Monthly Archives: May 2012

My Old Kentucky Home Away From Home


 The last time I updated this blog I told you that I was planning to attend Thunder Over Louisville, the air show and fireworks event that kicks off the Kentucky Derby Festival and that I would give you a review.

 In a word…well, three actually…


 All I can say is, if you’ve never been to this, you have to go. The planes fly all day, and there are so many people around, you have no choice but to make friends with your neighbors on the Great Lawn on the shore of the Ohio River.  The air show only ends when it is time to light the fireworks, and believe me, there is a reason they call this event “THUNDER Over Louisville.” They set off so many fireworks at one time that the ground shakes!…and it keeps shaking for a good 40 minutes!

It was one of the most amazingly fun events I’d ever attended…

 … until I went to the Kentucky Derby!

Louisville, Kentucky Derby

Louisville, Kentucky Derby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Here’s how it all came about.  At Thunder Over Louisville, my friends and I met a couple who live on a farm a few miles east of the city.  They’re natives to Louisville and when they discovered I’d be staying for some more of the Kentucky Derby Festival events, they invited me to park my Airstream, Max, on their farm and save myself additional expense at the RV park.  I jumped all over that!

My newfound friends, Judy and Butch, invited me to stay in a spare bedroom at their house but I didn’t want to impose – after all, I was planning to hang around for as much as a week or two to go to more of the Festival events and nothing gets old faster than a house guest.  They were kind enough to let me park Max down by a nice creek they have running through their property a few hundred yards from their house. 

It was wonderful.  Of course, I didn’t have power hook-ups like at the RV park, but it gave me a chance to fire up my new portable generator again.  I’d given it a pretty heavy workout earlier when we were picnicking at the RV park and now I had it all to myself.  I don’t know how I ever lived without such a thing.  And the beauty of it is it’s given me more freedom to accept kind invitations like the one Judy and Butch extended to me.

 But, I’m off the track here.  You want to know how I got to attend the Kentucky Derby.

The day before the race, Judy walked down and told me they had a friend who had a box at Churchill Downs, had invited them and said he had one extra ticket.  Would I like to go with them?  Are you kidding me?!  I’ve always wanted to see the Kentucky Derby in person!

I had a very nice outfit just for such an occasion and Judy completed it for me with what she said was “an absolute essential” for the Derby — a hat.  It was one she had worn a few years before and she said I was welcome to it. 

The other essential is a mint julep.  If you’ve never had one, you owe it to yourself to try it.  I didn’t know this but Kentucky is the only place in the world where bourbon is made and it’s the main ingredient of a mint julep.  I can tell you, the mint julep may look innocent enough but it’s got the kick of a mule, and it’s the perfect libation for a day betting the horses. (It was even more perfect that a horse named I”ll Have Another won the big race!)

The highlight of the day for me was the playing of My Old Kentucky Home prior to the race.  The entire crowd sings it.  I have to tell you, I may hail from Massachusetts originally, but I felt like a Kentuckian. I’ve got to admit the song choked me up a bit.

It was a long, fun-filled day, and I will never forget it.  The next morning, I said goodbye to my gracious hosts and hit the road to retrieve Scamp and Rambler from my friends in Nashville.  I was humming My Old Kentucky Home all the way down I-65.

Livin’ the love,


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