KY TRAVEL NOTES

Impressions and Conversations…

04-20-04

 –In the Colorado Springs airport security line, I talked to the old man in front of me. He was worried that they’d take his cigarette lighter and I said I didn’t think they would. He had my grandmother’s cornflower blue eyes in a dark, high-boned face, and told me his name was Indian. His mother was full-blood Blackfoot, his father half, all from Kentucky. Until he told me, I didn’t know the Blackfeet had a reservation in KY, which they sold in 1942. He was an interesting guy–lean and whipstrong, and he joked about the shrapnel in his elbow setting off the metal detectors. I would have liked sitting down with him and hearing stories, which I’m sure he would have told as he smoked his cigarettes and turned the air blue.

–on the shuttle from the Nashville airport to Bowling Green, I sat with another writer, a young woman who has written a book called THE WIFE OF THE CHEF. A vegetarian non-drinker who once prized macaroni and cheese and hot dogs above all foods, she married to a chef, and together they run a restaurant in Simsbury, Connecticut, Metro Bis. She is smart and interesting and we made ourselves very hungry talking about food all the way down the highway. I settled for Steak and Shake with my friends, but I suspect she found something a cut better.

–Steak and Shake. They don’t exist in Colorado. My ex used to make a point of going to the ones in formerly (currently?) white neighborhoods in St. Louis because they were segregated when he was a child and he took pleasure in walking into them and sitting down and eating at places he would have been forbidden.

I’m too young to really remember a segregated world (and Colorado wasn’t, anyway) but what I like about Steak and Shake is the very American diner fare. I confess this particular establishment was close to the hotel and I ate there three times over the weekend: a most delicious cheeseburger one night (hold the fries); biscuits and gravy–oh, my! Worth every dense calorie–for breakfast the next morning; and feeling guilty but unable to stay away, a grilled chicken sandwich the last evening. Mmmm. It’s so very, very American, that place. The black and white checkered floors, the malteds and milkshakes and biscuits and cheeseburgers and cheese fries. Only thing better for pure, unadulterated, full American Diner Fare is The Waffle House. It could never be deemed healthy food, but it is delicious.

—Mammoth Cave. My friend Liz (Elizabeth Bevarly–we have been friends since our first books debuted together at Silhouette Special Edition 15 years ago) and I went to Mammoth Cave on Sunday. I’d never been to a cave, and this one is quite incredible. Cool, hostile, utterly still and dark.

–the driver to the airport very early the next morning was another spry old man, a native of Bowling Green. Raises cattle and told stories of coyotes trying to make off with his calves. They didn’t succeed.

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