My trip to eastern Ky and my hometown was better than expected. My dad and stepmom were in pretty good shape so no action or intervention required. The hotel I stayed in was good (sleeping arrangements in the parents’ house are limited and complicated; long story) – it was the refurbished Ashland Plaza, now a Marriott. I stayed there a lot 30 years ago and now, here I am again. Deja vu.
I drove around and saw all the old places from my youth – houses we lived in, houses of relatives, favorite neighborhoods, old schools, the high school football field and Crisp’s Dairy Treat , a real tradition. I remember our school bus driver Mr. Helton stopping at Crisp’s on the last day of school every year and treating everyone on the bus to a five-cent ice cream cone. It was a nice drive down memory lane.
I took a longer drive into the countryside, venturing into Argyllite, Flatwoods and Greenbo Lake.
Greenbo was beautiful, pretty much peaceful and unspoiled just as it was fifty years ago. It was awesomely quiet at Greenbo – that’s something you just don’t “hear” in Socal. You can go miles and miles without seeing any “civilization” in those parts. I was shocked at how little things have changed in rural Boyd and Greenup counties.
It’s hard to describe the area to someone from Socal. Small cities, tiny roads outside the cities, miles upon miles of trees, streams and lakes sprinkled liberally. The radio stations are mostly religious or country. I did encounter a few really weird FM stations below 90 Mhz where a country preacher was holding forth in broken English, a strong KY-country accent and a low, gravelly voice murmuring challenging questions for unsuspecting listeners (“have you given your all to Jesus?” “do you allow Satan in your home?”). That’s new. A lot of Trump stickers on trucks, but I guess one can see that in the West also. I was once again amused to see the place-names of eastern KY. I drove on roads named Culp Creek, Turkey Lick, Salt Lick, Long Bottom, Needmore Hollow, Shanty Branch and Barbeque Road. In similar vein I saw an advertisement for a sheriff in Ohio named Sheriff Jeffrey Lawless.
On the way back to Louisville I stopped in Mt. Sterling KY to see an old family friend, and then made my way to Lexington to see my nephews Corey and Chase, my brother Mike and Chase’s better half Katie. And their very nice dog Sophie (in the headline picture). It’s great to be able to drop into multiple cities and have friends/relatives to catch up with – I guess that’s called having roots in a place. All in all it was a very satisfying trip and an itinerary I plan to repeat soon.