Oh Kentucky

June 10th, 2008

This is a photo of me with my grandfather in the tobacco field he sharecropped in Kentucky. He was indifferent and often callous to his 6 daughters, ┬ábut I adored him and I think the feeling was mutual. I was a “town” girl who traveled 100 miles to the country every summer to stay with my grandparents in their house with no indoor plumbing, air conditioning or television. I loved every minute. Once when I was homesick, my stern, unemotional grandfather drove into the nearest town on his tractor to buy me fresh oranges. When I was a toddler, he carried me to the barn one night to listen to an owl. He convinced me it was talking to me and I still believe it. Can you say “princess”? My father was on a ship in the Pacific in WWII for my first two years so we never really bonded, and my grandfathers and my uncle were the only men in my life. When I was a baby, my uncle would come home from a night of carousing, wake me up, put “Brazil” on the record player and dance me around the room. I had a mostly absent and distant father all my life, but I had fresh orange juice, midnight dances and owls who knew my name.

6 Responses to “Oh Kentucky”

  1. ida b. says:


  2. dragonflyjourneys4women says:

    I had a grandpa (Papa) and an uncle like this too. I remember my uncle taking me for ice cream one Christmas so Santa could come to bring me a new bike. My Papa once bartered carpentry work for a slide, which he mounted in a giant oak – just for me. Thank you for reminding me of these father figures who meant so much.

  3. Margaret says:

    i adore this! what a great photo.

  4. Summer Pierre says:

    ida took the word right out of my mouth–but here;s another one: gorgeous.

  5. Di Mackey says:


  6. nativekee says:

    wow. what a beautiful story & image… i am totally in that barn with you listening to that owl… (though it's a private language only you two share, i am in awe of it's beauty)
    thanks for taking me there!
    i also come from stern & loving tobacco men & my grandfather had a very special place in my heart!