My Favorite Christmas Children’s Books

Reading to your children is so important. Just reading to them for 30 minutes each day can foster an interest in learning and help to build their vocabulary. I try to read both of my children a book before bedtime and several spaced out all throughout the day. Yesterday I was plucking all of their Christmas book from the shelves and I realized that a lot of them were really, really cool. I have made a list of some of our favorite wintertime reads. These would make great gifts or stocking stuffers! Maybe you can even remember some of these classics!

1: Santa is coming to Kentucky-Steve Smallman

2:The Jolly Christmas Postman-Janet and Allan Ahlberg

3: How the Grinch Stole Christmas-Dr. Seuss

4: Home for Christmas-Jan Brett

5:Dream Snow-Eric Carle

6:The Mitten-Jan Brett

7:Spot’s First Christmas-Eric Hill

8:Letters from Father Christmas-JRR Tolkien

9:The Snowman- Raymond Briggs

10:The Polar Express- Chris Van Allsburg

11: The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree-Gloria Houston

12: A Christmas Memory-Truman Capote

13: The Legend of the Christmas Stocking-Rick Osbourne and James Griffith

14: A Charlie Brown Christmas-Charles M. Schultz

15: The Poky Little Puppy’s First Christmas- ( A little Golden  Book)

FoxHouse Vintage && The Lexington Diner: New Obsessions

Everyone knows my love for all things vintage, and how obsessed I am with unique vintage shops. I stumbled upon this sweet little store’s Facebook page and I have been absolutely dying to go here for months. Last night, Kyle and I caught the UK game and first thing this morning I drove my tail out to West 6th street and rambled through racks upon racks of heaven at Fox House vintage.  Can I go ahead and tell you how much I wanted to buy every single thing they had??

As soon as I walked into the store, I saw in the window on display a band tee from “The Smiths” and I knew this was a place from my own heart. Through the door I was greeted by a table with chunky knit (and very soft) vintage sweaters and scarves, vintage Keeneland sweatshirts, and 5 dollars (very cool) tee shirts. It took me an hour to sift through four racks of vintage dresses where I was dying over a mint green Jackie O inspired sheath dress (complete with a bow in the front and ruffled collar) but of course, it wasn’t my size. I picked through embroidered kimonos, sequined pencil skirts, mid century cocktail dresses and fur stoles. I had to drag myself away from cocktail rings and costume jewelry, and meanwhile, my husband sifted through stacks of vinyls and 8 tracks.

Everything was surprisingly affordable. Most of the time when I walk into a true vintage store, I honestly expect it to be priced extremely unreasonably. Most of the people that own these stores think just because something is old means they can put an outrageous price tag on it, and it’s these kinds of people that I honestly steer clear of, especially when it comes to buying vintage clothing. Thank God the adorable lady running this place is the farthest thing from one of these people! Not only was she just downright cool, she actually interacted with her customers and helped me out in any way she could.  When I commented on her (in my opinion) superb pricing she added that she had things priced to move, otherwise it just adds up and you end up collecting instead of selling. Makes plenty of sense to me. I was also extremely impressed with the level of diversity in the store. There were so many things to choose from, and not only women’s stuff, but men’s stuff as well. Coats, jackets, dresses, pants, skirts, jewelry, pretty much everything. I really enjoyed stopping in there, I only wish that I had made more time to really look around. I was sort of in a rush, and didn’t even bring a good camera, hence the poor picture quality. I did as best I could with my cell phone.

The real reason that I wanted to go and look here was because I was in the market for a dress for a charity ball that I am going to next month. I have absolutely no desire to go pay 500 dollars for a cocktail dress that I will wear one time and then it will hang in my closet for the next five years, untouched. Vintage, in these cases, is the best way to go. No buyers remorse and when you are done with it, you can always resell or just get rid of it. I walked away with a 28 buck vintage emerald green-silk number that I am certain I wouldn’t love any more even if it were brand new. I actually had bought a new dress to wear and I am taking it back because I like the vintage one much better, and it fits me like a glove. I can’t show the whole picture because I’ve not worn it yet, but here is a little sneak peak. I adore it. If you are in the Lex area, you should for sure stop in and check this amazing little store out. Very retro, and I fell in love with everything about it. It’s a true gem.

After dragging my poor husband shopping for hours, we were both absolutely starving and I wanted to “get lost and find somewhere to eat.” We ended up at The Lexington Diner and had to place all to ourselves. I love diners. The whole feel and vibe just makes me comfortable and reminds me of Hazard. I honestly detest chain restaurants with lines and awful music. A sign outside said “Brunch all day Saturday.” Um, okay, I’m sold. To put a cherry on top, they had a special going on, a hot-brown omelet. Count me in. I will eat hot brown anything. I sat by the window and people watched while I sipped my black coffee. They even played some Rush and Heart while we were eating, awesome. It actually was pretty perfect. The service was excellent and quick, and our server was so friendly. I really do love Lexington. It’s such a beautiful little space, with such unexpected things. These two places really did brighten up my day, and I so look forward to stopping back in the next time I am in town, and so should you if you are ever in that area. 

Hot Brown Omelet
Coffee at The Lexington Diner

I have included the links to both Foxhouse Vintage and The Lexington Diner below:

Foxhouse Vintage

Lexington Diner

Address: Fox House- 123 W 6th Street Lexington KY

Address: Lexington Diner- 124 N Upper Street Lexington KY

Lessons learned from My Grandmother.

I come from an extremely matriarchal family. My Grandmother rules the roost, and there is nothing anyone can say or do that will ever change that fact. For as long as I can remember, Cleatice Jones has worn her imaginary crown and reigned over the Jones clan and there is no sign of her stopping anytime soon. Now, when you think of Grandmothers, I understand that you get the picture of a sweet little old lady with a perfect white bouffant, and a bible tucked under her arm. Well, not mine. My Grandma is a tough broad, in every sense of the word. She’s raised six (very stubborn) kids and managed to keep her sanity. She’s went without, she’s made sacrifices, but she’s made it. She’s quick to put you in your place, if need be, and she never keeps from telling the honest and sometimes painful truth. Over the course of the nearly 25 years that I have spent with my Grandma, she has taught me many life lessons. Some of which I am just now realizing the importance of. One thing is for certain though, there is no one like your grandmother to knock some sense into you, while teaching you how to perfect the doughiest dumpling. While I could never group together in one article all the things that my Grandma has taught me, I can pick some of the biggies and share them with you guys.

Respect your elders: There is no one better to put the fear of god in you like your grandmother. Now listen, I knew my grandma would never have spanked me, but the mere thought of a tongue lashing from her was enough to send a chill down my spine. I’ve never even witnessed my mom, who is the undisputed queen of confrontation, talk back or stand up to my grandmother. You just don’t do it. And you always treat your elders with the utmost respect, or else.

Keep tradition alive: There is nothing more important than family. This also means there is nothing more important than getting together on holidays and special occasions and whooping it up with those you love the most. Tradition can mean a lot of things, whether it be cooking a certain meal, or doing certain things together. Just keep them. Always have something special that involves family. It’s becoming a lost art, and that is sad. I am so glad I live in a world where my children are passed from aunt to aunt around the dinner table. I love it, and so do they.

Learn to Cook: My Grandma always asks me what I’ve been cooking for my husband. She wants to make sure I am not shaming my name and being a crappy cook because she knows it sure isn’t for her lack of teaching. Of course, I have set many times in her kitchen and watched as she fried chicken and made gravy. I guess you can say I know what I am doing, if not blindly, because of her.

Do NOT take any crap: My grandma’s cure all for anything or anybody that’s being mean to you or has wronged you is to “just knock the shit out of em”. I am laughing while I type this. Now, this should not be taken literally but in the sense that, yeah, if somebody is mean to you, don’t lay down and take it. Nobody should ever let anyone walk all over them, regardless.

There is no excuse to let yourself go: After having Greyson, I visited my Grandma in a state of exhaustion. My hair was unkempt, I was tired, and just not myself. She told me I had better “straighten my ass up” and that just because I had a baby was no excuse to let myself go. She was right. It’s really no excuse and fixing yourself up can do wonders for your mood. Nobody wants to deal with a new, smelly, mom.

Always fight for your marriage: My grandparents have been married for nearly 60 years. My Grandpa Argene lost an arm at a young age, but he still opens doors for my Grandma, and takes her out. Supposedly, the worst fight they were ever in resulted in my Grandma throwing a whole cake at his face. She told me the day I got married that I always needed to remember to fight for my marriage, that it wouldn’t always be easy. I’ll never forget our conversation. Marriage is supposed to be for life, she said, adding that she had been beside my Grandpa in every aspect of their lives since they were teenagers. She also added (hilariously) that sometimes she can’t stand him, or vice versa, but they belonged to each other and that is something special. I agree with her.

Spoil your children, but DONT SPOIL your children: My grandma always stressed the important of giving your children more than material things. My mom always told me that growing up with 5 brothers and sisters they may not have always have everything they wanted but they had everything they needed. There are more ways than one to spoil your kids without buying them everything under the sun, and truly spoiling them. (In other words, making them materialistic little brats.)  My Grandma used to take me down to the creek and let me release messages in a bottle, walk me down the road to go slug hunting, push me on the swings and sing “swing low, sweet chariot”, and made me my favorite Naomi dress (my idol from Mama’s Family) that I didn’t take off for weeks. All these things are seared into my mind far more than anything she could have went and bought off the shelf at a store. It’s important to be active with your children and teach them things, hands on. Sure, it may be easy to buy them an ipad or a leap frog, hand it to them and go, but what’s the fun it that?

Never forget your raising. Never.  This is so important. How you were raised is a part of  you, specifically. It’s why you are the person you are. Never forget it. I know I am just the same awkward tomboy from Lost Creek who used to roll around in the chicken coup and catch craw-dads in the creek. I still run around the yard barefoot, and when I’m at my Grandma’s house, I take G down to the bottom to throw rocks and look for critters. Even if I wanted to forget it, I wouldn’t ever be able to. I compare it to the towering pine tree that used to stand in my Grandma’s yard. 40 years of growth had rendered it massive, and they had to cut it down. Now it’s only a stump. But it’s still there. A reminder of what once was. That’ how I feel about my childhood. I may not be that girl anymore, but deep down, I always will be and will never be able to get away from it. And never would I want to.

With this being said, I realize now more than ever how precious my Grandma is. She is invaluable to our family, the glue that holds everyone together. I’m not sure how we would ever go on without her, because without her what else is there? She is the reason we are all here. It is amazing for me to think that one woman stands for so much in the lives of so many people, but it is so true. My grandmother is an amazingly strong, and beautiful woman who has touched not only my life, but those of everyone in my family. We owe so much to our grandparents, and its’ easy to forget that it won’t always last forever. I am just so thankful that she enjoys my boys, and they get to enjoy her. Many people don’t get the privilege. So, if you have a Grandma who is still in your life, and especially the lives of your children, go see her. Ask her questions, appreciate what she does or has done for your family. Chances are if you are from around here, your upbringing was no different than mine. It ran circularly around one person, you grandma, who kept it all together.

Know your Kentuckians: Knott County’s Last Mail Carrier on Horseback.

Knott County Kentucky. The home of Alice Lloyd College, James Still and Carl D. Perkins. Rich in Appalachian history, this beautiful area has long been the stuff of legend. Caney Creek, to date, is one of the prettiest places I have ever been in the state of Kentucky. Lush green hills, quaint country homes, and just down right good people. Not to mention, Alice Lloyd College has one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever visited. I always enjoy going over there to visit my in-laws. Well, that, and getting to eat whatever my mother-in-law has cooked! (Garden corn and green beans, yum.)

Many people do not know this about my mother in law, but she and her sisters are the keepers of a slice of mountain history. Their family, The Gibsons and The Pratts were featured in National Geographic in 1971. Lynni  is also featured in Sesame Street, a little girl in pigtails who helps her father make a stool. “Now we are gonna make the stool, lickety split.” How cute is she?

Lynni’s grandfather, Irvine Pratt was made famous in many papers in the United States as one of the last postmen on horseback. Lucille Rhodes,who was in the Appalachian mountains in the 70’s to do her dissertation for her master’s degree, and also working for one of the founders of the Kentucky Council for the Arts, came to the Gibson home with Pat Prosser (A professor at Alice Lloyd College) and fell in love with Lynni and the entire Gibson-Pratt clan. Rhodes also made a documentary for her degree, “Night Comes to the Cumberlands” (not to be confused with Harry M. Caudill’s book) which also featured the Gibsons and the Pratts. Rhodes went on to become an independent film maker, and professor of film and theatre at Long Island University. She also has had many of her films debut at the New York Film Festival, and served as a Visual Arts Associate for the New York State Council, and also helped to form The Kentucky Arts Commission. She, Lynni and her sisters remain close to this day, visiting Rhodes in New York, as well as her home in Mexico. (Google her, she’s a pretty big deal.)

Tammi and Lynni Hall. (formerly, Gibson)

Born in 1902, Irvine Pratt had lived to see so much history. He witnessed Haley’s comet twice, and recalled the first time he and his sister ever saw an airplane. According to Tammi Hall (his granddaughter and my Aunt by marriage) he said that his sister Virgie came running through the yard and told everyone to go inside that the train had jumped the tracks and was coming over the mountains. Apparently it scared them all half to death.  He owned a farm,where he grew his own food, as well as food for his animals. He also had a blacksmith shop where he made shoes for his horses, and a sled to carry fodder for his animals. Pratt was also a long time coal miner. He hunted and sold ginseng, and of course, three days a week he carried the mail to nearly thirty families in Knott county…..on horseback.

Irvine with Lynni.
Making shoes for his horse, Bill.

                                          Above is a clip from Sesame Street. Lynni is featured.

Pratt, at 56, would saddle up his horse, Bill, and three times a week would deliver the mail to families in rural eastern Kentucky. Picking up the mail in Pine Top Kentucky, he would travel 18 miles (round trip) to Pippa Passes on horseback, far from any highway and over treacherous mountain terrain. Pratt was a former coal miner who took the position and (at the time) was paid $88.37 a month. When people asked him if he carried a weapon he responded that he “just got used to carrying a .38-caliber pistol.” Sometimes he had to use it on an occasional rabid fox. The journey would usually take six hours, round trip.

  

An article written by Paul R. Jordan recounts the trip. Irvine journeyed alongside the reporter, Col. W. J. Stietler Jr, and three others. Pratt and his companions completed the trip one way in three hours and  15 minutes. 63 year old Stietler, president of the Coal Operators Casualty Company at Rockwood Penn, lent a professional touch to the the horsemanship. He rode a a 9 year old American Saddle-bred, shipped to Kentucky specially for their mail trek.  Stietler, who rode as a hobby, said the trip was as dangerous as any he had been on in 40 years as a horseman. At the time the article was written, Stietler had estimated that in the past 15 years he had ridden at least 8,000 miles over all kinds of terrain, including the Sierra Madre mountains and the Smoky mountains. When asked about his occupation, Pratt replied, “It’s an accommodation to these people.” His clients also depended heavily upon him for the delivery of pension and welfare checks. Pratt also added, “and when one’s got a boy in Vietnam, they are looking hard for me.” Pratt was a welcomed face among the people of his route, many times while riding with reporters he would have to decline invitations to “come in and set.” Pratt rarely had more than a dozen or so pieces of mail to deliver, including magazines but tried to deliver anything addressed to those on his route. When the article came out in National Geographic, Pratt was 68 years old. He had been delivering mail for 16 years, and when the author asked him how long he planned on delivering, he replied, “long as they’re expecting me.”

Many national newspapers came from far and wide to chronicle the unique and extraordinary life of Irvine Pratt. Apparently, people would mail them articles from all over the country that had been written about him. Lynni told me just yesterday that she had emailed the photographer,Bruce Dale, from National Geographic, and he had tried for years to locate her, but was told that she had married and moved away. It isn’t hard for me to understand how people would come and fall in love with this bunch. From the moment they came into my life, they treated me as one of their own. Everytime I visit, I am always reminded what really matters around here; Family, tradition, and love.

 From here on out I am going to give the computer to my husband Kyle. I want him to add a little personal coloring to the post.

__________________________________________________________________
Hi again!

Courtney has been anxious to write on this topic for quite a while. She’s also been a little nervous about it, as well. She’s done a great job, as always, but her worry is that secondhand knowledge can only allow to convey so much. This is a story about my family, and she has asked me to add a firsthand touch.

When the facts are laid out, as Courtney has, it sounds amazing and gives me a great sense of pride in my family. However, the memories I have of them are not reflected in a picture from a magazine. Those pictures don’t sound like the wood creaking on the front porch when I sat with them. A big orange chair, a flannel shirt and a Maxwell’s House coffee can re-purposed as an ash tray. Those were parts of my Irvine Pratt. My grandfather Herman Gibson wasn’t just a man who made a wooden stool on camera. He had a million wall clocks in his house, and he made me want to start playing an instrument. My grandmother Gladys wasn’t just a pretty face peeking through a clothesline. She was the funniest and most loving person I’ve known, and I still catch her laugh in my ears, at times.

This family wasn’t documented because we were an extraordinary Appalachian group. My great grandfather did something that people from outside of the area saw as interesting. I don’t believe he ever really cared about that. I never remember him speaking of it. He cared about doing what he needed to do, in order to make sure his family was healthy and happy. He also provided a needed service to his friends and neighbors. Those are traits I believe to have been an integral part of all of eastern Kentucky; Traits that I hate to think are not as prevalent around here anymore.

Maybe the wedge between these ideas has something to do with a declining economy and a growing addiction problem. Whatever the reason for the change, neighbors are not as known for being friends as much as they are for kicking your door in. One of the things that I love most about my wife’s blog is that it showcases parts of our heritage that we can be proud of. That heritage is still here and I would love to get back on the track. Most of all, I want to thank Courtney for what she does and for putting some of my personal heritage in the spotlight.

Special thanks to Lynni Hall and Tammi Hall, who were kind enough to supply me with articles, pictures and first hand accounts of their grandfather, Irvine Pratt.

1st Snow of the Season.

              Nothing is sweeter than watching your children enjoy the beauty of the first fallen snow. When I was little, I remember praying for snow every chance I could get, and actually thinking that God would send me snow flakes. It’s amazing how this billowing white stuff can affect kids so much. Greyson woke up first thing this morning and ran to the window to watch it trinkle down. I wasn’t sure if he would remember the snow from last winter, but he did. He had to go outside and see it for himself. While this was only a gentle dusting, it was pouring when I snapped these pictures, and because we live on top of a mountain, it looks much worse than it actually was. Nevertheless, it was beautiful, and we both enjoyed it so.

I guess this is the official kick off of the Kentucky season of snow-cream, snow mans, polar vortexes and snow days. May you all enjoy the winter time as much as my two year old does!

The Last Waltz is THE BEST concert Documentary you will EVER OWN.

 The Last Waltz, held in San Fran on Thanksgiving day of 1976 was obviously something truly special. What I would give to be able to of been alive  in that era. Advertised as the farewell concert of the group, “The Band”, the concert was filmed by Martin Scorsese and later turned in to a documentary, and man is it awesome.

Helm on drums, Robertson on guitar, Danko on bass, Manuel on piano.

For those of you reading this who have no clue who the Band was, they were a Canadian-American rock group that was formerly know as “The Hawks” as they came together while backing rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins from 1958-1963. After separating from The Hawk, they were hired by Bob Dylan for his 66 World Tour. Members included Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson. Helm went on say that because they were always known as “The Band” to different front men they worked with, the name just kind of stuck. Dylan continued to collaborate with “The Band” throughout his career. The group was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 89 and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked them among the 100 greatest artists of all time, and in 2008 they received the Grammy’s lifetime achievement award. The song “The Weight” was also listed in Rolling Stone as the 41st best song of all time. So, there ya go. They were kind of a big deal.

Now, that brings us to 1976. The Last Waltz was an elaborate ball room concert held right the middle of the epicenter of rock and roll culture. Scorsese immortalized the performance in this self titled documentary.  More than a dozen celebrity guests performed with the group, including Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton and of course, Neil Young.

Van Morrison, Dylan, and Robertson

The film begins with The Band covering a version of Marvin Gaye’s “Dont you do it” as an encore performance, and they kill it. They also perform hits including “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down”. Scorsese focuses primarily on Robertson, a move that was largely critisized at the time, but I like it. Robbie Robertson is my favorite, or at least, a close tie with Levon Helm. Even though I will say, when Levon Helm does vocals on “The Night they drove ole Dixie Down” I always get chill bumps, and I’ve heard the song at least a couple thousand times. One of the main themes of the documentary is the fact they the band has been touring together for 16 years, and they all feel it’s time for a change. Scorsese chronicles their start, from playing in dive bars, their times on the road, and even (In Robertson’s account) playing in a club in Texas where a unlikely bar brawl erupted, only to find out later that it was owned by Jack Ruby. (Go ahead and google Jack Ruby. I know you probably are.)

My favorite performance in the documentary is Neil Young, singing Helpless with backup vocals by Joni Mitchell. I may be a little biased considering the fact by the age of 10, my dad had me singing “The Needle and The Damage Done”, and “Cowgirl in the Sand.” The Harvest album is one the favorites in my vinyl collection, and half of the reason Kyle and I are married today was because of our mutual agreement that Neil Young’s talent is unprecedented. The segment was later edited due to the fact the Young has a giant glob of cocaine hanging from his nose. Scorsese later admitted that drugs were available in large quantities during the concert. You can obviously tell from watching, a lot of them were heavily influenced, but they are incredibly on point. Nevertheless, I guess you expect that from a bunch of music legends all glommed together in one banquet hall.

Muddy Waters singing “Mannish Boy.”

I love Van Morrison too, and of course, come on, Muddy Waters? Seeing them all mesh and play together is special. Musicians today, are in my opinion, lacking in a lot of what this group had. Mainly, talent, I suppose. This was a time were auto-tune was non existent, and to be famous you had to actually be an artist. You wrote your own songs, played an instrument and, possibly, could sing. This era was definitive of rock and roll, and there is a reason that people in my generation STILL listen to it and regard it as unparalleled. That’s because, in large part, it was. I feel like that it was an era in music that is never coming back. I am not a music critic, and I write solely based on my own opinion, but I would 10-1 rather listen to albums from this genre, and this time. You can just feel every note oozing right out your pores. Man, these guys had it going on. You can’t tell me you receive the same feeling from the majority of today’s popular music as the way you feel when you listen to Van Morrison’s “Caravan” or Rick Danko on vocals on “It Makes No Difference.” Maybe I am romanticizing as usual, but damn, even cynics have to admit that the opening of “Helpless” can reduce you to tears. “They’ve got it now, Robbie.”

The film has been hailed critically for generations. The Chicago Tribune called it “the best rock concert film ever made….and maybe the best rock movie period.” Many praised the performance by Muddy Waters and the “blistering if not messy” guitar duet by Robertson and Eric Clapton. For me, I’ve always equated this film with rock and roll legend. Could you even fathom being at a single concert and witnessing the likes of Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and Neil Young? And THOSE WERE THE GUESTS! I think I would probably just fall over dead from all  of the fan-girling that would have been going on. Even watching the film today, I can’t imagine how amazing it would have been to have been there, in that corner of the world in 1976. The stuff of pure magic.

If you haven’t seen this film. Go here, buy it, and watch it. If you think you like good music, you’ll thank me. If you don’t like it, send it back and pick up a hobby you can truly understand. 

Easy and Quick: One Pot Low Fat Cabbage, Chicken, and Rice Casserole.

Everyone in my family (including my extremely picky two year old) loves cooked cabbage. I love cabbage rolls too, but sometimes it’s a pain to make them. I came across this recipe on Pinterest for a one pot cabbage casserole and I decided to try it out. I am on a diet, so I tweaked the recipe a little bit to make it more low fat. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

What you will need:
*Two chicken breasts, cooked and shredded. (I put Lowry’s on mine.) The original recipe called for ground beef, but I opted for chicken.
* Two cups of water.
*One can of diced tomatoes (or rotel) I used low sodium.
*One can of tomato sauce. (Again, low sodium.)
* One cup of brown rice.
*One onion (diced),
*Three large handfuls of uncooked cabbage. (I just used an entire half a head because my family are all pigs.)
*Colby-Jack Cheese
*Salt and Pepper to taste

1: Cook the chicken breasts in a crock pot or boil them until shredded. Season well with whatever kind of spice you like. I used Lowry’s.

2: Combine water, tomatoes, sauce, rice, cabbage and onion in a pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down the head and let simmer for at least twenty minutes, covered.

3: Once twenty minutes has passed, uncover, and put in the chicken. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

4: After you have let the chicken simmer with the cabbage, uncover and taste. Some people have different preferences on how cooked you like the cabbage to be. If it is done, take the cheese you prefer and add it to the pot, cover for a few minutes or just long enough for the cheese to melt.

5: Enjoy.

I wanted to share this recipe because it is so easy, quick and decently good for you. Sometime I am so tired I end up fixing something unhealthy and there is really no sense in doing that when I could just as well of thrown this together in the same amount of time.

The Fabled Story of Mountain Basketball’s Most Infamous Rivalry.

Your alarm clock rings, but your eyes have been open for the past fifteen minutes, at least. If you are a cheerleader or basketball player, your stomach is in your mouth from nervousness. While you dress, your radio is already talking about it, and so are your parents. You get to school and everyone is talking about it, probably continuing a conversation on the topic from the night before. Class isn’t really class today, its eight hours of “arts and humanities,” which happens to be completely void of any humanity. Its a think tank with the sole purpose of compiling every rumor or every shortcoming you can come up with about a player or cheerleader on the other team and painting it on the biggest piece of poster board you can get your hands on. You may have close friends from the other school on any other of the 364 days of the year, but not today. Loyalties lie only with the colors painted on your gym floor. This is Hazard vs. Perry.

Recently I was browsing through Bluegrass Rivals, and I came upon a thread that read, “Rivalries that have disappeared.” I glanced past Pikeville/Belfry, Scott County/Oldham County, and Clay/Rockcastle. Just at the bottom right corner of the page, something caught my eye and I almost turned over in my chair. Hazard-Perry was listed. WHAT? What do you mean this rivalry has disappeared? True, it has been several years since I’ve been to a Commodore/Bulldog match-up, but I beg to differ. There is just something special about a spirited game between these two high schools. Lets be honest folks. This fabled rivalry, to this day dies very hard.

I see people who are not from this county write about Hazard-Perry, and formerly, Hazard-MC Napier, and I just have to chuckle. Of course you wouldn’t understand if you aren’t from here, and especially if you’ve never been apart of it. I am talking about generations and generations of deep seeded, pure, unabashed hatred between these schools. It doesn’t really matter what sport it is, but in my opinion, basketball is the most prevalent. We all know how us mountain folk love our basketball. I say hatred loosely, because that’s what I can best describe it as. It’s not a hatred borne between the actual atheletes, or students, it’s just purely between the two persona’s. This rivalry is, at times, larger than life, and in a small town, that is something HUGE. I have to admit, even when compared to my days in high school, a mere 8 years ago, the rivalry has calmed down a substantial amount, but it is far from non-existent.

When Memorial Gym was first built, I believe it was 1951, it served as the gymnasium for the surrounding area. Many high schools lacked a place to hold games, so everyone played there. It remains basically unchanged to this day. I live close to it, and I will tell you, it is a COMPLETE nightmare during ballgames. I can only imagine it during the days when it was the only gym around. When I cheered for PCC, I always enjoyed games inside of Mem. There is always something special to be said about a gymnasium that holds so many historic moments. It is likely that many of you who are reading this had Grandparents, followed by Parents who played basketball, cheered or was a spectator in that gym, from either side. To me, that is the stuff of pure magic.

 Players like Johnny Cox and Jim Rose heralded in a new era of basketball for Hazard High School. One that included a fierce need to win and intense and driven competition. Cox, a 6’4 guard from HHS, later led the University of Kentucky basketball team to an NCAA championship in 1958. Jim Rose was a two time all state player, and an all American while at HHS. He later went on to become a star at WKU, leading the Hill-toppers in 1971 to a final four appearance after defeating Kentucky. He was also the 28th pick in the second round of the NBA draft, taken by the Boston Celtics. Hazard High School has won two KSHAA State Championships, one in 1932, and one in 1955. Hazard has a rich history, aside from basketball. Tradition plays a major role here, and legacies remain an integral part of bulldog pride.

M.C. Napier, opened in 1953, was the product of consolidating several county schools. These would include Robinson, Hardburly, and Combs. With this consolidation, came a considerable ability to join together local talents and finally be able to give the notorious, and already well seasoned, HHS some man to man competition. Somewhere in that time frame, a fierce rivalry was born and has yet to end. Even as MC Napier, and Dilce Combs were consolidated into Perry County Central, the competition raged on, some say even larger than before. 1995 ushered in a new era of the ever unfolding saga. Perry County Central and MC Napier combined have a total of fifteen 14th region titles. Perry Central and M.C. Napier has had no shortage of stand out players.Glenn Napier, Denny Fugate, and Ben Bowling are still known as some of the best players to ever come from Eastern Kentucky.

Hazard wins the 14th region in 76. My Step-Dad is pictured.
My Uncle, Tim Jones and David Napier. “77” 14th Region Champs.

Growing up, I always remember listening to these games, or even attending them myself. My mother is a M.C. Napier alum, and a former Navajo cheerleader. So are my Aunts, and my Uncle Timothy was a ball player during 1970’s. The glory days. I have been seated around the coffee table at my grandmother’s many times, listening to stories retold about the dynamic, and sometimes hostile rivalry times of the 1970’s.

When Hazard beat Napier in (presumably) 76, a radio dedication was made to Coach Albert Combs (of Napier) from the Bulldogs, on WSGS the following day. The song was Uncle Albert, by Paul McCartney. “We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert, we’re so sorry if we caused you any pain. We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert, but there’s no one left at home, and I believe I’m gonna rain.” A clever and undeniably funny twist on beating the Navajos. I am sure it was also one that struck absolute anger in the hearts of many Napier fans.

My mother and Aunt are the two standing.

These stories also included tales that a funeral wreath was anonymously hung on a Napier ball players old De Soto prior to an upcoming game. There is also an old legend that MC Napier was put on lock down after a band of Hazard athletes journeyed to hollowed ground at Napier, to wait in the parking lot. According to myth, after some taunting, and show boating, a riot almost ensued where the doors were locked, and every window in the school was opened, accompanied with heckles, boos, and various middle fingers. The buses were delayed and school wasn’t able to let out until the players left, in fear of an all out riot. This was the late 70’s. Imagine if you tried that now. It would make national news.

Fast forward to the 2000’s when the rivalry was hitting a heated peak. When I say heated, I mean heated…..and somewhat personal. I have witnessed capacity crowds at John Combs Arena, or as many people like to call it, (hilariously) “The Punkin Palace”. I have witnessed people turned away at the historic Memorial Gym due to fire hazards and overflowing audiences. Student sections were unrestrained and out for blood. This is where the subject starts to get a little bit touchy. Let me try to not step on any toes. Ahh, the pep sections. Yes, it was brutal. Name calling, signs about short comings. All the stops were made. ON BOTH SIDES. Most of it was all in good fun, and after the games were over, we would go out and leave with each other. Many had friends from both sides, that’s just how it is in a small town. You always knew during the game, however, that you just don’t associate with each other. Hazard’s fans started to gain a reputation state wide for their colorful, and very unique pep section. I recall them dressed as smurfs, mimes, and fat cheerleaders. Both sides were master hecklers, and if you weren’t careful, even the steeliest basketball players would be susceptible to being rattled.

My senior year, which would have been 2007-2008, an incident occurred during tournament time that would change the face of the rivalry for years to come. This game had been long anticipated and fuses were short on both sides. Long story short, both pep sections were in a sort of Chinese-standoff, that ended with them both emptying out on the court, various physical altercations and someone getting the business end of a police tazer. It was madness. It was anarchy. It was CRAZY. Even I had gotten swallowed up in the sea of red and packed out on half court, where I was grabbed by a state police officer and told to “get the hell back to my seat.” The security at the game was insane. Almost all of the Hazard Police Department and 10 or more State boys. The atmosphere was reminiscent of a prison rodeo. You’re scared, intrigued and excited all in one. The result was police armed escorts to the parking lot, and the Neace-Gorman park being shut down for fear of fights.Yes, only in Perry County.

PCC’s 2008 Pep Section. 14th Region.

In 2008, The Hazard Board of Education voted not to play Perry Central unless required by the KHSAA. The rivalry was deemed unsafe. Obviously. It’s been that way for YEARS. You can read the full article here: Hazard-Perry Rivalry Many arguments have been started over the years about the rivalry. It’s a very real thing here in Perry County. It’s almost like from birth you are drilled into the fact you’re either a Bulldog, or a Commodore. It’s okay though, people like it that way. It gives us something to look forward to during all the various sporting seasons, and also something argue to about over social media, or message boards. It’s good fun, and here in the mountains, its basically everything.

As generations come and go, and take part in this epic saga, it’s easy to forget that we are all from the same piece of ground. We are all from Perry County, and win or lose, we should support each other. It always makes me happy to see a Perry team go to the state tournament, whether it be Hazard, Perry, or Buckhorn. As long as we are having positive attention brought to this area, it’s always a good thing. I can also understand why the rivalry could also bring “negative” attention. I remember we all got called a bunch of hoodlums (hazard and perry included) on the message boards, which we thought was hilarious. I recall telling my mother that our generation hadn’t done anything worse than what those who came before us. If anything, we were more tame. In my opinion, if you are from Hazard or Perry Central, taking part of this rivalry is almost a right-of-passage. You’re expected to show your school spirit. Could we be a little more classy about it? Probably, but that’s no fun. Or at least, in my day, it wasn’t. I think now the generations at hand are doing a much better job than we did at bringing a level of civilization to the court. That too, it something very admirable.

Finally, I must add, YES, I am a county girl. I wasn’t raised in the city, even though I reside there now. I grew up in Lost Creek, far away from Hazard high school and I attended PCC from 2004-2008. I love Perry Central, but living where I do, I have also fostered a new found respect for Hazard, and their school systems. Even when I was in high school, some of my closest and dearest friends were bulldogs. I had boyfriends that played sports there. The rivalry was just a fun way to get everyone involved in something that was bigger than ourselves, and we loved it. I still hold it close to my heart to this day, and even though I may not attend games anymore, you can be sure I am sitting in the floor somewhere in my house, hunkered down listening to the radio when they are about to tip off.

So whether you are a Navajo, a Commodore, or a Bulldog, I think it’s important to always remember the past. It’s important to take pride in this rivalry because it’s as much a part of our history as anything else. We’re known around Kentucky for it, and people from surrounding counties even come to watch show downs between these two teams. My husband is a JBS Alumni and he knew basically just as much about it as I do. One reason. IT’S FAMOUS. It’s FABLED. It’s basically IMMORTAL in Eastern Kentucky. If that doesn’t make you proud, whatever team you’re for,  I’m not sure what will.

GO Dawgs, Go Dores, and Long Live the Navajos.

Quotes that Prove Rhett Butler is the Orignial Southern Bad Boy.

 All Southern women consider themselves one of two things. You’re either a Scarlett, or you’re a Melanie. I can remember reading Gone With The Wind for the first time and actually hating Scarlett O’Hara for the way she treated Rhett Butler. What was she doing? He was dark, handsome, rich, and a notorious bad boy. He was a devilish cad, a well known flatterer, and famous womanizer. Oh my dear lord, the way they sparred! They way they challenged each other! Their infamous fights and make ups! I believe my favorite things about Rhett was the way he spoke to Scarlett. The way he didn’t mind to tell her how it was in a world where every man she had ever known was falling head over heels just to have her talk to them. Re-reading this book has made me realize now, more than ever, that Rhett Butler has some serious style. Here’s a list of quotes that will have you swooning, and also make you realize that Mr. Butler truly was the original southern bad boy.


* “Sir”, she said, “you are no gentleman.”

An apt observation, he answered airily.
  
“And you miss are no lady.”

* “Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never really realize what a burden it was, or what freedom truly is.”

* “No, my dear, I’m not in love with you, no more than you are with me, and if I were, you would be the last person I’d ever tell. God help the man who ever really loves you. You’d break his heart, my darling, cruel, destructive little cat who is so careless and confident she doesn’t even trouble to sheathe her claws.”

* “I’m going away tomorrow for a long time and I fear that if I wait till I return you’ll have married some one else with a little money. So I thought, why not me and my money? Really, Scarlett, I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands. ”

* “I only know that I love you.”

“That’s your misfortune.”

* “That’s what’s wrong with you. All your beaux have respected you too much, though God knows why, or they have been too afraid of you to really do right by you. The result is that you are unendurably uppity. You should be kissed and by someone who knows how.”

* “Gentlemen all – what do they know about women? What do they know about you? I know you.”

*  ” There’s one thing I do know… and that is that I love you, Scarlett. In spite of you and me and the whole silly world going to pieces around us, I love you. Because we’re alike. Bad lots, both of us. Selfish and shrewd. But able to look things in the eyes as we call them by their right names.”

* “[Yankees] are pretty much like southerners except with worse manners, of course, and terrible accents.”

* “Madam, you flatter yourself. I do not want to marry you or anyone else. I am not a marrying man.”

 * “When I first met you, I thought: There is a girl in a million. She isn’t like these other silly little fools who believe everything their mammas tell them and act on it, no matter how they feel. And conceal all their feelings and desires and little heartbreaks behind a lot of sweet words. I thought: Miss O’Hara is a girl of rare spirit. She knows what she wants and she doesn’t mind speaking her mind–or throwing vases.” 
 
* “Did it ever occur to you that I loved you as much as a man can love a woman? Loved you for years before I finally got you? During the war I’d go away and try to forget you, but I couldn’t and I always had to come back. After the war I risked arrest, just to come back and find you. I cared so much I believe I would have killed Frank Kennedy if he hadn’t died when he did. I loved you but I couldn’t let you know it. You’re so brutal to those who love you, Scarlett. You take their love and hold it over their heads like a whip.” 

* “You can’t make me mad by calling me names that are true. Certainly I’m a rascal, and why not? It’s a free country and a man may be a rascal if he chooses. It’s only hypocrites like you, my dear lady, just as black at heart but trying to hide it, who becomes enraged when called by their right names.” 

* “All you’ve done is to be different from other women & you’ve made little success of it. As I’ve told you before, that is the one UNFORGIVABLE sin in society. Be different & be damned!”
  
*”I’m very drunk. And I intend on getting still drunker before this evening’s over.” 
 
* “I stood there in the doorway before you saw me and I watched you,’ he said.’And I watched the other girls. And they all looked as though their faces came out of one mold. Yours didn’t.” 

 * “I’ve always had a weakness for lost causes once they’re really lost.”

 * “Say you’ll marry me when I come back or, before God, I won’t go. I’ll stay around here and play a guitar under your window every night and sing at the top of my voice and compromise you, so you’ll have to marry me to save your reputation.”

* “Indeed? Well, I shall bring you presents so long as it pleases me and so long as I see things that will enhance your charms. I shall bring you dark-green watered silk for a frock to match the bonnet. And I warn you that I am not kind. I am tempting you with bonnets and bangles and leading you into a pit. Always remember I never do anything without reason and I never give anything without expecting something in return. I always get paid.” 

* “I want to make you faint. I will make you faint. You’ve had this coming to you for years. None of the fools you’ve known have kissed you like this – have they? Your precious Charles or Frank or your stupid Ashley… I said your stupid Ashley. Gentlemen all – what do they know about women? What do they know about you? I know you.”

* “Hush,” he said. “I am asking you to marry me. Would you be convinced if I knelt down?” 

* “I’m tempting you with fine gifts until your girlish ideals are quite worn away and you are at my mercy.” 

* “Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.” 

* “I’m riding you with a slack rein, my pet, but don’t forget that I’m riding with curb and spurs just the same.” 

* “You have eternity in which to explain and only one night to be a martyr in the amphitheater. Get out, darling, and let me see the lions eat you.” 

* “You can go to the Devil and not at your leisure. You can go now, for all I care.’
‘My pet, I’ve been to the Devil and he’s a very dull fellow. I won’t go there again, not even for you.”

* “But, hell, I wouldn’t have grudged him your body. I know how little bodies mean – especially women’s bodies. But I do grudge him your heart and your dear, hard, unscrupulous mind. He doesn’t want your mind, the fool, and I don’t want your body. I can buy women cheap. But I do want your mind and your heart, and I’ll never have them.”  

* “Scarlett, when you are forty-five, perhaps you will know what I’m talking about and then perhaps you, too, will be tired of imitation gentry and shoddy manners and cheap emotions. But I doubt it. I think you’ll always be more attracted by glitter than by gold.” 

* “He wasn’t a gentleman and there was no telling what men would do when they weren’t gentlemen. There was no standard to judge them by.”

Finally….

* “I wish I could care what you do or where you go but I can’t… My dear, I don’t give a damn.”
 

The Scavenger Hunt Antiques

Located in London, I also stumbled upon this adorable little gem. From the moment I passed this darling little house, I knew I had to stop in. The outside was stuffed to gills with old furniture, pieces of pottery, even complete with a pink painted bathtub on the front lawn. *Swoon* As I walked through the front door, I could smell the scent of “vintage” in the air. Ahhh. “I’m in my element.” I told my husband. I was even met at the door by a precocious three year old (the granddaughter of the owner) who was craning her neck on an antique winged backed chair to watch a train pass by outside. I thought to myself, how superbly perfect.

The entire house was filled from top to bottom with antique cut glass chandeliers, depression glasses, carnival glass, elegantly framed pictures, vintage chenille bedspreads, handkerchiefs, plush antique ottomans. My goodness. I could go on and on. Every where I stepped I saw something that I adored, and just had to at least touch. From leopard overcoats, to a sequined pill box hat, I was completely in love. (I will have to go back without my husband, he just doesn’t understand my love for vintage clothing.)

As I browsed through this adorable little house, I was amazed at what I saw. This place has everything! Literally, everything! beautiful evening clutches,china by the set, hand made vintage aprons,chintz furniture, and even gently worn vintage children’s clothing. I was also delighted to find out that Ms. Spurlock is friends with my Aunt Karen and Uncle Butch, from Manchester, and that my Uncle is frequent customer, buying gifts for his wife.I can certainly see why, everything is truly lovely.

If you are ever in the London area, I would suggest you stop in and give this place a go. Looking is the best part and it’s places like this where you truly never know what you’ll come out with. For all the MEN who are reading this, the ladies in your life would appreciate a vintage trinket, trust me. Kyle buys me antiques a lot for special occasions, and I would always rather have something beautiful and vintage as opposed to something new. I am a romantic, and as usual, I romanticize everything in my life, right down to my antique sterling silver cigarette case that was a “just because” present nearly three years ago. Take my word for it fellas, you come home with an antique brooch, or pair of earrings, you’ll be in good shape.

I ended up leaving with a beautiful (and unique) wool fancy dress coat with a fur collar. I paid 25 bucks for it. I love it, and I plan to wear it to church with all my nice dresses—even if my husband says it’s “just a tad bit too green”.

Included is The Scavenger Hunt facebook page:
The Scavenger Hunt

Happy Pickin, everyone!

Location: 704 East 4th Street, London Ky.

Phone: 606-877-9998