(Novice blogger and host for this week's Fun Monday over at Bee Dancers is curious about our obsession--admit it!--with blogging. How and why did we begin? Why do we keep blogging? She also wants to see what person, place, or thing most symbolizes the area where we live and, probably, get a lot of our blog fodder.)
This is my little retirement home, Summit Court, and the place where most of the musings take place for this blog. I've written about my blogging efforts in the past few months, but will review for Bee Dancer and other new readers. I started Summit Musings over a year ago as a challenge in retirement. I wanted to stay connected with friends who are still working and don't have a lot of time to be on the telephone or e-mail with me. I also wanted to keep up and improve what few technology skills I have. Blogging also appealed to my creative side. I love to write and tell stories and I have opinions on many different topics. Blogging has turned out to be the perfect way to discuss issues, interests, and life in general with a variety of intriguing people from the U.S. and other countries. And, lets not forget the greatest bonus--the wonderful dogs I've met along the way. I especially love getting posts about their adventures.
So, most days you'll find me spending entirely too much time in my little office hidey hole on Summit Court either writing or reading blog posts. (Photo disclaimer: this wonderful bed of hostas, astilbes, ferns and green lawn carpet was my passion before blogging. Once I was a gardener, now not so much. . .)
The second part of Bee Dancer's assignment was for us to share an image that best symbolizes the area where we live. I have two places/events that may remind you of Louisville, Kentucky:
World's Largest Baseball Bat--can be seen on Main Street leaning against the Louisville Slugger Museum--120 ft. tall, weighing 34 tons. This bat is a copy of the wooden bat used by the great Babe Ruth back in the early 1920s and by many other famous players since then. The Slugger has been manufactured by Hillerich and Bradsby since 1884.
In 1996, the bat factory was moved across the Ohio River to Louisville and combined with a museum which depicts the story of baseball, especially the art of hitting. Baseball enthusiasts can see a replica dugout, interactive displays, and a major collection of memorabilia from many seasons and players. Visitors can also see all stages of bat production from the block of wood to the final "Slugger" imprint.
Since the museum opened in the mid-90s, baseball fans have elevated it to the same must-see status as the major ball fields
and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Churchill Downs, Home of the Kentucky Derby --
Said to be the greatest two minutes in horse racing. Every year on the first Saturday in May three year old thoroughbreds race the mile and a quarter track. This race has been run since 1875. The bluegrass region of central Kentucky has always been suited for the breeding and raising of American thoroughbred race horses with a win in the Derby being the career achievement. The Kentucky Derby was modeled after the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris in France. It is the first race in the Triple Crown which includes the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
If you love horses, but are not that familiar with what it takes to breed these winners, I'll close this post with a little inside story that you may find amusing. Several years ago when I was still working for a statewide agricultural organization, one of my biggest responsibilities was to plan and conduct an annual leadership conference for women farmers from across Kentucky. The conference agendas were a pretty traditional mix of speakers, workshops, exhibits, and agricultural tours. One year, when we we meeting in the middle of the bluegrass region and all its horse farms, I decided to take the women on a tour of Three Chimneys Farm, the premier American thoroughbred race horse breeding farm near Lexington.
Three Chimneys serves as a stallion station and nursery for the next crop of race horses. Winning stallions got to retire from the big races like the Derby and pay for their retirement pensions with handsome stud fees. Nice work if you can get it!
Now most of these women on the tour were not unfamiliar with breeding and raising livestock. However, they had not seen thoroughbred breeding in all its sophistication. The general manager, Dan Rosenberg, personally led the women on a tour of Three Chimneys including a meeting with the great, lovable Smarty Jones who was top stallion in residence at the time. Mr. Rosenberg himself was quite charming, prompting several of the most prim women to comment on his general hunkiness.
After walking us around the postcard beautiful grounds and getting to see the magnificent horses exercising and grazing out in the field, Mr. Rosenberg capped the tour with them getting to see the actual breeding of a mare. And what a show it was. As you can imagine, many of the mares come in the barn either disinterested or very skittish. We were amused to see that they actually use a second string stallion to get the mare in a "cooperative" mood. Dan told the women to think of this stallion as the loser in a bar. He'd be the one to buy the woman a drink and make the opening "come here often?" spiel. Then when he'd done all that, he got the heave ho and the big name stallion, like Smarty Jones, came in to "take the lady home"! The women were right in the moment, not at all shy about the experience. However, several male staffers who were helping with the tour commented that they'd never imagined that watching a mare being bred with 100 Farm Bureau women looking on would ever have been in their job descriptions! I just remember getting really good conference evaluations that year. . . (last photo: Ed Reinke/AP)
I hope you've learning something about baseball bats and horse racing. And, more importantly, discovered that we all blog for many of the same reasons. Now head over to Bee Dancer's site to check out other Fun Monday posts.
- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.