“The most important thing to remember is this: to be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.” ~ W. E. B. Du Bois
I picked up Sharon from Bluegrass Airport with no plan whatsoever for what to do next. I just started driving, got to the red light, and drove across the street to Keeneland. After all, that’s where Sharon and I met nearly 20 years ago, so it felt the natural thing to do. But our lives have been pretty similar beyond horses as we both also wound up in libraries. Of course, the next natural thing was to go to Keeneland’s Library. I took a chance that my library mentor and Director of Keeneland Library, Becky Ryder, was in the office. With no warning at all, Becky dropped everything and gave our Kiwi friend the Five-Dollar tour. That’s Becky for ya; always ready to show library and equine enthusiasts around her beautiful space. Sharon absolutely loved it, of course, and she thought Becky was totally awesome for spending so much time with us. She was still talking about the wall quilt of African-American jockeys (below) the next day. I agree with Sharon: Becky is super awesome to share her time and talent with a fellow library traveller. I always enjoy seeing Becky, and I was proud for her to show off her beautiful space devoted to racing’s history. I picked a really smart mentor, and two super cool friends.
“Every new day is a chance to change your life.” ~ Unknown
This is Blanton’s single-barrel bourbon made by Buffalo Trace. It’s a top shelf bourbon that comes with eight different decanter tops. Each is a horse in one of eight positions during a gallup. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy really: collect all eight. It’s bottled in a small, unassuming shop near the visitor center. The scent of bourbon was a tad overwhelming for me, honestly, plus it was hot as Hades in there. I felt a little lightheaded when we walked out. I figure the workers either get high from it or immune to it. Either way, our visitors loved it, and it was an interesting place to see.
“I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness.” ~ Unknown
Pär (pronounced Pear….sort of… that’s as close as it gets in English anyway) from Sweden, and Niels from Denmark were brave to have dinner with this pile of American women. Our waiter took a photo for me before we left Bareburger, the organic, no GMO, grain-fed alternative restaurant. They serve elk, bison, and wild boar burgers. Not feeling especially gamey last night, I had beef. Becky and Ana tried to hide their chins from the camera. It was all very funny, especially when we finished eating and went upstairs to….Denmark. No, really. The bar was called Denmark. Niels told us it’s nothing like Denmark. We’d been joined by Bernie (Bernard Reilly) from Center for Research Libraries by then. He and I had a great conversation about photography and Oaxaca, Mexico (see: Mary Ellen Mark for reference). It was a great time, but before long we left Mary with the boys in Denmark. What a blessing these people have been to me. I look forward to many more years of doing good work together.
“Karma Cleanse: Check your motives. Watch your attitude. Act with love. Be grateful. Forgive.”
Tom Eblen published an article in today’s Herald-Leader about our IFLA Pre-Conference. It’s a good article, exposing some of the challenges we face as a global community to capture and preserve our news, often referred to as the “first draft of history.” What he didn’t mention were the people in the room from the University of Kentucky Libraries who built the UK program into a national leader (that’s why we were chosen to host the pre-conference after all). At the mixer, Becky Ryder pointed out that the first and last stewards of UK’s newspaper program were present. She was talking about Judy Sackett, above left, and myself. The three of us combined have over seventy years experience with newspaper preservation. You see, Judy was the first formal steward when UK Libraries became one of the first participants in the NEH funded United States Newspaper Program (USNP). It was designed to catalogue and microfilm as many historic newspapers as could be gathered from each state. A decade or so later, Becky took over as the first Preservation Librarian at UK Libraries. She was instrumental in getting UK into the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), the successor project to USNP. I was the program manager of NDNP when our NEH funding ended in 2013, thus, summarily ending over sixty years of Kentucky newspaper preservation. Since then, Eric Weig and I have been doing what we can to reignite the program, but as Eblen points out in his article, lack of funding and staff make it nearly impossible. Neither Eric nor I are dedicated full-time to newspapers, which is what it would take to put us back on top (did I mention we trained nearly everyone in NDNP, and people still use my tutorials to train their staff?). I have faith that one day we’ll be back to preserving Kentucky’s first draft of history. In the meantime, I’m forever grateful to follow in Judy and Becky’s footsteps. They’re mighty women and excellent mentors.
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.
~ Nido Qubein
Today was the much anticipated Kentucky Field Trip with our IFLA guests. We wanted to give them a good overview of how beautiful and awesome The Bluegrass State can be. What better way than Keeneland and Buffalo Trace Distillery? Bright and early we loaded up the UK bus (with our awesome driver, Sarah) and off to Keeneland we went. Becky Ryder, Director of the Keeneland Library and local committee member, met us there (as did Ruth Bryan, Kazuko Hioki, and Michael Lütgen who drove themselves). She treated our guests to a delicious Kentucky style breakfast. Judy Sackett even tried gravy and biscuits for the first time…and she liked it! Our guests were then treated to a tour of the track, the grounds, and the sales pavilion. It was a beautiful thing to see their eyes light up watching the horses train, and the excitement when one of the outriders stopped by for a chat was just so special. My heart swelled with pride. Except for the oppressive humidity, it was as close to perfect weather as we could ever hope for.
We could have spent a lot more time at Keeneland. The tour guides were incredibly engaging and the ladies especially loved the gift shop, but Buffalo Trace was waiting on us, so we loaded up the bus and off we went again. This is where the story gets good. My contacts up to this point were not the people who met me at the visitor center as expected. Instead, the Distillery Archivist (whose name I have sadly forgotten) and a man named Art met me at the door. When I asked for my contacts, Art simply said, “I’ll be doing your tour.” It was a bit odd, but I was okay with it because I could tell right away he was a cool dude. We soon found out how lucky we were that Art was our tour guide. He was the most entertaining tour guide I’ve ever had. We had a ton of laughs – and that was before the samples – but we learned a great deal, too, not just about bourbon but the general history of the area. I might also add that the now-forgotten-named archivist was great as well.
Art really showed off our Kentuckian sense of humor to our guests (a point of personal pride for me). Truly, he was a load of fun, and when it came time for the samples, he shared with us their White Dog brand. It’s essentially alcohol (something ridiculous like 170 proof) before it’s aged to become bourbon. He poured some in their hands mostly to smell, although a few did taste it. Their reactions ranged from “that’s not so bad,” to, “Oh my God, I tasted it!” followed by a contorted face. In any case, a gentle rubbing of the hands produced the smell of bread caused by a chemical reaction of the alcohol on skin and oxygen (I think). Everyone then had a chance to sample a couple of their more popular brands, as well as root beer and bourbon chocolate made by Ruth Hunt Candies, another Kentucky staple. By the time we left Buffalo Trace, everyone was tired but completely happy. We could not have planned a better representation of the Commonwealth. My heart was bursting with pride and joy.
That brings me back to where the story gets good. This is Art with IFLA participant and US Government Docs librarian Cynthia Etkin from Virginia. I had the pleasure of getting to know Cindy yesterday when we lunched with Reinette Jones. She’s a warm hearted, open soul who was so happy to be with us and learn about all the good – and troubling – things going on in the world of news media preservation. She had lived and worked in Kentucky for many years some time ago, both at WKU and EKU. It was at the latter where she met Art. Oh yes, they knew each other before today. On the way back to the hotel we learned that she not only knew him, but she dated him… for thirteen years! They never married (at least not each other), but you could tell they remained close after all this time. Cindy had told Art she was coming to Kentucky and would be on the tour. Art, in turn, insisted he be our tour guide. It all made sense why my contacts did not meet me when we arrived. Theirs was one of the sweetest stories I’ve heard, and learning their history together was the perfect way to wrap up our shared adventures. Every second of this week as been worth the sweat and sleeplessness. I made new friends, connected with old friends, shared time with mentors, and smart men and women from all over the world. We might solve this preservation dilemma yet. I continue to be the luckiest woman alive.
“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.” ~ Goethe
Some time ago I started forgetting things. So, I write things down. Now, I’ve started to forget the things I write down. Ruth Bryan and I were scheduled to represent Special Collections at a roundtable of museums, libraries, and other institutions interested in boosting Lexington’s historic tourism. Thirty minutes before we were supposed to be there, Ruth appeared in my office door. She, too, had forgotten, which made me feel marginally better. Who should be seated next to us at the event but friend and mentor extraordinaire, Becky Ryder. It made for a lovely afternoon, despite nearly forgetting to be there. Plus, we met new people and laughed a lot. I’m glad Ruth remembered so we didn’t miss out on the fun.
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others.
You need to accept yourself.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Burns Night has become a tradition for me after four consecutive years. My thanks to Becky Ryder and Gordon Hogg for feeding my habit. Every year I either meet someone new, or I sit with Burns Night virgins, like mom and Shell for instance. One year it was Stacy Yelton, Ruth Bryan, Terri Brown, and Jen Bartlett. Burns Night 2013 is when I met Gordon’s BFF Andy Werthmann; an absolute gem of a human being, sweet as the day is long in summer. Last year I was lucky enough to meet Becky and Gordon’s delightful neighbor, Bob, who has since passed on. He was a real treat, and I’m glad I had a chance to visit with him. This year they even let me play cowbell. Thanks for the adventures, B&G. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
“The world will knock you down plenty. You don’t need to be doing it yourself.”
~ Elizabeth Scott
Our hero turned 73 today. She wanted to try Sav’s West African Grill, so that’s where we started. She loved it, and Bangalay Mamadou was as sweet as his father. Then, it was off to the new Kroger super store near campus. It’s the only Kroger of its kind with a cupcake bar, beer cave, and rooftop parking. Its grand opening was Thursday, but you would have thought it was today what with cops directing traffic and more people in the aisles than live in a small town. But it was worth it just to take her picture at the entrance of the beer cave (you’ll have to go to facebook to see that one). After a latte at Starbucks (also in Kroger), it was off for an afternoon of furniture shopping.
The day ended with dinner and music at Burns Night with the William Sutherland Reid Pipe and Drum band. Becky Ryder and Gordon Hogg were kind enough to invite us, and Shell Dunn (below), to join them for the annual event. This was my fourth Burns Night. Neither mom nor Shell had ever attended. We had a wonderful time over dinner followed with singing, and mom playing Scottish dress up in some of Becky’s accessories. Shell made it a point to get the emcee’s attention so the entire audience could sing Happy Birthday to her. Yours truly sat in for a song and played…wait for it….more cowbell. It was a fun night with friends. It was a great day with mom. It was a day to cherish; beginning to end.
“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.” ~ Shirley MacLaine
I’ve been lonesome for my dog Sadie. I take advantage of all the dog love I can find whenever I find it, and last Saturday I got some Harvey love. His story is a good one. He came to Maggie Jacobs as a rescue. He’d been kept in a crate so long that atrophy crippled his back legs. He was young, full of life, but unable to jump even into a low car. Becky and Gordon visited Maggie’s farm one lucky afternoon. It was love at first sight. Well, at least it was for Harvey. It might have taken Gordon a little longer, but only because he’d had a soul dog named Bennie. (Once you’ve had a soul dog, it’s hard to find another.) Nevertheless, Harvey won Gordon’s heart. They worked together, Gordon and Harvey, until the atrophy abated and he became a champion squirrel chaser. Could that dog jump! It was a glorious transformation – truly. Harvey’s older now, slower and not the high jumper he once was, but he’s as sweet and gentle as ever. I’m still so thankful Becky and Gordon gave him a home. Harvey deserved it. So did they.
“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you even when you don’t see it yourself.”
You might recall that archivist Ruth Bryan has been a media darling of late because of the silver plated tea set discovered in Keeneland Hall. Kentucky Educational Television’s (KET) answer to Antiques Roadshow, Kentucky Collectibles, did a feature on the tea set. It was expected to air today.
In her research, Ruth became intimate with Emily Post’s book, Etiquette. Post describes in great detail the art of high tea for which, one assumes, the Keeneland Hall tea set was used. Last week, Ruth asked if any of us would be interested in a Post style high tea while viewing the KET episode. Any excuse for a party, right? A different kind of party at that.
Becky Ryder and Gordon Hogg opened their home to the gathering. Ruth, Kazuko Hioki, Judy Sackett (supplies from Gail Kennedy in tow), Deirdre Scaggs, Stacy Yelton, and myself chipped in finger foods and other tea appropriate treats, in addition to a variety of delicious teas and beautiful tea pots.
Having closely read Post’s chapter on high tea etiquette, Ruth guided us through protocols for dress, serving, hosting, timing; virtually every aspect of what it was like decades ago when social teas were common.
The bad news was KET did not air Ruth’s segment, so we didn’t get to see it (yet). The good news was we learned a lot about how ladies (and select gentlemen) used to entertain. We sampled delicious teas and foods. We had an opportunity to appreciate fine china: both Deirdre and Ruth brought pieces once belonging to their grandmothers. Most importantly, at least for me, I had the chance to spend time with people who are very smart and eager to learn new things. They’re also kind and funny and generous and, after today, highly caffeinated. Who knew high tea could be so entertaining. Any day with these bright women (and Gordon) is a great day for me.