An Ode to Lucy Lu – mayor of Rabbit Hash, KY (Small Town, Big Stories Podcast Script February 2019)

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/small-towns-big-stories

  • There’s been a lot of talk since the first of the year about ground-breaking females in politics. AOC. HRC. RGB. Nancy Pelosi owning the resistance basically. It’s been a banner year for women in politics.
  • I certainly don’t want to make light of any of their accomplishments – they have broken a lot of ground. And I’m sure that with the number of women entering the presidential race that’s only just begun, considering the president won’t take office for another two years, there is a lot more these women in politics will accomplish… But there was one small town,  female politician who passed away last year that doesn’t get enough recognition for her accomplishments – Lucy Lu Kayser.
  • We’ll talk about Lucy Lou and the small town she represented during her years in office here on Small Towns, Big Stories. I’m Liz Carey, and I’ve been a journalist for more than 20 years. I love history and finding out the real story behind some of the legends you hear about placesll tales you hear about in small towns. When I published my first book, Hidden History of Anderson County, I wanted to write about all the stories I’d always heard about in Anderson County that I just couldn’t believe. Turns out they were, in fact, true. And when I talked to people about the book, what I found was that people from all over had similar stories about their own hometowns, that also turned out to be true. This podcast is all about those hometown stories. Be sure to comment below and to subscribe to our podcast, as well as drop us a line at lizcarey@charter.net. We’d love to hear from you.
  • And be sure to look for some of my other writing at The Daily Yonder, an online newspaper about rural issues; Business North, a business publication for the Duluth, Minnesota area; WorkersCompensation.com, an online workers’ compensation industry newspaper and on my blog at Hell’s Funny Belle.com, a snarky look at growing up southern, and Hot and Sour Sass, a look at hot and sour soup across the country… yes, I know… I’m a little weird. It happens.
  • Coming soon, on Small Towns, Big Stories, we’ll be talking about Paris in April; Nederland, Colorado’s love of frozen dead guys; and how Versailles, Kentucky started up because of water. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast now to get all of the upcoming shows, and drop us an email at liz@lizcareyllc.com to get our weekly newsletter.
  • So, Lucy Lu was the first female mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, population 315. After running on the slogan, “A bitch you can country on”, Lucy found nationwide fame and recognition. It was a slogan and office that propelled her into a life of public service and public attention that lasted most of her adult life. For eight years, she was head to tail the representation of all that made Rabbit Hash special, until health issues forced her to resign her post. Her best features – a winning personality, great grooming and the ability to fetch – will always be remembered in the little town on the Ohio River. Paws down, she was absolutely one of the top five mayors in Rabbit Hash history.
  • Yes, as you might have guessed by now, Lucy Lu was a dog. A border collie, to be exact. In her first, and only election, Lucy Lu beat out 10 other dogs, a cat, a possum and a jack ass for her seat. To be perfectly honest, that sounds like any other election to me, but… that’s another story entirely. But this story – the story of a little town on the banks of a huge river, and how its canine mayor brought it to national attention, is the story we’ll talk about here, this week on Small Towns, Big Stories.
  1. In September of last year, Lucy Lu Kayser died after some health issues. Lucy was forced her to step down as Mayor of Rabbit Hash, Ky in 2016. Bobbi Kayser, her owner, posted a tribute to Lucy Lu on Facebook to announce the news.
  1. “She was an astounding canine who brought joy to many more people that just her immediate family,” Kayser posted. “I’m so proud to have known her and shared these short years on earth with her. Run free and easy, sweet girl. Momma loves you.”
  1. Sorry, I get all teary eyed just thinking about that. I don’t know what I’d do without my dog, Chloe, and she doesn’t do much more than lay around and inadvertently pose for pictures to be posted on Instagram.
  1. Lucy Lu was a bit more than that – although I think she’d probably be an Instagram star now, given the opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to follow a dog who was mayor? People follow Jerry Springer, don’t they?
  1. In fact, Lucy Lou was the third canine mayor of Rabbit Hash, succeeding Junior Cochran, a black Labrador retriever. Goofy Borneman-Calhoun, the first canine mayor of Rabbit Hash, was elected in 1998 to serve a four year term. Goofy died in office in July 2001.
  1. After that, the post remained unfilled and un-thought of until the next election three years later in 2004. Junior assumed office and almost immediately garnered local attention when it was determined that his presence at the Rabbit Hash General Store was a health code violation. Junior’s owner petitioned the Northern Kentucky Department of Health to let him enter the general store since, well, he WAS the mayor and all…
  1. If you’ve never been to Rabbit Hash, you really should go. Located in Northern Kentucky, it’s just down the river from Florence and Burlington, Kentucky and consists of 12 buildings, 6 “structures” and 315 residents, for the most part. Started in the early 1830s, the town was originally called “Carlton” – like Carlton the Doorman from the 1970s TV show Rhoda? Remember? Or like the cousin of the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? If you’re old like me, you’re now saying “This is Carlton the Doorman” in a monotone voice, aren’t you? And if you’re not old like me, you’re doing the Carlton dance in your head now, right? Mental ear worms and images like that will stick with you all day… HA!
  1. Anyway, Rabbit Hash was known as Carlton, and in the mid-1800s post office officials asked them to change the town’s name because they (and others) were getting it confused with nearby Carrollton. According to the town legend, the town got its name from the dish it served up to visitors – Rabbit Hash.
  1. In the late 1700s/early 1800s, the town was known for its abundance of rabbits. And if you’ve ever been out that way, you can see why, it’s just miles and miles of lush farm land next to the Ohio River. But, because it’s near the river, it doesn’t look like great farmland, probably because of flooding. So, if you don’t have lots of cows to eat, you eat what you’ve got right? And what they had was lots of rabbits…
  1. In 1847, the story goes, the residents were gathered in the country store in the center of town talking about what they would be eating for Christmas Dinner. One of the townsfolk said he’d be serving rabbit hash for dinner. Villagers thought it was a hoot and nicknamed HIM Rabbit Hash, but… later on, when it became a popular dish to serve to passengers on steamboats traveling up and down the Ohio River, the town became synonymous with the food it was known for, and Rabbit Hash was what people started calling it.
  • I just think that’s kind of poetic justice for bullies, but… that’s just my take on it, so I’m not sure that means much.
  • And because I know you’re wondering, Hash, if you’ve never eaten it, comes from the French word “hacher” which means “to chop.” In England, and many other parts of the world, money and resource-conscious wives would use as much of their leftovers as possible to make sure there was no waste.
  • Basically, when there was a need to use leftover meat, you would chop it all up with veggies, season it and throw it into a skillet for dinner. By the mid-1900s, Irish immigrants made corned beef hash popular in places like Boston, but “hash” was really a staple in late-19th, early 20t h century kitchens everywhere.
  • We all know some place that serves up corned beef or roast beef hash, right? There’s a place here in Lexington on Harrodsburg Road called Tack House Pub that I am dying to run up to. They’ve got a dish on their breakfast menu called The Giacomo, described as “Our soon to be famous corned beef hash with three eggs any style.” My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
  • I remember eating corned beef hash with my dad on the weekends my mother would go back to see her family in Ashland, KY. Basically, anything we ate when we were left with Dad was fried… fried eggs, fried baloney, fried apples, fried potatoes and skillet fried corned beef hash. Out of a can. Dinty Moore, I think. I don’t know for sure. But seriously, those weekends are why I love fried bologna, fried eggs, fried potatoes and fried apples for breakfast to this day.
  • Pretty sure none of that is allowed on any health diet anywhere, but damn does it taste like home to me.
  • Anyway, like what they call extenders with fried chicken, hash has always been a way to make more of a meal for those around your dinner table. Extenders things that “extend” the meal – so, like if you were to take some of the batter that you put on your fried chicken and mix it up with a little more cornmeal or flour and milk, and then fried it up, that’s an extender… Or you can think of an extended as the softened bread you add to meatloaf, or celery in tuna salad… It’s just a way to take a little something-something and add it to a dish so it will last all the way around the table, which means more for people to eat and consequently makes people’s plates (and consequently bellies) fuller. After all, the measure of a good southern hostess isn’t really what the table cloth and dishes look like, but how full your guests’ plates are. It’s true! I swear on my Aunt Sue’s Goulash recipe, it’s true.
  • With rabbit hash, the recipe is simple:  chop the rabbit into small pieces, add some diced potatoes and onions, season with salt, pepper and sage and fry it up in a little grease (preferably lard) in a cast iron skillet ‘til the potatoes are browned and crispy. This means mushing it down a little and leaving it alone until the veggies start to get browned bits on them. And that, right there, is why I have such a hard time cooking anything with the word “hash” in its title, namely because I have no patience for just leaving a dish alone on the stove for seven to nine minutes without futzing with it.
  • The funny thing though was that as I was researching “rabbit hash,” I found one recipe online that was supposedly from an old 1800s cookbook. Below the recipe there were a few comments, but one in particular caught my eye – “How do you modify this to feed 315 people?” it read.
  • Anyway, like I said, if you’ve never been to Rabbit Hash, you’re really missing out. You drive along country roads past Florence and Burlington along the Ohio River, until you come to a right turn in the midst of a few trees. The road to the right goes down and curves right, then left, and then the next thing you know you’re in this little town. There’s the general store and a picturesque little field next to the river, and a few other buildings, but really there’s not much else – or at least there wasn’t when we were there.
  • Back then, and this was probably 2004, there was a general store and a barn. When we were there last the barn was serving as the town’s meeting place. There were a few posts down the middle of the barn, with a counter-like shelf that connected all of them. On one side of the barn there were chairs, and on the other side was a band and dance floor. In the middle, on the shelf, appeared to be, what I can only describe as a motorcycle gang pot luck.
  • Everyone came in off of their motorcycles and set down their dishes, and it was like “help yourself, then come dance!” I was a little taken aback when I saw it honestly. First, you never know what other people’s kitchens are like, and I’ve seen enough people cook to know that not everyone washes their hands when they cook as often as I and most of my friends do. It’s not every day that you ponder whether or not the dish you’re about to eat ever came into contact with insects traveling over 65 miles per hour…
  • Anyway, beside the barn was this field that led straight up to the water. We took the kids there and watched the steamboats go by, and then let them play in the playground a bit before turning back to the dancing andmusic. The band was playing. People were pulling their favorite beverages out of coolers. We headed to the General Store to grab cokes and fruit punch for the kids. It really was a great time.
  • The General store has always been a draw to the area, not only in the early 2000s, but in the late 1800s as well. It was a popular place for river boats to stop. The flat field that led to the river looks like it would have made a natural stopping off point. But, there’s really little known about the early years in Rabbit Hash. Floods in 1884, 1913 and 1937 destroyed many of the town’s records. All that remains is a little mud in the attic of the general store where the Ohio River crested at 79.9 feet during the flood of ’37. Homes, a creamery, a tobacco warehouse and a blacksmith’s shop were washed away in that flood, but the general store stood, thanks to iron bars that anchored it to the ground. Having lost previous buildings in previous floods, the townsfolk decided it would be best to anchor the general store down, I guess.
  • Sixty years later, in 1997, when the store was in need of repair, the townspeople decided to hold an election. A fundraising election. In order to be mayor, you had to win the election, and it was $1 per vote. Residents and visitors were encouraged to vote early and vote often. And the ballot consisted mostly of people’s pets. Honestly, who would want to run against a dog… can you imagine how hard it would be to say you lost to the family pet? That’s how Goofy won his office – by raising the most money. All the money raised during the election was used to make repairs to the General Store.
  • Similarly, the election of 2004, when Junior won, helped make repairs and changes to the General Store. Junior died in office on May 30, 2008.
  • It wasn’t until August 31, 2008 that another election was held to fill his substantial paw prints. Lucy Lu was elected and became the town’s first female mayor.
  • Now, whether it was because she was the first female mayor, or that someone needed something interesting to write about, or just that it caught the main stream media’s attention at the right time, Lucy Lu started making waves for Rabbit Hash. She had a “Talking Points” walk with Bill Geist on CBS Sunday Morning. She was named Best Elected Official three years in a row by my former employer Cincinnati City Beat. She received a $1,000 stimulus check from Readers’ Digest as part of their “We Hear You America Tour.” She appeared as part of a Canadian television series “The List.” And she served as the grand marshal of the Covington Paw-rade.
  • In 2015, Lucy Lou’s office, propelled by her fame, we’re sure, announced that she was considering a run for President… I’m sure she could have taken Trump in a debate. Bobbie Kayser, Lucy Lou’s owner and then campaign manager, said at the time “All the other candidates are dogs, why shouldn’t a real one run?” Sadly, Lucy Lou was forced to step down from her office and from her presidential campaign due to health issues. She was the only mayor so far not to die in office.  
  • During the latest election in November 2016, a pit bull named Brynneth Paw-ltrow won the mayoral seat left open by Lucy Lou by raising more than $3,000 for Rabbit Hash.  
  • That election raised more than $9,000 for the restoration of the General Store, Kentucky’s oldest. Unfortunately, the General Store was caught up in a fire in 2017.
  • Of course, Rabbit Hash isn’t the only place in America with an animal mayor. I’m sure that comes as a shock to no one who has paid attention to anything remotely newsworthy in America lately.
  • In the late 1990s, the people of Talkeetna, Alaska, population 900 or so, elected Stubbs the cat as mayor via write-in vote. The story goes that a handful of residents didn’t like ANY of the candidates running, so the encouraged the write-in vote and Stubbs, a big orange tabby, won. Stubbs was mayor for 20 years before his death in 2017. Sunol, California residents voted in Bosco, a Labrador-Rottweiler mix, who served for 13 years as mayor. Bosco gained international fame when the communist publication “The People’s Daily” used him as an example that democracy didn’t work. Revolutionaries in pro-democratic China used him as a symbol of pro-democracy in a rally outside of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.
  • In Lajitas, Texas, voters put a goat named Henry Clay the 3rd in office as mayor of the small town. Clay is the third in his family to serve as mayor. His grandfather started the political legacy back in 1986 when he was elected mayor. Now, the current Clay spends most of his time beating the heat of the small southern village by drinking beer, Mental Floss reported in 2012, mostly provided by tourists. Would I travel all the way to Texas to buy a beer for a goat? Uhm…. In a word? Yes.
  • One of Bryneth’s competitors, Bourbon, an Australian shepherd, raised came in second in the 2016 election. Lady Stone, another border collie, came in third. That year, for the first time ever, Rabbit Hash gave runners-up Bourbon and Lady Stone official positions, and they now serve as Ambassadors for Rabbit Hash and are ready, in case the mayor is unable to fulfill her duties, to step in as needed.
  • Like the results of the election, Rabbit Hash is changing too. Now, thanks in part to Lucy Lou’s national, if not international, influence, the town has begun to upgrade a bit. There’s a new place to stay – the Hashienda – that offers river views and porches from which to listen to music. The General Store now carries Bybee pottery and all things Kentucky. And the town is a little more popular these days, serving as a refuge for everyone from bikers to bongo players and from musicians to the middle aged.
  • Was Lucy Lou DIRECTLY responsible for all of this? I wouldn’t say that she did it all herself. But her presence, as well as those of the other dog mayors on the national stage certainly opened up people’s minds to Rabbit Hash and made it a much more known place in Kentucky… I mean, surely you’ve heard of Rabbit Hash more than you have nearby Big Bone Lick or Sugar Tit, am I right?
  • Well, that’s it for this time. I’m Liz Carey and I hope you’ll join me again next week for Small Towns, Big Stories, when we’ll talk about how Honea Path, SC helped to change the face of labor in America. Give us a shout at lizcarey@charter.net, or check us out on Facebook at Liz Carey, writer. Or leave us a comment here! We’re always interested in new stories about small towns and what to expect if you go there. Until next time, remember, its’s always the little things in life – be it towns or women – that make life extra-ordinary… (says the five foot four chic…) Thanks for listening to Small Towns, Big Stories!
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Making Ninjabreadmen

When my boys were younger, near the middle of December you’d find them gathered around the kitchen table, their fingers and lips covered in multiple hues of icing, hovered over a plate of sugar cookies.

But as they got older, I had to resort to some really sneaky tricks to get them interested in spending time decorating cookies with their old men.

For years, every Christmas, my sons and I decorated Christmas cookies. I’d bake up a batch of sugar cookies and we’d make a day of it, always somehow eating our mistakes. Sometimes, they’d even invite their friends over to help cover Santas and angles and reindeer in frosting.

One year, in our little house on the Little Miami River, all of the neighbor kids came to the house and we had a gingerbread house decorating contest. Everything was going along great until one of the kids decided his house was a black reindeer shed, and all of the kids decided to follow suit and turn their cute little houses into the most disgusting thing they could think of.

Kids are gross. Just saying.

But as the years went by, the boys lost interest in spending time in the kitchen with mom. There was basketball practice to go to and video games that were begging to be played. Mom’s love of family bonding kind of fell by the wayside. And the idea of making cookies, that was definitely a girl thing to do, and not exactly at the top of their to do list.

I found though, that if I let them eat the cookies as we decorated them, they found that particular holiday tradition a little easier to swallow. Also, it seemed, withholding holiday peanut butter fudge was a perfectly acceptable way to “encourage” participation.

It wasn’t until they had girlfriends that I was able to pique their interest again. I asked them to bring over the girls so I could meet them, promising to serve cookies and hot cocoa.

It was the girls, then, that would see me with all the cookies laid out, and all the decorations waiting to go on the cookies who would decide that decorating was a cool idea.

The girls would come around the table and ooh and ahh, and the boys, noting an opportunity to look cool and do something fun with their girlfriends, would join them.

It didn’t seem fair though to force them to do something they didn’t want to do. I felt like I needed to find a way for them to be interested in cookie decorating for Christmas on their own accord. Enter ninjabread men and ugly sweaters. Along with the traditional cookies, I cut out a few flying ninjas in mid-karate kick, and a few sweaters.

Like I always had, I lined the tables with wax paper, put out bowls of icing and several different kinds of sprinkles, and baked up a batch of cookies. Then I made five ninjas with different colored belts, and two of the ugliest Christmas sweaters I could devise.

When the four of them arrived, I was in full decorating mode – something neither girl had ever done before. Just seeing the ninjabreadmen and ugly sweaters was enough to reel the boys in with or without the girls. They couldn’t wait to try their hand at decorating. Within minutes, the boys and their dates were busy creating some pretty ugly sweaters and decorating ninjas for stealthy combat.

This year, when I asked if they wanted to decorate cookies with them, it didn’t take any time at all for them to say yes. There was no eye rolling. There were no deep sighs or protests. There was just “Sure, mom. We’d love to.” My youngest and I will head in the kitchen later on tonight, and we’ll have a blast until its time to watch some holiday television.

For a while, I didn’t think I’d be able to get the boys back to the decorating table. I knew they were growing out of love with stuff that was too mom-ish, and not action-filled enough. But now, it’s a tradition that we all treasure – ugly sweaters, flying karate kicks and all.

The 12 Days Before Christmas

Years ago, my then-husband and I were coming home from some holiday gathering and we started making up words to Christmas carols, as one does when faced with the stress of the season. Clearly, our version of the classic Christmas carol isn’t exactly as uplifting, but it still gives one a little chuckle, and that’s more of a present than a lump of coal, right? 

And because the holidays are just as filled with stress as they are with joy, we came up with our own version of a holiday classic  – as well as one song that will never see the light of day during these days of un-offensiveness.

The 12 Days Before Christmas
(sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)

On the twelfth day before Christmas, my true love said to me
“I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the eleventh day before Christmas, my true love said to me
“All the malls are full,
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the tenth day before Christmas, my true love said to me 
“I hate this season, 
All the malls are full,
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the ninth day before Christmas, my true love said to me,
“Prices are outrageous,
I hate this season, 
All the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the eighth day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“Nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the mall are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the seventh day before Christmas, my true love said to me,
“The Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the sixth day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“Payroll lost my paycheck, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the fifth day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“The cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full,
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

This santa just wants to party.Vintage film style processing.

On the fourth day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“Santa smells like whiskey, 
the cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the third day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“My family’s coming over, 
Santa smells like whiskey, 
the cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the second day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“We got another fruit cake, 
my family’s coming over, 
Santa smells like whiskey, 
the cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the last day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“I have to work tomorrow, 
we got another fruit cake, 
my family’s coming over, 
Santa smells like whiskey, 
the cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Copyright 2018 (C) Liz Carey LLC

Staying safe in Dangerous Times:  A Primer for boys and sexual assault

kavanaugh trumpPresident Trump put it all too well – “It’s a very scary time for young men in America.”

And he’s right. He’s so right. How frightening it must be to know that you could be sitting there at a party, chilling with your best buds, having a large time, and then, the next thing you know, some 20 or 30 years later, that errant hug, friendly wrestling match or slipping kiss will turn out to have offended someone.

Go figure.

And it is a scary thing to know that you could be on the top of your game and have something innocuous take you down, just like the President said. “”You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something.” You know… like Brett Kavanaugh.

We women fell for you. Honestly, we know where you’re coming from… we’ve been there. And now that all of our sexual assault worries are over, we thought we’d give you a few tips on how to survive these dangerous times.

  1. guys drinking beerBe careful how much you drink. You know, we know that EVERYONE drinks in high school and college, but really, when you put yourself in a situation and you have more than a drink or, at the outset, two, you put yourself at risk of making it look like you were asking for it. If you’re not completely in control of yourself, then you probably deserved whatever you got.
  2. popped collarsThink about what you’re wearing. Do you really need to look THAT cool? Would it hurt you to maybe not look so cute? You really don’t want anyone to notice you, let alone think you’re attractive. They might remember you and even step over to talk to you. That’s step one in identifying someone as a possible sexual assault perpetrator.
  3. signs-hes-flirtingDon’t flirt too much. Again, you don’t want anyone to think that you might even have been thinking about sex. Flirting with women is like putting a target on your back that says “I’m a sexual predator!”
  4. Make sure someone knows where you are; travel in twos and threes; don’t go to the bathroom alone. If you’re alone, a woman can just pop out of nowhere and say you were somewhere doing something you shouldn’t have been doing. saults happen in private. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you don’t have someone else there to have your back or protect you.
  5. guys group of threePay close attention to your surroundings. Look around you. Is someone paying too much attention to you? Could that person potentially have not so innocent thoughts about you? Better not risk embarrassment years from now. Ensure you know who you’re with and whether or not you’re safe.
  6. Designate a party dad or a sober party goer. When you go out in a group, take turns being the designated party dad. Someone really needs to be sober, so they can keep everyone else out of trouble, or come up with the alibi that will stand up in court.
  7. Carry your cell phone with you always, and make sure you can contact your friends in case of an emergency. If you’re ever faced with a situation where you don’t trust yourself, or the person you’re with, make sure you can call a friend to come help you. Whether it’s getting you out of potentially assault-y type scenario, or you just don’t feel like you’re with someone you can trust, have someone who’s got your back on speed dial.
  8. partyStay away from those parties in the first place. Let’s be honest. Nice guys don’t really go to parties like that in the first place. The kind of guys who aren’t going to get accused of sexual assault are the kind of guys who aren’t putting themselves in harm’s way by going to those types of parties. You really can do yourself a huge favor by just keeping yourself out of those kinds of get-togethers. It’s just safer for you, you know?

It may seem like a lot to think about just to protect yourself from being accused of sexual assault, but an ounce of prevention goes a long way in ensuring your credibility and preventing anyone from being able to permanently damage your reputation. We know. We’ve been doing these same things for decades, all in the name of protecting ourselves.

But enough about us. It’s a dangerous time out there for guys. We women have literally hundreds of thousands of stories we’ve stored up about men behaving badly, and all because those guys didn’t take the time to protect themselves. What were we thinking, being so narrow minded and obtuse? It’s time we step up and do what we can to protect men. We’re glad to help.

If it will keep just one guy safe from a decades old accusation someday in the future, well… then… it’s worth it, isn’t it?

 

Copyright Liz Carey, LLC 2018

You can go home again

Years ago – a lifetime ago really – I left Versailles, KY with the idea that I’d never look back.

In fact, I swore, I would never come back to a high school reunion until I was rich, skinny and successful. I guess one out of three ain’t too bad…

As I drove away, I saw myself living in a city, in the middle of the action, scurrying about from one important meeting to the next being a busy, busy boss lady.

Versailles was slow. Versailles was country. Versailles meant horses and hardware stores and home cookin’.

Not that I didn’t love all of that, but I had spent much of my time growing up in our local library reading books about how magical everywhere else was. It made Versailles seem so much “less” than everywhere else.

So I left. And I lived in the city. And I made new friends. And I rushed around like my hair was on fire doing everything I could to squeeze in all that life had to offer me.

But when I needed a rest, or I wanted some peace, I came back home. I came back to the place where crickets sang me to sleep, and the moon set like a glowing flashlight over horse fields, and the most beautiful site to see was the view from my mom’s back porch.

When I got married, we moved to South Carolina where we could raise our boys in a smaller city that still had that hometown feel. Our kids thrived and grew into adventurous, kind and loving young men who held doors open for their girlfriends (and their mom), and said “yes, sir” and “no, sir” and “Thank you, ma’am”.

But still, when I wanted to feel at ease, we went to Versailles. When the stress got too much, or the pressures of work were overwhelming, or when I wanted to feel grounded, I went back home to the small town where people knew my name, where strangers smiled on the street corners, and where one of the best lunches in the county came from a drug store counter.

In South Carolina, we learned how to eat and talk Southern; how Kentucky wasn’t really part of the South; how hot is “really hot,” and what 3-5 inches of snow in the South really looks like. There were ups and downs transitioning into the Deep South. As a blue dog Democrat, I didn’t really fit into a solidly red state, but somehow I managed. And as a Kentucky girl educated in Ohio, I was placed solidly in that “You’re not from around here, are you?” category from the moment I crossed into the Carolinas.

But recently, I needed a soft place to land when things began to fall apart around me. I came back to the safest place I knew – my mom’s house in Versailles. And although it has been 30 years since I lived here, while nothing seems the same, everything seems familiar. The lightning bugs in June. The smell of fresh mowed hay. The sun that sets across the street from my Mom’s front door.

For a while, it felt like I didn’t I fit in – like I didn’t really belong to anywhere. I didn’t fit in in Cincinnati anymore. I wasn’t a part of South Carolina anymore. I wasn’t sure I’d ever fit in with all these familiar strangers in Versailles.

It wasn’t until I confided in a friend about how out of place I felt that I realized what home really means. She helped me see what a true blessing growing up in a small town like Versailles really is. When I said “I feel like I don’t belong here, like I don’t really fit in anymore,” she replied “You’ll always fit in here. You’re from here. It never left you, you just left it for a while.”

Maybe that’s why it always feels so safe – Versailles never left me. It was always here, waiting for me to come back.

And now, it seems, Versailles is so much “more” than all those places I ran away to.

It’s comforting to me, while my life is in such upheaval. It’s supportive of me. It’s empowering to me. It’s so much more than any place else I’ve ever lived.

And that’s a powerful thing to know, for me. That my hometown is here. That my family and friends are here. That my life as I once knew it is here. That, in truth, my home is here, and never left me, even as I wandered off to find myself in places I’d never been before. It was always here. It never left me.

And, in a way, I guess I never really left it either. It was always with me, no matter how far away I ran. And it always will be here – inside of me.

Damn, it’s good to be home.

Things no Southern cook will ever say

There are some words and phrases you’ll just never hear come out of certain peoples’ mouth.

Like, you’ll never hear from a UK basketball fan “Wow, that was a close game. I like it when the teams are evenly matched like that.” No, what you’ll hear a Kentucky basketball fan say is “What the heck is going on!? They only won by 10! They’re just not the powerhouse team they were back in the day…”

And you’ll never hear them say “Gee, I really miss the Eddie Sutton days.” Or “I totally understand why Rick Patino would want to coach at Louisville, and I totally supported his decision.” And “I didn’t even put UK in my March Madness bracket this year.”

Similarly, you’ll never hear a Cincinnati Bengals fan say “Nah, my Bengals have never let me down.” Or “I’m really surprised they lost that game in the last 10 minutes – never saw THAT coming!” Or “That game had some great refs! They really played like crap, but the refs were spot on when it came to making those calls!”

In that vein, there are things you’ll never hear a Southern cook say either…

  • Honey, I think this has too much bacon in it.
  • Oh, Lord, don’t put so much barbecue sauce on it, you’ll cover up the flavor of the meat.
  • Nah, I don’t have any particular recipe for making collards… I just throw them in the pot and go.Collard-Greens-with-Smoked-Turkey-Wings-Recipe
  • Hmmmm… this probably has too many calories in it already, I’ll just use this low-fat margarine instead of butter.
  • Honestly, there’s really no difference between store bought, homegrown and hothouse tomatoes.
  • You mean people make biscuits that don’t come out of a can?
  • Of course it’s vegan!
  • My mother never cooked that well when we were growing up to be honest.
  • BOILED peanuts? Ewwww.

    boiled peanuts
    So much ewwww.
  • Absolutely, I use measuring cups and measuring spoons! How on earth are you supposed to get the recipe right without them?
  • I think I’ll make steamed veggies tonight.
  • Rats, I’m out of Cajun seasoning…. I guess I’ll just switch to Greek.
  • I think this tea has too much sugar in it… Where’s the mint?
  • I always put cinnamon and cocoa in my chili for a really hip taste.
  • I think we’ll just have sub sandwiches at the tailgate party this weekend.

    Tailgating-19-595
    You know why they don’t have anyone at their tailgate? Because they’re serving subs and they don’t know how to play cornhole, that’s why. Sheesh…
  • I don’t even think I HAVE a recipe that calls for cooking anything more than two hours.
  • Lord, yes, I love my instapot!
  • There’s no art to barbecue, you just throw it on the grill and walk away for a few hours. Easy as pie.
  • You’ve just got to try my new recipe for quinoa flavored with jicama and harissa. It’s just to DIE for….
  • You can’t fry everything…

Skillet-Fried-Chicken_30_frying
To which every good Southern cook says, “The hell you can’t!”

Okay – your turn!

Are there things YOU think no good Southern cook would ever say?

Leave them in the comments below!

Copyright Liz Carey, LLC 2018

Anderson’s Blue Laws

As anyone from Anderson, SC, knows, if you want to throw back a cold one watching the game on Sunday, you better buy your beverage of choice the night before.Blue Laws 1.12.17

Anderson’s “Blue Laws,” prohibiting liquor sales on Sunday, are a throwback to a time when properly observing the Sabbath meant Sunday was a day of rest – for businesses as well as residents.

But did you know that Anderson’s Blue Laws once forbid the sale of another “intoxicating” beverage – Coca Cola?

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