13 September 2009

Let's Potty!!

12 September 2009

We were up early for the exciting festivities of the day, but it was still later than we wanted it to be by the time we got going.  We went back to the area where we were last night, since we had seen a little diner that we were hoping would be open.  Sure enough, the "Open" light was glowing in the window of the Backstretch Diner, so we found a booth and settled in.  We were glad to see country ham on the menu, so we both ordered it - that is some good eatin'!  The diner was not full, but was doing a brisk business - well, not too brisk - we had to wait a pretty long time for our food, but it was tasty.  After breakfast, we stopped at a little bakery across the street and got some cookies for the road - you never know when you might find yourself out in the middle of nowhere...  We were so impressed that the young girl behind the counter at the bakery tied our box with string, although it was clear she had grown up there.  Her pictures, from birth to present, were covering the walls of this family-owned shop.  Any place that you can get freshly baked cookies at 9 AM is all right with me!

From cookies to candy we went - straight to the Rebecca Ruth candy factory, which is housed in a house!  There's a wonderful story here - read all about it at http://rebeccaruth.stores.yahoo.net but all you really need to know is that they make the BEST bourbon balls, as they should, since they invented them!  It's hard to believe that all this delicious candy is made in this little factory inside a house on a regular street in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Around the corner we went, and soon we were standing on the front steps of Kentucky's state capitol.  Here's a link if you'd like to take a virtual tour of the building http://www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/tour/tour.htm - we found it to be one of the most beautiful capitol buildings we've seen, and we make it a habit to stop in any capitols we happen on as we travel.  We had to laugh though, to realize that even though we spent our first 18 years living in Kentucky, we had never been to our own state capitol.  Guess that's what happens when your parents are from Tennessee!  I was most surprised to see that Kentucky honors Jefferson Davis in its rotunda - not that I think they shouldn't, I was just surprised they did.  It has always been interesting to me that both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were from Kentucky, a border state that never went one way or the other during the War Between the States.  Of course, we're still a bit backwards, since smack in the middle of the First Lady Inaugural Ball Dress exhibit was Martha Layne Collins, and she was the GOVERNOR, not a first lady!!!!!  What gives there?

Capitol buildings intrigue me, too - some are in small towns like Frankfort, in the middle of a very normal, middle-class neighborhood, while some are in the center of huge cities.  Some are surrounded by security and official looking cars and signs, and some you just walk right in without seeing anyone around, but ALL of them are such works of art, built at a time when building was not easy, and I always wonder if buildings like this could even be built today.  They are a testament to the power of our government, too - democracy in action, buildings that house the people who we elected to make the laws of our states.  Check out your own capitol someday!

We stepped out the back door of the capitol in search of the Floral Clock that Kentucky is famous for.  Never heard about it?  Here's what the website says: 
There are other flower clocks in the world -- one in Canada at Niagara Falls, some in Europe, and smaller ones in the United States. Kentucky's is unique because it keeps time over a pool of water instead of resting on a bank of earth. The face of the giant clock is 34 feet across. The planter that holds it weighs 100 tons. Dedicated in 1961, the floral clock was a project of the Commonwealth and the Garden Club of Kentucky. 
We had a little trouble finding it, but it's hard to hide a 34 foot clock made of flowers!

From the stately halls of the capitol, we went in search of a truly Kentucky Saturday afternoon event - the Great Outhouse Blowout, which would be held on the grounds of Penn's Store in the bustling metropolis of Gravel Switch, Kentucky.  I know you think we are making this up, but we're not.  Go to www.pennsstore.com and see for yourself.  We had hoped to have time to stop in at a few distilleries along the way, but we didn't want to miss the Privy Parade, so we chose to believe that if you've seen one bourbon distillery, you've seen them all.  I know that's not true, and we'll probably stop in at at least one more, but we have our priorities.  We had gotten directions from the website, from AAA, and we had the Garmin (Lee did NOT want us to go the way we wanted to go), but it was the Maps app on my iphone that got us there.  We were afraid that we would have missed all of the outhouse action since we were running late, but not to worry, so were they!

Once again, we had the experience of driving to some remote location, not seeing any other vehicles headed our way (or even going the other way), and arriving at our destination only to find HUNDREDS of people there!!  Where do they come from, and how did they get here?  It's enough to make you believe in Close Encounters of the Third Kind...  We paid our entrance fee (for door prizes!) of $3, well under our $5 limit, and parked our car in the huge pasture available for parking.  We could see the rolling outhouses across the meadow, so off we went.  There is one paved road leading to Penn's Store, and it was serving as the racetrack.  It was turning out to be a really hot day - I was glad we didn't have an entry into this race!  We watched a few heats and talked to a couple whose daughter was running in one.  They told us we had missed the near-collision of an outhouse and a loose dog on the track - no injuries, but the privy was damaged when it turned over.  Hate that we missed that!

When we'd had enough, we strolled over to the store for a look see.  Penn's Store is the oldest country store in America being run continuously by the same family.  It's been in the Penn family since 1850!!  You may have seen it on the Today show.  There were about 20 people crammed in the shade of the store, and since that was about 18 too many, we didn't stay to browse.  We paid homage to Penn's Privy, the outhouse that started it all (reminded us of Girl Scout Camp!) and then got in line at one of the 'caterers' outside, hoping for a cold drink, but waiting way too long with nothing happening.  Time to get back to real life!  We gave up any chance of winning a door prize and headed for the car.

With no particular plan in mind, we decided to wander over to Danville, Kentucky, home of Centre College, and another place we'd never been.  It's a pretty little town and we strolled around an almost deserted campus for a while, then drove down to Constitution Square.  Danville was the capital of the Kentucky Territory of Virginia, and the constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky was written here.  We stopped at a street vendor's market along the way and bought some grape tomatoes, which were juicy and tasty.  We wandered around the old buildings in Constitution Square - the first post office, a church meeting place, the jail, a tavern, and a schoolhouse - and then we took off for Louisville.  You may have wondered what happened to lunch - we did, too!  We broke out the cookies to sustain us for the long ride ahead.  Yum.

We got to Louisville a little before five, after passing some beautiful horse farms in this lovely bluegrass section of Kentucky.  The rolling hills and green (didn't look blue to me!) grass reminded us of Amish country - it was the perfect day for a ride through the country.  Once in Louisville, we checked in to our hotel, and then met our friend Mike Dalton for a beer and some reminiscing.  And some football!  Note to Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee quarterback:  The object is to throw the ball TO the guys in the bright orange uniforms.  It is not like hunting, when you try NOT to hit the men in orange.  I hate UCLA.

We didn't really eat dinner either, unless you count chips as dinner, which we did.  Thanks, Mike - great to see you and we appreciate the hospitality!  Back to the hotel we went, where I promptly crashed and Kim watched football.  It was a great day, except for Tennessee football.  But go, Duke!

Privy to fun!

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