We Kentuckians sit a little straighter and, through pride, grow about 2 inches any time the name Abraham Lincoln is mentioned. Not only – as Americans – are we proud and honored call the same country home as this great man did, we – as Kentuckians – know, “He’s one of ours!”
Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin on February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville, Kentucky to Thomas and Nancy (Hanks) Lincoln. He was named after his paternal grandfather, Abraham, and actually didn’t like being called “Abe,” for short. Not surprising, since nothing about this 6’4″ man was short – aside, of course, from his life.
Abraham Lincoln went on to become our country’s 16th President and arguably our state’s most cherished son… though I have three daughters who’d say the title belongs to Johnny Depp.
My to do list today reads more like a novelette than a list, but first things first. To be more specific, Kentucky first, and everything else can just fall in line.
I’m that anxious to tell you about a wonderful website I’ve fallen hard for. Kentucky For Kentucky is a website featuring AMAZING Kentucky merchandise. Tees, hats, prints, tank tops, baby bibs, baby “onesies,” sweatshirts, kids tees, baby tees, stationery, postcards, underwear, totes, mugs, and even a Kentucky Fried Chicken Scented Candle.
Boom Chicka Boom!
I tend to get over-excited about things I love – especially things that, like Genuine Kentucky, set out to promote Kentucky and Kentuckians. I’ll try to reign myself in, this once, and remain calm. Like Sally said in the commercial, though, “I can’t make any promises.” The only thing working for me, here, is that I’m only on my 4th cup of coffee. So far. Don’t judge me.
I hope you’ll click through any of the links (or the awesome print at the top) and check out their website and blog. When you browse through the different Kentucky products, you’ll notice that – due to their awesomeness – they tend to sell out.
Moral of the story: If you see something you love, buy it and buy it now. Not only is this the moral of this particular story, it’s also my life’s code.
Speaking of shopping, you could conceivably go ahead and do your Mother’s Day AND Father’s Day shopping NOW on Kentucky for Kentucky. You’ll blow them away with any of these wonderful, original gifts. Heck, as far as that goes, you could do a little Christmas shopping.
Did… did.. I just get carried away? Fortunately, Sally* and I never make any promises.
We have a lot of things to be proud of here in Kentucky. Our horses, basketball, hospitality, and food just to name a few. I think we can also be kind of proud of the outrageous things associated with our state. I don’t know how many times I’ve read about something kind of “out there” or unusual, only to discover that the story was connected somehow to Kentucky.
I guess all you can say is we know how to keep things interesting.
Our great state is associated with the word and/or color blue a great deal:
Of course you’ve heard of these. But have you read about the Blue People of Kentucky?
In a clear case of Kentuckians keeping things interesting again, it seems there was a woman in Kentucky, Luna Fugate who was “blue all over.” One of her relatives described Luna as, “the bluest woman I ever saw.” In 1975, Luna Fugate’s grandson (Benjamin “Benjy” Stacy) was born. Like his great-grandmother, the baby was born with a blue tinge. Methemoglobinemia is the name of the condition which causes the skin to take on a lovely shade of blue.
As talk of a blood transfusion took place, Benjy’s grandmother told doctors not to panic, that he simply looked like the “blue Fugates of Troublesome Creek.”
The Blue People of Kentucky aren’t limited to Benjy and Luna. In fact an entire family from isolated Appalachia were blue. Apparently, their ancestral line began six generations earlier with a French orphan, Martin Fugate.
Martin Fugate came to Troublesome Creek (near Hazard) from France in 1820 and… well… he happened to be blue. He married a Kentuckian named Elizabeth Smith, who also carried the blue gene, so to speak. Four of their seven children were blue.
Like many small communities of that time, a lack of railroads and limited travel into or out of the community caused it to remain very small and very isolated. Cousins married cousins and, like spilled paint from a can, the blue gene spread.
Luna, of course, came from the Fugate line. One of Martin and Elizabeth Fugate’s blue boys, Zachariah, married his aunt. One of their sons, Levy, married a Ritchie girl and had eight children, one of these children was Luna.
Luna married John E. Stacy and they had 13 children. Luna lived a long life, dying at the age of 84.
Apparently the arrival of coal mining in Kentucky in 1912 led to the Fugates moving away from Troublesome Creek. Thereby causing the blue people begin to disappearing.
One of my favorite television destinations, The History Channel, recently aired an outstanding and wildly successful miniseries, Hatfields & McCoys. Apparently viewers tuned in to this miniseries as though they were being paid to do so. I’m really not surprised, though. For one thing, it was a History Channel production – everything they touch is pure gold. For another thing, the Hatfields and McCoys are a fascinating part of our country’s history – especially in this neck of the woods.
In Kentucky, we grew up hearing about the Hatfields & McCoys so much that, for the better part of my childhood, I thought they were family.
If you’re a history buff like I am or simply interested in this very colorful part of history, a trip to beautiful Pike County, Kentucky might be right up your alley. Visiting the place where it all played out can help you visualize this 19th century conflict between the rival Kentucky and West Virginia families. Each historical site features a marker telling tragic stories from the infamous feud, serving as a reminder of how dangerous sheer unadulterated hatred can be!
Many tourists each year travel to eastern Kentucky to see the areas and historic relics that remain from the days of the feud. Improvements to various feud sites have been completed, and historical markers commemorate many key locales. Research by local historians has been compiled in an audio compact disc called the “Hatfield & McCoy Feud Driving Tour.” The CD provides a self-guided driving tour of the restored feud sites. It includes maps and pictures as well as the audio CD.
You might also wish to attend the annual Hillbilly Days festival in Pikeville, Ky., which each April draws thousands of visitors to the area of the feud for a weekend of regional entertainment, food, contests and celebrations. You can get more information on the festival at www.hillbillydays.com.
The Dils Cemetery is located at the mouth of Chloe Creek and the By-Pass Road in Pikeville, Kentucky. Historians are always fascinated by cemeteries – and Dils Cemetery is an especially interesting one. This Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud Historic District. Buried in the cemetery are: Randolph McCoy, the head of the McCoy clan, his wife, Sarah, their daughter, Roseanna (who ran away with Johnse Hatfield), their son, Sam and his wife, Martha.
But there’s even more historical significance: The cemetery is the first known cemetery in Eastern Kentucky to be integrated. Col. Dils let his freed slaves and their descendants be buried in the cemetery.
About the Hatfield & McCoys
The feud involved two families of the Kentucky and West Virginia mountains along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River. The bitter conflict stemmed from many causes, but the origins have been traced to divided loyalties during the Civil War and even a Romeo-Juliet romance between members of the rival clans.
The McCoys, who lived in Pike County, Ky., mostly sided with the Union during the Civil War, while the Hatfields, from neighboring Mingo County, W.Va., were aligned with the Confederates. The first real violence in the feud was the 1865 slaying of returning Union soldier Asa Harmon McCoy, generally believed to have been committed by members of the Hatfield family.
Between 1880 and 1891, the feud claimed a dozen members of the two families, becoming headline news around the country and compelling the governors of both Kentucky and West Virginia to call up their state militias to restore order. The governor of West Virginia once even threatened to have his militia invade Kentucky. KentuckyÃ¢â?¬â?¢s governor responded by sending his chief military aide to Pike County to investigate the situation. Besides a dozen who died, at least 10 persons were wounded in that decade.
The feud has entered the American vocabulary as a metaphor for any parties to a bitter rivalry. More than a century later, the story of the feud has become a modern symbol for the perils of family honor, justice and vengeance. Over the years, the feud has been the subject of several film portrayals, and this week separate feature-film and miniseries productions are debuting on U.S. movie and TV screens.
Pike County’s history is very intriguing and the Hatfields and McCoys have a lot to do with it. Click the link to learn more.
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site marks the birthplace of the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis. Davis was born on this site on June 3, 1808.
Kentucky has always taken pride in the fact that the President of the Union (Abraham Lincoln) as well as the President of the Confederacy (Jefferson Davis) were BOTH born in Kentucky. In fact, President Lincoln was born just over eight months later and less than 100 miles to the northeast.
More Facts About Jefferson Davis and Jefferson Davis State Historic Site
This Historic State Park features a 351-foot monument (obelisk) that was completed in 1924, 35 years after Davis’ death. It even includes an elevator.
There is a large Amish community in the surrounding area, so it isn’t uncommon at all to frequently see horses and buggies.
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site also has a museum, gift shop, playground, and picnic area.
Jefferson Davis was a graduate of West Point.
Davis served as both a U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator (from Mississippi). He also served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce.
Jefferson Davis married Knox Taylor – daughter of President Zachary Taylor. She died from Malaria only three months after their wedding.
The gift shop features Kentucky handcrafts, souvenirs, books and Civil War memorabilia. The site is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through October.
There is a fee for the museum and monument.
The monument is the world’s tallest concrete obelisk and the United State’s fifth-tallest monument.
The site is 9 miles east of Hopkinsville on U.S. 68.
U.S. Highway 68 East
Fairview, KY 42221-0157
One of Kentucky’s favorite daughters, Country superstar Patty Loveless, is publicly declaring war on a disease that has claimed two of her family members: COPD. Other celebrities declaring war on COPD are Bruce Jenner, Danica Patrick, Jim Belushi and Michael Strahan.
Patty Loveless decided to be a spokesperson for the organization, mainly due to the fact that she tragically lost her sister to the disease in 1996.
The Nashville legend and Grand Ole Opry star’s raising awareness for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Over 12 million people in the Untied States, alone, have this disease. Experts believe that the number is actually about twice that – but many don’t recognize the symptoms.
Which is, of course, where people like Patty Loveless come in – to educate us all.
For more information on COPD, go to drive4copd.com and download the campaign song, ‘Drive,’ sung by Patty, herself, for free. She co-wrote the tune with her husband, Emory. You can also take the five-question screener and be automatically entered to win either a trip to this year’s CMA Awards or a NASCAR experience in February.
Patty Loveless was born Patty Lee Ramey on January 4, 1957 in Pikeville, Kentucky. Patty was the 6th of 7 children. Although she was born in Pikeville, Patty’s family lived in a small town nearby named Butcher Holler where her father was a coal miner.
In 1969, the family moved to the Louisville area, seeking treatment for Patty’s dad’s lung disease.
Beautiful Patty Loveless first came onto country music’s radar in 1986 with her first (self-titled) album. Patty has recorded too many country and bluegrass songs to list, but suffice to say she remains one of the best loved artists of all time.
This fact was apparent to us (us being my husband and myself) when we recently attended a Patty Loveless concert at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The sold out Opry was filled with a special kind of love that flowed from the artist to each audience member and right back to the artist. It was a special evening and you could feel it in the air.
Did You Know?
Loveless is a distant cousin of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle. She is married to Emory Gordy, Jr. (1989 – present), who is also her producer.
On October 21st, 1992 Patty Loveless had throat surgery. For the next nine weeks, she could not speak or talk! On her 36th birthday, January 4th, 1993, Loveless re-entered her professional life by performing at the Grand Ole Opry.
One of Patty’s crowning achievements was her popular album When Fallen Angels Fly. It won the Country Music Association’s Album of the Year award and gave her four Top 10 singles.
Patty Loveless made an abrupt and bold move away from commercial, country/pop in 2001 with a heart-felt, true to form bluegrass album. Mountain Soul was released to numerous critical accolades but, unfortunately, didn’t get the radio support necessary to make albums fly off the shelves.
Patty loved bluegrass as much as bluegrass loved Patty, so she stuck with the genre for a memorable Christmas album, Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, in 2002.
On Your Way Home, marked a return to more “radio friendly” country, was released in 2003 to critical acclaim.
As of today, Patty has charted more than forty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including five Number Ones. She has recorded fourteen studio albums (this isn’t counting compilations) in the United States, four of which have been certified platinum, while two have been certified gold.
Michael and I went to the beautiful Lake Barkley Lodge last night for the Lake Barkley State Resort Park Presents Comedy Dinner Theater featuring Marty Pollio. The food was delicious and the laughs were constant.
Marty Pollio is a tremendously talented Louisville comedian. You can read more about him in my previous post and learn even more by visiting his website. In fact, I insist that you visit Marty Pollio’s website. Not only is he a total riot – he apparently shares one of my own great passions: cooking! He has tons of delicious-sounding recipes on his website. I’ve actually been saving a lot of them this morning to print out and try. Italian food… come on, it doesn’t get any better.
I am so grateful to the Lake Barkley State Resort Park for putting together this Dinner and a Show evening. What a brainstorm! I’d love to see more of Kentucky’s wonderful state parks doing the same. And if they bring in Marty Pollio, I’ll want a ticket to each and every show.
As you know, I’m a huge fan of the Variety! Music, Memories, and More shows in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. On the way home last night, I thought how amazing it would be if they’d bring Marty to the Badgett Playhouse. I nearly laughed out loud at the thought of him interacting with Bill Minihan and Steve Sherling. I’d give up 6 months of Starbucks to see the three of them on stage together.
If you know me, you know that’s almost like offering up your first born.
Marty Pollio has “it” – that certain something that a comedian either has or doesn’t have…. He doesn’t just have it, he owns it.
As luck would have it, my husband was one of the faces in the crowd that Marty interacted with. My husband, who is as big a ham and character as anyone, played along beautifully. As a mother who loves her daughters more than her next breath, I do have to clear something up. When he asked Michael how many children he had and if he was proud of the way they turned out- he shook his head NO! For anyone there, know that he was (of course) playing around.
He also said he wasn’t there for their births – he was there (and green) for all three. Liar.
Anyway, aside from getting my husband into all kinds of trouble, Marty was just spectacular. He had everyone laughing hysterically and his juggling and miming were simply unreal. How does anyone juggle like that? I’d struggle with 1 ball, let alone 4.
If you are reading this article and are looking for a hilarious clean comedian for an event or show – here’s your guy. Just promise me one thing: Let me know when he’ll be there because I’ll be headed that way. I might even let “you know who” come along. And sit in the back.
I preach, teach, and admonish everyone to keep their money in their own state whenever possible. My family delights in doing just that as well. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule, you know, and the Grand Ole Opry is one of them. We try to go as often as possible and have had the supreme pleasure of seeing Montgomery Gentry, Jack Black, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood, The Oakridge Boys, Pam Tillis, Marty Stuart, Little Jimmy Dickens, Kellie Pickler, Ricky Skaggs, Bill Anderson, Vince Gill, Lonestar, and many others. Several Kentuckians in that impressive group, I’m proud to say!
Each time we’ve gone, we’ve had an absolute ball. Getting to see artists such as these in such historical surroundings is something I’d highly recommend to everyone. You should head over to the Grand Ole Opry’s web site and take a good look at the schedule. You won’t believe some of the artists coming up. The hilarious Steve Martin will be making his first Grand Ole Opry appearance at the end of May, that should be something worth seeing! He’s scheduled to appear on the same night as Vince Gill and Amy Grant. I also notice that Miss Taylor Swift will be making an upcoming appearance.
Some Grand Ole Opry performances are at the historic Ryman Theater in downtown Nashville while the rest are at the more modern (and spectacular) Grand Ole Opry house. Personally, I prefer the Grand Ole Opry House for several reasons. The employees are friendlier, the parking is easier, and there’s a mall within walking distance (!!!). Having said that, every country music fan should visit the Ryman at least once.
Never make the mistake of thinking you won’t have a great time – or that your kids won’t enjoy themselves. Everyone, young and old… country fans or not…. will have the time of their lives.
The last time we went, we took our 3 daughters and their boyfriends. Afterwards, one of their boyfriends talked about getting goosebumps during a Vince Gill song while another one said it was hard not to cry. The third young man said he had a new role model: Little Jimmy Dickins!
All 8 of us had a day we’ll never forget.
There’s just something special about the Grand Ole Opry, a certain kind of magic that surrounds you and lets you know that you’ve just become part of something historically beautiful and beautifully historic.
Head over to the web site and schedule just such an experience for yourself!