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Hall of Fame Inductee bell hooks Display until 3/14/2018


In This Issue

41 Departments 2 Kentucky Kwiz 4 Mag on the Move 6 Across Kentucky 7 Music Kory Caudill 8 Cooking A Sweet Time of Year 49 Field Notes 50 Calendar

Featured Fare 12 Destined to Design

Liz Toombs travels the country sprucing up Greek houses on college campuses

23 Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame

Profiles of 2018 inductees bell hooks, Walter Tevis, Annie Fellows Johnston and John Fox Jr.

2018 Guide to Colleg es & Univer sities, page 15

30 Penned: The 10th Annual Writers’ Showcase

The best of reader-submitted fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and novel opening paragraph

38 The Couple Who Writes Together

Authors Liz Curtis Higgs and Bill Higgs meld their differing personalities into a Christian version of yin and yang

41 In the Footsteps of the Pioneers, Part II


Kirk Alliman takes his trusty bicycle on a trip over the Wilderness Road to Kentucky’s beginnings

46 Southern Treasure

3 Readers Write 48 Past Tense/ Present Tense

Down-home luxury not an oxymoron at this bed and breakfast

56 Vested Interest



Illustration of bell hooks by Jessica Patton



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

5. Where were classes offered in the early days of what eventually would become the University of Kentucky?

1. Dating back to 1926, the original Hot Brown was created at Louisville’s Brown Hotel by whom?

6. Bicycle, Aviator and Bee playing cards are produced in which northern Kentucky city?

A. Karl Schmidt

A. Edgewood

B. Fred K. Schmidt

B. Erlanger

C. Wolfgang M. Schmidt

C. Elsmere

2. Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., the father of Muhammad Ali, was described as “the fanciest dancer in Louisville,” but he made his living doing what? A. Boxing B. Preaching C. Painting

A. The Red Mile B. Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate C. Lexington Public Library

7. Camping World, with 120 locations nationwide, began as a single, much smaller store serving which Kentucky campground? A. Mammoth Cave B. Beech Bend Park C. Daniel Boone Land

3. Abraham Lincoln’s parents, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, were married June 12, 1806, in which county named for a president?

8. Billy Joe “Cornbread Red” Burge, born in Paducah in 1931, was known as “one of the most talented and entertaining characters in the history” of which sport?

A. Jefferson County

A. Professional bowling

B. Washington County

B. Professional wresting

C. Jackson County

C. Professional pool

4. John LaRue, an early Hodgenville pioneer, was born in 1746 in Virginia. He is one of the few people who can claim what?

9. Grandpa Jones, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and a charter member of Hee-Haw, was born in Niagara, which is in the southern part of which western Kentucky county?

A. To have survived multiple attacks by Native Americans B. To have traveled around the world in a hot-air balloon

A. Union

C. To have lived and died in the county named in his honor

C. Henderson

B. Webster

10. Theodore Roosevelt Augustus Major Poston, whose family founded the Hopkinsville Contender, was the first African American nominated for which noted journalism award? A. The Nobel Prize B. The Al Smith Award C. The Pulitzer Prize

Camping World superstore in Bowling Green 2

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

Celebrating the best of our Commonwealth © 2018, Vested Interest Publications Volume Twenty One, Issue 1, February 2018 STEPHEN M. VEST, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief


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

Advertising JULIE MOORE, Senior Account Executive MISTEE BROWNING, Account Manager 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. (888) 329-0053 P.O. Box 559 100 Consumer Lane Frankfort, KY 40601

VOICES SPEAKING APPRECIATION I was thrilled to see that Mitch Barrett and Carla Gover are again doing music together (“Speaking Music,” September issue, page 9). I first heard them on the Old Capitol grounds in Frankfort during a Kentucky heritage festival. I bought two CDs that day by Zoe Speaks and have nearly worn them out! I heard Mitch several times at Tater Knob Pottery in Berea during the Christmas open house … They make beautiful music together! Dixie Nutt Taylor, Finchville CLARIFICATIONS I love the “Kentucky Kwiz” every month in your magazine. In your October 2017 issue (page 2), your first question asks: “Kentucky Avenue runs

through the middle of which Southeastern Conference school’s campus?” Missouri does have a street running through its campus, but it is not Kentucky Avenue; it is Kentucky Boulevard. But I still love your publication! Monty Owen, Louisville The article on Jim Bowie referenced the Texas Historical Society for information on where Bowie was born in present-day Simpson County (October issue, page 18). I’d like the record to show that that information was

Readers Write determined by Simpson Countian Dorothy Donnell Steers, who used the historical records and her own skills as a researcher to ascertain where Rezin Bowie’s land was located. Subsequently, the Simpson County Historical Society applied for and installed a state historical marker near the site. For more information, contact the Simpson County Historical Society and Archives in Franklin, which keeps the historical records of Franklin and Simpson County and is expanding its facilities to offer more to those with an interest in the history of the area. Lu Ann Ferguson, Franklin

Counties featured in this issue n

We Love to Hear from You!

Kentucky Monthly welcomes letters from all readers. Email us your comments at, send a letter through our website at, or message us on Facebook. Letters may be edited for clarification and brevity. nitedBank_KY Monthly_February.qxp_Layout 1 1/2/18 9:38 AM Page 1

Outside, In. Turn your attention from the great outdoors to a home renovation project with a home equity line of credit.

Now with 34 Locations in 21 Communities






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

Patricia and Harvey Jacobs

Oregon The Louisville natives now live in Durham, Oregon and are pictured at the Beaver State’s stunning Crater Lake National Park.

Donna Spangenberg Kingsley, Michigan

Stew and Linda Wade Hawaii

Jane Peters and Dorace Peters Havana, Cuba

While helping their sister, Sandy, move, Donna (pictured) and sister Bonnie, who took the photo, read up on Kentucky in preparation for a trip to visit relatives in Harrodsburg.

The Greenville couple traveled to the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and The Big Island (officially named Hawaii). They are seen here in front of Diamond Head, Honolulu.

Louisville resident Jane, left, and Dorace—formerly of Louisville and now living in Florida—cruised with a group of music lovers to Cuba, where they enjoyed the flavor of Latin tunes.


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

Sarah and Stephen Cox Bermuda

Terry Gibson and Isaac Lottes New York City

Michael Brewer Maine

The Lexington couple took in the British Royal Naval Dockyard, built in 1795, while visiting Bermuda.

Terry and Issac, who both work in Florence, took Kentucky Monthly along on a business trip to Manhattan.

The lifelong resident of Paducah posed at Seawall in Maine’s Acadia National Park.

Image by Sharon Tessler

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More than 200 artists selected for quality craftsmanship and artistic excellence gather for three days in Louisville under one roof for a show like no other.

NEW FOR 2018 - $5 AFTER 5 FRIDAY ONLY for the public from 5 –8 pm

F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Across Kentucky



Atwood photo

o many Kentuckians, covered bridges are cherished landmarks—symbols for childhood nostalgia and Bluegrass heritage. More than 700 covered bridges once stood throughout the Commonwealth, but today only 13 remain. One survivor is the Beech Fork Bridge in Washington County, spanning the Beech Fork River on Ky. 458 between Mooresville and Chaplin. At 211 feet, it is the longest covered bridge enduring in Kentucky, built in 1871 by brothers William P. and Henry J. Barnes, carpenters from Mt. Washington. The Beech Fork Bridge was bypassed in 1975 and is closed to traffic. Recently, however, it has undergone a full restoration. Arnold and Meg Graton of New Hampshire have, over the past 60 years, restored more than 70 covered bridges across the United States. Beginning in April 2016, the couple and their team lived on-site in trailers and worked all the way up through Christmas Day 2017 fulfilling their contract. Many of the Beech Fork timbers were rotted, broken or worn out due to weather. The bridge itself sagged nearly 18 inches and leaned upstream about 6 inches, and some of the original siding, dating back to its construction, was worn down to a quarter of an inch. Arnold predicted that it “might have lasted another 30 years. Three-fourths of its life was gone.” The restoration involved taking the whole bridge apart after suspending it on a steel truss, replacing the siding, splicing new wood together with old, and coating the bridge with Nochar flame retardant. “It’s very labor-intensive work,” said Arnold. Meg explained, “We’re working with 16-foot, 8-by-12 huge heavy timbers … We do all of our joinery by hand because that’s the way it was done originally.” The Gratons’ restoration efforts preserve not only the structural integrity of the bridge, but also its history, retaining 80 percent of the existing material. The restored Beech Fork Bridge “We reuse whatever we can,” Meg said, “so if we have to replace a post because it’s rotted, we reuse part of it in another place in the bridge. A lot of people have been concerned that the graffiti is gone. It might still be there, but it might be upside-down now.” Arnold expects that, barring unexpected damages, the restorations to the Beech Fork Bridge will last 300 years. Though there are not sufficient funds available for another full restoration, the Gratons’ next project will begin in February, when they will work to stabilize the Mason County Dover Bridge, which sustained heavy flood damage over the summer. The next covered bridge designated for restoration is the Ringos Mill Bridge in Fleming County, though there are not yet enough funds. Of more immediate concern is Fleming County’s Hillsboro Bridge, which, according to Walter Laughlin—covered bridge photographer, co-author of Kentucky’s Covered Bridges and manager of the Facebook page “Kentucky’s Covered Bridges – A Baker’s Dozen”—is “very much in danger of collapsing.” For those who want to contribute to covered bridge restoration, Lori Ulrich, Mason County representative in the Buffalo Trace Covered Wooden Bridge Authority, recommends contacting local legislators and communicating interest. “The immediate need is people recognizing that we have these treasures,” said Ulrich, “and we need to find a way to preserve them—preserve their heritage.” — Cait A. Smith


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1 Don Everly (1937), Muhlenberg County-born singer who is best known for his years with his late brother, Phil, as The Everly Brothers 1 Arturo Alonzo Sandoval (1942), noted fiber artist and emeritus professor of art at the University of Kentucky 5 Gary P. West (1943), Bowling Green-based author of books such as Arturo Alonzo Eating Your Way Across Sandoval Kentucky 6 Tinashe Kachingwe (1993), R&B singer from Lexington 9 Eric Gregory (1967), executive director of the Kentucky Distillers Association 10 John Calipari (1959), University of Kentucky basketball coach 12 Ed Hamilton (1947), Louisvillebased sculptor best known for “The Spirit of Freedom,” a memorial to black Civil War veterans in Washington, D.C. 20 Brian Littrell (1975), contemporary gospel singer/ songwriter and former member of the Backstreet Boys from Lexington 22 Rajon Rondo Tinashe Kachingwe (1986), University of Kentucky All-American and NBA basketball star from Louisville 21 John Clay (1959), longtime sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader 22 William Shatner (1931), actor best known as Captain Kirk from Star Trek, who raises and rides horses in Shelby and Woodford counties. 24 Beth Broderick (1959), Falmouthborn actress who portrayed Aunt Zelda on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch from 1996-2003 27 Jared Champion (1983), Bowling Green-born drummer of the band Cage the Elephant 28 Michael T. Benson (1959), president of Eastern Kentucky John Clay University



Prestonsburg Pianist


ory Caudill is not afraid to look at music in a way that many people do not. He’s made a career of the unorthodox but lovely and is one of the few pianists who can say he plays bluegrass piano. When asked if he’s a classical musician, Caudill replied: “In a loose definition of classical.” The Prestonsburg native is not interested in labeling his music. “We kind of put out three albums under three different genres,” he said. “We never try to go after a genre. We make an album and see where it fits.” Caudill feels music is a key element of growing up in eastern Kentucky. “I grew up playing in church, with Dad across from me on a Hammond organ,” he said. And music was so much a part of his life in his hometown that Kentucky musicians were his influences “without [my] even realizing it.” Even though he’s lived in Nashville for the past 13 years, Caudill said that while every city has a music scene, he’s not seen anything else like his old stomping grounds. Growing up, he said, guitarist James Whited made him think: “If this music is this good in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, I can’t compete.” According to Caudill, musicians Whited, Mark Stephens and Ray Salyer are all eastern Kentucky natives. Caudill describes them as musicians “you haven’t heard of, but you’ve probably heard,” since they typically work as session musicians. Maybe he didn’t exactly compete as he wanted, but Caudill makes his living as a professional musician, so he is doing well. But how did he learn to play bluegrass piano? Growing up, he had a regular gig as part of the bluegrass segment of the Kentucky Opry Show at Prestonsburg’s Mountain Arts Center. “There’s not usually a piano in bluegrass,” he said. “I’d force my way into it.” Caudill has a distinctive drawl. And like a good Kentuckian, he loves the University of Kentucky Wildcats. In November 2017, he opened for Justin Moore at Rupp Arena. After a lifetime of Big Blue fandom, Caudill got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Cats’ home venue, including the locker room. “There was a trail of drool,” he said. Tradition did not overcome his sense of humor, though. In the catering section of the arena are pictures of past players. Caudill and fellow musician Rodger Coleman, from Pike County, cut out pictures of their own faces and put them over the faces of classic players. And getting to do the Cats chant from the stage? “That was pretty cool,” he said. Kory Caudill Pride in his home state informs Caudill’s music. He’s noticed that mainstream media tends to downgrade Kentucky’s Appalachian area, but he prefers a more balanced view. “We are the most culturally rich people I know of. We’re the most resilient I can think of,” he said. His feelings for the eastern part of the state are bittersweet: “We’re facing issues we have to address.” In his music video for “Song of Appalachia,” he “didn’t want just pretty pictures of mountains. We included coal miners who died.” Caudill is concerned about cuts to school arts programs and the sliding away of an important part of what he loves about Appalachia. “We need to continue to nurture local arts programs,” he said. He is an excellent example of a mixture of musical forms and styles and of Kentucky’s musical power. “If we don’t nurture these art centers, we’re going to lose part of who we are,” Caudill said.  — Laura Younkin












3 1 L I R ON A P





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K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

J Janine Washle

anuary was a month of resolutions, willpower, smoothies and salads. As February approaches, all those do-gooders are looking for a reason to splurge on candy, confections or a big slice of dessert. Valentine’s Day, conveniently located in the middle of the month, does that with promises of love and sweets. While love and affection may fade with time, perfect pairings can be made with sweets. Take a minute to consider milk and cookies, raspberries and chocolate, sweet and salty—rock-solid relationships that have stood the test of time. Who are we to stand in the way of eternal happiness, even if it appears on a plate, in a cup or in a bowl?

Red Velvet Snickerdoodles and Vanilla Milk 1½ cups granulated sugar ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 large eggs 2½ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon cream of tartar ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa 2 teaspoons red gel paste or 3 teaspoons liquid red food coloring White or red sugar crystal sprinkles (Wilton and Kroger brands were used)

Vanilla milk Stir ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste into 2 cups of milk. Warm in the microwave for 15 seconds or just until barely warm. Divide between two heatproof glasses. Serve with a red and white striped straw.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 2. Beat sugar and butter until combined and pale in color. Add vanilla and eggs. Beat just until incorporated. Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, cocoa and gel paste or food coloring. Beat until color is uniform throughout. 3. Pour sugar sprinkles into a shallow bowl. Using tablespoonfuls of dough, shape into balls and then roll in sugar sprinkles. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cookies should be slightly moist (darker) in the center cracks. 4. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before storing in a covered container. Serve with vanilla milk.

Photos by Jesse Hendrix-Inman. Recipes provided by Janine Washle of CloverFields Farm and Kitchen and prepared at Sullivan University by Ann Currie. F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY




Peanut Butter and Brownie Tart Brownie batter: Nonstick baking spray 1/3 cup unsalted butter ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs ¾ cup all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla Peanut butter ganache: 1 cup heavy cream 3 cups white chocolate chips ½ cup smooth peanut butter Candied peanuts: 1 cup roasted and salted peanuts ½ cup granulated sugar Pinch of cayenne, optional

tart pan with a removable bottom. Firmly press crumbs on the bottom and up the sides of pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside. 4. Prepare ganache by warming cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once small bubbles form around the edges of the saucepan, remove from heat and stir in white chocolate chips. Stir well so all the chips melt. Stir in peanut butter. Pour into the prepared crust while ganache is warm. Ganache cannot be reheated because it will break. Refrigerate for at least three hours to set ganache. 5. Prepare candied peanuts by combining peanuts, sugar and cayenne, if using, in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stirring constantly, cook until sugar melts and coats peanuts. Pour onto a large baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper. Once cool, break into small clusters. 6. To serve, remove tart from refrigerator and sprinkle candied peanuts around edges. Garnish pie with whipped cream or ice cream and hot fudge sauce drizzled over top.

Garnish: whipped cream or ice cream and hot fudge sauce 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch baking pan with nonstick baking spray. Set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in cocoa and oil until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. 2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to cocoa mixture. Stir in vanilla. Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until center is puffed. 3. Cool completely. Crumble and transfer to a food processor. Pulse a few times until even, small crumbs form. Immediately pour crumbs into a greased 8-inch

Butterscotch Fondue for Two ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter ½ cup light brown sugar ¼ cup light corn syrup 2 tablespoons water Pinch of salt ½ cup heavy cream ½ teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons Scotch 1. Add butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, water and salt to a medium saucepan set over medium high heat. 10

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

Cook until sugar is dissolved (wash sugar crystals from sides of pan with a brush dipped in cold water, if necessary). Once dissolved, boil undisturbed for 12 minutes, or until mixture reaches 280 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove pan from heat. 2. Stir in heavy cream, vanilla and Scotch. Transfer mixture to a fondue pot or small slow cooker. 3. Serve with pretzel sticks, popcorn skewered on small bamboo skewers/toothpicks, potato chips, apple wedges or banana chunks.

New York Style Cheesecake Bites 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature ¾ cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 large eggs, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs Garnish: 36 strawberry wedges 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8-inch baking dish. In a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar and flour. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center slightly jiggles. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator overnight. 2. Using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon, scoop a portion of the cheesecake. Roll the portion into a ball between dampened palms. Place on a parchment-lined surface. Continue until all of the

cheesecake is formed into balls. 3. Pour graham cracker crumbs into a shallow bowl. Roll each ball in crumbs and place on serving dish. This can be done several hours in advance. Keep in refrigerator. 4. Just before serving, top each bite with a fresh strawberry wedge. TIPS: Instead of graham cracker crumbs, use minced pistachios, or whatever type of nut you like. Make this dessert even easier by purchasing a cheesecake from the grocery’s freezer section then forming into bites.

Fresh Raspberry Mousse 2 cups fresh raspberries ½ cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin ¼ cup cold water 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1. Place the raspberries in a food processor; cover and puree. Strain and discard seeds. Transfer puree to a large bowl. Stir in sugar and lemon juice; set aside. 2. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Stir over low heat until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir into raspberry mixture. Refrigerate until slightly thickened, about 1 hour. 3. Beat raspberry mixture with a mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add cream and beat

until thickened, about 2 minutes. Spoon into easy chocolate cups, recipe below, or dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set. Easy chocolate cups 2 cups dark chocolate chips (do not use bark or melting chips) 4 paper cupcake liners 1. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. When chocolate is slightly warmer than room temperature, use a pastry brush to paint the inside of a cupcake liner with chocolate. Place in the refrigerator about five minutes to harden. Paint two more layers, allowing the cup to harden in the refrigerator after each layer. After the final layer, leave in the refrigerator 30 minutes to completely harden. 3. Remove the cupcake liner by using a toothpick or the thin blade tip of a knife to loosen the paper. Peel away sections of paper holding the cup lightly but firmly. Try to keep from pressing your fingertips into the chocolate. NOTE: Do not wipe fingers or utensils on a damp rag, or get water anywhere near the melted chocolate. It will seize and be ruined. Wipe fingers with a dry paper towel. Make sure all utensils are bone dry before using with chocolate. Even a trace of water will ruin chocolate. F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



DESIGN Liz Toombs travels the country sprucing up Greek houses on college campuses

Text and Photos by Sarah J. Dills


he year 2012 was promising for Liz Toombs. She was married to her college sweetheart, and her interior decorating business was on the cusp of national success. Then her mom passed away. But being the eternal optimist, Toombs used loss to fuel her passion instead of letting it snuff out her spark. “I was finishing up a decorating job at AO∏ [Alpha Omicron Pi sorority house on the University of Kentucky’s campus], and we were talking about me going to Maryland to redecorate another chapter,” Toombs remembers. “But my mom was really sick, and I didn’t want to leave her. “My mom passed, and I could literally hear my phone vibrate. It was AO∏ calling me to come to Maryland. It was my time, and I’ve been off and running ever since.” Sprinting is more like it. In the past five years, Toombs and her team at PDR Interiors—formerly Polka Dots & Rosebuds—have redecorated more than 40 sorority and fraternity houses in more than 21 states. While the Greek housing section of her business has blossomed nationwide, it has humble roots close to home in Lexington. 12

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

Gussy Up the Greek “It might seem strange, but [UK’s] Department of Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles is in the College of Agriculture. That’s where I met Billy,” Toombs says, explaining how she became acquainted with the young man who later became her husband. After the couple graduated, Billy got a job with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Toombs went to work for a local designer. However, when the Great Recession hit, Toombs, a certified interior decorator, found herself at a turning point in her career. In April 2009, she decided to start her own business, taking on residential and corporate projects. It wasn’t until 2011 that she landed her first fraternity. “Billy was helping FarmHouse Fraternity spruce things up to hold them over until their new house was built,” Toombs says. The Price Dinner Club, a catering company in Lexington, knew Toombs had redecorated the FarmHouse Fraternity house and also knew that AO∏ was looking for someone to help freshen up the decor at the sorority’s house. That job led, in turn, to the sorority’s Maryland house. “It was really cool how everything fell into place,” Toombs says.

Top, Liz Toombs in the living room of the Delta Gamma house; left and above middle, the sorority’s colors of pale pink and blue were subtly incorporated into the fresh new decor; opposite, Delta Gamma’s anchor symbol anchors the mantel. FEBR UARY 2018

• K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


A Decorative Anchor

The Sorority Spirit Because fraternity and sorority houses must be renovated while students are out of school, Toombs’ summers are full. Luckily, she has help from certified interior decorator Erika Wilhelmi, who has been with PDR Interiors since 2015. “I interned with Liz my senior year [at the University of Kentucky],” Wilhelmi explains. “She is driven,” Toombs says of Wilhelmi. “She wanted to learn. She soaked it all up and put it into practice.” Helping fellow textile and merchandising majors is one of Toombs’ passions. She enjoys the internship program in which she participates and is enthusiastic about empowering other young women. While Toombs is based in Lexington, Wilhelmi works from Louisville. This helps expand the reach of PDR Interiors, and the two collaborate to travel the country, renovating Greek housing. “It is such a tight window,” Toombs explains. “We try to schedule our trips where we hit two campuses in two or three days.” Toombs and Wilhelmi strive to pre-plan as much as possible before their trips, speaking with each organization about their desires and budget. Toombs works with several vendors to preorder furnishings. However, some things cannot be done until the decorating duo is physically in each space. The farthest Toombs and Wilhelmi have traveled is to Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, where they redecorated the AO∏, Chi Omega and Gamma Phi Beta houses.

Toombs and Wilhelmi recently returned to their University of Kentucky roots to redecorate the Delta Gamma sorority house. The sorority wanted to update the common living area, where the girls are encouraged to socialize and study. The space had traditional decor with poor lighting and limited seating. “I just remember it looked dated,” recalls sophomore Gaby Perez, a nursing student from Chicago. “It was really dark, and no one wanted to spend too much time in here.” Toombs and Wilhelmi endeavored to brighten the space, increase seating and make the foyer, living room and reading room more functional. “We always want to be mindful of the budget,” Toombs adds. Toombs explains that sorority colors are always tied to the design in a subtle way. Delta Gamma’s colors of pale pink and blue are woven into the space through drapery, rugs and accent pillows. The sororities and fraternities also like to see their symbols and flowers incorporated; the anchor symbol in the Delta Gamma house can be found on the mantel. “They like to see their branding throughout the space,” Toombs says. Sorority photo composites are displayed in the foyer and over the sofa in the reading room. “Now, it’s a lot more modern,” says sophomore Haley Tarr, an accounting major, also from Chicago. “Now, we want people to come in, see our house and hang out.” For Toombs, there is no greater compliment than to know her design has brought new life to a space. Q

Above left, although Toombs and colleague Erika Wilhelmi live in different cities, they communicate often; above, sophomores Haley Tarr and Gaby Perez enjoy studying in the house’s new reading room.

Liz Gives After Liz Toombs lost her mother to cancer, she knew that she’d like to one day establish a scholarship in her mother’s honor. The Mary Estes Memorial Scholarship was created for students in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture who have lost a parent to cancer. In November, Sidney Harm was named the recipient of the $1,000 annually endowed scholarship. “It is emotional to give this scholarship knowing that these kids have lost a parent, but I know my mom would be so happy,” Toombs says. “Sadly, these kids might not get to stay in school after a loss like this due to bills and family responsibilities. We hope, in a small way, this helps.” 14

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8


Guide to Kentucky Colleges & Universities F

or Kentucky’s teenagers, where to go after graduating high school is not a decision to take lightly, and the choices can seem overwhelming. To make the job a tad easier, Kentucky Monthly presents a complete list of the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities. Most listings also include the institution’s top programs based on the number of students enrolled.


Express yourself as a journalist, blogger, filmmaker, actor, linguist or literary scholar! Discover the CU Difference Academic excellence, grounded in Christian values. Contact or call (800) 264-6014 Classes begin every eight weeks, get started today! Campbellsville University, 1 University Drive, Campbellsville, KY 42718 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


FRONTIER NURSING UNIVERSITY Founded in 1939 195 School Street, Hyden, KY 41749 | (606) 672-2312 Enrollment: 2,000+ Frontier Nursing University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and post-graduate certificates leading to education as a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), family nurse practitioner (FNP), women’s health care nurse practitioner (WHCNP) and/or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). FNU seeks to meet the needs of prospective nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners who do not want to leave their home communities to obtain the graduate education they desire to fulfill their professional aspirations. Didactic coursework is delivered using web-based, distance education courses allowing students to achieve their higher education goals without leaving home for classes. Using clinics, hospitals and preceptors in their own community allows students to get the hands-on clinical experience required for these exciting health care professions. Two-to-three on-campus sessions are required, including an orientation prior to beginning studies and intensive skill workshops prior to beginning the clinical practicum.

UNIVERSITY OF THE CUMBERLANDS Founded in 1888 6178 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, KY 40769 | 1-800-343-1609 Enrollment: 1,400 on-campus (10,000 total) Located in the heart of Appalachia, University of the Cumberlands (UC) is an institution of regional distinction that offers undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study, along with several pre-professional, graduate and doctoral programs. With a total enrollment of more than 10,000 students, UC is the largest private university in Kentucky and is devoted to preparing students for the future through hands-on, experiential learning and research.


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PUBLIC Eastern Kentucky University Richmond 1-800-465-9191 | Top 3 Undergraduate Programs: • Psychology • Criminal Justice • Nursing Top 3 Graduate Programs: • Safety, Security and Emergency Management • Nursing • Public Administration Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Versailles (16 colleges statewide) 1-877-528-2748 | Top 3 Programs: • Liberal Arts and Sciences/ Liberal Studies • Computer and Information Sciences • Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse Training Kentucky State University Frankfort (502) 597-6000 | Top 3 Programs: • Nursing • Business Administration • Criminal Justice Morehead State University Morehead 1-800-585-6781 | Top 3 Undergraduate Programs: • Biomedical Sciences • Social Work • Nursing (Includes Pre-Nursing) Top 3 Graduate Programs: • Business Administration • Education - Counseling P-12 • English Murray State University Murray 1-800-272-4678 | Top 3 Programs: • Animal Health Technology • Nursing • Agriculture Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights (859) 572-5100 | Top 3 Programs: • Biological Sciences • Computer Information Technology • Nursing University of Kentucky Lexington (859) 257-9000 | Top 3 Programs: • Biology • Psychology • Kinesiology University of Louisville Louisville 1-800-334-UofL | Top 3 Programs: • Biology • Communications • Psychology




DR. JOHN A.ROUSH President Centre College

In two decades as Centre College’s president, John Allen Roush has stayed true to one overriding vision: education keeps the American dream alive. Roush believes that for our great nation to remain the land of opportunity, education must continue to pave the pathway. And, for 20 years, he has maintained his commitment to keep Centre a place of both high achievement and high opportunity. Annual student aid has risen to an astonishing $24,501,672 per year at the College, 438 percent more than when Roush took office in 1998. Part of this support includes three premier scholarships (Brown, Grissom, and Lincoln) created during his tenure, each of which support 10 full-tuition-plus or full–ride-plus scholarships per year. Successful fundraising and capital campaigns have helped finance increased institutional aid for students, numerous campus building projects, and support for faculty and staff. The College’s award-winning faculty has ranked as high as #5 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for best undergraduate teaching, and talented staff has helped organize and host not just one but two vice presidential debates in 2000 and 2012. These and other achievements have helped Centre’s profile grow in amazing ways. Enrollment has increased 45 percent since 1998 and now stands at 1,450. Minority student enrollment has improved by 648 percent, and over just the last few years the number of firstgeneration students has climbed 290 percent. International student enrollment has increased 900 percent. The academic profile has strengthened as well, with more students in the top 10 percent of their class. By any measure, Centre has earned its reputation for high achievement. Consistently ranked among the top-50 liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, the College is also regarded among the nation’s best values by Kiplinger’s, Fiske, Money, and a host of other rankings and guidebooks. Known affectionately by students and alumni as “P. Roush,” Centre’s 20th president— now in his 20th year—follows his own advice to “do your best, be your best, and have no regrets.” It’s a mantra to live by, and one that has helped Centre College remain among the best of the best in American higher education.

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Western Kentucky University Bowling Green (270) 745-0111 | Top 3 Undergraduate Programs: • Nursing • Elementary Education • Management Top 3 Graduate Programs: • Organizational Leadership • Recreation Sport & Administration • Speech-Language Pathology

UNION COLLEGE Founded in 1879 310 College Street, Barbourville, KY 40906 | 1-800-489-8646 Enrollment: 976 Since its origin in 1879, Union College has been passionate about serving its students and the region it calls home. We strongly support a diverse academic environment built upon a liberal arts foundation and integration of higher order thinking into all of our learning. Union is grounded by four pillars that define our focus as an academic institution: service to each other and our communities, our Appalachian heritage, our core affiliation with Methodism and the liberal arts academic experience. The pillars highlight Union’s strengths, values, mission and identity. Union serves each of its students, and this region, with a sincere commitment to strengthen those pillars, provide opportunity, spark passion and inspire lifelong learning. Each person that steps onto the Union campus becomes part of our family, and we commit to foster those relationships for generations to come. That is our passion, our inspiration and our pledge to you.

A new home for your new future. 4000 Dupont Circle Louisville, KY 40207 502-447-1000


For more information about program successes in graduation rates, placement rates and occupations, please visit


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PRIVATE Alice Lloyd College Pippa Passes 1-888-280-4252 | Asbury University Wilmore 1-800-888-1818 | Bellarmine University Louisville 1-800-274-4723 | Top 3 Programs: • Nursing • Exercise Science • Biology Berea College Berea 1-800-326-5948 | Brescia University Owensboro 1-877-BRESCIA | Campbellsville University Campbellsville 1-800-264-6014 | Top 3 Programs: • Criminal Justice • Nursing • Business Administration Centre College Danville 1-800-423-6236 | Top 3 Programs: • Economics & Finance • Behavioral Neuroscience • International Studies Frontier Nursing University Hyden (606) 672-2312 | Georgetown College Georgetown 1-800-788-9985 | Top 3 Programs: • Biology • Elementary Education • Exercise Science Kentucky Christian University Grayson 1-800-522-3181 | Top 3 Programs: • Business • Nursing • Social Work Kentucky Wesleyan College Owensboro 1-800-999-0592 | Lindsey Wilson College Columbia 1-800-264-0138 |


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Upcoming Spotlight Days Februar y 3, 2018 March 24, 2018

EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY Eastern Kentucky University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and Educational Institution.

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UNIVERSITY OF PIKEVILLE Founded in 1889 147 Sycamore Street, Pikeville, KY 41501 | (606) 218-5251 Enrollment: 2,336 The University of Pikeville, UPIKE, stands as a school of opportunity, offering 27 majors along with master’s degrees in education and business and doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine and optometry. Located in the heart of the Central Appalachian Mountains, Pikeville is a small urban oasis in a landscape that is as breathtaking as it is rural. UPIKE boasts academic and co-curricular opportunities that take full advantage of its idyllic location. Our undergraduate programs are designed to help students understand their calling in life, pursue it with passion and leave with the skills to live well in their chosen profession. There is an atmosphere of caring and closeness that permeates campus, transcends the classroom and reaches into the heart of who we are as a family. Every person in the UPIKE family is an educator concentrated on one thing: empowering the successful learning and growth of our students.

THE GATTON ACADEMY OF MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE IN KENTUCKY Founded in 2007 1906 College Heights Blvd. #71031, Bowling Green, KY 42101 | (270) 745-6565 Enrollment: 95 accepted annually (192 total) Since 2007, high school juniors and seniors interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields have come from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky to attend The Gatton Academy. Located at Western Kentucky University, Gatton students finish their high school requirements at the same time they start college. Our students take college classes taught by WKU faculty members while exploring opportunities that include conducting research with WKU professors and studying abroad. Our students are challenged both inside and outside of the classroom and thrive in a supportive community designed just for them. What does it cost to attend Kentucky’s “Public Elite” school as named by The Washington Post for nine consecutive years? The Commonwealth of Kentucky pays for tuition, fees, and room and board. That means that you, too, can have a future filled with infinite possibilities at The Gatton Academy. 20

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Top 3 Programs: • Human Services and Counseling • Business Administration • Nursing Midway University Midway 1-800-755-0031 | Top 3 Undergraduate Programs: • Business • Nursing • Equine Top 3 Graduate Programs: • MBA (Business) • M.Ed (Education) • MSN (Nursing) Spalding University Louisville (502) 585-7111 | Top 3 Programs: • Occupational Therapy • Nursing • Education Spencerian College Louisville (502) 447-1000 | Top 3 Programs: • AAS Radiologic Technology • AAS Medical Laboratory Technician • Medical Assisting Diploma Sullivan University Louisville 1-800-467-6281 | Top 3 Programs: • Associate of Science Degree in Culinary Arts • Associate of Science Degree in Business Management • Master of Science in Managing Information Technology Thomas More College Crestview Hills (859) 341-5800 | Transylvania University Lexington (859) 233-8300 | Top 3 Programs: • Biology • Business Administration • Exercise Science Union College Barbourville 1-800-489-8646 | University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg 1-800-343-1609 | Top 3 Undergraduate Programs: • BS Ed Elementary Education • BS Nursing • BS Business Adminstration Top 3 Graduate Programs: • Master of Arts in Teaching • Master of Arts in Education • Education Specialist University of Pikeville Pikeville 1-866-BEARS-00 | Top 3 Programs: • Biology • Business Administration • Criminal Justice

Business. Hospitality. Healthcare. IT. Classes start March 26th

It’s never too late to continue your educational journey, and at Sullivan University, we know you have what it takes. Our programs will help make you an expert at doing what you love, whether it be in business, hospitality, healthcare, I.T. or any of our other exciting areas of study. And with many of our programs available online, we make it easy to fit a quality education into your busy schedule.

Visit to find out more and register today.







3101 Bardstown Rd. Louisville, KY 40205 (502) 456-6505 (800) 844-1354

2355 Harrodsburg Rd. Lexington, KY 40504 (859) 276-4357 (800) 467-6281

2100 Gardiner Lane Louisville, KY 40205 (502) 413-8830 (866) 755-7887

63 Quartermaster St. Fort Knox, KY 40121 (502) 942-8500 (800) 562-6713

122 S. Main Cross St. Louisa, KY 41230 (606) 826-2971 (800) 844-1354

207 Grandview Dr. Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017 (859) 331-1548

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A CAREER IN WHAT YOU LOVE Open the door to getting paid for doing what you love. | 502.456.6509 3901 Atkinson Square Drive Louisville, KY 40218 For more information about program successes in graduation rates, placement rates and occupations, please visit

When your dedication to wellness grows...

Offering Master’s and Doctoral Degrees for Registered Nurses Specialties Offered: • Certified Nurse-Midwife • Family Nurse Practitioner • Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Learn more about our innovative distance education programs at 22

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MURRAY STATE UNIVERSITY Founded in 1922 102 Curris Center, Murray, KY 42071 | 1-800-272-4678 Enrollment: 10,017

Students at Murray State University are afforded endless opportunities to pursue their passion. The University provides high-quality academics with all of the facilities and technology of a larger institution, but with smaller class sizes and more individualized attention. Murray State offers relevant undergraduate and graduate degree programs with core studies in the liberal arts and sciences, leading to degrees from certificates to advanced practice doctorates that prepare students for a lifetime of success. Murray has been named a “Top Tier” university in academic quality for 27 consecutive years by U.S. News and World Report and was recognized as the top four-year college in Kentucky by in 2017. Forbes has ranked Murray State among “America’s Best Colleges” for 10 consecutive years. In addition to the Murray campus, Murray State University includes regional campuses in Henderson, Hopkinsville, Fort Campbell, Madisonville and Paducah.

bell hooks, circa 1988


Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame Biographies by James B. Goode Numerous exceptional writers have called Kentucky home. Created in 2012 by Lexington’s Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning to recognize authors “whose work reflects the character and culture” of the Commonwealth, the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame has honored 33 writers since its inception. This year, the Hall of Fame committee has selected four writers whose work spans from the 19th century to the present day. The 2018 inductees are bell hooks, John Fox Jr., Annie Fellows Johnston and Walter Tevis.

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bell hooks 1952 -


uthor bell hooks has spent a lifetime deriving what is needed to bridge cultural, gender and racial divides. Her mission has been to develop constructs where scholars, activists and readers can accomplish this. She has brought to the forefront how we talk about race. Born Gloria Jean Watkins on Sept. 25, 1952, hooks was raised in rural Hopkinsville. She says her neighborhood was a world where folks were content to get by on a little; where her maternal grandmother made soap, dug fishing worms, set traps for rabbits, made butter and wine, sewed quilts and wrung the necks of chickens. She believes her home community turned the hardships created by racial segregation and racism into a source of strength. Hooks is one of six siblings—five daughters and a son. Her father, Veodis Watkins, was employed as a janitor, and her mother, Rosa Bell Oldham Watkins, worked as a maid in the homes of white families. Hooks was taught in a segregated school by strong teachers, mostly single black women, who helped to shape the self-esteem of children of color. By the time she was 10, hooks had begun writing her own poetry and soon developed a reputation for her ability to recite poetry. She developed a strong sense of self that allowed her to speak out against racism and sexism. She is a poet, a fictionist and is perhaps best known as a writer of critical essays on systems of domination. After high school, hooks accepted a scholarship to Stanford University in California. During her college years, she began Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, which examines how black women throughout modern history have been oppressed by white men, black men and white women. Published in 1981, the book became central in discussions of racism and sexism. Eleven years later, Publishers Weekly ranked 24

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it among the “20 most influential women’s books of the previous 20 years.” In 1973, hooks obtained a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University, and in 1976, she earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She completed her doctorate in literature in 1983 at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a dissertation on author Toni Morrison. After holding positions at the University of California in Santa Cruz in the early 1980s, hooks left for Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where she taught African-American studies. In 1988, she joined the faculty at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she taught women’s studies. In 1995, she accepted a post with the City College of New York. She currently serves as Distinguished Professor in Residence at Berea College in Berea. It is in her role as a teacher that hooks feels she is doing her most important work. She knows that, for a people historically and legally denied the right to education, teaching is one of the most substantial forms of political resistance she could choose. Hooks’ awards include: Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award (1991) for Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics; the Lila Wallace/ Readers Digest Fund’s Writer’s Award (1994); a nomination for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Image Award (2001) for Happy to Be Nappy; Bank Street College’s Children’s Book of the Year designation (2002) for Homemade Love; and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nomination (2002) for Salvation: Black People and Love. Hooks remains an important figure in the fight against racism and sexism in America. To date, she has published 34 books. She remains active as a speaker and mentor, particularly in the collegiate setting.


arriet Holman in her Southern Literary Journal article, “John Fox, Jr. Appraisal and SelfAppraisal,” wrote that once Kentucky’s local color writer, John Fox Jr., became an established author, magazine editors bought everything he offered them. A remarkable fact of Fox’s literary career is that he never had a manuscript rejected. Equally remarkable is that he published two of the first million-selling novels in the United States. John William Fox was born Dec. 16, 1862 at Stony Point in Bourbon County, 7 miles east of Paris, in the heart of the Bluegrass. His mother was Minerva Carr. His father, John W. Fox, was headmaster of the Stony Point Academy, which John Jr. attended from 1867 to 1875. The Fox family was well-known and close-knit. John had four full brothers and two sisters, and three half-brothers from his father’s first wife, who died in childbirth. After attending Transylvania University for two years, he entered Harvard University in 1880 to study English, graduating cum laude in 1883 as the youngest member of his class. After college, Fox moved to New York City, where he worked as a journalist with The New York Sun and The New York Times. During his time in New York, Fox met Fritzi Scheff, a prima donna with the Imperial Opera of Vienna, who was performing with the New York Metropolitan Opera. She later would become his wife.

Upon James Lane Allen’s recommendation, Fox submitted his first novella, A Mountain Europa, to The Century Magazine, which published it serially, followed by A Cumberland Vendetta a year later. The mountaineer theme would be repeated in his future works. A Cumberland Vendetta and Other Stories (1895) was his first published collection of short stories, followed by Hell Fer Sartain and Other Stories (1897) and The Kentuckians (1897). After his fame began to grow, his new home attracted illustrious visitors, including future President Theodore Roosevelt, who became his lifelong friend. They met after he was sent to Cuba by Harper’s Weekly in 1898 as a war correspondent covering the SpanishAmerican War. While there, he served with Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. As a result of the popularity of Fox’s Century publications and his successful publishing with Harper & Brothers and Scribner, he launched a lecture circuit, traveling in Europe and America, including visits to President Roosevelt’s White House, where he sang mountain songs and read from his own works. His novel, The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, was released in 1903 and became the first novel printed in the United States to sell a million copies. In 1904, Fox was sent as a war correspondent to Japan and Manchuria to cover the Russo-Japanese War. That experience resulted in the publication of Following the Sun-flag: A Vain Pursuit Through Manchuria (1905). His popular coming-of-age novel, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, was released in 1908. It is the tale of the engineer Jack Hale, an “outsider” who falls in love with June Tolliver, a native of the mountains. The book became the first novel printed in the U.S. to sell 2 million copies. The same year that The Trail of the Lonesome Pine was released, Fox married Fritzi Scheff. The tempestuous marriage lasted five years, ending in divorce in 1913. The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come and The Trail of the Lonesome Pine are arguably Fox’s best-known and most successful works. He was on The New York Times’ top 10 list of bestselling novels for 1903, 1904, 1908 and 1909. In 1916, Cecil B. DeMille wrote, directed and produced a film version of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. Other versions appeared in 1923 and 1936. Fox traveled widely, counting among his friends other popular writers, such as Richard Harding Davis, Jack London and Booth Tarkington. He was awarded many honors in his lifetime, including election to membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1899 and a medal for his literary contributions from the Emperor of Japan. His dedication and lobbying led to the passing of the Federal Copyright Act. Fox died July 8, 1919 of pneumonia at Big Stone Gap, Virginia and is buried in Bourbon County’s Paris Cemetery.

John Fox Jr. 1862 - 1919 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


Annie Fellows Johnston 1863 - 1931


entucky author Annie Fellows Johnston received widespread fame and popularity from the late 19th century into the early 20th century as a prolific author of books for children. The Little Colonel series, her 13-book collection beginning with The Little Colonel (1895), was widely read. She authored more than 50 books and contributed short stories to periodicals such as The Youth’s Companion, Godey’s Lady’s Book, St. Nicholas Magazine and others. She also had two other series: The Cosy Corner series of 10 books and The Jewel series of seven books. Boston publisher L.C. Page issued most of her books. In the flyleaf of her book, The Land of the Little Colonel: Reminiscence and Autobiography (1929), The Boston Transcript described Johnston as “a rare gift in producing little stories in the nature of allegories full of spiritual significance and beauty … the most gifted and the most helpful of present-day writers for young people.” Her work is now considered anachronistic, depicting Reconstruction Era South still transitioning from the Civil War, and must be taken in the context of the times. In her 1991 Register of the Kentucky Historical Society article, “The Little Colonel: A Phenomenon in Popular Literary Culture,” Sue Lynn Stone McDaniel characterizes Johnston’s writing as having led several generations of impressionable young readers to idealize the Old South and accept selfless values, which she taught through The Little Colonel series. Most of Johnston’s characters and settings are said to depict real places, people and life experiences and are primarily set in a fictionalized Pewee Valley she called Lloydsboro Valley. Born Annie Julia Fellows in 1863, she grew up with her mother, Mary Erskine Fellows, brother Erwin and two sisters, Lura and Albion, on a farm in McCutchanville, Indiana, near Evansville. Her father, Albion, a Methodist minister, died when she was 2. Annie began writing poems and short stories as a young girl. She was a voracious reader and was said to have read every book in her Sunday school library. She attended district school and, upon graduating at 17, taught there briefly. Annie attended the University of Iowa for one year (1881-82). She returned to Evansville, where she taught three years before taking a job as a private secretary. 26

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She then traveled for several months through New England and Europe, and the influence of these trips appeared later in many of her works. Upon returning, she married her cousin, a widower, William L. Johnston, who had three young children. He was supportive of her writing. William died in 1892, leaving Annie a widow with his children to support. It was at that time that she began her career as a writer. Johnston moved to Pewee Valley in 1898. She loved the leisurely pace and aristocratic lineage of its people. But shortly, she was beset by tragedy. In 1899, her stepdaughter, Rena, died, and the health of her stepson, John, deteriorated. In 1901, she took John west to a more favorable climate—first to Arizona, then California and then Texas. He died in 1910. From 1904-1910, she wrote four books set in the Southwest and four books in continuation of The Little Colonel series. In 1910, Johnston returned to Pewee Valley and published five books. She lived there until her death in 1931. In 1935, 20th Century Fox released The Little Colonel, a film with Shirley Temple starring as the Little Colonel. Lionel Barrymore played the part of the Old Colonel. From 1895-1914, Johnston published at least one book per year, and in 14 of those years published multiple books. Her most productive year was 1904, when she published four books. She is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Evansville, Indiana.

Walter Tevis 1928 - 1984


amed crime writer and literary critic James Sallis wrote in the Boston Globe that Walter Tevis’ The Man Who Fell to Earth was “among the finest science fiction novels …” He labeled it as a Christian parable and a portrait of the artist, describing it as one of the most heartbreaking books he had encountered. He called it “a threnody on great ambition and terrible failure, and an evocation of man’s absolute, unabridgeable [sic] aloneness.” Tevis was born in San Francisco in 1928 and lived there for the first decade of his life. He developed a rheumatic heart condition, so his parents placed him in the Stanford Children’s Convalescent home in California for a year. During that time, they returned to Kentucky, where the Tevis family had been given an early land grant in Madison County. At 11, Walter traveled alone cross country by train to rejoin his family in Kentucky. He made friends with Toby Kavanaugh, a fellow Lexington High School student. Tevis learned to shoot pool in the recreation room of the Rhoda Kavanaugh Mansion in Lawrenceburg and began to read science fiction books in the library there. Tevis and Kavanaugh remained lifelong friends. Kavanaugh later became the owner of a pool room in Lexington, which would have an impact on Tevis’ writing. At 17, Tevis became a carpenter’s mate in the United States Navy, serving on board the USS Hamul in Okinawa. After his discharge, he attended the University of Kentucky, where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner A.B. Guthrie, author of The Big Sky, and received both a bachelor’s degree (1949) and master’s degree (1954) in English literature. While a student at UK, Tevis worked in his friend Kavanaugh’s pool hall, wrote his first “pool hall” story, “The Big Hustle,” for Guthrie’s class and had it published in the Aug. 5, 1955 issue of Collier’s magazine. 28

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Upon graduation, Tevis taught everything from the sciences and English to physical education in smalltown Kentucky high schools, including Science Hill, Hawesville, Irvine and Carlisle. He also taught at Northern Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky and Southern Connecticut State University. He later attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received a master of fine arts degree in creative writing in 1960. Tevis published his first science fiction short story, “The Ifth of Oofth,” in Galaxy Science Fiction in 1957. He married Jamie Griggs the same year, and they remained together for 27 years. They had a son, William Thomas, and a daughter, Julia Ann. He continued to publish, with his short stories appearing in The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, Redbook, Cosmopolitan and Playboy. His first novel, The Hustler, was published in 1959 by Harper & Row, followed by The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1963 by Gold Medal Books. He taught English literature and creative writing at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio for 14 years, but he published little while there. He left that post in 1978 to go to New York and resume writing, penning four more novels—Mockingbird, The Steps of the Sun, The Queen’s Gambit and The Color of Money. Additionally, he published Far From Home (1981), a collection of short stories. Tevis’ popular works were translated into nearly 20 languages. He was also a nominee for science fiction’s Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1980 for Mockingbird. Three of Tevis’ six novels were the basis for major motion pictures. The Hustler (1961) and The Color of Money (1984) followed the escapades of fictional pool hustler “Fast Eddie” Felson. The Man Who Fell to Earth was released in 1976 and subsequently was remade in 1987 as a TV film. Tevis spent his last years in New York City, where he died of lung cancer in 1984. He is buried in the Richmond Cemetery in Madison County.

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Kentucky Monthly’s 10th Annual Writers’ Showcase














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UNEXPECTED VISITOR a knock on the front door – faint rhythm, cautious but insistent – alerts me alarms me: ‘no, not again do not come to my door, Death you have worn your welcome here step away and retreat with your cruelty,’ I say still the sound echoes provocatively on the thin glass the Visitor shall not be denied, open it I must face my fate I switch open the lock terror in my touch my eyes prepared to plead for Death’s mercy and then – through the glass – no hooded figure no sickle, no grim countenance instead just a tiny Wren fat and brown sitting squat on the porch mat tap tap tapping on the front door curious relief first then, euphoria I stand amazed ‘Hope,’ I breathe, ‘you came after all’ a gentle turn of its russet head ‘welcome’ and I open my home to this Unexpected Visitor KATIE CASWELL HUGHBANKS LOUISVILLE

A BLUEGRASS YOUTH ON D-DAY Fifty miles of dark water from a soil once an enemy’s to a soil once a friend’s. Near invisible are the grey bluffs around the headland of La Hague, the deep port of Cherbourg sleeping the fitful sleep of the occupied who could not dream a hundred thousand allied troops could pierce the restless dawn. Against the plywood hull you lean on choppy seas, the sour scent of nausea and diesel fumes thick in your nostrils. How far the Bluegrass seems: by now most of the burley has been set to bed, by now the first-cut of hay lays drying in the fields, and green blueberries begin to blush. Grandmother would be shelling peas, her calloused thumb with one deft flick dislodging them into the colander. Those sunlit skies, those hymns she hums, must feel like some kind of delusion, some false memory, as you crouch here in a tumultuous darkness, seventeen hours of five-foot waves in sporadic moonlight to cross that fifty miles to Omaha beach. What are you thinking of in these hours? Your brow is furrowed. Your jaw grinds side to side. Do you take comfort in the officer’s words, that bombers and artillery will have done the dirty work, that your seats are the best in the house for a light-show like the world has never seen? Do you know fear, the mortal kind that freezes the heart? Is it for love of country you are now eight feet from the bow of this wave-tossed landing-craft? Maybe so. Maybe you are that myth made flesh, single-minded, grim with duty, grim as Joshua tromping over Canaan. Or is it also for love of John from Idaho, who read a Psalm yesterday in such a way you felt for the first time that it could speak of something real? Is it

for Randall behind you, whose boasts of bravery have become the sobs of a boy who now believes in his mortality, who can now see he is the first-cut of hay in a bloody harvest field? Was it for God that Peter walked on waves, or for his friend Jesus? Do you yet know what you will see or what you’ll do? Have you imagined how it could be, that there are some things more tragic than death? Do you say your mother’s name? As the ramp finally drops and the front six men are mown down, how do you find the strength to step outside into chest-deep waves, your feet slogging through sloppy sands, churning in the sluggish way known in nightmare? Who could fault you in your fear or if you’d failed to take that tenuous way? Not me sitting comfortably here remembering you. By providence or dumb luck, by a beast’s instinct to survive or by the discipline of even temperament, somehow you are among those scattered bands who crawl across that beach alive, over the corpses of friends, over the bodies of beliefs, over the tank-crushed flesh of innocence. You make it up a ravine to the machine-gun nest that has killed your countrymen all morning long and find within some German lads about your age eyes full of rage and horror for what they’ve been told to do and what they’ve done, what they’ve obeyed and what higher values they’ve betrayed, eyes now fearful with sadness and sadly relieved as one turns at your sound. And in that split second before your bullets shut them forever, your eyes meet his and an unspoken secret passes between you. For you and he both know a patriot’s love, how love of country is a powerful bluff, an idol strong enough to make heroes of evil men, enough to make good men go mad. JEREMY I. WHEELOCK WILMORE

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POETRY MY KENTUCKY Near to Heaven where The rolling hills touch the night fall sky I pause in somber thought while whip-poor-wills sing their lonely song which echoes through the misty hollers I think of a long lost day when Grandpa would rise to say “The herbs in the hills Are waiting for us to come.” Money was needed crops were begging to be seeded precious commodities of nature’s toil thriving deep within deep dark soil. Blood root, and sassafras bark buried deep rich and dark, yellow root and mayapple root treasures of our Appalachian home Memories of days come and gone where pocket money jingled in cut off jeans and the worries were so few it seemed. Slippery Elms stripped of their bark Weighted burlap bag on my shoulder heading home at the edge of dark. our pockets bulging with ginseng knowing the cash it would bring would tide us over well into Spring. Grandpa would pray for a good season and if it was not He knew it was for a reason. We would make do because That’s what you do when Appalachia holds you nigh Beneath her crisp blue skies. My days of youth were filled with peace, honesty and truth, And tradition taught well By a Grandpa who had so much to tell. If there were hardships I had to bear they were made much easier simply by his being there. And now … memories are all I can hold close to my heart and I will always treasure those days when we were never apart. JIMMIE PENNINGTON FLAT GAP (Johnson County)

MELLOW Mellow will you be my mood? Serious isn’t where I want to be. My mind wants to play on the merry-go-round, a child, wanting little more than feel my heart take leave on the downside of the Ferris wheel, to listen to the carousel again. Another side of life lives there, in dark shadows cast by shadows cast by countless lights, mirrored on the glass of time. Reflections on the portrait of a mystery, beacons of the midway remind me once again who I am and where I am and what this side of life is all about. Air, filled to the brim with fun and scent, tastes of fresh-popped buttered salted-corn, bathed in a flood of soda. Rare anymore. The story’s end arrived too soon. I knew in letting go, the sadness of a moment when it ended. A hush in her goodbye was written on a lonely sky with a kind hand. Her silhouette, in lace of painted wood and in recline, sleeps silently alone. She waits to make romance with motion. I’m in a mellow-blended mood, another picnic in the park alone, lost somewhere in the pages of a storybook in summer. ANTHONY STALLARD LEXINGTON

BULLION BLVD, FORT KNOX, KY. Out the window went the tobacco tin faint clunk on the green sign overhead. Our beer bottles always hit their targets— the chink and clunk on contact with metal mailboxes littering the back roads we assaulted every weekend night. Our days revolved around those nights we went everywhere, strayed nowhere. But on that old road, some went somewhere. People stopped on the shoulder of Dixie Highway, snapped photos of a white vault, fearless structure behind a sign-less fence. No one ever saw the men who guarded the gold. No one saw anything but lookout towers, a solitary building, barbed wire. If a visitor dared pull to the gate, a box warned them, “State your purpose.” A faceless voice knew life as we did not. I cruised town as many returned from the desert. I learned to kiss; they to kill. And they were just down that road. A world away from my own. AMY FOX-ANGERER CLARKSON (Grayson County)


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FOR LILLIE MAE, ON WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN HER 100TH BIRTHDAY “Give me some sugar,” she’d say, offering her cheek. She said it when I was little, when I was a teenager, when I was married. And she’d laugh that laugh that started way down deep inside her and you couldn’t help but laugh, too. Scarlet fever took most of her hearing, but she still played the piano and the ukulele. She didn’t drive, but she’d walk me to the McDonald’s in the shopping center at the end of her street And if she had filled a book with Green Stamps, she’d get me something at the store. She called her refrigerator “the icebox” and kept it filled with Cokes. And you might think she was old-fashioned, but she watched her soaps and David Letterman and she knew more about what was in style than I did. She could crochet anything, but I never had the patience to let her teach me how. And I never talked to her about working the bottling line at a distillery when she was a young woman, or how she was on a date when the ’37 Flood chased her family from their downtown Louisville home and they rode in a boat with her brother standing in the back like George Washington crossing the Delaware, because how could she have had a life before me? She loved me more than anyone did—more than I deserved. And she never met my children, but she gave them her silly sense of humor, and her love of music. She didn’t live over the river or through the woods, but the back fence of her yard in a blue-collar suburb was draped with honeysuckle in the summer, and lilies of the valley bloomed by her back door. I dug some of them up and I’ve carried them to three houses now. And after 17 years, you’d think the mark of her loss would have healed. But not so long ago on a walk I passed by some honeysuckle vines, and their sweet aroma enveloped me like a hug, and I stood on the sidewalk and I cried. CARLA CARLTON LOUISVILLE

GREAT COMMISSION Three years then go No decades parked in pews No lifetime listening to middlemen Just go and live a life transformed by love Leave words and creeds behind and be that grace you claim you long to see If mercy has a face it is your face If justice sees hurt it is your eyes that weep If love has hands and feet

your hands are those pierced by care your feet those lovely on the mountainside In your life and breath alone can dead gods live or carcasses unveil a honeyed sweet truth oozing from the comb in error’s meat JEREMY I. WHEELOCK WILMORE

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When the lake level is low in winter, when wind stings and keeps tourists away, ghosts rise from the mud and silt left behind the retreating river. There used to be a town here. It’s easy to forget the old river town that had survived floods and soldiers and hard times but disappeared without defense when the giant lake rose. The Cumberland had crept into town many times when too much rain or snow made it swell beyond its banks but it always slipped back into its cut-rock channel. But the last time the river stayed, unable to retreat when the last yards of concrete were poured at the dam, forever altering nature and sealing fate. Its waters filled streets and houses and empty graveyards, already moved to higher ground. Townspeople had time to get out of the way but the town could not escape its drowning. No rescue or resuscitation could save it.

A value scale exists between black white

Each year along the shoreline at winter pool the railroad returns, its rusty spikes still scattered in mud and sand as if workers might return any time now to finish their repairs. Outlines of stone foundations re-emerge at water’s edge awaiting carpenters to rebuild walls and people to come home. Empty, watery graves remain open, a reminder of all that was taken. There used to be a town here. It’s easy to forget.

binary imaging correct incorrect either or structure rules order breakfast then tv pajamas followed by teeth do not stray don’t be wrong dark or light leave no graduated tones for glittery art projects of fairy gardens and flowers of handprints and one hundred googly eyes grayscale gives illusion of depth to impromptu clogging in the kitchen stark or bleak ignores the full range of excitement and disgust of a loose tooth ripped from a mouth and placed under a pillow albescent allows for snorting laughter until releasing into comfortable silence of breath-catching, lingering in the understanding that this blending casts a lasting shadow SUSAN WATERBURY RICHMOND


OF UNKNOWABLE AND GLORIOUS NOW I didn’t have to climb Pilot Rock or descend Mammoth Cave or even drive across town to the Madisonville city park I took just 15 minutes in our backyard amid our neighbors’ backyards amid the sights and noises of morning civilization And still I saw the trees and the flowers And still I felt the grass and the cool And still I met eyes with a bird, constructing its nest near my nest And suddenly my confined little dark world of endless future deadlines and missed past commitments exploded with a Big Bang into a sprawling, colorful expanse Of Unknowable and Glorious Now ERIC NANCE WOEHLER MADISONVILLE


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NONFICTION SPALDING’S Large glass windows on a storefront. Hand-painted words ... SPALDING’S BAKERY. A boy’s bicycle parked on lean at the home of tasty baked delights on a not-so-ordinary corner. Sixth and North Lime; a Spalding’s doughnut was my favorite. The glazed ones kept me coming back on Saturdays in summer. One-half dozen and a crisp white paper bag carried away. Fresh made. Her gown was goodness, glazed, no two ever the same, the mark of the maker in ’53. Like red wax on bottle glass dipped in Loretto. All was white; tops and aprons, floor and walls; a cloud on the shop’s tin sky. Oh, the flour on it all. Counters, giftwrapped with countless coats of paint, high gloss and white, each a glazed home for handmade objects. Museums, for masterpieces, with large front windows on a world of freshbaked goods, like Main Street in a room. Priceless, warm and tender; would-be strangers at a bus stop, waiting just beyond a veil of clear, near perfect, separation. Would they be the ones collected and wrapped gently, taken for a few precious cents to away? White painted memories on counters; wearing coats of care, their imperfections long-ago on their way to gone. Years gone by were hidden faces on a mirror of time that was each layer, so many you could peel them back, one at a time, to another

time; WWII and I or maybe to a time of Titanic. I didn’t know. Nonetheless, this was old, clean, and spotless. Spalding’s, small change and the inner peace he found were unexpected blessings for a young boy in Lexington, my hometown. “Thank You. Come Back Soon.” I would for a taste of good in the middle of the tender years of a childhood, in a neighborhood where tastes were good, always the same, time and again … in 1953. Back to the street; next stop Gratz Park, where authors lived with children of their own. Fiction, Non or not, behind large glass windows. Objects inside; each waiting to be taken to another’s home, if only for a while. Made of paper, some handmade. I wondered, on how many cards my name was handwritten, the ones carried away in the pocket on the gateway to its pages? What of others there on the lines at the names-place on just one? Who were they, and by chance, did we share a common interest? Strangers? Who? The Carnegie, where I could park my bicycle and be; sitting on steps of stone about to raise the first to wanting lips, a Spalding’s doughnut. My separate peace was looking to the fountain at the park walk’s other end. Patina lay frozen in a timeless dance on bronze, her children played, showered with the cool of water fresh. Third Street, a two-way passage east and west where ships with wheels go by. Life’s going anywhere but somewhere else, a feast for one’s eyes, as if it were a Calder on parade. Folks walking hurried here to there, pieces in a play. Croquet … the Now Appearing drama on Transylvania’s lawn, the stage to an audience of Old Morrison’s empty steps at and me. Its score … “The Sound of Yesterday.” A songbird breaks the noise of silence. Saturday morning at the Lexington Public Library, a bicycle and a boy with a white paper bag of tasty on their way becoming a memory with each one gone. What held the interest of this moment in my life was mine and mine alone … Adolph Rupp’s Championship Basketball, or Everyday Weather and How It Works, or Poe, or poetry. Once upon a time, I had breakfast alone on steps at a place in a park. Taking leave from time itself, reflections reappear. Another stands alone, sad eyes hidden behind her own darkness, gazing into a big glass menagerie, having doughnuts for breakfast at Tiffany’s. Me? Life since then became a hunger I can’t explain, sensing other voices behind words in other rooms. Uncertainties were for another time. Now was but another tasty turn around a doughnut; a Spalding’s, glazed with nothing in the middle but a filling of open space. My dreams played out on an empty stage with seating in the round. At a place in the middle of somewhere on the edge of life, I thought about home grown and handmade and handpainted signs on the window of time. An inner voice told me, “You’ve an appointment, now’s time to be carried away. Words scream to be learned. Go inside.” An open door led me to a space where imagined noises walked the path of clouds in the large glass window, this side of the sky at the top of the room. Another’s voice, near-silent, reminded me. “Quiet please.” •••

Once was a time my iron horse waited there, on lean next to steps of stone. Soon, we were homeward bound. Never owned a lock for my bicycle, was never a need. No one took another’s horse … no one I ever knew. ANTHONY STALLARD LEXINGTON

THAT’S MY DAD There were two outs with bases loaded in the bottom of the last inning with our team clinging to a one run lead. The second baseman moved a little to his right as the Little League pitcher started his windup. The sharp crack of the bat left no doubt that the ball was headed on a laser line out of the infield, so fast that the infielders were frozen in place. On both benches and in the stands, all eyes had already moved to the outfield along the path of the white streak, trying to catch up with the ball. “Where’d it go?” Not seeing the ball where they expected, their eyes quickly moved back along its last known trajectory. The second baseman had not moved his feet, but was out of his defensive crouch, standing straight up, his glove hand still above his head with a surprised and satisfied smile on his face. It had happened so fast that no one had seen his arm shoot up full length in the blink of an eye. He wasn’t even sure what had happened; it was pure instinct. All who witnessed it let out a collective, “OOOHHHH!” I knew the feeling that the ball made as it snapped perfectly into the web of his glove, driving his skinny 10-year-old arm back with its impact. I knew because it was the catch I’d dreamed of as a kid, but never got to make. Like him, I had quick hands and was good with glove and bat, but we lived too far out in the country, decades before ‘Little League Moms’ in mini-vans; so except for choose-up games at recess, I had to live my baseball fantasies vicariously on our black-and-white TV, listening to Dizzy Dean and PeeWee Reese’s folksy commentary on “The Game of the Week.” Beside me a man in the stands summed it up when he said, “Wow, that was a great catch!” “That’s my son,” I said. In the 25 or so years since that day, my son and I had continued to share a love of the fields of summer. On family vacations, we’d managed to work in major league games from Fenway Park in Boston to Candlestick in San Francisco, 10 or 12 in all. Now, despite his busy schedule, we still manage to catch a couple of the Bats’ games every year at Slugger Field. On a perfect late summer evening, we had really good seats in a not-crowded row on the upper deck, above home plate and just below the corporate boxes. It was a time to relax, drink a malted beverage, share memories and catch up on each other’s lives. In the fifth inning, a right-handed batter fouled one up toward us. We followed its path well up over our heads till it was out of sight, onto the stadium roof behind us. From past experience, we knew that it was likely to bounce off the unseen parapet wall up there and roll back down the metal roof, so we stood in the narrow row with our backs to the playing field and waited. Judging from the angle of the ball, its spin and velocity, I moved right, down the row and kept my eyes on the roof edge. It was an instinctive reaction, no thinking involved. In the blink of an eye, my hand shot into the air and the ball snapped dead center into my palm, the impact pushing my 65-yearold arm back and forcing my fingers to curl around it. I held my arm aloft for a moment, smiling, listening to the “OOOHHHH” from the nearby fans. “Wow, that was a great catch,” a guy farther down the row said admiringly. Surveying the crowd around him, and in a louder than normal voice, I heard my son say, “That’s my dad.” BOB THOMPSON CRESTWOOD F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



FICTION THE WIND AND THE SEA There was once a small bit of water. Some called it a pond. Some a small lake.

THE FISH THIEVES Trina Penbrook paused in the semidarkness, alert to the dangers of walking through the woods, but only long enough to listen to her surroundings. A slight movement in front of her stopped her short. A shadow of a person, maybe a child, was picking through a mound of garbage. Trina’s heartbeat fluttered in her throat like a trapped bird in a cage. She didn’t have the time or luxury to stop and help anybody. And besides, a child could be a decoy. It wouldn’t be the first time. MAUREEN C. BERRY LOUISVILLE

No one ever called it the sea. It was very happy being small. Frogs would tickle its edges. Turtles would nestle in its soft muddy bottom. Reeds along its banks held trilling blackbirds and would whistle and rattle in the breeze. But then one day there was a wind. The little pond shivered as the wind swirled and raked across its face. “Who are you?” asked the wind. “I am a pond,” said the pond. “You are not a pond.” “Yes, I am. If you would settle down, I could show you my frogs and turtles.” “You are not a pond. You are the sea,” said the wind. “What is the sea?”

THE CARETAKERS The maid from the hotel was sure that the travelers would leave her a good tip if she invited them to the Easter party. Every kind of person was to be there so why not invite some travelers. Almost everyone at the party made a living from them. And these people seemed humble enough to hang out with the locals for a little while. Most of the hosts of the mansion and the guests made their living from travelers with tips at restaurants or cleaning up after them, like the chamber maid or trying to sell them paintings at Jackson Square, draped from the old wrought iron fences. But in their home, they were the Caretakers, not servants for tourists. They took care of the mansion every day, keeping it from falling down and lived there through the generations, as the honor was handed down through more generations. The city didn’t care about it and when it was about to have windows boarded up with plywood, the first Caretakers stepped in, offering to keep it up to code in exchange for a place to live. This tradition had lasted for decades and the windows remained intact, with glass. REBECCA HASSETT HARRODS CREEK


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The wind laughed. And the harder the wind laughed, the wilder it became. Stronger and stronger the wind blew, until the pond felt itself being pulled into the air, spiraling and swirling in the strangest way. And then the pond was the clouds, sweeping and rolling through the sky, so high that it couldn’t see the frogs and turtles anymore. So it did its best to look like them instead. And then the pond felt itself growing heavy, and falling in thousands of tiny drops. And the drops landed in something big, deep, and salty. And before the pond knew what had happened… It was the sea. “You are not a pond,” said the wind. “You are the sea. I am the wind. Let us make waves and cause storms. Let us make lightning together. Let us crash into the land until it cracks and falls into us. Let me kiss your face, and you will cool and soothe me and hold me in tiny shimmering bubbles for as long as you can. Let us be beautiful and wild and terrifying and forever. Please?” And the wind kissed the sea, which sparkled with a million brilliant reflections of the sun. So the wind and the sea danced. They made waves and storms. They made lightning and crashed into the land until it broke. They turned boulders into soft beaches. The wind kissed the sea’s face, and the sea cooled it with clouds of mist and spray and held it in tiny shimmering bubbles for as long as it could. They made rainbows. They caressed the toes and cheeks of children. They made ships sail. They made ships sink. They made rain that nourished forests and made storms that drowned cities. They were beautiful and wild and terrifying and forever.

One day, they made such a storm that stretched far, far into the land, where the sea had not been since the mountains were born. They swirled around the top of the highest mountain and laughed with great flashes of lightning that shook the earth with thunder. They made ice and snow and rain. And then the wind blew away, carrying the sea with it. But they had made a river. And the river crashed and cascaded down the mountains, finally tumbling into a meadow, where it had nowhere left to crash, cascade, or tumble. The river covered all the grass and flowers, chased away the rabbits and the deer, and even made a bear hide in the top of a tree. Before long, the meadow was gone and the river discovered much to its surprise that it was now… A pond. The pond was quite muddy and exhilarated to suddenly exist. After many sunrises and sunsets and full moons and starry nights its exhilaration turned calm, and its waters became clear. In fact, it found that if it were very calm And very still And no frogs messed it up by jumping And no turtles messed it up by taking a gulp of air And no leaves messed it up by falling It could make a perfect picture of the sky. Grass grew along its muddy banks. Birds tickled its shores with their thirsty tongues. It was happy being a pond. Although some called it a small lake. And if it were very hot for very long, some even dared calling it a puddle. But no one ever called it the sea. Then one day there was a wind. “Who are you?” asked the wind. “I am a pond,” said the pond. JONATHAN HOWARD LEXINGTON

YOU NEVER KNEW MY NAME I walked into the first grade, then surveyed the crowd of children. It was my first time seeing so many kids my age in one place. It scared me to death. Someone told me to take a seat. There was an open one next to you. You wore a blue blouse with a red plaid dress and a blue bow in your shiny long hair, white socks with lace tops and black Mary Jane shoes. You sat so primly and proper. Your voice was that of an angel, although you rarely spoke. I was absolutely smitten, but you never knew my name. In the third grade, we were in a play together. As part of the production, the boys lined up on one side, the girls on the other. Then each boy would meet a girl, hold hands, and skip down the aisle to the stage. I bribed Kenny Watson with Milky Way bars to switch places so that I could skip with you down the aisle. I wasn’t very good at skipping and fell halfway down the aisle. You surprised me when you didn’t get mad, or embarrassed, but instead helped me back to my feet, then continued like nothing had happened. I vowed never to wash the hand you held, fearing that might remove the memory. I did finally take a bath, but the memory will remain until dementia robs me of it. Still, you never knew my name. In junior high school, I was able to find your phone number using investigative skills that would have impressed Sherlock Holmes. It tortured me to carry the small folded slip of notebook paper in my pocket for weeks. I must have opened then refolded it a thousand times, hoping to muster the courage to call. Saturday morning, hands shaking, the time had arrived. The wrinkled, faded slip of paper from my pocket almost fell apart. Holding it, I stared at the big black Bakelite dial phone for what felt like hours, repeating the words: “Hello, this is Phil Gladden.” Each time in a different tone and voice inflection, but they all sounded like a frog in a frying pan having a heart attack. I even once got as far as dialing your number. When you said hello, I disguised my voice saying, “Sorry, wrong number,” then hung up. It made me sick to my stomach for quite a while after that. Through it all, you never knew my name. In high school, you worked at a local restaurant that served great

cheeseburgers. It had the best French Apple Pie, which was warm, sweet, dusted generously with way more powdered sugar than necessary. It came with ice cream. The picture on the menu showed two scoops, but it always arrived with three. I tried to convince myself you put on an extra scoop just for me. A five-dollar bill was a generous tip in those days; I once left one along with a note that said, “Thanks for the excellent service.” I didn’t sign it. I knew you wouldn’t recognize the signature because you never knew my name. We graduated, then went on to create lives for ourselves. There were mountains to climb, miles to go as well as plenty of potholes to fall in along the way. The years have sped by like a locomotive on a downhill slope with a substantial tailwind. I’ve seen so many amazing things in this life. I’ve loved and been loved. I can’t complain about how things have turned out, except for one. The fact you never knew my name. After high school, you went on to be someone else’s someone special in another town, never to be seen again, until today. While on Facebook, on a whim, I typed your name into the search bar. There you were, your smooth, young face, wrinkled, scarred by a lifetime, but your beauty survived all the same. You did well in the business world. There was no mention or pictures of a husband. Your daughters are lovely, and your grandchildren are adorable, as are your great-grandchildren. The youngest looks very much like you. I turned off the computer and went on with the rest of my life, as I’m sure you have done as well. Life is funny with all its twists and turns. I thought of sending a friend request, but you wouldn’t have accepted an invitation from a stranger. A fact I’m relatively sure of because you never knew my name. Sometimes I’ll sit in quiet contemplation first thing in the morning, or maybe stare off into a distant rain. I wonder how different things would have been if I had boldly cast off my fear and introduced myself the first day of the first grade. But alas, we’ll never know, because life isn’t always fair, the past is unforgiving, but most of all, because you never knew my name. PHIL GLADDEN PARIS

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The Couple Who Writes Together Authors Liz Curtis Higgs and Bill Higgs meld their differing personalities into a Christian version of yin and yang

By Kristy Robinson Horine


iz Curtis first saw Bill Higgs across a crowded room. She, a popular WHAS radio personality, was scheduled to introduce singer and pianist Twila Paris in concert that night. He also was a radio employee, from WLXM. Though the look was the standard beginning of a romance, it was simply the spark of the story that the Louisville couple eventually would write together. “We really met at a wedding not long after the concert. Mutual friends were getting married, and I went to the wedding as a single woman—always a challenge,” Liz explains. “People expect you to come, be happy and bring a gift. That’s asking a lot when you are not dating and not having any prospects.” Bill chimes in with his side of the story. “I knew Liz by reputation long before I met her,” he says. He recounts in his sure, measured voice how he used 38

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to tell folks that he married the woman he saw from a billboard. WHAS advertized a promotion that featured Liz holding a flamingo. “That’s another story, though.” With a laugh, Liz takes us back to the sanctuary where the couple met “for real.” “At this wedding, a few rows behind me was this handsome man I vaguely recognized. So, I felt emboldened to go back. He, too, was by himself. I thought that was a good sign. He was smiling at me. I thought that was a very good sign,” she says. “I introduced myself and said, ‘Welcome.’ Eight months later, I said, ‘I do’ for real.” Sprinkled with good-natured humor and a refreshing honesty about their strengths and weaknesses, their voices combine into a solid narrative that spans the past 32 years. Despite their similarities of a radio background and literary gifts, the couple recounts the many differences in their lives.


Photo courtesy of Doug Jackson

Liz is a northern transplant to Kentucky. Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, this small-town girl has traveled the states, “up and down the radio dial,” as she puts it, even doing shows on the same station as famous shock jock talk show personality Howard Stern. She eventually settled in Kentucky. “By the fall of 1981, I found myself in Louisville, Kentucky, playing oldies at an AM station and playing dangerous games with marijuana, speed, cocaine, alcohol and a promiscuous lifestyle. I’m one of those people who had to fall all the way down to the bottom of the pit, until I had nowhere else to look but up,” Liz writes in her devotional book Rise and Shine: Encouragement to Start Your Day (2002). In classical plot lines, there comes a point in the action when the main character makes a decision from which, once it’s acted upon, there is no going back. Literature teachers call this a climax, and it is a perfect description of what happened to Liz on Feb. 21, 1982. From her lowest point in life, Liz did look up—all the way up—professing her complete faith in Jesus. It was a turning point that forever changed the story of her life. In the meantime, Bill grew up in Nicholasville, the son of the son of a storyteller. He earned degrees in social work and religion from Georgetown College, and a Master of Divinity degree and doctorate from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. By 1982, he was well into the beginnings of a broadcast career. Liz’s laughter again fills the air when she says, “He is incredibly intelligent. It took me 18 years of three colleges to get my bachelor’s.” They banter with their words, speaking of likes and dislikes, quirks and familiarities. They tell of the routine, which is a daily adventure only because they choose to look at it, and live it, as such. They exchange nouns—marriage, faith, work—with common ground experience, each filling

in details without correction or judgment. Bill speaks of Liz; Liz speaks of Bill. Their words carry strong tones of respect and mutual admiration. More words fly through the air— adjectives that make the two halves of the couple distinct, yet complementary. Liz is the youngest of six children. Bill is an only child. Liz is a closet introvert, preferring a quiet corner away from the spotlight, despite a prolific speaking career. Bill works any room with practiced ease. Liz is a “neatnik.” Bill is … not. Liz has a well-established platform of writing and speaking. Bill is content to stay in the background and help manage his wife’s engagements. Liz has published 37 books, taking an average of 100 writing days for each book, spread over six months to complete a first draft. Bill published his first book in 2016, nearly 30 years after he started it. Liz must have quiet to write. Bill can handle some background noise. Liz writes fiction and nonfiction primarily for women. Bill writes literary fiction primarily for men. “Occasionally, someone would ask me, ‘Why don’t you and Liz write a book together?’ Well, it would be a catastrophe,” Bill explains. “As you can see, our writing styles are very different. Different is good. That’s the way we live our life around here.” Liz continues the story, her words turning the dog-eared pages of a well-loved tale spun between the two of them. “Bill has this beautiful left brain, and I am right-brained. Together, we do really well,” she says. “Over the years, I have become more of a student, and Bill has become creative. After you’ve been married long enough, you begin to try on the other side and find out there is room for expansion.” Even though there are ample differences in their lives, they both believe they are together for a reason bigger than just the two of them.

Left, writers Liz Curtis Higgs and Bill Higgs in 2017; above, the couple on their wedding day, 1986 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


BETTER, TOGETHER “From the first real date when we went out to dinner, and Bill brought me to the door and shook my hand like a gentleman would, I went in and called one of my dearest friends and said, ‘I have just met the man of my prayers, but if he never calls me again, I am OK,’ ” Liz recalls. These seem like strange words coming from a single, older woman who would go on to write several romances, but for Liz, they were true because of her faith. “Though the thought of having Bill Higgs in my life was amazing; bottom line was that I was already loved, already protected, cherished—all the things that a woman wants to be. If I also got to spend my days with Bill, well, that would be amazing,” she says. “I just knew I was content. I already had that relationship [with Jesus] so central to my life. It was a lovely place to be.” Bill echoes that sentiment, comfortably picking up the narrative of confident living where each finds his or her worth in God, without a hint of boastfulness. “I’ve always maintained that a marriage should create an entity that is bigger than the two individual participants,” he says. “In other words, Bill and Liz ought to be something more than Bill by himself or Liz by herself. I think we’ve managed to accomplish that on some level.” It’s a feat they have achieved since 1995, when Bill began working with Liz at their Laughing Heart Farm. Liz set up her writing loft in the office building directly behind their house. Bill managed Liz’s schedule, keeping her speaking engagements confined to the weekends, so they could take turns caring for their children, Matthew and Lillian. Liz’s fiction and nonfiction generally focus on relationships—the relationships between people, and the relationship between people and God. While managing schedules and children and the general duties of life, Bill penned his own narrative concerning relationships in his literary debut: Eden Hill. The story, set in the early 1960s, is


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one of generational and social division and unity. The fictional community faces sorrows and joys and is confronted by one of the most famous Biblical parables: The Good Samaritan and what to do with the challenge of being neighborly. “There is a little bit of an ideal about the town, but I think there is some grit as well. It reflects who we are, and I think we are going to strive to be better than we are now,” Bill says. “This has been something of the character of Kentucky. Kentuckians have been known to be there for each other, and we have lost a little of that over the years. If we can recover a little bit of that, well, so much the better.” Even though they are better together, Liz put distance between herself and Bill’s literary endeavor. “I did not fling open one door, name one connection. I did not read the book until it was entirely done and edited, and just about ready to go to typeset,” Liz says. “I knew the joy of watching that gift from God. To be published is a gift, and in Bill’s place, I really wanted him to have that joy, satisfaction and sense of calling. and to have it happen without me touching anything. It’s so important.”

SIMPLY TOGETHER Until the sequel to Eden Hill comes out, or until Liz’s next book or speaking engagement, the couple focuses on being a living story of faith, love and growth. “You write a book, first of all, to explore your own heart. God always wants to show you something,” Liz says. “There is something you need to learn, a way you need to grow, a new experience that you need to make first. God is always showing me things—not always pretty things, sometimes very hard things, but that is how we grow. We don’t grow on the mountains; we grow in the valleys.” For this writing Kentucky couple, no matter the terrain or the adventure set before them, they will finish the story strong and sure, writing every single word as if it were their best. Q

Jean Alliman photo

In the Footsteps of the Pioneers

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

FROM CRAB ORCHARD TO HARRODSBURG icking up where we left off, two roads left Hazel Patch. One went to Fort Boonesborough, and the second, also part of the Wilderness Road and named Skaggs Trace, headed northwest. It winds for 130 miles through what today are the towns of Mount Vernon, Crab Orchard, Stanford, Danville, Bardstown and Shepherdsville, and finally to the Wilderness Road’s ending at the Falls of the Ohio near Louisville. Crab Orchard, now a town of 832 residents, was a popular gathering place on the Wilderness Road. Travelers would wait until others arrived to create a group large enough to assure safe passage over the Wilderness Road. The following notice, printed in the Nov. 1, 1788 issue of The Kentucky Gazette, seems to have been common: “A large company will meet at the CrabOrchard the 19th of November in order to start early the next day through the wilderness. As it is very dangerous on account of Indians, it is hoped that each person will go well armed.” On a less alarming note, I was told by diners over lunch at the Past Time Café in Crab Orchard that travelers on the Wilderness Road could smell the sweet fragrance of the area’s wild crab apple trees long before arriving in town, and that children entertained themselves by making “snow angels” in the apple blossoms.


Two miles down the Wilderness Road off U.S. Hwy. 150 is the William Whitley House State Historic Site. This is a Kentucky treasure. Dubbed the “Guardian of the Wilderness Road” because the Whitleys extended hospitality and protection to all who stopped by, the Whitley house is the first brick home built west of the Alleghenies and was a veritable fortress. The interior was designed in amazing ways that served to protect the family and guests. It was an extraordinary site—and still is. Who would ever guess that such architectural beauty existed so early in Kentucky’s history? In 1775, William and Esther Whitley, ages 26 and 20, their two children (nine more were born in Kentucky) and a horse traveled over the Wilderness Road for 33 days from their home in Virginia. Esther and their two daughters rode on the horse, with 3-year-old Elizabeth tied on behind her mother and the infant Isabella in her mother’s arms. The Whitley House that we see now was built in 1794. Well-informed guides provide enjoyable tours. Guide Stacy Thomason told me that the house’s “beautiful glass windows were brought from Virginia, packed between mattresses on one of the first wagons to be pulled over the Wilderness Road.” Part I of Kirk’s journey over the Wilderness Road appeared in the December 2017/January 2018 issue of Kentucky Monthly. F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


Old Fort Harrod State Park Thomason described William Whitley as a caring person who was eager to advise travelers and furnish them with needed supplies. He would go to great lengths to protect Wilderness Road travelers. “And don’t forget,” Thomason continued, “that Esther Whitley was known to be an excellent shot—better than most men of the time. She never hesitated to fire away when threatened!” Continuing for several miles along the Wilderness Road on U.S. 150, I biked into the town of Stanford and to the original Presbyterian Church. This treasure was built in 1788 and is preserved inside the Old Presbyterian Meeting House & Museum on Main Street. Another mile or so along the road brought me to the place where Logan’s Station once stood and is being painstakingly reconstructed according to its original 150-by-90-foot size. Logan’s Station, established in 1775, was one of Kentucky’s earliest forts and a popular location for frontier families who sought sanctuary from dangers outside the fort’s walls. Logan’s Station became the town of Stanford. Knowing that there was a station or fort nearby when they needed it, settlers would clear land claims of trees and undergrowth, build a cabin and plant crops—usually corn. Chestnut was the most popular wood, since its logs could be used to build cabins and rail fences that protected crops from wild animals. Chestnut also could be split into shingles, and its bark was used to make medicine and tannic acid for tanning and dyeing. In the fall, the chestnut tree’s rich nuts were used to fatten hogs. I continued my bike ride over the Wilderness Road by taking U.S. 150 to Danville, where in the 1780s settlers could find stores, taverns, inns and churches. Inns charged 21 cents per day for food and lodging. Stores supplied bacon, cheese, coffee, flour, sugar, raw leather, linen, stockings, blankets, furniture, tools and other necessities. In 1786, the settlement of Danville already included 40 houses. It is said that Bardstown and Louisville each had 50 by then. Kentucky was growing its towns and supporting services. Entering Danville from Stanford, I turned right onto Old Wilderness Road Street, which continues for a few blocks to the intersection of East Lexington Avenue and Kentucky Avenue. That seems to be all that’s left of the original Wilderness Road route in Danville. While in Danville, I also discovered a new distillery a couple of miles outside the city on Lebanon Road. It’s named the Wilderness Trail Distillery. Given its name, I hope that in time the distillery will develop a well-researched exhibit that describes the history of the distilling and consumption of spirits along the Wilderness Road. 42

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As I pedaled over increasingly hospitable rolling hills on U.S. Hwy. 127 to Harrodsburg, I began anticipating a visit to Old Fort Harrod State Park, about which I had heard so much. For years, Fort Harrod was the main destination of the western spur of the Wilderness Road. In fact, it was the first permanent European settlement west of the Alleghenies. In 1774, Capt. James Harrod and 32 others left Pennsylvania and set out for Kentucky to claim land and develop a settlement. After three months of travel, they came upon a place strategically located near a huge spring that provided an “inexhaustible supply of pristine water.” Today, Old Fort Harrod in Harrodsburg is a superbly scaled replica of the original fort and a terrific site to visit. I lingered for a couple of hours, stepping inside the fort’s cabins and blockhouses that look like they did in Fort Harrod’s early days. Knowledgeable guides dressed in period clothing were eager to describe the lives of late-18th century settlers. The guides performed tasks such as gardening, weaving, woodworking, broom making, blacksmithing, soap making and doll making. I was especially intrigued by a rare collection of pioneer tools and utensils. John Curry, a loquacious resident historian, described in amazing detail the lives of the 319 men, women and children who depended on Fort Harrod for protection when life on their small farms outside the fort was threatened by American Indian attacks. Settlers didn’t travel all the way to Kentucky just to live inside crowded, dirty forts. Fort Harrod and other stations along the Wilderness Road were sanctuaries of last resort when life in the wilderness became too dangerous. KENTUCKY’S CATHOLIC PIONEERS The Wilderness Road continues on Ky. Route 152 from Harrodsburg to Springfield and then to Bardstown over U.S. 150. As I biked past Springfield, I recalled reading that a group of 25 Catholic families decided to leave Maryland in 1785 and migrate to the American wilderness, where they’d be free to worship as they wished. They made their way through dangerous American Indian territory to what would become Holy Cross in Marion County. How dangerous was this area? Later, it was reported by Catholic Bishop John Lancaster Spaulding that tribes killed 1,500 Catholic pioneers between 1783 and 1790. It’s understandable that the Catholic settlement at Holy Cross would become a center of frontier Catholicism for those who survived. The area’s wonderfully fertile land supported those industrious farmers, builders, distillers and, I might add, prodigious procreators. When Leonard

Mattingly, one of the original Holy Cross settlers, died in 1805, he was said to have left more than 300 descendants. The history of Holy Cross includes the story of the Rev. William de Rohan, a Catholic priest, who drifted through the wilderness delivering Mass to frontier Catholics. One day, de Rohan stumbled upon the community of Catholic families gathered near Holy Cross and began ministering to them. When Archbishop John Carroll, who was back in Baltimore, learned that unsupervised de Rohan was in Kentucky, he instructed the priest to return to Baltimore. De Rohan (insubordinate when drunk, which might have been a lot of the time) adamantly refused and instead devoted himself in 1792 to helping the settlers at Holy Cross construct the first Catholic church in Kentucky and west of the Alleghenies. Today, a grotto in the cemetery behind the church marks where this log structure once stood. I found that the church, which was erected in 1823, was open, so I entered and quietly prayed for pioneers who settled the area. Down the road, in nearby Loretto, is the first religious order of women west of the Alleghenies that was established in 1796 to provide care for widows and orphans left homeless along the Wilderness Road. Observing the diminishing presence of trees as I biked westward on U.S. 150 to Bardstown, I wondered how much of 18th-century Kentucky was tree-covered. All? Most? Some? When I asked about this, David Strange, retired director of the Bullitt County History Museum, told me that “there was a large area in north-central Kentucky that was more prairie-like than forest. It was not ‘far-as-you-can-see’ prairie land such as seen in the central U.S.,” he explained, “but large areas, interspersed with forests and large cane.” One can imagine the overpowering joy that travelers experienced when they came upon Kentucky’s more welcoming land and fertile soil. They had read words such as “paradise,” “land that is delightful and fertile beyond conception” and “Garden of Eden” that were written to describe where they now actually stood. The promotional brochures that marketed Kentucky to European emigrants had nailed it!

BARDSTOWN-BOUND AND ON TO THE FALLS OF THE OHIO I arrived in Bardstown looking for two sites. One was a segment of the original Wilderness Road that can be found across the street from Bardstown’s magnificent Civil War Museum and Old Bardstown Village. After fording the Beech Fork River on the east side of Bardstown, travelers had to climb a steep incline to enter the town. In 1790, to make the difficult climb a little easier, the original path was covered with rough cobblestones. The steep, tree-canopied roadway is too rugged and uneven to bike, so I walked to the top that ends at the intersection of North 1st Street and East Flaget Avenue. One can readily imagine pioneers using this crude road to enter Bardstown. I stopped for something refreshing to drink at the Old Talbott Tavern, my other Bardstown destination, just off the town’s courthouse roundabout. It’s possible that some of the hype surrounding Old Talbott is inaccurate (such as that it was built in 1797, not 1779 as is engraved on the building), but it’s true that the tavern provided lodging and food services for Wilderness Road travelers. The place is still going strong, and there’s enough left of the original 2-foot-thick stone walls and heavy ceiling timber structure to get a feel for the old Wilderness Road taverns and inns. I enjoyed sitting at the Old Talbott bar visiting with outof-state tourists, but the Wilderness Road was calling me. I headed out of Bardstown to Shepherdsville on Ky. Route 245. A couple of miles east of Shepherdsville on Ky. Route 44 is a sign that marks the site of Brashear’s Station, which for many years was the sole station along the Wilderness Road between Harrodsburg and Louisville. Brashear’s Station, located on the Salt River that flowed from the Ohio and near where Wilderness Road travelers crossed at its shallow places, provided an important sanctuary for hunters and Wilderness Road travelers. In 1776, while the Continental Congress was meeting in Philadelphia, members of the Brashear family traveled from Pennsylvania down the Ohio River to the Falls of the Ohio. They were looking for land in the wilderness that they could call their own. From the Falls, they followed one of the

Old Talbott Tavern

F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


As I pointed my bike north of Shepherdsville on Ky. Route 61, I was aware that the original Wilderness Road might have followed several different buffalo paths to, or perhaps from, Louisville. Access to commerce on the Ohio River and the salt works in Shepherdsville required that the northern segment of the Wilderness Road be completed. Professional hunters—traveling on the Ohio River from as far west as St. Louis and laden with precious furs and skins that would sell for astronomical prices on the East Coast and Europe—disembarked at the Falls and made their way down the Wilderness Road to Bullitt’s Lick, Fort Harrod, Hazel Patch and eventually through the Cumberland Gap. Heavy traffic moved over the Wilderness Road in both directions. Most of the Wilderness Road that winds its way from Shepherdsville to Louisville is now Ky. Route 61 and Preston Highway. Due to urban sprawl, commercialization and the development of modern roadways that serve Bullitt and Jefferson counties, the original Wilderness Road was long ago covered up and abandoned. A historical marker at the intersection of Preston Highway and Blue Lick Road in Okolona indicates that the original Wilderness Road passed there and continued northward to the Ohio River. The Wilderness Road’s northern ending point was at West Main and 7th Street in Louisville, close to what is now the Fort Nelson Park. Fort Nelson was built in 1781 under the direction of George Rogers Clark. Marking the site today is a sign noting that the 1-acre, wood- and earth-reinforced walled fort was all there was to Louisville in 1781. Outside the fort were the frontier and the Wilderness Road. Realizing that my adventure over the historic Wilderness Road from the Cumberland Gap to Louisville was finished, I patted my bike on its tires for a job well done.

Courtesy of Jean Alliman

buffalo paths that led southward to the Salt River. It was here that they built a shelter, cleared land and planted corn. A couple of years later, the Brashears returned to the Falls, where they convinced 18 others to help them establish a small station close to where Ky. Route 44 crosses Floyd’s Fork today. Sadly, William Brashear’s body was discovered near the station in 1781. He had been killed, scalped and mutilated. Brashear’s Station continued for a while, but as the American Indian danger lessened, its occupants moved out to settle their own land outside the fort. All that remains is a historical marker. Brashear’s Station was near a major salt-producing area named Bullitt’s Lick. Salt was critical to survival in the wilderness—for animals and humans alike. For both, salt added essential minerals to their diets. For humans, salt also was used to preserve food. Many Wilderness Road travelers rejected more direct routes from Harrod’s Fort (Harrodsburg) to the Falls of the Ohio (Louisville) so they could pass by Bullitt’s Lick and obtain valuable salt. Three miles west of Shepherdsville on Ky. Route 44 is a historical marker that notes the location of Bullitt’s Lick and its salt works, which began in 1777. Salt licks were muddy pits that sprung naturally from the ground. Buffalo and deer would aggressively lick the salt-infused ground. Pioneers would find these sites (countless salt licks existed throughout Kentucky), dig wells, draw the salty water into kettles and boil away the water to retrieve the salt. It typically took 300 gallons of water to make one bushel of salt. At the height of production at the Bullitt’s Lick salt works in the early 1800s, 100 20-gallon kettles were arranged in a row over a long fire pit. What a sight that must have been. Because salt works operated 24 hours a day, providing sufficient supplies of salt water and firewood was a major challenge.

Kirk explores Brashear’s Station and the facinating history surrounding Bullitt’s Lick and the nearby salt mines. 44

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Fort Nelson Monument

THE WILDERNESS ROAD CREATED THE PLACE WE LOVE Kentucky became a state in 1792, and its new legislature began to invest in improved roadways. As a result, the Commonwealth experienced amazing growth: 74,000 inhabitants in 1790; 221,000 in 1800; and 407,000 in 1810. By 1810, the population of Kentucky exceeded all but four of the original colonies. Ten percent of the nation’s entire population had crossed the Appalachians into Kentucky. The Kentucky Gazette announced in 1796 that “The Wilderness Road from the Cumberland Gap to settlements in Kentucky is now completed. Wagons loaded with a ton of weight may pass with ease with four good horses. Travelers will find no difficulty in procuring such necessities as they stand in need of on the road, and the abundant crop now growing in Kentucky will afford the emigrants a certainty of being supplied with every necessity of life on the most convenient terms.” It cannot be doubted that the Wilderness Road was the single most influential development in the history of our Commonwealth and helped to create the place we love. Q

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and Pinnacle Overlook State Park – South of Middlesboro on U.S. Hwy. 25E, these are the best places to learn about the Wilderness Road and view the Cumberland Gap.

Trailhead for the Wilderness Road – U.S. Hwy. 58 near the town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, the trailhead features excellent signage describing the Wilderness Road experience.

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park – South of London on Ky. Route 229, the park boasts terrific hiking trails and camping facilities.

Fort Boonesborough State Park – North of Richmond on Ky. Route 627, the fort is an enjoyable way to learn about life in the late 18th century. The park has excellent camping facilities and is not far from Hall’s on the River restaurant., gov,

William Whitley House State Historic Site – South of Stanford off U.S. Hwy. 150, the site offers tours of the house, and visitors can enjoy the nearby town of Crab Orchard.

Old Fort Harrod State Park – On U.S. Hwy. 68 in Harrodsburg, the park has a terrific reconstructed Wilderness Road fort and includes re-enactments of activities from the late 18th century at Kentucky’s first settlement.

Holy Cross Catholic Church – Northwest of Loretto on Ky. Route 49, the grotto that marks the location of the first Catholic Church west of the Alleghenies is located at the back of a large and interesting cemetery behind the current church.

Bullitt County History Museum – Located in the county courthouse in Shepherdsville, the museum features interesting artifacts and exhibits that describe Kentucky’s early history.

Acknowledgments: Ellen Eslinger, editor, Running Mad for Kentucky: Frontier Travel Accounts, 2004. John Mack Faragher, Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer, 1992. John Filson, The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucky, 1793. Neal Owen Hammon, “Early Roads Into Kentucky,” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 68, 2, 1968. Joseph Hardesty, Kentucky history and genealogy librarian, Louisville Free Public Library, for identifying key books and maps. Robert L. Kincaid, The Wilderness Road, 1955. Karl Raitz (Department of Geography, University of Kentucky), Nancy O’Malley (Webb Museum of Anthropology, University of Kentucky), et al., Kentucky’s Frontier Trails: Warrior’s Path, Boone’s Trace and Wilderness Road, 1795, 2008. David Strange, former director of the Bullitt County History Museum, for providing valuable information. F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


Southern Treasure Down-home luxury not an oxymoron at this bed and breakfast By Cait A. Smith


erched atop a small hill amid a scenic 15-acre farm in Brandenburg, Southern Grace Bed & Breakfast, with its unique blend of casual elegance and Southern hospitality, is worthy of its name and its reputation. Featuring luxurious, queen-sized beds with memory-foam mattresses, goose-down mattress covers, 600-thread-count linens and Egyptian cotton towels, this award-winning bed and breakfast offers visitors a comfortable and restful retreat. Its relaxed charm is accented by the splendor of 20-foot ceilings adorned with elegant crystal chandeliers, the class and character of 200-year-old antique décor and the convenience of modern amenities. Built in 2001 by the then-23-year-old son of owners Theresa and David Padgett, the house first opened its doors to those in need. “I took in dozens of homeless children and unwed mothers over the years,” Theresa recounted. “Then it was just David and I left. We thought about selling it, but it was during the housing crisis, and we decided to start a bed and breakfast.” Established in December 2010, Southern Grace received more 5-star reviews on in its first three years than any other hotel, motel or bed and breakfast in Kentucky. Most recently, the Luxury Travel Guide – The Americas Edition 2017, with its panel of five judges, identified Southern Grace as the Luxury Bed and Breakfast of the Year. “It has been amazing,” Theresa said. “I feel honored that our guests love and enjoy our place so much! … It is truly an overwhelming, humbling feeling!” All of the B&B’s five rooms come equipped with private baths, Wi-Fi and Netflix access, 32-inch flat-screen TVs, cable and Blu-ray players. Guests can enjoy lounging in spacious common areas, surveying the peaceful country views of neighboring vineyards and butterfly gardens, or sampling a taste of farm living. Activities include swimming in the private pool, paddle-boating, catch-and-release fishing for 10-pound bass and 30-inch catfish in the fully 46

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stocked pond, wild-bird watching at the feeders, berry picking, egg gathering, and feeding and visiting the array of alpacas, goats, ducks, chicks and various other farm animals. Guests should feel well-cared for, with access to refreshments, seasonal evening treats and three-course, prepared-from-scratch, gourmet Southern-style breakfasts. This would be an excellent opportunity to try Southern Grace’s eggs, sourced from free-range chickens on the farm—some of which lay green and blue eggs. “Of course,” said Theresa, “having our awesome breakfast is a huge bonus of staying here.” In addition to the homey farm comforts, Southern Grace boasts close proximity to entertainment. The B&B is fewer than 10 miles from the Ohio River and Otter Creek Park. More adventurous guests may choose to explore the Squire Boone and Indiana Caverns, visit historical Civil War sites, hike or try zip-lining. Only a short drive away are the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace, Fort Knox and several Indiana wineries. Southern Grace’s rustic “Barn on the Farm” venue also can accommodate up to 99 people for birthday parties, weddings, family reunions, business conferences and more. Just 32 miles from Louisville’s international airport, Southern Grace has hosted visitors from all walks of life, from 35 countries and all 50 states. “We have had guests from all over the world,” said Theresa, including a Forbes billionaire and the ruler of Dubai’s family. The bed and breakfast continues to expand its horizons. “We are always making changes,” said Theresa. “Most recently, we bought a gentle horse, so our guests can brush her and love on her. We have also purchased 16 acres across the road. We will see where this leads us. “One thing for sure is our guests are our top priority … We want them to enjoy a beautiful place where they can truly relax and have no pretenses.” Q





Explore Scenic appalachia


the Historic Headquarters of Frontier Nursing Service in Wendover, KY, original log cabin home of Pioneer Nurse-Midwife Mary Breckinridge. (859) 899-2707 Designated a National Historic Landmark


(Formerly known as Glen’s Creek Distillery)

Halcomb’s Knob Bed and Breakfast A “WORLD AWAY” RETREAT ONLY 30 MILES FROM LEXINGTON, KY 859.925.9936 |

FINE COFFEES ESPRESSO CAPPUCCINO LATTE Also offering pastries, breads, and sandwiches.

Farm House Inn Bed & Breakfast

735 Taylor Branch Road, Parkers Lake (606) 376-7383

Snug Hollow Farm Bed & Breakfast

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

(606) 723-4786

35 E 2nd St, Maysville, KY


BBAK member

F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Past Tense/Present Tense

Kentuckians in the War of 1812



entucky and Kentuckians played a vital role in the War of 1812—and paid a high price. Like many wars, it could have and should have been avoided. Over the years, American views of the war have wavered from the conflict being a just and unpreventable war brought on by British intransigence on trade and impressment of American sailors to being what are considered, in more modern times, ineffective neutrality policies of the Thomas Jefferson and James Madison administrations. “The War of 1812 was a military debacle,” proclaimed one modern historian. The British believed they served a worthy purpose in confronting Napoleon’s designs of empire in Europe. The Madison administration oversaw legislation prohibiting trade with Britain or France if either broke American neutrality. As it turned out, the United States became a pawn in a European power play. Would the young country submit to European domination? The “War Hawks” elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1811 included Kentuckian Henry Clay and South Carolinian John C. Calhoun. Clay, elected Speaker of the House, led a group of nationalists who wanted to assert the rights of the new nation. They accused the British of fomenting unrest in the Old Northwest—modern-day Ohio, Indiana and Michigan—with Tecumseh leading an American Indian confederacy pushing back against American settlement. Even after the defeat of Tecumseh and his American Indian allies at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 in Indiana, Clay and his cohorts clamored for the conquest of Canada and the end of British and Indian predations. Moreover, control of the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans became a goal for Clay’s Republicans and southwestern Americans. “The fog of war” perfectly describes the conditions in which American forces, mostly Kentuckians, found themselves in January 1813. The frontier was unprotected after American forces surrendered Detroit. Far from home in the dead of winter near Lake Erie, in what is now Michigan, they were mostly inexperienced young men. They faced regular British troops, Canadians and hundreds of American Indians. About 1,000 Kentuckians under the command of Gen. James Winchester attacked a small British force on Jan. 18 on the River Raisin just above Detroit, temporarily winning the advantage. However, on the 22nd, British Gen. Henry Proctor counterattacked. More than 500 Kentuckians were captured, with 100-plus killed and others wounded. That night, American Indians massacred 40-65 wounded Kentuckians left behind at Frenchtown after the British had withdrawn.  There would be no swift conquest of Canada. In April, “Dudley’s Defeat,” in the words of historian James W. Hammack Jr., “was a second stunning disaster for Kentucky arms.” After unwisely charging a British camp following seeming victory, 634 Americans were killed or wounded. British soldiers guarding American wounded were overwhelmed by American Indians, and 40 Americans were slaughtered. Kentucky Gov. Isaac Shelby raised another army and personally led 3,500 mounted infantry northward to link up with Gen. William Henry Harrison’s forces. Meanwhile, Oliver Hazard Perry’s naval victory on Lake Erie opened the way for transportation of supplies and men. Afraid of encirclement, Proctor abandoned Detroit. “Remember the Raisin” became an effective rallying cry for the Kentuckians as Tecumseh, and his confederation retreated eastward along the Thames River. Tecumseh was killed on Oct. 5, 1813 during the Battle of the Thames, with Kentuckian Richard Mentor Johnson often given the credit. This fame


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

worked to Johnson’s political advantage as he went on to become vice president under Martin Van Buren (1837-1841). It was not over. At first, Great Britain was preoccupied with Napoleon, but after the French defeat, it concentrated its might on the upstart U.S. After American forces burned a fort at what is now modern-day Toronto, a British force invaded and torched the public buildings, including the White House, in our capital. Naval victories on Lake Erie and Lake Champlain kept British forces from taking control of New York State. Only the successes of the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” kept the British navy from dominating America’s coastline. Meanwhile, New Englanders opposed the war and gathered in December 1814 in Hartford, Connecticut to voice their opinions. As negotiations between the U.S. and Great Britain continued in Ghent, Belgium, Andrew Jackson organized a ragtag army to attack British forces near New Orleans in January 1815. When some Kentuckians among more than 2,000 volunteers showed up without weapons, the irascible Jackson snapped: “I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn’t have a gun, a pack of cards and a jug of whiskey.” Jackson soon found arms for most of them. The Kentuckians redeemed themselves with their sharpshooting skills. A poem of 1815 proclaimed their marksmanship and ardor. The “Hunters of Kentucky, Or Half Horse & Half Alligator” with the immortal lines, “And soon around the gen’ral flock’d, The Hunters of Kentucky. Oh Kentucky,” became famous and was set to music. The outcome of the War of 1812 ended in a draw, thankfully, with the Treaty of Ghent signed two weeks before the Battle of New Orleans. One of the negotiators was the inimitable Clay of Kentucky. That battle was not insignificant, as the British government probably would have pushed for concessions if Gen. Edward Packenham had been victorious in New Orleans. The War of 1812 led the British to recognize that fighting the Americans was not in their best interests. Canadians were drawn closer in what would evolve into nationhood. Later treaties would settle land disputes between the U.S. and Canada, creating one of the most peaceful boundaries in the world. The losers in the War of 1812 were American Indians, both in Canada and the U.S. After the death of Tecumseh, no leader in the East could pull together a coalition of tribes to confront the American or Canadian settlers and governments. American Indians would be forced to live on reservations on each side of the border. What price did Kentucky pay for its participation in the War of 1812? Nearly two-thirds of the American deaths in the conflict were Kentuckians. Nine Kentucky counties were named for officers who participated in the Battle of the River Raisin. These include the counties of Allen, Ballard, Edmondson, Graves, Hart, Hickman, McCracken, Meade and Simpson. Only Bland Ballard survived the battle. Other counties were named for participants in the war. •••

For further reading, see the citation for the War of 1812 in The Kentucky Encyclopedia or read James W. Hammack Jr.’s Kentucky and The Second American Revolution: The War of 1812 (1976). In 1960, Johnny Horton revived the era with a “saga-song,” “The Battle of New Orleans,” without mentioning the role of Kentuckians. If you can recall more than the following words, as I can, it proves you are about 80 years old or so. “In 1814 we took a little trip along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip …”

Readers may contact Bill Ellis at


Field Notes

The Terror of Grouse BY GARY GARTH


Courtesy of Department Fish and Wildlife Resources

uffed grouse are small, chicken-sized birds. They are ground-dwelling, woodland creatures that spend most of their lives on the forest floor searching for insects, seeds, fruits and other grub and, during breeding season, other grouse. Like many of their upland brethren, grouse numbers are being squeezed by habitat loss. When the neighborhood goes to hell, grouse, quail and their kin don’t move. They disappear. Grouse hunting is not for the weak-hearted or slight-winded. The critters prefer rough, rugged country. In Kentucky, grouse are eastern birds—hill country critters. Grouse season stretches from November through February across that patch of the state that begins with a line of counties from the Ohio River to the Tennessee border and includes (north to south): Campbell, Pendleton, Harrison, Nicholas, Montgomery, Clark, Madison, Garrard, Lincoln, Pulaski, Russell, Adair and Cumberland. From this line east, Kentucky’s grouseland extends to the Virginia and West Virginia borders. A few grouse are rumored to reside in the Pennyrile State Forest, Tradewater Wildlife Management Area and Ft. Knox Wildlife Management Area, although state officials usually acknowledge that bird numbers on those properties are light. I’ve hunted grouse only a few times. It’s enjoyable in the way running a marathon or kayaking a Class V boulderstrewn rapid is enjoyable: glad to have done it; pleased to have survived it. My first grouse outing was more than two decades ago, somewhere southeast of Morehead. I’ve forgotten exactly where. I was hunting with a colleague, Jonah, a veteran of many grouse campaigns. He knew what to expect and seemed to exude a slightly evil pleasure in the knowledge that I didn’t. The day was cool and overcast and just windy enough to give the winter air a bite. We climbed from the truck. A hillside towered before us, steep and unforgiving, with a mixture of young timber and scrub brush. My friend was explaining that we had “a little climb,” but once we reached the top, the terrain would be fairly level. I studied the landscape. Something seemed slightly manmade. We were in coal country, the land having once been whittled and scraped by house-sized machines. We gathered coats, caps, gloves and guns. My friend unleashed King, his springer spaniel, who darted about as if suffering a series of violent spasms. The dog then bolted up the hillside as if rocketed from a slingshot. We followed, me resolutely, my friend as if he were enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll through Cherokee or Iroquois Park. After an embarrassing number of rest stops for me to catch my breath and allow my heart rate to return to double

digits, we reached the top, which, thankfully, plateaued. We were standing atop a leftover of mountaintop removal, I decided. The forest was young regrowth. Fifteen years, maybe 20. This was really prime grouse cover, my friend was explaining. The birds preferred regrowth forest cover. The dog reappeared. I then realized it had never been more than a few feet from its master. This was a fine bird dog. Trained. Focused. Waiting for a command. Anxious to complete its task. We began making our way through the winter woods, which were surprisingly open. There was little ground cover, and the walking was easy. The breeze had died, but the cold had become bone deep. A light sleet began to fall. We crossed a small gully and climbed across the corpse of a large oak that had probably been on the forest floor since Lyndon B. Johnson had lived in the White House in the 1960s. The sleet was now falling with a steady patter. Neither of us had brought raingear. The dog appeared to our left; inching forward, stopping, then stepping with pause and purpose. My friend motioned for me to stop. Then, with a wave of his hand, he motioned for me to move three steps to the right. The whirl of a grouse’s wings when it flushes is always startling—a woodland explosion that cannot be imagined until it’s heard and can’t be forgotten once it has. As a defense mechanism, it is nearly 100 percent effective. Only the most steel-nerved hunter fails to rush his or her shot. The bird was streak-like in its movements, tilting and whizzing through the timber, head high and rising. I fired twice, emptying both barrels of my ancient and scarred side-by-side 20 gauge, a childhood relic. The second blast ended in a puff of feathers that cartwheeled to the ground. King was again electric. He arrived at his master’s side, his mouth bulging with feathers. Jonah took the bird from the dog’s mouth and handed it to me. “Nice shot.” I’d fired from reflex. It seemed impossible that the shot had reached its mark. I took the bird and then reached to pet the dog, who seemed to be trembling. I then realized it was me. •••

Kentucky’s grouse season continues through Feb. 28. The daily limit is four birds. For more information, including a downloadable copy of the Department Fish and Wildlife Resources Kentucky Ruffed Grouse & Young Forest Strategic Plan 2017-2027, go to and click on “hunt,” “game species” and “grouse.” Readers may contact Gary Garth at F E B R 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


February SUNDAY











James Grubola Eagle Watch Jazz and Exhibition, Jambalaya, Weekend, Hite Art Institute, Shaker Village at Kenlake University of Pleasant Hill, State Resort Park, Louisville, Harrodsburg, Hardin, also Feb. through Feb. 24, (859) 734-5411 3-4 and 9-10, (502) 852-6794 (270) 474-2211

 4.



Bridal Show, Wilkinson Stumbo Convention Center, Prestonsburg, (606) 889-1790


Margaret Garner: The Mystery Behind the Murder, Kenton County Public Library, Covington, (859) 962-4060



RENT: The 20th Anniversary Tour, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692



19. Presidents Day


Read It, Make In the Mood, It, Take It: Lancaster Grand Raymie Theatre, Nightingale, Lancaster, McCracken County (859) 583-1716 Public Library, Paducah, (270) 442-2510












Cirque Zuma Zuma, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007

Valentine’s Day Teas, Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington, (859) 272-3611





The Murder Las Cafeteras Trials of & Orkesta Abraham Mendoza, Lincoln, The Norton Center for Filson Historical the Arts, Danville, Society, Louisville, (859) 236-4692 (502) 635-5083

Jersey Boys, Carson Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037


More to explore online!


Visit kentuckymonthly. com for additional content, including a calendar of events, feature stories and recipes.

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

Valentine’s Day

Galactic, Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center, Lexington, (859) 280-2218

Ongoing Edward Melcarth: Points of View, UK Art Museum, Lexington, through April 8, (859) 257-5716

The Crucible, Artists Collaborative Theatre, Elkhorn City, also Feb. 16-28 and March 1-4 and 15-18, (606) 754-4228

Art as Rx – Six@Six Lecture, The Center for Great Neighborhoods, Covington, (859) 572-7847

Play On! Historic Romantic State Theater, Love Songs, Elizabethtown, SKyPAC, also Feb. 10-11 Bowling Green, and 15-18, (270) 846-2426 (270) 765-2175

Taming of the Preserving Shrew, Ragged Your Family Edge Community Heirlooms, John Theatre, James Audubon Harrodsburg, State Park, also Feb. 17-18 Henderson, and 23-25, (270) 827-1893 (859) 734-2389

Brad Paisley, East Kentucky Expo Center, Pikeville, (606) 444-5005

Sara Evans, EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, (859) 622-7469

Let’s Go!

A guide to Kentucky’s most interesting events Bluegrass Region

Theatre, Frankfort, (502) 352-7469,

10 My Fair Lady, presented by the Lexington Ballet, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-3925, Ongoing Edward Melcarth: Points of View, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, through April 8, (859) 257-5716, February

1 I Love a Piano, Lancaster Grand Theatre, Lancaster, (859) 583-1716,

13 Valentine’s Day Teas, Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington, (859) 272-3611, 13 Empowerment Series for Women with Cancer, Central Baptist Church, Lexington, (859) 260-4357 15 Travis Tritt, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567,

1-22 The Department of Human Capital Exhibit, Doris Ulmann Galleries, Berea, (859) 985-3530,

16 The Hillbenders Present The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692,

1-27 Freetowns Exhibit, Lexington Public Library Northside Branch, Lexington, (859) 231-5500,

16-17 Cabaret, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567,

2 Delbert McClinton, Grand Theatre, Frankfort, (502) 352-7469,

16-18 Taming of the Shrew, Ragged Edge Community Theatre, Harrodsburg, also Feb. 23-25, (859) 734-2389,

2-4 Enchanted April, Woodford Theatre, Versailles, also Feb. 9-11 and 15-18, (859) 873-0648,

17 Introduction to Beekeeping, Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, (859) 734-5411,

3 Civil War Speaker Series, Rohs Opera House, Cynthiana,

18 RENT: The 20th Anniversary Tour, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692,

3 Jazz and Jambalaya, Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, (859) 734-5411,

19-28 Composed Construct by Susan Beiner, Doris Ulmann Galleries, Berea, through March 30, (859) 985-3530,

3 Fireside Chats, Fort Boonesborough State Park, Richmond, also Feb. 10, 17 and 24, (859) 527-3131, 6 Shen Yun, EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, (859) 622-7469, 9 The American String Quartet, with Tom Sleigh & Phil Klay, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692, 9 Valentine’s Printmaking Workshop, Artworks at the Carver Center, Lexington, (859) 425-2058, 10 Met Opera – L’Elisir d’Amore, Grand

20 The Illusionists, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567,

Richmond, (859) 622-7469,

25 Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692, 25 Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are in a Play!” Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington, (859) 254-4546, 26 In the Mood, Lancaster Grand Theatre, Lancaster, (859) 583-1716, 28 Galactic, Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center, Lexington, (859) 280-2218, March

1 The Tierney Sutton Band: The Sting Variations, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692, 2 Chonda Pierce, EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, (859) 622-7469, 2 Jersey Boys, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567, 3 The Prodigal’s Journey, EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, (859) 622-7469, 5 Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692, 6 Rhythm of the Dance, Lancaster Grand Theatre, Lancaster, (859) 583-1716, 11 Trace Adkins, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692,

Louisville Region

21 Las Cafeteras & Orkesta Mendoza, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692, 23 Get the Led Out, EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, (859) 622-7469, 24 Met Opera – La Bohème, Grand Theatre, Frankfort, (502) 352-7469, 24 Sara Evans, EKU Center for the Arts,


1 Brandy Alexander Cocktail Class, Copper & Kings American Brandy Company, Louisville, (502) 561-0267, 1-4 Hope and Healing: Celebrating 125 Years of Norton Children’s Hospital F E B R 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

Exhibit, Frazier History Museum, Louisville, (502) 753-5663,

23 Makers Series, Frazier History Museum, Louisville, (502) 753-5663,

1-24 James Grubola Exhibition, Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville, (502) 852-6794,

23 Jim Gaffigan, Louisville Palace, Louisville, (502) 883-5774,

2 Louisville Orchestra Coffee Series, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, also Feb. 23, (502) 587-8681, 3 Robbie Burns Gala, Woodhaven Country Club, Louisville, (502) 876-3105, 6 Lecture: Ambassador Matthew Barzun, University of Louisville’s Middleton Auditorium, Louisville, (502) 852-8977, 6 Blues Traveler, Mercury Ballroom, Louisville, (502) 583-4555, 9 2nd Friday Bluegrass Jam, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls Of Rough, (270) 257-2311, 9 Southern Supper Series: Louisville Culinary Tour, various locations, Louisville, (502) 583-1433, 9-11 Sweethearts Weekend, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls Of Rough, (270) 257-2311, 9-11 Play On! Historic State Theater, Elizabethtown, also Feb. 15-18, (270) 765-2175, 14 Musique Romantique, The Seelbach Hilton, Louisville, (502) 968-6300,


2-4 Kentucky Crafted: The Market, Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, (502) 564-3757,

16 After Hours at the Speed, Speed Art Museum, Louisville, (502) 634-2700,

15-24 Angels in America, Corbett Theatre, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, (859) 572-5464, 15-25 Wait Until Dark, presented by the Maysville Players, Washington Opera House, Maysville, (606) 564-3666,

3 Rumpke Mountain Boys, Mercury Ballroom, Louisville, (502) 583-4555,

17 Winter Hike, Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, Union, (859) 384-3522,

4 Bridal and Prom Show, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls Of Rough, (270) 257-2311,

20 Kentucky Gathers Dulcimer Group, General Butler State Resort Park lodge mezzanine, Carrollton, (502) 732-4384,

9 2nd Friday Bluegrass Jam, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls Of Rough, (270) 257-2311, 10 Lewis Black, Louisville Palace, Louisville, (502) 883-5774,

22 Art as Rx – Six@Six Lecture, The Center for Great Neighborhoods, Covington, (859) 572-7847, March

10 Platinum Comedy Tour, KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, (502) 690-9000,

10 Murder Mystery – The Sword & The Specter, General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, (502) 732-4384,

10 Buffalo and Wild Game Dinner, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls Of Rough, (270) 257-2311,

11 Make It With Jackie: Greeting Cards, Kenton County Public Library, Independence, (859) 962-4031,

10-11 Kentuckiana Giant Indoor Swap Meet, Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, Louisville, (502) 619-2917

Western Region

Northern Region

14 BabyFace, Louisville Palace, Louisville, (502) 883-5774, 14-17 National Farm Machinery Show and Championship Tractor Pull, Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, (502) 367-5156,

11 Margaret Garner: The Mystery Behind the Murder, Kenton County Public Library, Covington, (859) 962-4060,



2 Rockin’ Dollar Fridays, Turfway Park Race Course, Florence, also Feb. 9, 16 and 23, (859) 371-0200,

Twisted: Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist, National Quilt Museum, Paducah, through March 12, (270) 442-8856, February

2-3 Live Music, Elk Creek Vineyards, Owenton, also Feb. 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24, (502) 484-0005,

1 Turn-the-Page Thursday, John James Audubon State Park, Henderson, (270) 827-1893,

18 Luke Bryan, KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, (502) 690-9000,

9 The Art of Food, The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Covington, (859) 957-1940,

2-4 Eagle Watch Weekend, Kenlake State Resort Park, Hardin, also Feb. 9-10, (270) 474-2211,

20 The Murder Trials of Abraham Lincoln, The Filson Historical Society, Louisville, (502) 635-5083,

10 Music for Two Harps, Kenton County Public Library, Covington, (859) 962-4060,

3 Buffalo Night, Barren River Lake State Resort Park’s Driftwood Restaurant, Lucas, (270) 646-2151,

23 Jabber, Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center, Elizabethtown, (270) 765-2175,

10 Perfect Harmony Dinner/Dance Theatre, General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, (502) 732-4384,

3 Jack and the Beanstalk, RiverPark Center, Owensboro, (270) 687-2770,

18 Louisville Hot Chocolate Hustle 5k Run/Walk, Big Four Bridge at Waterfront Park, Louisville, (224) 757-5425


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

9 Tim Hawkins, Carson Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037, 9-10 Winter Rook Tournament, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs, (270) 797-3421, 10-11 Valentine’s Eagle Cruise Weekend, Kentucky Dam Village, Gilbertsville, (270) 362-9205, 15 Author Crystal Wilkinson, McCracken County Public Library, Paducah, (270) 442-2510, 16 Adult Artist Retreat, John James Audubon State Park, Henderson, (270) 827-1893, 16-17 Honeymooner’s Weekend, Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas, (270) 646-2151, 17 Preserving Your Family Heirlooms: Prints, Paintings and Textiles, John James Audubon State Park, Henderson, (270) 827-1893, 17 Elk and Bison Buffet and Local Artists Showcase, Kentucky Dam Village Inn and Restaurant, Gilbertsville, (270) 362-9205, 17-18 Valentine’s Getaway, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs, (270) 797-3421, 18 Paducah Symphony Orchestra Presents John Williams, Carson Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037, 20 Shopkins Live! Carson Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037, 23 Ronnie Milsap, RiverPark Center, Owensboro, (270) 687-2770, 23 Twelve Angry Men, Theatre Workshop, Owensboro, (270) 683-5333, 23-25 Oil Painting Weekend, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs, (270) 797-3421, 25 Read It, Make It, Take It: Raymie Nightingale, McCracken County Public Library, Paducah, (270) 442-2510, 27 Jersey Boys, Carson Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037, March

1 Turn-the-Page Thursday, John James Audubon State Park, Henderson, (270) 827-1893, 1 Shadowland, Carson Center, Paducah, F E B R 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

Edgar Cayce

Hometown Seminar

Join us at Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park outside Edgar Cayce’s hometown for a weekend full of learning, fellowship,

(270) 908-2037,

2 Monster in the Closet, Theatre Workshop, Owensboro, (270) 683-5333,

and self-discovery.

3 Magic 101, McCracken County Public Library, Paducah, (270) 442-2510,

This year, we welcome Dr. J.P. Amontè as

8 Chickens 101, McCracken County Public Library, Paducah, (270) 442-2510,

our featured speaker. A lifelong student of the Edgar Cayce readings, Dr. Amontè is the Lead Clinician for the A.R.E. Health Center & Spa in Virginia Beach. With a Cayce-based philosophy, he integrates healing techniques including manipulamassag therapeutic exercise, tion, massage, and nutritional counseling in his Cayce/Reilly-based Chiropractic and Manual Therapy sessions.

9-11 Scrapbooking Weekend, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs, (270) 797-3421, 10 Music from the Firebird, Carson Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037, 11 Amazing Grace, Carson Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037,

Southern Region

Special presentations by other Cayce scholars and a bus tour of Cayce sites led by Christian County historian William T.

March 16-18, 2018

For more info or to register, visit

Turner will round out this weekend of fun and personal growth.


1-27 Kentucky: 225 Years on the Move, National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, (270) 781-5286, 3 Farmer’s Market Tote Basket Workshop, Kentucky Museum, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, (270) 745-2592, 10 Romantic Love Songs, SKyPAC, Bowling Green, (270) 846-2426, 10 Let’s Play! Winter Showcase, Flashback Theater, Somerset, 1-888-394-3282 10-11 Valentine’s Celebration, Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park, Burkesville, (270) 433-7431, 10-14 Romance at the RailPark, Historic RailPark & Train Museum, Bowling Green, (270) 745-7317, 20 On Golden Pond, The Center for Rural Development, Somerset, (606) 677-6000, 23-25 Disney’s The Little Mermaid Live, Historic Star Theater, Russell Springs, also March 2-4, (270) 866-7827, March

1-2 Little Shop of Horrors, Flashback Theater, Somerset, also March 4 and 8-10, 1-888-394-3282,


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

2 Southern Kentucky Book Fest, Warren County Public Library, Bowling Green, (270) 745-4502,

Eastern Region

14 Valentine’s Day Dinner, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg, (606) 889-1790, 15-28 The Crucible, Artists Collaborative Theatre, Elkhorn City, also March 1-4 and 15-18, (606) 754-4228, 16-18 Wilderness Safety & Survival, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Slade, (606) 663-2214,


2 1984, presented by the Paramount Players, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007, 2-4 Genealogy Boot Camp, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Corbin, (606) 528-4121, 3 Appalachian Elk Viewing Tour, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg, also Feb. 24, (606) 889-1790, 3 Dancing with Our Stars, Boyd County Community Center, Catlettsburg, (606) 329-8888, 3 Murder on the Mountain, presented by Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Slade, (606) 663-2214, 3 Murderous Match Game Murder Mystery Dinner Show, Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, Greenup, (606) 473-7324, 4 Bridal Show, Wilkinson Stumbo Convention Center, Prestonsburg, (606) 889-1790, 6 Cirque Zuma Zuma, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007, 9-10 Valentine Murder Mystery, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Corbin, (606) 528-4121, 9-10 Valentines Dinner Theater, Carter Caves State Resort Park, Olive Hill, (606) 286-4411, 9-10 Monster Trucks Expo, East Kentucky Expo Center, Pikeville, (606) 444-5506, 10 Mardi Gras Dinner Buffet, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Slade, (606) 663-2214, 10 Comedy Dinner Theatre with Mack Dryden, Bellefonte Country Club, Ashland, (606) 324-2107,

17 Square Dance, Natural Bridge State Resort Park – Woodland Center, Slade, (606) 663-2214, 17 Rossini’s Cinderella, Corbin High School, Corbin, (606) 524-1354, 23 Brad Paisley, East Kentucky Expo Center, Pikeville, (606) 444-5005, 23 Ashland Lions Club Murder Mystery, Ashland Transportation Center, Ashland, 1-800-377-6249, 24 Ronnie Reno, Mountain Arts Center, Prestonsburg, (606) 886-2623, 25 Steven Curtis Chapman, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007, 25 Bridal Expo, KYOVA Mall, Ashland, 1-800-377-6249, March

1 The Wizard of Oz, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007, 3-4 Appalachian Elk Viewing Tour, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg, also March 10-11, (606) 889-1790, 10 Spring Fling Vendor Market & Craft Fair, Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, Greenup, (606) 473-7324, 10 Glenn Leonard’s Temptations Revue, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007, 13 Harlem Globetrotters, East Kentucky Expo Center, Pikeville, (606) 444-5005,

For additional Calendar items or to submit an event, please visit Submissions must be sent at least 90 days prior to the event. F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Vested Interest

My Awesome Calling


ello! My name is Molly, and I am the third of the Vest children. To jog your memory, if you are a longtime reader, I am the premature daughter, “Aren’t you happy I didn’t die when I was born?” “EVERYTHING IS SO AWESOME,” “Dang, that trumpet player’s cute,” “Dad! I’m going be a world-famous baton twirler!” “This is the best day of my life!” Molly. I am a senior at Campbellsville University studying elementary education. This semester, I am student teaching close to home and cannot wait to get my first real job and hopefully have my own classroom this upcoming fall. Education has always been important in my family. My mom was a teacher. As a child, I remember wanting nothing more than to be a teacher just like her. In the basement of my childhood home, my mom set up several areas for me and my siblings to play. There was a plastic table, a wooden desk, several toys and lots of craft supplies. Near all of this was a metal shelf my mom used as storage, which slowly became an area full of our stuff. This is where my big sister, Katy, and I would play school. My sister labeled the shelves “Katy’s Teacher Stuff” and “Molly’s Student Stuff.” For many years, I was the student, and Katy was my teacher. Several years later, when Katy became obsessed with theater, fashion, music and other things big kids liked, I decided to pull my little sister, Sydney, into school. The labels were switched, and I became the teacher. AND I LOVED IT. At Campbellsville University, the slogan is “Find your calling,” and I found it. When I started college in the fall of 2014, I was studying music education. On the first day of classes, I walked into the library and applied for a work-study job. I was placed in the children’s literature section. Working with so many books in the library reminded me of the ones my parents would read to me and my teachers would use in activities. This inspired me to change my major. I quickly switched to elementary education, and I am still over-the-moon excited, loving this journey of becoming the best teacher I can be. Campbellsville University School of Education has taught me so much, going above and beyond to prepare me for my future teaching career. It has been a difficult four years, but I wouldn’t change a moment of it. Every challenging class, assignment and hurdle to jump has taught me to be flexible, determined, focused and organized. This experience has helped me in becoming not only a competent teacher but a well-rounded person. It’s common knowledge that teachers do not make a ton of money. I am not teaching to get rich; I am teaching

because I love it. I am passionate about it. Every time I teach a lesson in a classroom, I walk away smiling and excited to do it again. I was taught by my parents that experiences and happiness are worth more than any dollar amount. There will always be MOLLY VEST money to be earned, but Guest Columnist moments missed can never be replaced. I’ve always wanted a career that I enjoy. It is important to me that I love what I do. If you love it, it isn’t really work at all. However, as someone who is going through the process of becoming a teacher, I can say that it is difficult. There are numerous requirements that take much time and effort. Teaching is not a career path for the lazy. I am proud to be joining the education profession. Every time I observe a day of school, I think to myself, “Wow, how did they do that? Teachers are amazing individuals! We need teachers.” Teachers shape and create every profession. Doctors cannot be doctors without teachers to show them how. Teachers mold the future. I hope Kentucky takes measures toward supporting and valuing educators. A strong, well-educated generation will positively affect those who came before them and those to follow. We should all “inVest” in our state’s future. If you can read this column, thank a teacher. •••

In March 2018, the students and faculty from the Campbellsville University School of Education will travel to Belize to assist in the local school systems. I have been given the great opportunity to student teach in the classrooms on this trip. We are accepting donations of school supplies—such as pencils, loose leaf paper, markers, crayons and any other materials—to help supply the classrooms we visit. Please send donations to: Belize School Supplies School of Education Building 1 University Drive, Campbellsville University

Campbellsville, KY 42718

Readers, and those looking for a speaker for a church or civic group, may contact Stephen M. Vest at steve@kentuckymonthly.

FEBRUARY KWIZ ANSWERS: 1. B. Fred K. Schmidt; 2. C. Cassius Sr. painted everything from billboards to murals and also gave music lessons; 3. B. Washington County; 4. C. LaRue is buried in LaRue County; 5. B. Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate; 6. B. Erlanger; 7. B. Beech Bend Park; 8. C. Cornbread Red was a pool shark; 9. C. Henderson, salute!; 10. C. Ted Poston was known as the “dean of black journalists” and was nominated for a Pulitzer in 1949 for his coverage of the wrongful prosecution and execution of the “Groveland (Fla.) Four.”


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8

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.

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February 2018 | Kentucky Monthly Magazine  

Kentucky Monthly magazine February 2018

February 2018 | Kentucky Monthly Magazine  

Kentucky Monthly magazine February 2018