I got a good chuckle out of Swampy’s latest post. She had some really funny lines about the things that make Oklahoma folks special, and even though she was talking about Oklahoma, she could have substituted Kentucky for 98% of those items and been right on the money. I didn’t realize Oklahoma was so “southern” in its ways. I often roll my eyes at the amount of redneck-edness that surrounds me, and I hate for the rest of the country to think all Kentuckians are country bumpkins. However, the truth is I’m pretty proud of the area in which I live because despite the way we butcher the English language and act peculiar, we have some pretty good habits that I don’t always see when I go to other parts of the country. I feel an obligation to prop up our image by sharing some of these with you, dear readers, especially those of you who have not visited our fair state and have been led to believe that we marry our cousins and have children named Cooter.
1. We know how to throw a funeral. Each family has a fainter who passes out at the sight of the deceased. (Ours was Aunt Mabel.) Around here fainting is a sign of respect for the dear departed. In case you’re wondering, I’m not a fainter. Drivers pull over for an oncoming funeral procession. It’s an unwritten rule that you pull off the road and wait for a funeral procession to pass, whether you knew the deceased or not. It’s very moving for people to pull over for your loved one. Also, there is always a great meal after the funeral. It’s usually provided by your church family and includes ham and a variety of homemade dishes from the Feed the Bereaved committee. If you have no church family, one will be appointed for you.
2. We know our neighbors. In fact, we know their schedules, their relatives and their vices. I can tell you the last time Mr. R.’s electric meter was read, when the O.’s are going to be back from vacation and how many times last week that R.’s girlfriend spent the night. In turn, they know that my parents visit on Sunday afternoons, that Mama J. is going to have hernia surgery and that Hubby spends a half hour at Huck’s convenience store every morning drinking Diet Coke and shooting the bull. We don’t call this nosiness, we call it Neighborhood Watch. Someone asked me not too long ago if I had an alarm system at my house, and I said, “No. I have Marie”. She’s my neighbor and will call me at work if someone suspicious shows up in my driveway during the day. Heck, she even knows to call Hubby at Huck’s if the prowler shows up in the morning between 7:15 and 7:45.
3. We make friends wherever we go. We will strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere. We make friends in the line at Wal-Mart, in the bathroom at Outback and on the way to the operating room. We also share with strangers all kinds of personal information other folks might not divulge, like our constipation problems, our child’s rehab stint and the name of the dealer Uncle Lester uses to buy glaucoma marijuana. We may divulge too much, but we are friendly people. If you ask us for directions and you seem confused, we will tell you to jump in our pickup and we’ll just drive you there.
4. We make time for pie. We’re good at it. We’re almost always armed with pie and we know how to use it. We use it to feed your face and nourish your soul. Pie is a good and righteous thing. It keeps you from rushing through your meal It causes you to slow down and savor the moment. We think pie cures just about everything, especially coconut cream pie.
So if you’re wandering through the Bluegrass State anytime soon, be sure to wave and say hello. We’ll wave back. In fact, we’ll probably strike up a conversation with you, ask about your relatives and give you directions to a really good restaurant that serves dessert. And rest assured that if you croak while you’re in our fair state, we’ll also give you a great sendoff.
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