Just Kentucky. You won’t know the name of the town, anyway. Picture what you will. Let your uninformed imagination run wild.
South of the Mason-Dixon line. Barely. A border state in the Civil War. Brother on brother, and all of that.
Bluegrass. Horses. Rolling hills. Appalachia. Barefoot. Yes, my name is Robyn Rae, but no one ever calls me that. Yes, I cry every time I hear, ‘My Old Kentucky Home.’
Where I will always be from.
No, not Covington. Not Newport, either. We could not see the Cincinnati skyline where I grew up. We couldn’t hear the fireworks every time the Reds won. Next to the airport. Yes, the Cincinnati airport is in Kentucky. It’s complicated.
More German than the rest of the state. And richer. Cut off in a little bend in the river, sticking out into Ohio and Indiana. Marooned among the Buckeyes and Hoosiers.
“Does it matter which side of the river you live on?” Yes, it absolutely does.
Yes, the place that has the antique market in the summers. The county seat. The county fair. No, it’s not where Burlington Coat Factory is.
My grandmother’s house in town. The church where I grew up. The elementary school.
The house where I lived for sixteen years. The creek. The woods. The corner store.
Where I live now. In two years, where I will have lived longer than any other place.
Not the worse place to live, but I understand your silence. I roll my own tongue over the word. I watch it scroll by in my head and try it on as home, but I am not quite there.
The only blue state I’ve ever lived in, even if it was just that once. The only time my vote in a presidential election has counted.
A geography I barely know. Is Lafayette northeast or northwest of Indianapolis? How far away is Terre Haute?
Corn fields. There’s no use denying it. Miles and miles of corn fields.
Rolling hills and valleys. Creeks. Sweet tea. Fiddle contests. Cities and towns holding hands across the river. Kentucky visible just around the bend. Hardly Indiana at all, really.
No, not the one in Wisconsin. A historic town on the Ohio River. The largest contiguous national historic landmark in the country. Yes, my house is 170 years old.
The hills always at your back. The power plant towers watching over you. The comfortable valley of the streets. The bridge just down the block.
The early morning stroll. The people going on about their lives. The old folks on the benches by the river. The kids at Crystal Beach. The crowds for a parade.
Yes, in Indiana, but I forget that sometimes. A place I am happy to claim. Here. Home.