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Ten things I learned about Kentucky.

10. Every self-respecting mama has a giant backyard garden. Some of them have quiet home competitions with each other.

9. There is a Baptist church every 100 yards.

8. There is also an Amish community or "buggie crossing" sign every 100 yards.

7. The division between black and white feels as strong as it might have felt before the Civil Rights Movement.

6. It was against the law to dance in public buildings in the 1960s in Logan County.

5. When you make your own soap out of glycerin left over from Vanderbilt University, don't be disturbed if small roaches have been entombed for your cleansing pleasure.

4. One can take a rain-water shower facing an open field--without a curtain.

3. It is still legal to bury your dead relatives on any part of your property that you jolly well please.

2. It is perfectly normal to find dead black squirrels on the side of the road and get them stuffed. Heck, it's normal to barbecue said squirrels and present them splayed open for the city folk to partake of at family barbecues.

And the number one thing I learned about Kentucky last weekend was...

1. It is still the law that you take a bath at least once a year.

Although this is the third Kentucky road trip I have taken in 2010, I simply did not know those ten things you see listed above. These things really blew me away. They showed what a city girl I am, and will probably always be, even though my dream is a log cabin in the woods on my own organic farm. 

I could regale you with tales of the off-the-grid family farm that my friend is living on in her own broken-down circa 1980s camper (including composting toilets and the aforementioned curtainless shower stall). I could go into detail on the precious Amish families who cooked us up some fine gruel for the family gathering at which my friend Charla and I performed. I could tell you of the lone Mexican restaurant off of Highway 68, disconnected from any other building for miles. I could go on and on...

But I don't think I will today. I think I will leave you with this ten-things list for you to contemplate and appreciate so that if you are ever in this truly beautiful, rolling-hilled land, you will stop and ponder the happenings of the tiny towns and counties surrounding your car oh-so-unsuspectingly.

Don't underestimate the Kentucky tight-knit pride. It's there, even in the big city.


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