. There’s a lesson in that. Courtesy of Department Fish and Wildlife




Kentucky’s 2017-18 sandhill crane season opens Dec. 16 and runs through Jan. 14. The daily/season bag is two birds. This is a quota hunt in which a computer randomly selects a specified number of hunters from a pool of registrants. Hunters must register to be eligible for the drawing of a crane permit. The registration period ended Nov. 30. Hunters who were drawn and wish to apply for the 2018-19 sandhill crane hunt must complete an online survey at by Jan. 25. Completion of the survey is required, regardless of whether a drawn hunter tagged a bird or even hunted. Readers may contact Gary Garth at


Past Tense/Present Tense

American Exceptionalism BY BILL ELLIS


e all like to think of ourselves as exceptional—as in the U.S. Navy in World War II, receiving a Bronze Star for individuals, as Kentuckians and as Americans. heroism in rescuing Marines in his landing craft during the Is the United States of America exceptional, Battle of Tarawa in 1943. You may recall him as Eddie Albert being significantly different than other nations? The topic has (his screen name), who played some serious roles, receiving been debated since Puritan leader John Winthrop proclaimed two Academy Award nominations for best supporting actor, that his people would inhabit a “city upon on a hill,” a truly but also the hapless Oliver Wendell Douglas in the TV show exceptional place chosen by God to lead the world. Green Acres. Albert was an exceptional American. Unlike an Historians, theologians, philosophers, columnists, iconic Hollywood figure such as John Wayne, who sat out editorialists and people like you and me have debated this World War II but usually played heroes in movies, Albert was, topic. What makes us different from the citizens of other beyond a doubt, exceptional. countries and continents? Am I different because I speak Any nationality has to believe that it has exceptional English and not Hindi, or live in Kentucky rather than individuals. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of ours. So were Argentina? And I live in the early 21st Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams. century rather than 1776. Moreover, is Modern Germans would want to it presumptuous to believe in American proclaim Dietrich Bonhoeffer as exceptionalism? exceptional in their history rather The historical background for this than Adolf Hitler, I would think. Ken concept runs deep in American history. Wilkinson, the last surviving British We are justly proud of the American fighter pilot of the Battle of Britain, Revolution and the impact it had on died in August 2016. “Never in the the rest of the world, including the field of human conflict was so much subsequent French Revolution and owed by so many to so few,” Prime other struggles against tyranny, as well Minister Winston Churchill declared as the impact it continues to have on as Royal Air Force airmen halted the present day. After all, more people Hitler’s plans for an invasion in have always wanted to enter the U.S. August 1940. than leave it. Shouldn’t we be proud There are many exceptional of that? Americans today. Oscar Munoz, the The Declaration of Independence CEO of United Airlines, is the oldest of reads: “We hold these truths to be self- Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor on Green Acres nine children of an immigrant family. evident, that all men are created equal, He became the first in his family to that they are endowed by their Creator receive a college education. Never with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, forget that education is the pathway to upward mobility for Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Have we found that most Americans not born in wealthy circumstances. balance? Is that what makes the U.S. exceptional? You meet exceptional Americans every day. Most Americans Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville in his book Democracy in are forgiving. After the massacre of six women and three men America found something “quite exceptional” in the and the wounding of others on June 17, 2015, at Emmanuel development of liberty and equality in the American AME Church in Charleston, S.C., by a self-styled white experiment. His observation of “The Age of Jackson” of the supremacist, several victims and relatives of the deceased mid-1830s was of a country rapidly changing, with shifting declared they were praying for the young man’s soul and social lines and expanding borders. Of course, Africanforgave him for what he had done. What had he done? After American slaves and Native Americans were left out of the being welcomed into a prayer-meeting group, he took an democratization of the time. automatic pistol from a backpack and, shouting racial epithets, I continue to believe that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest proceeded to cold-bloodedly kill defenseless human beings in American, perhaps the most exceptional person in our history. six minutes. It took his melancholy personality to see not only the great I would like to think that I would be as magnanimous as the possibilities but also the pitfalls of our national life. As early as surviving victims and the families of the deceased. Truly, they 1838, he predicted that no foreign power could ever subdue the are exceptional human beings. United States: “Shall we expect some transatlantic military I also would like to think that Lincoln’s admonition about giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! … If Americans sticking together is prophetic. destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and The U.S. will be exceptional only as long as it has a vast finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, majority of exceptional citizens: patriotic without being or die by suicide.” xenophobic; honest and law-abiding; civil and respectful to We live in contentious and dangerous times. North Korea friend and foe; and sympathetic and charitable to those in poses a nuclear threat, and the Middle East is as restless as need, no matter where they live. ever. We are nearly as divided politically as we were in 1860. During the coming holiday season—indeed, every day—be There is great wealth as well as great poverty in America. Some thankful for exceptional Americans who guard our freedom writers suggest we have entered another Gilded Age, similar to against foreign as well as domestic foes who would destroy our that of the late 19th century, in which wealth rules all to the way of life. Exceptional Americans do jobs every day that make detriment of “The Common Man.” our lives livable. They make things work. If there is anything to American exceptionalism, it is because Who is your favorite exceptional American? there have been and are now many exceptional Americans. One you may have heard of is Eddie Heimberger. He served Readers may contact Bill Ellis at D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY




Let’s Go

December Sunday








A Mayberry Christmas, Old Courtroom, Owenton, also Dec. 8-9, (502) 563-5050

Christmas at Great Russian St. Brigid, St. Nutcracker, Brigid Catholic Southern Kentucky Church, Louisville, Performing Arts (502) 968-6300 Center, Bowling Green, (270) 904-5000



Town & Brian Country: New McKnight, Works by Norton Center for Martin Rollins, the Arts, Danville, B. Deemer Gallery, 1-877-HIT-SHOW Louisville, (502) 896-6687


Ongoing Ongoing Holiday Lights, Catherine Buffalo Trace Palace at Distillery, Christmas! Frankfort, Kentucky Gateway through Jan. 1, Museum, 1-866-729-3722 Maysville, through Jan. 30, (606) 564-5865












Mountain Holiday HomePlace Ornaments, Christmas, John James Mountain Audubon State HomePlace, Park, Henderson, Staffordsville, also (270) 827-189 Dec. 9 and 15-16, (606) 297-1469




A Charlie Mannheim Restless Heart A Christmas Breakfast with Brown Steamroller – A Season of Carol, Ragged Santa, Dale Christmas Christmas, EKU Harmony, Edge Community Hollow Lake State Live, Felix E. Center for the Arts, Owensboro Theatre, Resort Park, Martin Jr. Hall, Richmond, Convention Center, Harrodsburg, Burkesville, Greenville, (859) 622-7469 (270) 687-8800 through Dec. 17, (270) 433-7431 (270) 338-1895 (859) 734-2389



A Civil War Christmas, Artists Collaborative Theatre, Elkhorn City, (606) 754-4228


Lexington Christmas Spectacular, Quest Community Church, Lexington, through Dec. 24, (859) 277-2014


Christmas Christmas Eve Day




New Year’s Eve


Christmas Country Dance School, Berea College, Berea, through Jan. 1, 1-800-598-5263



Kentucky The Cave City Flea Market Gun & Knife New Year’s Show, Cave City Spectacular Convention Center, 2017, Kentucky through Dec. 31, Exposition Center, (270) 773-3131 Louisville, through Jan. 1, (502) 456-2244

Ongoing Ongoing Ongoing Ongoing Ongoing Ongoing Grandmother Nutcracker SoKY Ice Rink, Southern Christmas Toy Train Power: A Global The Exhibition, SoKY Marketplace Lights, Kentucky Tours, Exhibit, Phenomenon, Frazier History Pavilion, Horse Park, My Old Kentucky BehringerMuseum, Bowling Green, Lexington, Home State Park, Crawford Museum, Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, Louisville, through Jan. 7 through Dec. 31, Bardstown, Covington, through Jan. 7, through Jan. 7, (859) 255-5727 through Jan. 6, through Jan. 8, (502) 584-9254 (502) 753-5663 (502) 348-3502 (859) 491-4003

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8








Dusty Guitar Presents Dwight Yoakam, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007









Skatetacular Dreams on Ice, Lancaster Grand Theatre, Lancaster, (859) 583-1716




Broadway Series: Chicago, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, through Jan. 28, (502) 584-7469



Tapestry: A Tribute to Carole King, Grand Theatre, Frankfort, (502) 352-7469


Concert with the Stars, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567


Owensboro Symphony: Shakespeare in Love, RiverPark Center, Owensboro, (270) 687-2770

Roald Dahl’s Eagle Watch Jessica Lang Willie Wonka, Weekend, Lake Dance, Norton Carnegie Visual Barkley State Center for the Arts, and Performing Resort Park, Danville, Arts Center, Cadiz, 1-877-HIT-SHOW Covington, through Jan. 21, through Jan. 23, (270) 924-1131 (859) 491-2030


Murder at the Vette City Con Opry, presented 2018, National by the Paramount Corvette Museum, Players, Bowling Green, Paramount Arts (270) 781-7973 Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007


Sacagawea: Discovering History, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington, (859) 254-4546

Martin Luther King Jr. Day





Southern Kentucky Fishing Open, Lake Cumberland – Halcombs Landing, Jamestown, (502) 445-2653



Full-Day Kentucky Bourbon Tour, various locations, Louisville, also Jan. 5-6, 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27, (502) 583-1433

New Year’s Day






More to explore online!

Visit for additional content, including a calendar of events, feature stories and recipes. Jeremy Daniel photo D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / JA N UA RY 2 0 1 8

• K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Let’s Go

Let’s Go!

A guide to Kentucky’s most interesting events Bluegrass Region

Woodford Theater, Versailles, also Dec. 8-10 and 15-17, (859) 873-0648,

2 Brian McKnight, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, 1-877-HIT-SHOW, Ongoing Permanent Collection Exhibit, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, (859) 257-5716, Get Ready, Get Set: Multiples in Clay, Kentucky Artisan Center, Berea, through Feb. 23, (859) 985-5448, Southern Lights, presented by the KHP Foundation, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, through Dec. 31, (859) 255-5727, Holiday Lights, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, through Jan. 1, 1-866-729-3722, December

1-2 A Victorian Christmas, White Hall State Historic Site, Richmond, also Dec. 8-9 and 15-16, (859) 623-9178, 1 Larry Sanders & Borderline Band, The Burgin Barn, Burgin, (859) 748-5424, 1-2 Christmas Tea, White Hall State Historic Site, Richmond, also Dec. 5 and 12, (859) 623-9178, 1-3 Alison Saar: Breach, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, (859) 257-5716, 1-3 Complex Simplicities, City Gallery, Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center, Lexington, (859) 425-2526, 1-3 Lori Nix: The City, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, (859) 257-5716, 1-3 Teju Cole: Blind Spot, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, (859) 257-5716, 1-3 An Appalachian Christmas Carol,


2 Lawrenceburg Christmas Parade, downtown Lawrenceburg, (502) 839-5372, 2 Twilight Christmas Parade, downtown Berea, (859) 986-9760, 2 Christmas Parade, downtown Winchester, (859) 737-0923, 2 Holiday Homes Tour, various locations, Harrodsburg, (859) 734-5985, 2 A Kentucky Christmas, Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate, Lexington, (859) 266-8581, 2 Lawrenceburg Christmas Craft Fair, Christian Academy of Lawrenceburg, 2-3 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 254-4546, 5 Tea Tuesday, Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington, also Dec. 12, (859) 272-3611, 9 18th Century Christmas, Fort Boonesborough State Park, Richmond, (859) 527-3131, 13 Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, (859) 622-7469,

22-24 Lexington Christmas Spectacular, Quest Community Church, Lexington, (859) 277-2014, 26-31 Christmas Country Dance School, Berea College, Berea, through Jan. 1, 1-800-598-5263, January

1 A Tribute to Hank Williams, Lancaster Grand Theatre, Lancaster, (859) 583-1716, 6 Concert with the Stars, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567, 12 Tapestry: A Tribute to Carole King, Grand Theatre, Frankfort, (502) 352-7469, 16 Skatetacular Dreams on Ice, Lancaster Grand Theatre, Lancaster, (859) 583-1716, 19 Halfway to Hazard, Grand Theatre, Frankfort, (502) 352-7469, 20 Jessica Lang Dance, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, 1-877-HIT-SHOW, 21 Sacagawea: Discovering History, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington, (859) 254-4546, 27 Met Opera: Tosca, Grand Theatre, Frankfort, (502) 352-7469,

Louisville Region

15-17 A Christmas Carol, Ragged Edge Community Theatre, Harrodsburg, (859) 734-2389, 16 $30.00 or Below, Arts Council of Mercer County, Harrodsburg, (859) 613-0790, 16 Lexington Messiah Community Sing-Along, Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, Lexington, (502) 353-0597,

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8

December Ongoing Merry & Bright Christmas Tours, My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown, through Jan. 6, (502) 348-3502,

Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon, Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, through Jan. 7, (502) 584-9254,

8-10 Louisville Christmas Gift and Decor Show 2017, Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, (502) 456-2244,

Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center, Elizabethtown, also Jan. 25-28, (270) 765-2175,

Nutcracker The Exhibition: 60 Years of Magic and Majesty, Frazier History Museum, Louisville, through Jan. 7, (502) 753-5663,

9 Second Saturday, downtown Elizabethtown, (270) 765-2175,

23-28 Louisville Broadway Series: Chicago, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, (502) 584-7469,


1-2 Beautiful Music of Christmas, Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, Bardstown, (502) 348-4877, 1-3 North Pole Express, Kentucky Railway Museum, New Haven, also Dec. 8-9, 15-16 and 21-22, (502) 549-5470, 1-3 Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, (502) 584-7469, 1-3 A Christmas Carol Musical: Ebenezer, Shelby County Community Theater, Shelbyville, also Dec 7-10, (502) 633-0222, 1-12 Town & Country: New Works by Martin Rollins, B. Deemer Gallery, Louisville, (502) 896-6687, 2 Supper with Santa, Grayson’s Landing Restaurant, Falls Of Rough, 1-800-325-1713, 2 North Pole Express, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, Bardstown, also Dec. 9-10, 16-17 and 23, (502) 348-7300, 2 Civil War Christmas, Old Bardstown Village, Bardstown, (502) 349-0291, 2 Santa on the Square, downtown Bardstown, also Dec. 9 and 16, (502) 348-4877,

9 Christmas Tour of Homes, downtown Bardstown, (502) 348-4877, 9 Skate with Santa, Whispering Wheels Roller Rink, Bardstown, (502) 348-4877,

9-10 Mrs. Julia Beckham’s Christmas Tea, Wickland, Home of Three Governors, Bardstown, (502) 507-0808, 10 Christmas at St. Brigid, St. Brigid Catholic Church, Louisville, (502) 968-6300, 15-17 The Nutcracker, Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center, Elizabethtown, (270) 765-2175, 20 Explore! Archery, E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, activities building gymnasium, Louisville, (502) 429-7270,

Toy Train Exhibit, Behringer-Crawford Museum, Covington, through Jan. 8, (859) 491-4003, Catherine Palace at Christmas! Kentucky Gateway Museum, Maysville, through Jan. 30, (606) 564-5865, December

1 Frozen Wonderland Day & Festival of Trees, General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, (502) 732-4384, 2-3 Frontier Christmas, Old Washington Historic Village, Maysville, (606) 759-7423,

31 New Year’s Eve Celebration, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls Of Rough, (270) 257-2311,

2-3 Christmas Tour of Homes, various locations, Carrollton, (502) 732-7036,

31 New Year’s Eve Excursion, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, Bardstown, (859) 447-0755,

3 A Mayberry Christmas, Old Courtroom, Owenton, also Dec. 8-9, (502) 563-5050, 3 Christmas Parade, downtown Owenton, (502) 484-5703,


3 Santa Express, Kentucky Railway Museum, New Haven, also Dec. 10-11 and 17, (502) 549-5470,

6 The Snowflake Shoot Archery Tournament, E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park activities building, Louisville, (502) 429-7270,

8-10 A Christmas Story, Historic State Theater, Elizabethtown, also Dec. 17, (270) 765-2175,

Ongoing December

29-31 Kentucky Flea Market New Year’s Spectacular 2017, Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, through Jan. 1, (502) 456-2244,

4-6 Full-Day Kentucky Bourbon Tour, various locations, Louisville, also Jan. 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27, (502) 583-1433,

7 Open House, Jailer’s Inn, Bardstown, (502) 348-5551,

Northern Region

9 Second Saturday: Family Day – The Nutcracker, Frazier History Museum, Louisville, (502) 753-5663,

3 Christmas at Immaculate Conception, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, La Grange, (502) 968-6300,

7 Kiwanis Club’s Annual Christmas Parade, downtown Bardstown, (502) 348-4877,

26-31 Eurydice, presented by the University of Louisville Theatre Arts, Thrust Theatre, Louisville, through Feb. 4,

12 2nd Friday Bluegrass Jam, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls Of Rough, (270) 257-2311, 12 Louisville Orchestra Coffee Series, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, 18-22 Peter and the Starcatcher,

5 Gobble, Gobble … Let’s Talk Turkey! Behringer-Crawford Museum, Covington, (859) 491-4003, 9 White Christmas Parade, downtown Augusta, (606) 756-2183, 9 Winter Hike, Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, Union, (859) 384-3522, 19 Kentucky Gathers Dulcimer Group, General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, (502) 732-4384, 31 General Butler & Friends of Butler New Year’s Eve, General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, (502) 732-4384,

D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 / JA N UA RY 2 0 1 7

• K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Let’s Go January


11/9 2017

16 Kentucky Gathers Dulcimer Group, General Butler State Resort Park, lodge mezzanine, Carrollton, (502) 732-4384, 18 Chris Young Losing Sleep Tour, BB&T Arena, Highland Heights, (859) 442-2652, 18-23 Roald Dahl’s Willie Wonka, Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Covington, (859) 491-2030,

Western Region


The Exhibition: 60 Years of Magic and Majesty


1 Robbie Fulks in Concert, International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro, (270) 926-7891, 1 A Community Christmas, Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, Madisonville, (270) 821-2787,

Christmas ’Round Bardstown

2 First Day Hike: Monthly Hiking Series, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs, (270) 797-3421, 2 Kiwanis Christmas Parade, downtown Madisonville, 2 Santa Visits the Park & Gift Shop Open House, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs, (270) 797-3421, 8 Christmas with Kellie Pickler and Phil Vassar, Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, Madisonville, (270) 821-2787, 9 2nd Saturday Hike - Outdoor Ethics, Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Cadiz, (270) 924-1431, 9 Holiday Ornaments, John James Audubon State Park, Henderson, (270) 827-1893,

No matter where you’re from, you’ll feel at home for the holidays when you visit Kentucky’s second-oldest city. From the downtown tree lighting to a ride on the North Pole Express, the most spirited place for the holidays is Bardstown, Kentucky — the small town with big escapes. | 800.638.4877 50

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8

9 Breakfast and the Grinch, Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas, (270) 646-2151, 9 Santa’s House, Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas, (270) 646-2151, 9-12 Return to Bethlehem, First Baptist Church, Madisonville,

11 Tempest Trio, Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, Madisonville, (270) 821-2787,


Owensboro, (270) 687-2770,

12 A Charlie Brown Christmas Live, Felix E. Martin Jr. Hall, Greenville, (270) 338-1895,

19-21 Nature Watch Weekend: Sandhill Cranes, Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas, also Jan. 26-27, (270) 646-2151, parks.

14 Restless Heart – A Season of Harmony, Owensboro Convention Center, (270) 687-8800,

19-21 Eagle Watch Weekend, Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Cadiz, (270) 924-1131,

16 Breakfast with Santa, Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park, Burkesville, (270) 433-7431,

27 Murder Mystery Theatre, Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas, (270) 646-2151,

31 New Year’s Bash, Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas, (270) 646-2151,

Southern Region

1 Christmas at Shakertown, South Union Shaker Village, Auburn, (270) 542-4167, 1-3 Festival of Trains, Historic Railpark & Train Museum, Bowling Green, (270) 745-7317, 1-3 The Polar Express Train Ride, Big South Fork Scenic Railway, Stearns, also Dec. 8-10 and 15-23, (606) 657-9491, 2 Christmas Parade, downtown Horse Cave,

31 New Year’s Eve Celebration, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs, (270) 797-3421,

3 Lucas Oil Southern Kentucky Fishing Open, Lake Cumberland – Halcombs Landing, Jamestown, (502) 445-2653

31 Barkley Bash 2018, Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Cadiz, (270) 924-1431,

7 A Celtic Angels Christmas, The Center for Rural Development, Somerset, (606) 677-6000,


13 Owensboro Symphony: Shakespeare in Love, RiverPark Center, Owensboro, (270) 687-2770, 16 The Sound of Music, RiverPark Center,

Ongoing December Kentucky: 225 Years on the Move, National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, through Feb. 27, (270) 781-7973,

7-9 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Phoenix Theatre, Bowling Green, (270) 781-6233,

SoKY Ice Rink, SoKY Marketplace Pavilion, Bowling Green, through Jan. 7,

8 The Oak Ridge Boys, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, (270) 904-5000,




OR THE SHOW THAT CHANGED MUSICAL THEATRE FOREVER! Spanning 40 pivotal years in American history, this epic musical follows the lives and loves of three generations aboard a show boat as it plies the Mississippi River. One of the most romantic musicals of all time, this lavish production is directed by Michael Erhman and features classics of musical theatre including “Make Believe”, “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”, and the landmark “Ol’ Man River”.

March 2-4, 2018 • 859.257.4929 • 859.257.4929


Let’s Go 11 Great Russian Nutcracker, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, (270) 904-5000, 15 3rd Friday Folk-Coffeehouse, Carnegie Community Arts Center, Somerset, (606) 305-6741, 30-31 The Cave City Gun & Knife Show, Cave City Convention Center, Cave City, (270) 773-3131, January

7 Lucas Oil Southern Kentucky Fishing Open, Lake Cumberland – Halcombs Landing, Jamestown, (502) 445-2653 13 Seasonal Hiking Series – Winter Adaptations, Nolin Lake State Park, Mammoth Cave, (270) 286-4240, 19 The Sound of Music, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, (270) 904-5000, 20 Barren Bassmasters, Cave City Convention Center, Cave City, (270) 773-3131, 27 Vette City Con 2018, National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, (270) 781-7973,

Eastern Region

�������������� Christmas with Kellie Pickler & Phil Vassar Friday, December 8

�������������� Return to Bethlehem


1-3 A Christmas Carol, Jenny Wiley Mainstage, Pikeville, also Dec. 5, 7-8, 10, 12, 14-17 and 19-20, (606) 886-9274, 2 Hometown Holiday, downtown Morehead, (606) 548-1073, 2 Appalachian Holiday Arts & Craft Fair, Laughlin Health Building, Morehead State University, Morehead, (606) 783-2204, 2 Appalachian Elk Viewing Tour, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg, (606) 889-1790,

Saturday, December 9 – Tuesday, December 12

2 Christmas in the City, downtown Paintsville, (606) 297-1469,


2-3 Kentucky Opry Christmas, Mountain Arts Center, Prestonsburg, (606) 886-2623, 7 Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8

Nutcracker, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007,

7 Comedy Night, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Dewey’s Bar and Grill, Prestonsburg, also Dec. 21, (606) 889-1790, 7 Front Porch Pickin’, Country Music Highway Mueum, Paintsville, also Dec. 14 and 21, (606) 297-1469,

When your dedication to wellness grows...

8-9 Mountain HomePlace Christmas, Mountain HomePlace, Staffordsville, also Dec. 15-16, (606) 297-1469, 9 Breakfast with Santa, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Slade, (606) 663-2214,

Offering Master’s and Doctoral Degrees for Registered Nurses

9 Appalachia Handmade Craft Fair, Convention Center, Prestonsburg, (606) 889-1790,

Specialties Offered:

9 WWE Live Holiday Tour, Eastern Kentucky Expo Center, Pikeville, (606) 444-5500,

• Family Nurse Practitioner

9-10 Breakfast with Santa & Frosty, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg, also Dec. 16-17, (606) 889-1790,

• Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

10 Steve Earle & The Dukes, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007,

• Certified Nurse-Midwife • Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner

Learn more about our innovative distance education programs at

15-16 Madeline’s Christmas, presented by the Paramount Players, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007, 17 A Civil War Christmas, Artists Collaborative Theatre, Elkhorn City, (606) 754-4228, January

14 Dusty Guitar Presents Dwight Yoakam, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007, 20 KISS Tribute: Dressed to Kill, Mountain Arts Center, Prestonsburg, (606) 886-2623, 26 Murder at the Opry, presented by the Paramount Players, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007,

For additional Calendar items or to submit an event, please visit Submissions must be sent at least 90 days prior to the event. D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / JA N UA RY 2 0 1 8

• K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Let’s Go

Colonial Cottage Restaurant 3140 Dixie Highway, Erlanger 859-341-4498



Also offering pastries, breads, and sandwiches. Free Wi-Fi, along with a collection of books and other literature on early Kentucky and Mason County history.



35 E 2nd St, Maysville, KY 606.564.9704

Display until 2/14/2017

17 Activities for 2017 MacPhail Antler Artist Dan ning Faux Furs Donna Salyers’ Stun




K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8

MARKETPLACE TAPESTRY A Tribute to Carol King • Halfway to HAZARD • delbert MCCLINTON• FLAMENCO vivo national PLAYERS - the GREAT gatsby • george WINSTON • ASLEEP at the WHEEL • sam BUSH • coltor WALL

G E T YO U R T I C K E T S N OW ! J U N E 2 0 0 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Vested Interest

Mea Culpa


n regards to the tardiness of the November issue, I wish I could blame it on something other than myself. I’d like to claim “mea culpa”—not because it’s exactly my fault, but because “mea culpa” is a phrase you don’t get to use every day. We strive to deliver Kentucky Monthly on time and will do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again. • • •

Photo By Jessica Patton

Regular readers of this space have read about Toby before. He’s our rescue dog—a “dorkie”—who loves everyone, and I do mean everyone—everyone except Contributing Editor Madelynn Coldiron, the UPS and FedEx deliverymen, one particular woman who walks around our block early in the morning and the squirrels who live in our many oak and maple trees. Toby divides his time between our home and the Kentucky Monthly office. When at the office, he likes to wear one of his numerous sweaters and spends most of his time curled up under my feet or on my lap. He keeps us alerted to the comings and goings of the Kentucky Press Association, which is located across the street. This will be Toby’s third Christmas with us. We’re hoping it’s less dramatic than last year when, the day after Christmas, he came out on the losing end of a dogfight with a German Shepherd, who mistook Toby for a squeaky toy. Toby is recovered now and bounds around the house like one of the squirrels who aggravate him so much when he sees them through our family room windows. I’ve never been one of those people who assumed that

Toby Vest is Kentucky Monthly’s mascot, senior supervisor and an all-around good boy.

my children were any smarter than anyone else’s or that my dog was somehow gifted, but there have been moments worthy of consideration. One day when he was overtly ready to call it a day, he paced at my office door, growing more and more frustrated. Finally, he came to my desk and sighed. When I looked at STEPHEN M. VEST him, he said, and I have several witnesses to confirm Publisher & Editor-in-Chief it, “NnnOooWww.” Our friends Joe and Kathleen once had an antisocial cat. He would disappear whenever company arrived at their McLean County home. The cat would stay hidden until the evening news and then would place himself in the center of the coffee table. He would sit there, staring at the intruders until one made the mistake of making eye contact. When they did, he would then yawn a monster-sized yawn—the signal for you to leave. Back to Toby, who, as you may remember, is a dorkie— which is an indeterminate mix of Yorkshire Terrier and dachshund. They were bred to root out badgers, and he’s true to his breeding. As I said, he’s no friend of squirrels, and he once treed a rather large raccoon, which—to be honest—was a little scary. His latest encounter was with a black-and-white mammal most often associated, rightly so, with being odoriferous. Apparently, Toby stuck his nose where it didn’t belong, and either Pepé Le Pew or Skunk Fu—I was never properly introduced—doused Toby with the worst aroma to enter our house this side of a middle-school gym bag that spent a summer in the trunk of the car. We tried all the suggested remedies, and while they all helped some, the smell still lingers, especially when Toby works up a sweat barking at squirrels. Proof positive that Toby is gifted. The other day, Toby came and sat by me on the couch, and I caught a whiff of skunk. “Goodness gracious, you stink,” I said. “You need to go get in the tub.” It was so bad that my eyes were watering. I got up to let him outside, and he was gone. I called to him with no success. I stood at the door and called to him again and again. I went back into the house, but he wasn’t in the family room or the kitchen. I went upstairs—no Toby. I yelled into the basement—no Toby. Finally, I went into the downstairs bathroom to wash my hands and face, and there he was, right where I had told him to go. “Do you need a bath, buddy?” “NnnOooWww.” Readers, and those looking for a speaker for a church or civic group, may contact Stephen M. Vest at steve@kentuckymonthly.

DECEMBER/JANUARY KWIZ ANSWERS: 1. B. Glasgow was the home of Western Kentucky University from 1875-1884; 2. C. Georgetown’s Toyota Motor Manufacturing; 3. True; 4. A. The United Way; 5. B. The Louisville Cardinals; 6. C. Liberty, which explains how the Morgan County town of West Liberty got its name; 7. C. The Blue and the Gray; 8. A. Mount Sterling; 9. B. Franklin; 10. C. Greensburg


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8

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