Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cordial welcomes

The next morning the Halls rose early and decided that since they were overnighting in the capital city of Kentucky, that perhaps they should give it a look. Frankfort, Kentucky has a charming little downtown district that is virtually undrivable, but somehow Mr. Hall managed to taxi the rental on to Broadway and into a parking spot. They wandered around for awhile, checking out the locals (which as photographic evidence will show, like to keep control of the populace by tethering the youngsters together) and some vintage bookstores. Their ultimate goal: the Rebecca-Ruth Candy Company. The story of this female rags to riches entrepreneurial venture started peculiarly enough, in the backroom of an old bar hall, closed due to prohibition. This was unusual for two counts; one: because very few women of that time were starting businesses in the midst of a depression, and two: because their main claim to fame is a little bombshell of a bon bon known as a Bourbon Ball. The proprietors of the business, in their very successful method of advertising, offer lots of free samples of all their wares to incoming customers, and because the Halls not only visited the premises, but took the candy making tour as well, they were doubly exposed to the delightfully intoxicating treasures. "Holy cow," Mrs. Hall whispered to Mr. Hall, after trying the first of half a dozen of the bracing candies. "These babies pack a wallop!" "Here," he said, and offered her a mint julep one; "Try this for a chaser." Vowing to purchase some more via the internet at a more temperate time of the year, the Halls staggered back to their car, took a quick spin around the capital building and they were off.
Maybe it was the carefree breakfast they had enjoyed, but Mrs. Hall felt an urge for a quick knosh come a little earlier that day, so checking their notes and making a short change to the flightplan, they were able to detour over to the circle drive on the way to Lexington and the famous Parkette Drive In. Opened originally in 1951, it had been sold and repurchased and refurbished recently. Looking as bright and neon-y as its earlier days, the Parkette had become a landmark in the Lexington suburban area. The Halls sidled up to the counter. "What would you like?" asked Mr. Hall, but as soon as he saw the menu, he knew what she would say. "They have Vienna Beef Hot Dogs here!!" Mrs. Hall exclaimed. That pretty much settled the question.
Wiping the remnants of bright green relish and celery salt (but NO ketchup!) off their lips, they finished the rest of the drive into Lexington. Mile after mile of horse farms flew by, lazily covering the lush landscape with white fences and magnificent homes. "We got to indulge your passion for the racetrack and the motorcar; now it's time to indulge mine. We're going to spend some time checking out the horses," said Mrs. Hall. Kentucky Horse Park is a huge complex of horse shows, resident barns, working stables and museum exhibits. Arriving just in time to catch the parade of breeds, the Halls worked their way around the acres, standing here, sitting in the show barns there and generally sucking up the culture of the bluegrass. It was a delightful afternoon. Mr. Hall even impressed Mrs. Hall as a surprisingly good judge of horseflesh; while watching one of the Arabian two year old competitions for fillies in the barn, Mr. H. successfully chose four of the five top place holders, in order. Before they left, they strolled over to the Former Champions stables to see who was retired to paddock on the grounds. They were pleased to find a New York connection living there: Funny Cide, the first New York bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 2003. Included for the Gentle Reader's pleasure is a picture to the left of him showing his funny side to Mr. Hall.
Next episode: Lynchburg, TN and a spirited rivalry. Stay tuned!

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