House of Hawthorne

Archive for the ‘Kentucky’ Category

“I tried not to make so many dishes, I swear,” my boyfriend said last night while grilling our dinner. We discuss the need to buy better quality aluminum foil going forward. He’s cooked our puppy her own little pork chop, and asks if that is so cute that it will make me cry. Perhaps it is. I really should have taken a picture of it, it was adorable. He’s so very secretly kind.

I ask, “Do you need anything?” And he says, “You mean, where’s the booze? You forget how well I know you.” And it’s both amazing and frightening to be known like that. When someone knows you so well, they see all the bad as well as the good. But he stays. That’s all I need to know.

These days we go down to the river at least every other day with the dog, scoping out the potential for shooting fish. Ruby grabs sticks out of the water and takes them back to land, and he teaches me how to shoot the bow. Unlike shooting pool and throwing disc golf, I am somehow good at this.

Last week we talked about being together as long as the puppy lives to grow old and how great that could be. We fist bumped in agreement.

I am happy.

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My friend from college just asked me in response to my recent post why I moved to Kentucky. And I need to remember because it’s one of those weeks, you know. I need to count my blessings for a moment. Bear with me if you hate my “relationship” posts.

The reason I moved to Kentucky is because my boyfriend and I stole his best friend’s four-wheeler one day.

As soon as we got to Kentucky we started drinking what may or may not have been moonshine, and mornings after nights like that are when my boyfriend and I have the most fun, I figure. Do we have drinking problems? Sure. Do we have a blast? Constantly. Sorry, everybody that knows us well and worries about that aspect of our lives. It is what it is, as he would say.

So anyway, we wake up and there’s another gallon of alcohol and four-wheeler keys on the counter. How nice of Blake, we thought and just went. As is typical in our relationship, it was my first time on a four-wheeler and his 87,000th. We rode through a field of cows, visited old family friends of his, went to revel on the pebbly coast of the lake. He showed me where he grew up, he told me his stories, and I fell in love with him all over again. He has such a command and sense of presence everywhere he goes, but we were in the place he knew better than any other on a vehicle he could drive like a professional. Let me tell you, that kind of deep-seeded competence is as hot as hell.

It wasn’t a perfect day, of course. It’s us. We drove deep into the forest and broke the four-wheeler. Up we walked, a couple miles, for tools. Back we walked, and had a super hard time finding it. He fixed it, as he does (I don’t worry about things breaking anymore, at all), and started it up. Out of gas. Back and forth we went, exhausted and thirsty. (I wonder if alcohol de-hydrates you or something. Nah.) We almost got ran over by a pick-up truck. I wasn’t holding on well enough for a particular wheelie and fell off the back. And it turned out Blake hadn’t left the keys as an invitation for a joyride, so he got pretty mad. For a few months.

But at the end of that day, as I know at the end of every one still, there is no one else I’d rather be clinging on for dear life. That makes me sound kinda bad actually. Let’s say, be next to. So when he told his uncle the reason we were down was he was trying to get me to move to Kentucky with him, I was stars in my eyes, head-over-heels, ready to go wherever he asked.

That and rent is super cheap. Move to the South, people. You can still make art and music and work jobs and whatever.

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Tuesday February 3rd at one a.m. I will be turning myself into the McCracken County Jail for a day because of a Contempt of Court on a Failure to Appear because of a seat belt ticket. The legal fees on this $25 ticket have grown into roughly 500 dollars and this will be my third night in jail. The second night I was in jail because of this ticket I literally kept saying “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” No one really caught the Zoolander reference and the jailers would say, “There’s plenty of people in here for seat belt tickets.” Like, why, though? When I moved to Kentucky I was under the impression you wouldn’t even be pulled over for it. Unbridled spirit, right? A seat belt is totally a bridle. And I swear I wear them 999 times out of 1000. 1000 out of 1000 now.

It’s my fault, it’s a series of missed steps on my part. I probably shouldn’t post this lest you all think I’m a hardened criminal now that I’ve moved to Kentucky. And jail isn’t that bad besides the food. Oh yeah, I paid a 20 fee for that today. I’m so sure that piece of cheese I didn’t eat and the for some reason dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets were worth 20 dollars. Like I kept saying when I was in jail, I just wish I had done something cool.

Legal fund. Seriously, anything would help:


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I’ve lived in Kentucky for six months now, give or take a week, and as a girl who sometimes used to describe herself as hip-hop, or more usually (and honestly), a huge nerd, I’ve adapted to my surroundings. I’m not definitely not what an actual Kentuckyian would call country. I am often accused of sounding, for example, like I am from Wisconsin. I can’t shake the south suburbs of Chicago accent, or my college years spent in Baltimore, deejaying and promoting hip-hop shows. I’m always going to know every line of Jay-Z’s The Black Album. But I have made some strides. I’m not country yet, but:

I like country music a lot now. I always was skeptical of people who said, “I like all music, but country.” Heck, even in Baltimore my best friend and I tore up a Dolly Parton cassette tape. I didn’t know anything besides that, Johnny Cash (duh) and the Loretta Lynn/Jack White album really. But now I’ll keep the country stations on pretty regularly. This has been the result of a lot of conditioning on the part of my boyfriend, but he’s actually got really good taste. Particularly, I urge all my hipster “only like old country” friends to check out Jamey Johnson. He is the real deal.

Jamey Johnson – That Lonesome Song

Catfish pieces to sushi pieces eaten ratio: roughly 28 to 0.

I have dipped tobacco and enjoyed it. True, the first few times were under extreme duress. But I’ve done it three times since, half to amuse my boyfriend, and half because it actually made me feel really good.

I couldn’t necessarily manufacture moonshine on my own, but I feel like I’m ready to at any given moment.

I still allegedly can’t cook very well but every recipe I try is from the Pioneer Woman or Paula Deen.

I know more about Duck Dynasty than I ever expected to, and have recently learned their self-made hunting videos are even more entertaining.

A house is not a home without a gallon of sweet tea.

In fact, I have made an extremely large and unsuccessful batch of sweet tea cupcakes.

My boyfriend’s and my two favorite places to go on dates (um, I mean, get food, they’re still dates only for my overly romantic and silly self) are the Waffle House and a place called Kountry Kastle. At Kountry Kastle the food is cheap because they don’t give you plates to eat off of, we reckon.

I have started saying “I reckon” every once in a while, for a special treat, and am no longer completely aghast at being called “ma’am.”

I have shot a bow (technically), a gun, gone fishing more times than the rest of my life combined (technically, again, here, mostly just sat and drank beer and never touched a fishing pole), cleaned fish (once) and practiced sitting still to go hunting. I apparently am terrible at not moving constantly so it will be a while before I’m allowed to sit in a deer stand.

I can walk into gun shows and places like Paducah Shooter Supply and not be completely freaked out.

One of my favorite things to do is fly down a backroad with my boyfriend at the wheel. Doing anything next to him is great actually. That’s why I moved to Kentucky in the first place. Oh, and the cost of living. Speaking of:

Jamey Johnson – High Cost of Living

I don’t think I’ll ever make it to true blue country, honestly. I’ll always be born and raised in Joliet, Illinois, and I’ll never try to be someone I’m not. I’m still trying to find my place in this Kentucky life in a few ways. I just recommend getting out of your comfort zone if you can. You may grow in unexpected ways, and if you have a sense of humor about it, and if you are somehow as lucky as I am, a partner-in-crime who is an amazing guide to your new life, actually might find yourself having a blast.

My co-worker gets a look on his face like I’m bleeding from my face and taps his chest. “Oh my goodness, thank you,” I whisper, and flip my necklace around. I’ve got everyone at work doing this now. When my necklace is flipped around, they make a “there’s an emergency” face and I restore it to being face forward.

This is my new favorite thing.

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It was in a bag of clothes my boyfriend’s mother gave me, which included some business suits, suits of edification, the kind of clothes that makes you want to be the person who wears them everyday. I love the clothes, and they’ve motivated to make some steps this week toward being that person. But this necklace straight up makes me feel like a queen. I don’t know, which is better? Queen or CEO? Can you feel like both? I’d guess the modern-day royals wear business suits. 

I’ve never been a jewelry person. I break and destroy in some way anything I come in touch with at some point. My boyfriend calls me the “Great Ruiner” (lovingly? she optimistically parenthesized). It’s a first for me to come across a piece of jewelry that I want to wear so badly that I ignore the voice in my head that says, “You’re just going to break that, you know. If you don’t lose it first!”

The necklace is more powerful than that voice, you see. The incredibly crazy and brutally cruel voice inside every woman’s head, probably including CEOs and queens. I have started using it as a talisman against my own self-doubt. I touch it and my head gets a little straighter, both literally and figuratively. It’s both a posture and gut check mechanism for me now, and I feel like it couldn’t have come to me at a better time in my life.

(So, I guess this is my public thank you letter, Leslie.)

“How are you doing? Are you having a good night?” he asks. “Night? It’s the morning!” I reply. “I guess it is, sometimes I feel like a vampire.” I laugh and say, “You have a good one,” and keep walking, thinking of how absolutely fully shocked I would be if a Walmart employee spoke to me at all three months ago.

In Kentucky, everyone talks to you. It’s great. You can ask anyone pretty much any question. My first experience with this was my first week here, using the GPS on my phone to get to the post office, and finding myself at my boyfriend’s friend’s house. “I remember drinking moonshine here, this just can’t be a post office,” I thought, using every ounce of my deductive reasoning.

Driving down the Kentucky back roads, the post office closing in a half hour, unable to get my smart phone to think for me for once, I saw a car behind me and realized I wasn’t in a Chicago suburb anymore. I could just hop out of my car and ask those other humans a question, and they would reply without any murder (worst case scenario-ing) or rudeness. So I did, and I found the post office. It was a Kentucky miracle.

When I go to the grocery store now, I make it a point to ask one of the employees a question every time. “Can you tell me the truth about bay leaves? Are they worth all the hype?” I ask, and get an informed and down-to-earth answer. The produce manager, who would be so polite as to be creepy up north, asks me if I’m finding everything okay, and I volunteer, “Yes, I’m just considering the ripeness of these bananas,” as if that’s a normal thing to say, anywhere. He unblinkingly replies, “Yes, it’s sure hard to get the perfect bunch.”

The other cool thing about Kentucky is literally everywhere you go, someone is running into someone they know. I’m used to a transaction at work getting interrupted by someone answering their cell phone, but here, it’s always people being interrupted by people they know. I don’t mind a bit. Imagine, if you will, my friends, a land where people talk to their fellow man. It’s actually pretty cool.


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