Friday, November 9, 2007

Upgrading My Own Star

Looking at the front corner of the dogs' yard, back at the farm

I lived in western Massachusetts, in the Berkshire Mountains until I was ten. Then we moved to Maryland, where I pretty much stayed put for the most part until five years ago. This is where the dogs and I walked when we lived on our farm.

spring and summer


and winter.

OK, those winter walks were a big part of what convinced me to move to Western Kentucky. That, and the fact that Bill fell in love with this town, and with the idea of the Artist Relocation Program. Sounds like the Witness Protection Program or the Wildlife Catch And Release Program, doesn't it?
Well, it's nothing short of a miracle what a magical, caring, close-knit community has formed here, by moving a bunch of artists from all over the country. And on top of that, Paducah has to be the world's friendliest town. People who have lived here forever are so warm and kind and welcoming. But, at first I was terribly homesick.
I made a photo show of our walking route here in Paducah. I don't know how to get it on this page, but here's the LINK. You can appreciate the difference in walking through those photos above, and walking in the photoshow, and I left out the Evil Kitties and Stupid City Squirrels that abound on every block of the walk. So, I am still occasionally homesick.
Yesterday, on the last walk with Luciano, Lindy Loo, and Swede William, we stopped in to see how our Very Good Friends' house was coming along. They are rehabbing a delightful house which was built in the 1850's. It is looking so fantastic, but it is not looking so finished. We wish it would hurry up and get finished, because while it is uninhabitable they and their four German Shepherds (thank you Ariel) and their little Benji rescue are all living in their motor home out at the kennel club property. It is a big, spacious motor home, but still.
I was having another attack of the homesick meanies yesterday. Just some bad juju had gotten me down. I shared my bad day with my Very Good Friends - I'm just so generous that way - and invited them to dinner. Shoot I was feeling better already, just seeing their friendly faces and I wanted to keep feeling better.
Now, one of the things I dearly love about this part of the world is the lyrical southern drawl. You just can't feel bad for too long when the word bad is pronounced with three syllables. "Ba-eee-yad." One time this summer I was hanging around at a dog show with these same Very Good Friends and Vicky. I asked Vicky if she were going to camp on the showgrounds. Simple question. Three blank stares.
"Are you going to camp?"
More blank stares.
"Am I gowen to whut?"
"Camp! Are you going to camp?"
I looked to my Very Good Friends for help. None. Blank faces all around.
"I don't know whut yower askin' me. Kimp? What the Hayel is Kimp?"
The light bulb in my dim little yankee brain went on. Ah.
"Cay-yaamp! Are you going to cay-yaamp here on the show grounds or are you staying in a hotel?"
All three faces lit up like beacons of hope to a shipwrecked crew.
"Cay-yaamp," they all exclaimed! "Whah didn't you say so?"
So yesterday while I was all busy feeling baeeeyad, my Very Good Friend, Lee, replied to my dinner invition by saying, "That would be great. I just have to go and get my own star upgraded first."
"You are getting your own star upgraded?"
"Yah, I've gotta get it upgraded to digital."
"Well, if I had my own star, I'd get it upgraded too! I need my own star. I bet I would never get down in the dumps if I had my own star. How did you get your own star and how ever do you go about getting it upgraded?" I was completely enthralled with the idea of having my own star, upgraded or not.
"It came with the car."
I started laughing hysterically. Laughing too hard. I desperately wanted my own star. ON-STAR would be nice, too, but I had no idea until that moment that we were discussing satellite technology. The dogs started being rowdy because they were bored by now and because I had obviously found a way right out of my funk into the land of hilarity.
Later, back at our house we had a delightful dinner of pasta with mushroom, scallops and artichoke heart cream sauce (doesn't that just sound smiley?) and huge helpings of laughter.
And I felt like I had found my own star. Right in the kitchen, with the begging dogs, the best husband, and the laughing kindness of my Kentucky friends.


  1. I'm often homesick for California. I lived in the Central Coast, and my town was probably 15-20 minutes from the beach. The whole area I lived in was so different than the rest of CA that I doubt I'll ever find a place quite like it.

    I'm glad you have found happiness in Kentucky!

  2. Patience,
    I loved your pictures and your stories..sounds like you have lived in some beautiful places.

    Your story reminds me of my first experience moving back to TX after being in CA for 9 years. I was working in the ER on my first rotation as an intern. A patient had been brought by family with altered mental status. The family was talking -- I recognized a few things: shoogah diabetes, high blood, low blood....but the rest was going by me and I was not at all convinced they were speaking English. I turned to the nurse to ask what language they were speaking: we almost had to revive the entire ER staff, they were laughing so hard. I can understand Southern English jus' fine, now, thank you!

  3. Coming home from far too long at work and knowing I only have a few hours of sleep until I have to go back I sure needed a laugh. I think *I* just got my star upgraded, too! Thanks, P!

    Hugs, Ane

  4. Viginia was a furrin layand to me wan we moved theyare. But the natives said bay-ud, not baaeeid. We knew we had assimilated when my semi oxonian husband ordered a mayor low one night at dinner.

    gussie's muzzer

  5. Thanks for the laugh P!

    I know when I'm feeling down I can count on you. :)

  6. Love the link to the morning walk, esp the "bounce and dissolve" moves-AND the "southern drawl" explanations!-Martha C and P-doggy.

  7. Hehehehe, gotta love those southern gals!!

    Also mizz Pee please look at the new pics of Nearly Noodle with his buds on Circle of Whippet Friends.

    Veeee from Taaaaacoma

  8. Whew. My dad writes textbooks for people who want to deny the existence of a difference between politics and philosophy. He also writes big books with no pictures about things like "Civic Virtue." Wally says his mom reads them. Hooray! Not anything nearly as gool=d as Mama Pajama.


  9. Aw shucks, Patience. Y'all jus makin this too haard by thinkin 'bout everything to muuch. Sometimes ya jus have to go with the flow...
    Basher's Dad

  10. That was an awesome walk. You have a wonderful little town to tour..
    Here in Texas it is hard to find nice little towns like that. Every place is so huge and new.
    We also love the pictures of the farm that would be an awesome place for blue heelers to run.. Thanks for the tour... Gus and Louie

  11. Okay - I think I had some of those conversations! As a little girl we lived in upstate New York (north of Albany), my father got transferred for four years to KY and I swear I needed a NY to KY dictionary. Well I was growing up and apparently aquiring the accent when we went back to our farm in NY! People didn't quite get the NY/KY accent and then I had the bright idea to move to Boston to go to school and ended up staying. Moving to a city is tough, but at least down south it's a bit more laid back. I miss upstate NY and go home to visit family as much as I can. We love you pictures and posts.

    Liza and Dory


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