People have been asking my about my trip and where we went ever since we got back. When I get to the part about Mammoth Cave, they all seem to tilt their heads to the side with curiosity and say "Mammoth Cave? Where is that exactly? I mean what's the closest city?" My reply every time has been "uhhh...." I guess the closest big city would be Louisville, which is about ninety miles north of Mammoth Cave. Michael and I never made it to Louisville. We came close on our last day when our hunt for Lincoln's birth place and boyhood home turned into a hunt for distilleries. Don't worry. We saw all of the Lincoln stuff before we went on our booze hunt. We did a whole lot of driving around that day and not once did we see any sign of a 'city'. Nor did we ever see a sign for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kentucky is very rural. We saw a very large portion of rural America on our vacation.
I've always been quick to pick up accents without intentionally trying to do so. I remember one of my Mississippi cousins making the observation that it was odd that I didn't really have an accent, but at least I didn't sound like a yankee. So...I guess I had that going for me. It only took about one day into visiting with my Mississippi family for me to start picking up their southern drawl. Before I knew it I would be blessin' people's hearts better than my own Aunts could bless them. I figured since it had been more than ten years since my last visit to the south, that I had lost the ability to absorb the local dialect. Not true. We were driving down some pretty winding and hilly roads towards Cave City searching for local radio stations when the dial stopped on a local business commercial. I'm not sure what the business was selling, but the woman started the commercial with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt.
"Do what you can with what you have, where you are."
Except the woman on the radio said it as three separate sentences. "Do what you can." (pause) "With what you have." (pause) "Where you are." (emphasizing the 'r' in are). I took to the phrase immediately and decided that it would be my motto for the rest of the trip. At any given moment I would morph into an alter ego I had named "Louisa". Micheal would stop and ask "Now, what would Louisa have to say about this." and I'd drop right on into emphasizing my Rs. Louisa is a sassy, straight forward woman. Now that I think about it, she really could have come in handy a few days earlier when I had to buy a swimsuit at Walmart because I forgot mine. I was told two different times by the woman at the fitting rooms that I had to "be sure and leave my underthings on" while trying on the swimsuits.
I'm sure Louisa would have no problem responding to these instructions with "But honey, I ain't wearin' underthings. Should I just go git some from lingerie?"