“Forgive yourself for not knowing better at the time. Forgive yourself for giving away your power. Forgive yourself for past behaviors. Forgive yourself for the survival patterns and traits you picked up while enduring trauma. Forgive yourself for being who you needed to be.” ~ Audrey Kitching
Two weeks ago a group of us from work were given a generous tour of the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS). Just before my camera battery died I saw the one millionth Toyota Camry to roll off the assembly line in Georgetown, Kentucky back in 1993. I found the juxtaposition with an old wagon interesting. It was a wonderful tour and KHS is a great resource for our Commonwealth. Toyota hasn’t been too bad for us either.
“The only person I ever lost and needed back was myself.” ~ Tinybuddha
A rare day of sun in Kentucky saw the steam rolling off the monsoon soaked fence. It’s temporarily unnerving to step outside and the entire neighborhood looks like it’s on fire until the reality, and the beauty, sink in. It’s a really pretty sight,
“Humans aren’t as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that were ‘reading, writing, arithmetic, empathy.'” ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson
Look what showed up in my mailbox today! Tickled me to find it waiting at home. I had so much fun with this bunch of fun-lovin’ hillbillies. I’m really honored they picked me to do their pictures. The photos look really good individually and as a package. And when you open the case and remove the disc? Honey, there’s not a more Debi Horton picture anywhere. It’s all perfect and I’m so happy for Mike. This was an important project for him and I’m glad I could play a small roll.
“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” ~ Maya Angelou
I was talking to Gurney when Pam Meade popped up behind him. Hugs and selfies ensued. I’ve known Pam for so long that I don’t remember the first time I saw her. I’m sure I was just a child. Our families go back a long way as if we’re related. Oh wait, we are! We share common ancestors in Benjamin and Moonglow Hamilton. In fact, I think about half of Morgan County can trace their roots back to this couple. He was a Revolutionary War soldier from Virginia (1761-1849) and she was from Tennessee (1770-1846). As her name suggests, she was of Native descent, though she carried the Christian name Susannah Hurst. Moon, Kentucky was named after her after they settled there and they’re both buried near their home (I don’t think it’s standing anymore). They had 10 children; One became my line (David Hamilton), and another became Pam’s (I don’t remember which one, though). This is just one of the many connections Pam and I share. She has introduced me more people than I can count; people that I love to the core from now until the sun sets. She has propped up my art and dragged me along, getting me involved in the arts more times than I know. I hope someday I’m able to give back to her all the wonderful blessings she has given to me throughout life.
“Self care is also not arguing with people who are committed to misunderstanding you.” ~ Ayishat A. Akanbi
Today was Maggie Jacobs’ birthday. She invited a few of her gal pals out to the farm to celebrate. We were treated to tea and delicious homemade South African treats. Leave it to Maggie to make her own food then treat her guests as if we were celebrities. Her chocolate mousse raspberry cake above was as delicious as it looks, but she also made some treats that were unexpectedly fantastic in their simplicity. I was seriously inspired by how light yet delectable they were. Not bad at all for a dieting girl like me. Maggie really knows how to treat her friends, but then, I didn’t need today to know that. She has always been one of the finest people I’ve ever known.
Over the last few years I’ve gotten to know Maggie’s friends Jane Rees (standing in black) and Betsi McCullough (standing in yellow). I had the best conversation with both of them today; just what the doctor ordered. Jane, you might recall, was with her husband Don on the Honor Flight with mom and I. Today was the first we’ve seen each other since then. We regaled everyone with the story about that harrowing aborted landing. Like me, Jane said it was the most frightening flight experience of her life. I’m not kidding when I say that we are very, very lucky to still be here to celebrate Maggie’s birthday. A lesser pilot would not have known what to do and we’d be pushing up daisies now instead of sharing some quality time with one another. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to still be able to celebrate Maggie, and not just because we survived that flight, but because she is a woman worth celebrating. Maggie is discerning in her friends. The ones she takes to heart she tends to keep for life. She has taught me so much during our 20+ year friendship, not to mention everything she’s taught me about horses and animal husbandry. Happy Birthday, Magda! May you be blessed with many more trips around the sun, and may I slim down enough to eat the entire chocolate mousse cake next time. You’re the very best.
“One way to pray in a fear-filled world is to choose love over anxiety.” ~ Henri Nouwen
Sometimes, I feel totally out of the loop when it comes to modern-day pop culture. Thank goodness for friends like Deb Chenault to keep me from being perpetually dense. Before Deb and I went to the Hall of Fame induction the other night, she gave me a sweet little heart box of Russell Stover chocolates and a handmade Galentine’s Day card with a handmade brass bookmark. (she made the card and the bookmark, naturally) She said,”Happy Galentine’s Day,” and I just thought that was so clever of her. Deb is very clever and super thoughtful. Then she explained that it really was Galentine’s Day. Okay, so it wasn’t her clever idea, but she’s still clever as far as I’m concerned. By night’s end I see all the women Happy Galentine’s Daying all the other women across facebooklandia. I thought, “Oh, this is a really sweet way for gals to appreciate one another through Valentine’s Day.” Valentine’s Day rolls up a couple of hours later and I run into Crystal Heis at work. “Happy Galentine’s Day,” I say, to which she immediately and matter-of-factly replies, “That was yesterday. It’s always February 13th.” Seriously? Somehow feeling the sentiment of Galentine’s Day was just squashed like a ladybug underfoot. Crystal explained, as heard on NPR earlier that morning, that Galentine’s Day comes from an episode of Parks and Recreation. Amy Pohler’s character on the show set Feb 13 as a day for ladies to celebrate ladies; female friendships. Unbeknownst to me, obviously, the idea took off for real after that episode aired. Any excuse for a holiday I guess, and hey, I’m on board with this one. We gals can’t celebrate friendships enough. Thank you, Deb, for helping me navigate American Capitalism more splendidly and for being my Galentine. And here I thought I’d been watching too much TV.
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” ~ Edmund Hillary
Kentucky has birthed a whole herd of gifted writers, and many of them inducted into the Hall of Fame have, thus far, already crossed into the next etherial chapter. It’s a pretty big deal to have two of the Hall of Fame inductees still alive to participate. Gurney is used to my unusual selfie approach, but it was new for poor, unsuspecting Ed McClanahan. It didn’t matter. That Merry Prankster was all for it, sniffly cold and all. Both Ed and Gurney read hilarious work as part of their presentations. Ed’s known for his humor, but Gurney’s humor is usually weaved into a story like a silver strand. Not last night. He read a chapter from his upcoming book that had the whole crowd laughing until we cried. It was one of the most hilariously accurate character portrayals of a small town lying shyster I have ever heard. I cannot wait to get my hands on that book. I look forward to running into Ed again so we can practice the selfie a little more. What a great night we all had together, friends and strangers alike.
“According to the great wisdom traditions of the West (Christian, Jewish, Islamic), the heart is first and foremost an organ of spiritual perception. Its primary function is to look beyond the obvious, the boundaried surface of things, and see into a deeper reality… a world where meaning, insight, and clarity come together in a whole different way.” ~ Cynthia Bourgeault
It’s no secret that my favorite Kentucky writer is Gurney Norman. I remember meeting Gurney when Stealin Horses was playing what would be the first of several Christmas parties at Appalshop. That was probably 30 years ago. Several years later, when I’d stopped touring and enrolled at UK, I took my first creative writing class with Gurney. That class set my life on a different course in the most meaningful way. I’m too tired to explain it further than that right now, but suffice it to say, Gurney had a profound impact on my life. I am far from the only student throughout his 40 years of teaching who would say that. He’s been vitally important to literature and exceptional to Kentucky. I was beyond proud to see him finally inducted into the Kentucky Writer’s Hall of Fame tonight. Nobody deserved it more. I might be a tad biased, but I’m also right. At least about Gurney.