In the wake of our wedding, and also as a celebration of Labor Day and Mrs Missouri’s birthday, we went to Kentucky. It’s a three hour drive from Saint Louis and evidently, western Kentucky harbors some lakes and state parks. We stayed in a very nice lodge, together with a lot of families (a lot, I tell you). The first thing I noticed when entering Kentucky, was that it’s really more southern than Missouri is. Sure, Missourians are sometimes eager to confirm to southern stereotypes, not in the last place in their bumper stickers, but the state functions so well as a cross point of all wind directions and their cultures, that it’s a fantastic mix of everything, while never going into any extremes.
Kentucky, however, doesn’t mind not being a mixture. As soon as you cross the state border, the land looks a bit different. So do the license plates. I have never seen God celebrated on so many different license plates (maybe in Morocco, but there I couldn’t read them). As soon as we left the highway and entered a small town, we could play American South stereotype bingo. Old man on the porch in a rocking chair? Check! Religious signs in front yards? Yes! Toothless grandpa, a man in full cowboy outfit (not even kidding), fried everything for dinner? Bingo. Also, I could work on my Southern accent, as even the two of us seemed to be a y’all. One of the finest moments of the weekend was on our way back. We were reminiscing dinner (I had (half) a Kentucky Hot Brown: baked ham, cheese sauce, bacon and a side of near-heart attack, Mrs Missouri enjoyed some chicken breast that must have been bathing in at least two sticks of butter, and we decided against the fried apple pie for dinner), when we heard the local news on the radio. A woman had been frying food in her trailer home, when everything caught fire. Two fire brigades helped put out the fire, and the chief spent a solid five minutes explaining how they handled what must have been the highlight of their week. There was no other news.
Just before we drove back to Illinois, we decided to go to KFC. Mrs Missouri has always dreamed of seeing the windmills at Kinderdijk, a very well marketed tourist trap in the Netherlands. It’s twelve windmills in a row, and as you can find them anywhere else, I have always compared going to Kinderdijk to see windmills to driving to Kentucky to enjoy KFC. As we went to Kinderdijk last April, we had to stop at KFC. As it was my first time there, I chose the Colonel’s Original. Now, I really enjoyed every minute of being in Kentucky, but if I were governor of that state, I’d have KFC renamed to something not affiliated with such a lovely state. Even in the world of fast food, the Colonel’s Original managed to disappoint. But even then, the most uninspired, lame bun of fried chicken could not spoil my weekend.