Monday, June 30, 2008

352. Rest In Peace Dottie Priddy

If you read back through some of my postings, you will have read that the first campaign I worked in, as a very young boy, was that of Dottie Priddy, who first ran for State Representative in 1969, when I was eight.

Dorothy Jean Hayes Priddy, known to everyone as Dottie, passed away today after a long illness at the age of 75. Her son Jerry and I grew up together and we are still close friends. He called me early this morning with the news. Her other children are Peggy, Judy, Larry, and Margie. Her husband James "Bud" Priddy died many years ago.

Dottie and Bud and their kids lived at the corner of Whippoorwill and South Park roads. My family lived seven doors up on Whippoorwill on the other side of the street. My mother and Dottie still live in the houses where there families were raised. Although Jerry and I ran around together, he is two years younger than me. His older brother Larry is one year younger than me. Peggy and Judy are older and Margie is the baby. We all grew up in one of those typical suburban neighborhoods of the 1960s and 1970s - there were about thirty kids in the neighborhood and we all played together up and down the street all hours of the day and night.

Dottie got into politics in the late 1960s. The old 45th House District covered everything from Old Shepherdsville Road (now just called Shepherdsville Road) in Okolona, and south of the Outer Loop, west toward Valley Station. In her campaign in 1969 I addressed envelopes at the direction of my grandmother, Tommie Hockensmith. Two other women were instrumental in her early election - Carolyn Beauchamp and Mildred Shumate. Now, all of them, all four, are deceased. My grandmother was first, then Carolyn, then Mildred, and now Dottie.

Addressing those envelopes was my first lesson on zip codes, borders, and dividing lines, and things like that - something which still fascinates me today. The original 45th LD had the following zip codes: 40219, 40229, 40118, 40272, 40214, a bit of 40258, and a bit of 40109. It was during the campaign that I learned the 40229 zip code ended at the end of my street and 40219 began. It is one of those flukes that the house immediately east of Dottie's (the Shumate's) had a 40219 zip code, while Dottie, as well as the house on the other side of the Shumate's was 40229. The Shumate's mailbox was (and still is) on the north side of South Park Road. The houses on either side (including Dottie's) were on the side roads off the south side and were therefore in the 40229 zip. Just to the west, over I-65, began the 40118 zip code for Fairdale. And I always remember that the old Cape Cod on the corner of Manslick and New Cut roads is where the 40272 zip began even though that was miles from Valley Station.

After the redistricting for the 1970 census, Dottie's 45th District was divided up into three additional seats, the 27th, 28th, and 29th, first represented in the new alignment by Archie Romines, Jimmie Dunn, and Al Bennett respectively. I know Mr. Dunn is deceased, I'm not sure about Mr. Romines, and Al Bennett is still with us, working to elect Democrats in his area off Blanton Lane. After another census ten years later, the 27th was redistricted out into Meade and Hardin counties. And ten years after that, the 45th was itself redistricted to Fayette County.

Dottie's camp consisted of a number of people from the areas she served, from McNeely Lake through Okolona and Minor's Lane, to Fairdale, Coral Ridge, and northward to what used to be called the Knopp-Melton area now a part of the Airport Industrial Zone. Dottie gained notoriety when, during the protests against Desegregation, she found herself arrested and chained to a phone pole in front of the Jerry's Restaurant on Preston Highway. She gained more notoriety when it was learned she often entered the House chambers with a weapon tied on like an ankle bracelet.

I worked for Dottie in all of her races for the State House, from 1969 to the last one in 1991, which she lost. She had beaten a number of people, among them Jim Prewitt, Tommy Hadl, Len Hardy, Jim Richardson, and most famously William "Fibber" McGee, a tavern owner and all around great guy in Okolona. Fibber too has moved on to his reward in the final precinct in the sky. Supporters then lined up behind either Gene Drago on Dottie's side or "Big" Ed Louden on Fibber's side. Her final primary opponent was Joe Monroe, another good guy from up in Okolona, who I last saw at the wake for Mildred Shumate. Joe now lives out in Meade County.

These are the people who first taught me politics. They were mostly conservative Democrats, almost Dixiecrats, all tied in some ways to unions, and all working class folks who, whether they were for you or against you, went out of their ways to help you. Most folks might remember Dottie for her anti-bussing days in the mid 1970s. Others will know the laws she passed on behalf of the FOP, which were some of her strongest supporters. But there was also the last endorsement she made in a Democratic Primary in 2004, which went to Ken Herndon in his race for the Senate. She certainly had the capacity to support a broad spectrum of politicians and politics.

Late in her life, she sought and won a seat on the Jefferson County School Board and won re-election in 2002 without ever leaving her home. Her final years have not been good and illness prevented her from doing much of anything. I last saw her on Easter Sunday of 2007. Her son Jerry told me she had been more or less hospitalized since Easter Sunday of this year.

She is to be buried at Rest Haven Cemetery.

Rest In Peace, Dottie.

Friday, June 27, 2008

351. Events along KY 864 - Church and Politics

Two events: Holy Family Church Summer Picnic and Yarmuth Campaign Office Grand Opening

Kentucky State Highway 864 is a state maintained highway in Jefferson County. It runs nearly the entire length of the county, beginning at the intersection of Thixton Lane (KY 2053) and Cedar Creek Road, just a few hundred yards north of the Jefferson-Bullitt County line. It follows Cedar Creek Road north past the "T" intersection, where Cedar Creek runs to the east, opposite the site of the old Lovvorn School House, where back in the 1970s, weekends in October meant touring the old school as part of a Haunted House outing. KY 864 continues from this point on Cooper Chapel Road, named for another old southern Jefferson County landmark, the Cooper Memorial Church, properly now called Cooper United Methodist Church, which is located on Preston Highway (KY 61), south of Okolona, but in the vicinity where once was the community known as Crossroads Precinct, roughly where the Lowe's is now at Preston and the Snyder Freeway (I-265/KY 841).

At another "T" intersection, where the now east-west running Cooper Chapel intersects with Beulah Church Road, yet another road named for another venerable old church, this one over in Fern Creek and now known as the Beulah Presbyterian Church, 864 turns north onto Beulah Church. The road continues up to the intersection of Beulah Church Road and Fegenbush Lane, and not far removed from Fegenbush's intersection with the Outer Loop (KY 1065) and South Watterson Trail. This intersection has been realigned twice in my lifetime and there are current Transportation Department plans to realign it yet again, perhaps with one of the British-style roundabouts.

It is at this point that KY 864 turns left onto Fegenbush, while Beulah Church turns right onto, well, Beulah Church (at this pont carrying KY 1065). Fegenbush Lane is named for the family which operated the old Fegenbush Orchards at Fegenbush Lane and Bardstown Road (US 31E/US 150) several miles north of this point. The last of the trees in the orchard are still standing in a small plot of land roughly opposite and a little to the south of the McDonald's at Bardstown Road and Fegenbush Lane. We visited the orchard as a Field Trip when I was a kindergartner at Okolona Christian Church in 1965.

Ky 864 follows Fegenbush northward to the newly completed intersection with Fern Valley Road (which was formerly KY 1631 but is now KY 1747) on the west and South Hurstbourne Parkway (which always has been KY 1747) on the east. There are a group of merchants who want to change the name of Fern Valley at this point to Hurstbourne, which they feel is more business-friendly, but thus far that move hasn't happened. Poplar Level Road used to intersect with Fegenbush here, but with the extension of Hurstbourne from Bardstown Road south to this point, it was more feasible to connect it with Fern Valley which much further west intersects with Interstate 65. The connecting parts of Fern Valley and Hurstbourne Lane have been slowly connecting to each other throughout my lifetime, and now form a loosely (and poorly) drawn circle from the Ford Motor Company in the south to the Summit Center along KY 22 and the Snyder Freeway in the northeast. But, I digress.

KY 864 is routed along Fern Valley for only a short distance, where it turns off onto Poplar Level Road. From this point, at the southern edge of Louisville's General Electric Appliance Park, KY 864 follows Poplar Level several miles, well into the old city limits, which before Merger was called the City of Louisville, but now is called the Louisville Urban Services District, a fancy name created by His Honor the Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro, to allow for a system of double-taxation to exist for some taxpayers in our new unified (but not uniform) government. But again, I digress.

It is on Poplar Level Road where the first event on today's calendar is located. Starting tonight about 5 and running through midnight and again tomorrow night during the same hours, my church, Holy Family Catholic Church, will be hosting its Annual Summer Picnic. The church is located about two blocks north of the Watterson Expressway (I-264). If you show up, and I happen to know you, it is likely you will hear a loud booming voice calling your name as if from the clouds, much as God did when he spoke to Abraham. Be not afraid, the voice isn't nearly so powerful as that of God's, it is only me. I am the emcee for the event, a role I have taken for several years. So, do come by and eat some food, spend some money, drink some sasparillas, spend some money, spin the wheels, spend some money, then spend the rest of your money. Then go to the ATM and come back tomorrow night for more of the same. You can park at the KMart across the street.

But, back to KY 864. From my church, the route continues north crossing Eastern Parkway (US60-Alternate) where the name becomes Goss Avenue, named for the Thomas Goss farm which formerly existed roughly where Saint Xavier High School now stands and a few blocks south of Saint Michael's Field. Ky 864 continues on Goss Avneue northward through the sub-community of Schnitzelberg, itself a part of Germantown, which is itself an older neighborhood of the old City of Louisville. Just after crossing the Norfolk Southern Railroad, Logan Street splits off one way north, carrying KY 864 with it. The southbound lanes in the part run along Shelby Street.

Just south of Broadway (US 150), 864 routes itself a half block east along Finzer Street, then north on Campbell. Prior to 1984, the routing continued with the northbound lanes of KY 864 running along Campbell while the southbound lanes ran along Shelby. Since that time, and the construction of the Chestnut Street Connector, 864 - both north and south, have followed this connector north to the intersection of Jefferson and Baxter (US 31E), where the Connector (at this point simply called Chestnut Street) becomes Baxter and Jefferson becomes, well, Baxter. KY 864 ends here, a few blocks south of Main Street (US 31E/US60) and about one mile south of the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606.

But, for the sake of this entry, we are returning to the old routing of KY 864 along Campbell Street, which crosses directly in front of where I live. As I have mentioned before, three blocks north of where I live, where Campbell Street intersects with Market Street (US 31E-US60), the Yarmuth for Congress Campaign has relocated itself into the building which most recently was occupied the Obama for President campaign, at 900 E. Market Street, and for many years housed the Hausman Jeep Company.

Between my Holy Family picnic hours tonight and tomorrow night is another event you shouldn't miss. Congressman Yarmuth will be in town (as he is most every weekend anyway) to open the new headquarters and you are invited. The Grand Opening will run from 10am to 2pm and there will be lots to do. So, please, come on down on Market Street and join the Congressman and his staff for this event, as we kick off what will end up being his re-election this fall to the 111th Congress. Keep in mind when John wins this fall, it will be the first time since 1992 that a Democrat has be re-elected to Congress from the Third Congressional District of Kentucky. Woohoo!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

348. Summer Sunday; so starts another week.

The Belle of Louisville with Jeffersonville, Indiana in the background.

We boarded the Belle of Louisville at 1:30 pm for the 2:00 launch. It was an absolutely beautiful day. We sat on the starboard side of the boat toward the stem, so along the way upriver, our view was of the Left Bank of the Ohio River, that being the Kentucky side. The ride takes you upstream past the Waterfront Park, the as-yet-unbuilt River Park Place development at Beargrass Creek, the various industrial sites just east of Beargrass, past the Kingfish Restaurant and the Louisville Water Company, past Turners and Waldoah Beach and Cox's Park (properly Carrie Gaulbert Cox Park), and almost to the Knights of Columbus building on River Road. Then the boat makes the turnaround for the ride home. Seeing the city skyline from 4 or so miles upriver, and seeing it from the middle of the river during the turnaround, is an awarding sight. The return trip, facing Indiana, starts just upriver from the big American Commercial Barge Lines building out Utica Pike from Jeffersonville. We traversed past homes large and small facing the river, some like cottages, others like castles, including those in the Arctic Springs development. Next comes the long ship and barge building yards of JeffBoat, a long time Louisville area employer. Eventually we arrived alongside the Park and Wharf on Riverside Drive in downtown Jeffersonville - easily one of the best places to view the Ohio, with older large homes overlooking the river, and all unfortunately in the path of the proposed new I-65 bridge being promoted by His Honor the Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro, the Courier-Journal, and other powers-that-be. But I digress.

Eventually we cross back under the Big Four, the John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and the George Rogers Clark bridges, where we returned to port at the foot of Fourth Street in Louisville. All in all a very enjoyable ride, and the rain only started as we were disembarking. My niece, for whom the ride was taken in celebration of her 21st birthday (a celebration which even she admitted has been going on for about a week), had a wonderful time. She was accompanied by her boyfriend Matt, her grandparents, and her oldest uncle, me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

345. Very Late Spring Shower

Spring comes to an end tomorrow at 7:59 pm here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 according to the astronomical tables. As if to put an exclamation point on the end of Spring, Mother Nature opened the clouds here and dropped upwards of 2/10 inch of rain in the last hour or so. At the Morris Forman MSD Plant down in the West End, the gauge reads 86/100 inch, making it the highest in the area. At the Nightingale reporting station, along Poplar Level Road between Audubon Parkway and Fincastle Road, the gauge is reading 69/100 inch. At the Jeffersontown Waste Water Treatment Plant, 42/100 inch was reported. But, most stations are reporting between 1/10 and 2/10, if they are reporting anything at all, which two of them are not.

It seems to be passed and the temperature is still above 80 degrees.

Happy Birthday to Jon Hurst who is 31 today. I'm off to his party right now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

344. On the occasion of a Strawberry Moon

Twenty-one years ago today, at 3:03 pm, I became an uncle - for the first time. Lindsey Shea Noble was born this day in 1987 at Audubon Hospital to my brother Kevin and his girlfriend Dawn, the first of their two (and his six and her three) children. I was there and I was awed, but also thankful that this new fragile but very healthy creature was their's and not mine. She would be my niece and that was something I could deal with, and have pretty successfully I think. Another of Lindsey's uncles was also there for her birth, a very young man named Jordan, about 6 years old as I remember. At one point when he was getting fidgetty, I offered to take him down to the cafeteria and buy him a coke. As we were going through the cashier's line, he blurted out to her, "We're having a baby!" Thinking I was the father, the lady congratulated me. I started to explain but Jordan interrupted saying, "He's not the dad. We're uncles-in-law." Out of the mouth of babes . . . .

The year Lindsey was born, the Moon was one week into its waning from Full to New, having come that year in June on the 11th. Today marks the Full Moon for the month of June, which is sometimes called the Strawberry Moon as it is the time of the Strawberry Harvest. Another name for it is the Honey Moon as bees make their way from plant to plant and hive to hive producing the mysterious elixir of the gods. Tonight, tomorrow night, and the next will have long hours of this bright moon overlooking Mother Earth. Coinciding with these long nights are the long days we are having, days which will reach their longest the day after tomorrow on the occasion of the Summer Solstice, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, on the 20th. Friday will be the night known to lover's of the Bard as Midsummer's Night, a night fraught with magic. It is the night Robin Goodfellow, or Puck, that "merry wanderer of the night, a shrewd and knavish sprite," makes his rounds having fun and wreaking havoc.

Speaking of Shakespeare, tonight is opening night of this year's Free Will in Central Park, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. Julius Caesar takes the stages for a run, followed by Pericles in July. The perfromances begin at 8:00 pm in Louisville's Central Park at S. 4th Street and W. Magnolia Avenue. "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!"

The Midsummer's Night Celebration Festival in Tara, Ireland

Sunday, June 15, 2008

343. Fathers Day, 2008

The first reading this morning, taken from the Eighteenth Chapter of Genesis for this Fifth Sunday After Pentecost, is the familiar story of the Lord and his angels making a visit upon Abraham and Sarah and granting to them a newborn son, this when they were both approaching 100 years of age. In the story Sarah laughs to herself, saying something to the effect, "oh yeah, now that I am old, you bring me some pleasure" when the angel says he will return when her son is born and the angel sort of makes fun of her for doing so, which frightened her. But, the Lord made good on his word and Isaac was born to the two old timers. It is rather unusual for the Lectionary's readings to coincide with secular holidays such as Father's Day, but today's did just that with a story on the beginning of a fatherhood, one which for Abraham lives on to this time. Abraham was said to have been 100 when Isaac was born.

My dad, Gene Noble, was 20 when I was born in September, 1960. He and my mother had been married by a Justice-Of-The-Peace on the day after Christmas in 1959, so they made the nine-month period by hours, not weeks. He is now 68 and, while today he seemed to be in pretty good health, that is the exception of late and not the rule. And while he didn't raise me and our personal paths and beliefs are divided by great valleys as opposed to small ravines, our geographic division is, in these days, measured in blocks. I live in the 500 block of South Campbell. He lives a few doors west of the 200 block of North Campbell. Seven blocks and a generation of attitude are easy stumbling blocks to overcome.

Today for Father's Day, I went to his house where he was having a cookout, one of his passions. He had bratwursts and garlic hot dogs, Ale-8-Ones (my favorite), and ice cream. My oldest niece, who will be twenty-one later this week was there, as was my mother who has been my father's ex-wife since 1964, and now serves as a caregiver and best friend. My brother called in an appearance, as he was home celebrating his own Father's Day with his three youngest children. As an aside, my brother has a new young girlfriend, the approximate age of my oldest niece (as best she and I can tell), who will likely provide him with yet more offspring if his past is any indication. As God promised Abraham he would be a father of nations, Kevin's procreative activities at least promises that he might be the father of his own precinct. But, I digress.

Dad is worried he is getting old. This is another one of his passions. He has been passionately worrying about getting old since he was about 49, the year he had his first heart attack. And, to be sure, there have been times I thought he was old enough and ill enough that his birthdays, Christmasses, and Fathers Days might be numbered. He has a number of health problems which hold him back more than they should. I hope his good health picture today continues on for a while. He is too young to stop complaining.

Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

341. On the road again.

The trip to Lexington over the weekend provided an excuse to do some driving, some driving which I had not done since the price of gas went up to $4.00 a gallon. It was my intent upon leaving Lexington to drive over to Georgetown to see a friend and I had already called him from the Heritage Hall Convention Center saying I would do so. I had even parked my car headed west on the north-side of Main Street (right in front of the historic First Baptist Church of Lexington) so I'd be aimed in the right direction upon departure. Actually, those direction-words in the previous sentence are misleading. Downtown Lexington's street grid is at a decided tilt toward the southeast. Streets running from northwest to southeast are labelled as East-West streets, with names such as Main, Vine, Short, Maxwell, and High, and all the numbered streets just north of town. Those running from northeast to southwest are labelled as North-South streets, with names such as Broadway, Upper, Limestone, Martin Luther King, and Rose. So, I was actually headed northwest, not just west. But, I digress.

I left Lexington with the intent of driving to Georgetown on the Georgetown Pike, which is US 25. But, for whatever reason, I didn't make the fork where US 25 breaks off of the Newtown Pike (KY 922) at a slight angle to the - let's get this right - to the north-northwest - where Newtown, Gerogetown, and West Fourth Street all intersect. I was probably too tired to make any good decisions at that point, so I continued north on Newtown making a stop at the McDonald's just north of I-64/75 for a cup of coffee, this despite the fact that the temperature was still in the 90s even well into the evening. For about two years, the quality of McDonald's coffee has been pretty good and something of a value, much as many years ago people would drive to a White Castle, which in those days were few and far-between, for their special blend of coffee.

When I went to pull out of the McDonald's, I noticed new construction on Newtown going on toward the north, so I followed the formerly lazy country lane out of town. And while there is a widening project going on, it doesn't go on very far, and the road returns to the bucolic drive I had been down several times before. It follows north past the Iron Works Pike to the African-American community of New Zion, just after crossing over North Elkhorn Creek at Lemons Mill Road. From there it continues north to US 460, called Paris Pike now that we are into Scott County. At this intersection, which is maybe two or three miles east of town, I turned west, toward town. For the record, the village of Newtown is for the most part gone. Had I turned east about 1/2 of a mile and crossed over the little Cherry Creek bridge, with the cemetery on the right, where Leesburg Pike runs off to the northeast, I would have made it to Newtown.

Eventually, I got into Georgetown, mostly now known as home to Toyota since the 1980s, but which has always been a beautiful small town set amongst the hills along several curves of North Elkhorn Creek, and also home to Georgetown College, a Baptist-church affiliated seat of higher learning which is Alma Mater for my cousin Steve Collins. My meeting with my friend was, as planned, not very long as I was tired and intent on getting to Louisville sometime before sunrise, knowing that upon leaving there, I'd be driving over to Frankfort, probably stopping somewhere just to unwind, which in fact I did.

The road from Georgetown to Frankfort, US 460, is a relatively due west affair passing through places that used to be called names like Great Crossing, White Sulphur, and Woodlake. On arriving in Franklin County, the one name that does remain is Forks of Elkhorn, which is sort of spread out for a half-mile or so where the highway crosses the creek, just upstream from the dam and the forks, with the old Buck Run Baptist Church along the banks. This stretch of US 460 is due to be widened and much of this area, including the church buildings, are slated to be removed. If I am not mistaken, my mother's first cousin Jean Moore, now of Choateville, was baptised at Buck Run.

Eventually I made my way down into the comfortable confines of my favorite capital city, and from there took I-64 back towards the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Still on Recess

Briefly, I've had a few emails inquiring of my health. I'm fine. Tomorrow will mark the 3rd anniversary of my successful brain surgery removing a tumor from behind my left eye. The surgery was performed by Dr. Michael Doyle of Louisville about whom I will always think highly, despite his being a Republican.

The Blog will remain on recess for a bit longer.

We have a Democratic nominee for President. We made history.

Finally there are still unresolved issues concerning a piece of hate-mail issued in the Sixth Council District by an unknown group on the Saturday before the Primary. Several groups of people are interested in uncovering the truth about this hate-mailing.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.