Columns

2007.07.15 A long weekend in Kentucky

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

Where did I go wrong? I just returned from my summer vacation (four days) and I’m wondering how I can possibly make a newspaper in a day and a half.

I have no photos. I’ve written only one news story. The city council agenda looks pretty weak, news-wise. I might have to dig into my secret folder to pull out an emergency feature story that I’ve saved just for an occasion such as this.

But only four days of vacation? OK, so I took a little time in the spring to visit my son and I’d really like to get up north for at least a weekend. How can a person go an entire year without staring at Lake Michigan for a while?

I ask where I went wrong because I read today that George Bush has averaged 62 days a year off the job since he was elected president. He’s trailing Ronald Reagan 436-418 in total days off and he has 528 days remaining in office. That’s a long time. That’s a lot more vacation yet to come.

So I took a short vacation, but it was surprisingly good. It was satisfying beyond expectations. That’s saying a lot since it was all centered around a wedding—an event I typically don’t mind avoiding. I do recall saying to my wife at one point, “If we still had young kids, I wouldn’t be here anymore.”

I think that comment was made during a lull in the action following the reception meal. We were abandoned at our table, we didn’t feel like going off visiting with strangers, and it was past my bedtime.

I remembered years past when we seemed to almost always take our kids along to events and at some point they would get bored or tired or loud and I would have to leave the scene with then, darn it. I missed many exchanging of the rings because I was out wandering around the church yard to provide child care.

This wedding was no church service. Everything took place in the wilds of Kentucky, at Cumberland Falls State Park. The ceremony itself was a public affair. The invited guests sat in chairs, but any visitor to the falls at that moment could stop and watch, and several of them did.

It’s such a great area of the country. I mentioned the need earlier to stare at a big lake. I’ll take the big rocks of that area as a substitute.

As usual, we allowed geocaching to take to interesting places. I looked up some hidden caches on the geocaching website before we left, then the four of us (the two daughters were alone) headed out to search on Friday.

First came the immense natural arch. Incredible beauty. We didn’t find the cache, but it didn’t matter with the big rock to look at.

Next we went in search of a particular creek, but the road signs didn’t match the map book and we finally ended up driving down a long, winding single-lane trail that ended up in someone’s back yard.

The dogs were going crazy with excitement. There was a large display of stuffed animal heads along the back porch. The owner was just emerging from the house when Rozee shoved the gear into reverse.

We were being a little scared Yankee about the whole situation—it probably would have been a very interesting encounter with a very friendly guy—but off we went back to the park and a close look at the falls.

The three women rode the Mist of the Cumberland or some such name—the rubber raft Kentucky version of the Niagra Falls cruise. I went in search of a geocache and was stymied again.

The next day we went in search of Buzzard Rock. Down a long, long road with no houses for miles. A half-mile walk into a woods. Thoughts of the movie “Deliverance.” There we go again, acting like we’re from some other country.

Eventually the trailed narrowed to a path and it suddenly opened to most incredible view, standing on high rocks overlooking a river far below, with buzzard waiting for our fall. Maybe I don’t need Lake Michigan this summer. Maybe I’m all set with natural beauty.

By noon Sunday we were headed back north, past a man on his porch getting a haircut, past the tobacco fields, heading back to where an unwritten newspaper awaited me.

It was strange to drive back into Morenci again—it always is when you go from here to there in one day—but it didn’t seem too short of a trip. It felt just right, and what more could you want from a little vacation?

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