Saturday, November 14, 2009

Smoketown USA

Yesterday I returned from an almost two-week road trip, 2895 miles worth. It was close-to-perfect, the planned and the unexpected. Even the weather was great. It was a multi-purpose excursion centered around attending the 75th Annual Meeting of The Southern Historical Association in Louisville and doing some research for the book I am working on. But I used the trip to also visit with some friends of long standing, some I had not seen in decades. Visiting with them is what made this trip so very special to me.

So here is a big Thank You to Layla, Gregg, Leslie, Kyle and Ellis, Burt, Ellen, Barbara and Alison, and Phil and Rebecca. Also my thanks to the staff at the Frontier Culture Museum, The Filson Historical Society, Cave Hill Cemetery, Historic Old Louisville, the Third Avenue Cafe, Cahokia Mounds State Historical Site, the Kentucky Historical Society, and the numerous Starbucks who provided the caffeine.

Almost getting lost in my narrative is the SHA Annual Meeting. I attended first class, fascinating sessions with topics as diverse as School Desegregation in Norfork, 1960's British Blues, and Thomas Jefferson's favorite slave family, the Hemings. My goal was to meet and hang out for a few days with real historians, and to learn something. Mission accomplished. I am already looking forward to their meeting in Charlotte next year.

A more complete reminisce of the past two weeks would include harvest happy mid-western farmers, microfilm follies, and not one, but two landslide closed Tennessee roads that made for an interesting Friday. (I knew about the first, but not the second.) But I will spare you all the details. I really don't have the time as I am preparing for another road trip next week, this time to a place I have always wanted to visit in Maryland, and another gathering of historians.Smoketown USA

I will close with a promise fulfilled. A bright, happy volunteer named Mary I was chatting up at the Old Louisville Visitors Center asked if I liked Bar-B-Q. Before I could answer the expression on my face made her reach for a brochure. Wonderful food, nice people, "You must eat there before you leave," she said. So Gregg and I did just before I left The Real West Virginia (a.k.a Kentucky). Folks, it was as she said. Best Ribs I have ever had, best greens too. I told the owner I would blog about the food and the friendly people. So I have. Go to Louisville. Go to Smoketown USA. Order the ribs.

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