Friday, July 10, 2009

509. And the connection is what ?

You never know when a conversation is going to take an odd turn. A semi-regular Friday night habit is joining friends for food, conversation, and - importantly - half priced bottles of wine at Carly Rae's, a sprawling eating and drinking establishment in Old Louisville on the northwest corner of Oak and First streets.

Of these two regular friends for the occasion are first one who is just slightly older, a Fine Arts graduate from Murray State University and employed as the executive director of a quasi-governmental agency charged with a number of duties all related to the promotion of downtown Louisville. My other companion is considerably younger, African-American, and a graduate of some small college in the South followed by a prestigious law degree from Vanderbilt. He is a high-priced corporate attorney who I am confident is worth every penny he makes.

Our conversations typically center on politics - imagine that. While all three of us are Democrats, we represent different places on the spectrum, the executive director and I occupying varying roles left of center of the Party, and the attorney filling a libertarian, corporate and, shall we say, rather conservative slot to the right. As I said before, our Party is housed under a big tent.

Tonight's conversation was rolling along after several glasses of a Lindeman's Pinot Noir of 2008 vintage, along with, at least for me, a plate of Town-and-Country crackers slathered in old-style beer cheese. We had talked about the governor's race as well as his accent. We touched on Richie Farmer and Trey Grayson. There were comments on the Louisville mayor's race in 2010, whether or not this July 20th or 21st's widely expected announcement would bring on a cavalry charge of candidates, to use the words of our mayor in an interview last week on WFPL's State of Affairs radio program, should he decide not to run again, one which, in my opinion, would in all likelihood be won by a sitting councilmember who is already assembling a stellar group of supporters and staffers; or if only Tyler Allen would be competition for His Honor the Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro, something Allen indicated in a recent LEO article.

At some point, referencing back to the governor's accent, which I attributed to his hometown of Dawson Springs, a town I've been through on several occasion where the Beshear name is readily applied to a number of businesses and even the nearby state park lake, our discussion turned to western Kentucky and even far western Kentucky, where at length we spoke of how that land, west of the Tennessee River, came to be purchased by Andrew Jackson in 1818, hence the name The Jackson Purchase.

If you do not know the story, there was always a problem with Kentucky's (and Tennesse's) claim to this land, shown at least in Kentucky at right in the picture, which was home to and controlled by the Chickasaw tribe. After many attempts, negotiations between the tribe and the United States arrived at an agreement. The negotiators for the United States were Andrew Jackson, who would in two years become president, and Isaac Shelby, who earlier served as both the first and fifth governor of the Commonwealth. The land itself covered the territory east of the Mississippi River, south and west of the Tennessee River, and north of the the state of Mississippi, commonly known in Kentucky as the Jackson Purchase and in Tennessee as West Tennessee. Agreed to in 1818, it became law when the Treaty of Tuscaloosa was signed into law by President James Monroe on January 7, 1819.

So there we were discussing the Jackson Purchase when my one friend, the older one, responding to a comment by the other one, said, "Oh, that's like Michael Jackson."

Michael Jackson, really? WTF. We were a little dumbfounded as there was no real segue between the two, really none at all. We both allowed the third to make that connection, wild as it was, after which the conversation left the confines of Jackson's Purchase and turned to the life and times and untimely death of the singer all three of us seemed to like.

The question for my six faithful readers is what is the connection between The Jackson Purchase and Michael Jackson, other than the common surname involved, which had nothing to do with tonight's discussion. Until tonight I could not have dreamt of any. But, at least in the mind of my one friend, there is. If you have an idea, leave a comment. There are no prises for getting it right, just the idea that such a connection could be made.

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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.