Tag Archives: Kentucky

Wooldridge Monuments: An Unwritten Novel

Driving into Maplewood Cemetery in Mayfield , Kentucky on a late summer afternoon, the shadows lengthened. A perfect time to explore the monument that has stood silently for over a hundred years.  A novel remains buried here. The story of our protagonist, a horse trader by the name of Colonel Henry G. Wooldridge, involves lost love, ego and loneliness.

Wooldridge, a lifelong bachelor, lost the last of his three sisters in 1892. Her death begins his quest to build a monument to himself and his family. Over the next seven years, local sculptors carve the images of his brothers, Alfred, Josiah and W.H. There is a statue of Colonel Wooldridge on his favorite mount Fop, as well as his two dogs and a random deer and fox for them to chase.

The story focuses on the women. Legend says that Wooldridge remained a bachelor after his young love, Minnie, died in a riding accident. You need to wonder about Minnie’s pull on him. Was she beautiful, gentle and loving? Did he give her the horse as a gift and grow unable to handle the guilt? Minnie is included in the party of statues ,but a family Bible and other records indicate she is his niece and not focus of the love story. What will the author decide?

The other women in the group include his mother Keziah, nieces Maud and Minnie, and sisters Minerva, Susan, and Narcissa. Did Susan’s character match her uninspired name? Did Narcissa live up to hers? Was Minerva an enchantress? Great characters for our unwritten story.

As you view the detail of the statues , you admire the craft and artistry of the sculptors. All of the pieces were done locally except for the man standing taller than the rest who is made of marble and carved in Italy, Wooldridge himself.

He appears twice in the group, which helps to develop his egotistic persona. Comparisons to pharaohs burying their loved ones with them come to mind.You might imagine that his fear of being alone at his death compelled him to have his family members with him so it is ironic to note that he is buried there alone. And ,as another element of our plot, his father is not included in the group.Psychological analysis? The monument is called “The Strange Procession That Never Moves.”

That remained true until 2009, when a three hundred year -old oak crashed down on the family during an ice storm and beheaded  all the statues except for his sisters and dog.Divine intervention, another plot twist? The monument was restored on site and remains open to the public.Inspiration and the unwritten story remain.


Lessons From a Vineyard: Growth in Unexpected Places

 

When you say vineyard, France, Napa, and Sonoma come to mind.Very few people would say Tennessee, Kentucky or Florida. Connoisseurs would discuss the soil, its acidity, clay or loam or the terroir that is achieved. Yet,half-hidden, on a small road in Kentucky , a small vineyard thrives in the late afternoon sun. Are the grapes the same? No. Is the soil duplicated? Probably not. But here , stretching themselves in the sun and lazing under wispy clouds are vines that are more than just alive. They are growing. Is it the climate? The care they receive? Specialized knowledge of the vintner? Perhaps. Could it be that they are in a place that suits them , where there is room to grow, and that they are responding to the environment in the best way possible? As they receive nourishment , they in turn produce and return the gift. It seems so simple, but for many of us, accepting that we can grow , even if it is in a place that we didn’t choose, is difficult. It is easier to find fault and wish we were growing in Napa rather than on a back road in Kentucky. Yet the wine produced here , while different in character, may taste as sweet.


Found Memories

Driving along a country road in Kentucky, we came upon this house overtaken by shrubs and vines. Pulling off the road to explore further, it looked like it had slept for the past fifty years. Quietly approaching, I found myself moving slowly as if not to disturb the silence. It had seen better days when its paint was fresh and the screen door would slam countless times a day as children tore in and out again. Now it stood empty of voices. The porch swing remained and still squeaked in the breeze. At first I thought it was in protest to my trespass, but I realized it sounded a welcome .Requiring that I notice it still hung stalwart and strong, the guardian of many happier times.My witness would keep those memories safe a bit longer.


Alphabet Garage

Driving along a main street in Paducah, Kentucky, I spied this garage. Surrounded by eighteen wheelers and because it was after five, I couldn’t resist exploring. The alphabet doors drew my attention. Although I didn’t find twenty-six, these intrigued my camera.


Barn Spotting

Last week while traveling through Tennessee and Kentucky we spotted many different and wonderful barns – some for tobacco others for hay, but they all expressed their personalities in different ways.


Hitchcock Makes a Cameo in Antique Still-life

They say that Hitchcock has a cameo appearance in every film he directed. I think I’ve found most of them. But I never expected him to show up in a macabre still-life in an antique shop in Paducah, KY .The man really did get around.


Who Knows What We’ll See! Off on a Road Trip!

Road trip photography is my favorite kind because you cannot anticipate what you will find! Off to the back roads of Kentucky to check out a couple of places I’ve learned about and ready for serendipity to intervene. New people, places, food , and friends.Maybe my friend and I will solve the problems of the world while we’re relaxing and thinking with clearer minds.If not, we’ll see what there is to see and eat well.

This photo was taken on a day trip. It is not a composite or collage.In the ticket booth of an old movie theater someone has painted a fortune teller. The background was a reflection of the buildings across the street. Serendipity at play!


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