It’s taken me a long time to write about Kentucky. I just haven’t known how to tell the story. In fact, I often get stuck with how to tell, or rather live, the right story. Sometimes I get paralyzed and keep as many stories going as I can for fear of committing to one. It’s why I try to keep friendships with many different people. Friends who are reliable and friends who live more whimsically. Those who share my delight in making plans and those full of last-minute fun. Younger friends with dreams and wild ideas and older friends with inspiring life lessons. It has been the same way with jobs. Even after I switched from education to writing and marketing, I tried to keep my hand in English as a Second Language by volunteer tutoring, serving on an ESL board, and scoring TOEFL tests on the weekend. I still score the tests. I just can’t let it go. But I wonder if sometimes I keep telling (living) the stories after they’re over. I’m afraid to close the book, or even a chapter. And so that brings me back to Kentucky, a state I ran in nine months ago, to decide—for now—the story.
This is what happened. I was in Kentucky with my boyfriend Chuck as part of a bourbon trail trip—a week’s work of tastings and tours, rolling green hills, and hot, sticky runs. One morning in Bardstown I went for a run I planned to be my Kentucky 5K. I remember it was hot, my gray tank top clinging more to my back with each stride. Bardstown is a small town with all the charms of old homes, wide streets, parks, schools, and the ease of seeing all of these on one 5K run. But after jogging through town, I still hadn’t hit 5K. So I started running out of town—up a hill past farms wrapped in white fences. There on the fringes of town I found the quintessential Kentucky moment. I stood in front of a white fence with horses and blue hills in the background and took a selfie in the morning sun, assuming this would be the run I would write about.
The next day Chuck said he wanted to go for a run together. I thought, “Why not? There’s no reason I can’t run twice in Kentucky, back to the beautiful blue hills lined by white fences.” I wanted to share that place with him. We did the same run, past the old homes and wide streets right up to the same fence. We took the same photo I’d taken the day before alone, but together. It wasn’t the first time I ran with Chuck (see Tennessee and Minnesota) and I don’t think it will be the last. It’s simply another story to add to the book—chapters of running alone and chapters of running with another, all part of this Kentucky Woman’s story.