My dad was raised on a farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and this was our vacation spot when my brother and I were growing up. It was a twelve hour drive to get there, and leaving at 5:00 in the morning was part of the journey. This was before interstates, but not before our going through the Cumberland Gap from Tennessee into Kentucky.
The Smithsonian Channel has this video.
Daddy started the ritual of yelling with glee as we crossed the state lines, and we all followed suit. There was always laughter next. This man loved his home and family, and it always showed. He was thrilled to be in the same state as Mirror Lake Farm, his relatives, thorougbred horses, Churchill Downs, Rebecca Ruth bourbon balls, and the blue grass.
John and I told Mother and Daddy to Kentucky when they were 84. Though he had lost part of his sight to macular degeneration, he leaned forward in the back seat as we moved closer to the state line. His holler was loud and clear; he was in his home state that he loved. We went to the races at Keeneland, visited his cousin Toodlie, ate at Claudia’s Kitchen, and visited the farm. Even though he could see little, he regaled us with his memories at each stop.
Daddy and Mother were content to stay in the car at the farm, but the new owners were kind to show John and I around the house. Their improvements on the farm house built in 1924 were minimal. The wealth of memories that flooded my mind and heart were amazing, and I savored walking again in this house.
Boonesborough was a favorite site for us to stop on some of our trips. By this time, we were all enamored with Fess Parker portraying Daniel Boone. One year, the folks bought Critt a coonskin hat that he begged for. He loved that hat and sported it until it was rotten and fell apart.
“All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife,” said Daniel Boone.
Daniel Boone was born on November 2, 1734, near Reading, Pennsylvania. In 1755, he left home on a military expedition during the French and Indian War. In 1769, Boone led an expedition and discovered a trail to the far west though the Cumberland Gap. In 1775, he settled an area he called Boonesborough in Kentucky.
Daddy’s mother was a storyteller and avid reader; she shared these with us. One of the ones she told us was about Daniel Boone rescuing his daughter and her friends from the Shawnee. Critt and I used to pretend to be these characters and play out the story in our backyard; he always wore his coonskin hat.
Here is a video about that rescue.
Daniel Boone left Kentucky and moved to Missouri, because Kentucky had become too crowded He died and was buried there in 1820. But his body and his wife’s Rebecca were moved to Frankfurt, Kentucky in 1845. From his grave, a person can look over the beautiful and winding Kentucky River and the gray dome of the capitol building. Yes, Daddy took us to this site, too.
Daniel Boone was an adventurer and was always looking around the next bend. He was inquisitive and a man of action. As he said, “Curiosity is natural to the soul of man and interesting objects have a powerful influence on our affections.”
Perhaps we all need to be more curious about what is around the corner; we might miss a surprise blessing if we don’t take that first step forward.