Big Red Surprise

My brother, Steve, lived in California with his family of four children. He had told his kids about Kentucky where he was born and raised. Some things were significant, I guess, but some were just about simple memories. It seems that California, at that time, lacked two staples that he missed, Big Red Soda and White Castle Hamburgers. I found it hard to believe that Big Red could not be bought there, in that state that had so much that Kentucky didn’t have. I did understand that the White Castle chain may not have reached the West Coast. Apparently he told his kids, particularly the oldest son, that when they came to Kentucky he would be sure that they had the privilege of both of these culinary delights.

As fate would have it he brought the family home and instead of taking the kids out for these things he’d promised, he first needed to visit a favorite aunt who he had not seen for a few years. No problem! I was an aunt too and in an effort to become their favorite, I loaded them all into my SUV and out we went to White Castle several miles away. I was also thrilled to have my young granddaughter, Katie, there to go with us too. The kids were less than impressed with the onion laden hamburgers but ate them without complaint. If fact, I was so eager to give them this great experience that I stuffed these kiddos with White Castle staples.

They were good kids and pretty quiet on the drive home as I told them that Big Reds awaited them at my house. When we got there I prepared desserts, Big Red Floats! For each child I added vanilla ice cream to a tall glass and then poured it over with Big Red. They ate, they drank, they loved the dessert! By the time their parents came home, I had a house full of nauseated kids. Some were white. Some were green. One was vomiting athletically.

When you think you are helping out, if it involves kids, greasy burgers and Big Red, think long and hard before enacting your benevolent plan.


“The Second Grave”

“The Second Grave” by Carl Wedekind

Attorney Wedekind writes about violence in Kentucky’s history beginning in 1742 and through the end of the twentieth century. His purpose is to demonstrate that as the state has transitioned from the days of lynchings, duels and family feuds abolishing capital punishment should naturally follow.

The reasons most often given in favor of the death penalty are:

  1. Executions will deter murder by others in the future
  2. Society’s sense of justice demands executions
  3. Victim’s families loss and grief requires executions for justice and closure
  4. It is a waste of taxpayers’ money to keep a murderer locked up for life with free room and board
  5. Rehabilitation of a murderer is unlikely or impossible

The author addresses each of these and gives both examples and statistics to disprove each. He is for the abolishment of capital punishment and presents a strong case.

Because this book is dated (copyright 1999) I started to not review it here, but after more thought I changed my mind. It is still relevant to the discussion of capital punishment and the history of Kentucky is similar to that of other states. The truths apply universally and over time.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject of capital punishment whether for or against. It will also be of interest to any Kentuckian.

The Kentucky Oaks


Today is the Day of the Fillies!

The Kentucky Oaks horse race is for female horses called “fillies” and runs each year the day before the Kentucky Derby.

A few things, besides gender, are different about the Oaks race. The fillies carry 121# of weight as compared to 126# for the Derby and the race is a little shorter. The winning filly is draped in a blanket of lillies, rather than roses, as pink-clad ladies in their fancy hats cheer!


“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries.” Will Rogers



Photos by Pixabay

Dianne Bynum’s Book Review

“The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”

This book was a fun surprise. My friend got me interested in this book when she asked me if I’d ever heard about the Blue people of Kentucky. I had, of course, I’ve lived in Kentucky my whole life. We’re known for moonshine, young brides and horse racing. The Blue people were another odd piece of our crazy quilt history. I knew that they had existed but they were just another cringe causing claim to fame for my home state.

I live in Kentucky and have spent some hot summers in the Appalachian Mountains. My family helped with several church ministries in the mountains. I’ve driven on narrow roads created by heavy trucks burdened with dirty coal. I’ve seen tiny houses tucked in dark hollers. I know the suspicious eyes of people that didn’t trust anyone but Mountain people. Those summers taught me a respect for these proud people that lived difficult isolated lives. It was my first experience with real poverty, but it was a financial poverty, not a poverty of spirit. Their beautiful voices, meticulous gardens, and pride in their beautiful mountains were things I never forgot. I was curious to learn more.

The author tells a beautiful story of a strong woman sprinkled with some interesting facts about the Blues. She is respectful of the subject with reliable documentation and photos. I’d never heard of the Book Women and I was touched to know that was a part of our Kentucky heritage. I’m glad I was curious enough to give this book a try.