Monday, October 26, 2009

558. Weekend Wrapup

I was busy the entire weekend. Covered a lot of ground in many different places and a few different ways.

The busy weekend started with my friend Morgan Ransdell at Actors Theater on Main Street in downtown Louisville. It was a production of William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. It was quite a production that, had it been a movie, might have been rated R or at least PG-13. The acting was interesting as the story was set somewhere in haze of the drug-infused 1960s, replete with a Volkswagen full of second-rate actors for the play-within-the-play, a Shakespeare staple. Older readers might recall sets from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In or the old Dating Game.

As written by the Bard, the stars are Oberon, Titania, and Puck, respectively the King and Queen of the Faeries, and Oberon's special servant, Puck, sometimes known as Robin Goodfellow. As performed, the characters of Puck and Bottom (the Ass, from the Players Troupe) took the center stage of the viewers' attention. Eric Bondoc , my favorite for the night, played a very seductive and somewhat homoerotic Puck to his master King Oberon, played by Edward O'Blennis. Puck's unusual singing voice, a sultry lower-middle range, added to the intensity. O'Blennis' portrayal was a cross of Jimi Hendrix, Richard Pryor, the performer once and presently known as Prince, and a few others. He was great. Bottom was portrayed by Aaron Munoz who is transformed as an ass and plays lover to Queen Titania, which was played by Jessica Morris. Munoz as the Ass as well as his Bottom was over-the-top in so many ways. His ramblings around the stage interacting with nearly every other cast member at some point was excellent. We laughed through the entire production which was a litte long on time but never short on creativity and excitement. A great Friday night.

Saturday and Sunday were spent with Preston Bates touring the counties which comprise the 14th Kentucky Senate District, a district where it is anticipated a Special Election may be called for December 8. Preston was already in the area with his U of L History class on some sort of field trip to the Perryville Battlefield State Park in Boyle County, one of my favorite places in Kentucky and our stake in the tourist department for Civil War buffs. Waiting for Preston's class to end, I hiked one of the two loop trails, a distance of about 1.5 miles through Parson's Ridge, the Widow Gibson site, overlooking the Bottom House, up and down Loomis' Heights, along Doctor's Creek, and eventually returning to the Trailhead near the Confederate Cemetery and the Union Monument. I can use the exercise, and this little hike was probably the most I have had in years.

Eventually Preston and I joined up, leaving Perryville and headed to Harrodsburg. We viewed the site for the new Court House, going up on the same Civic Square where three previous courthouses have been erected. Harrodsburg is the county seat of Mercer County, one of the five counties in the 14th Senate District. We headed north out of town and out of the district into Anderson County toward the BG Parkway. As Preston's class had centered on the Civil War, I took him to the Salt River Baptist Church Cemetery in Lawrenceburg where, among many others, are buried distant cousins of mine, the Moore brothers, Samuel and James. Samuel and James were Confederate soldiers under the command of Louisville's Lt. Col. Bennett Young. Here is a trivia question for you. The Moore brothers of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky participated in the northernmost skirmish of the Civil War as privates in the 8th Kentucky Cavalry of the Confederate Army. The "raid" occurred fifteen miles from the Canadian border. Any takers on the name of the raid?

Also buried in the Salt River Cemetery is my 5-Greats Uncle and 6-Greats Grandfather, the same person, Johann Michael Hockersmith, a veteran of the Revolutionary War whose grave is marked by a Sons of the American Revolution plaque. He died around 1812. The cemetery and church date from 1798.

From there, as it was getting late, we took the Bluegrass Parkway over to the western side of the 14th District, to its most populous county, Nelson, and its county seat of Bardstown. However, again a detour. Preston has asked me in the past about the Catholic population of central Kentucky. Nelson County is the base of this popluation, and even before Bardstown was the community of Saint Thomas, home for Bishop Flaget's cabin, the Saint Thomas Church, and the original building which housed Nazareth College, the forerunner of my alma mater, Spalding University. The building dates from 1814. From there we went into Bardstown where we ate supper at a Mexican restaurant on Third Street. We called it a night and proceeded back to Louisville.

Sunday's trip covered the rest of the 14th District, beginning in far southern Taylor County at Tebbs Bend. This beginning again took us into Civil War territory. On July 4, 1863, while the rest of the country was focussed on battles at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Mississippi, another smaller battle was being fought over the Green River Bridge at Tebbs Bend in Taylor County. A confederate cemetery marks the spot and among its graves are those of James Hockensmith and Alexander Hockersmith, cousins of mine, both from the family of Johann Michael mentioned above. We left the cemetery driving into Campbellsville with its very non-descript courthouse built in the 1960s as well as Campbellsville University on the northwest side of town.

From there we headed north on US68 and the detoured onto KY208, an older path between Campbellsville and the Marion County seat of Lebanon. This road takes us through Calvary, a small town memorable for me as the place where my Ford Ranger PickUp crossed the 100,000 mile mark on the odometer a few years back. Ah, the memories. In Lebanon, we drove around several parts of town noting the statuary at the corner of Spalding Avenue and Walnut Street. Spalding heads out of Lebanon and Marion County and into Springfield and Washington County, following KY55. Nine miles of very good highway separate the two county seats.

In Washington County I am always interested in passing the Mordecai Lincoln House, once belonging to the president's uncle. I helped with its original fundraising drive for restoration back in 1979. Upon the death of Mordecai's father, Abraham, who was killed in a Native American raid in Jefferson County, Mordecai inherited his father's property in Washington County. The president's parents were married a little north of this site in 1806. Three years ago, a reenactment of that marriage was the official opening event of our country's celebration of President Lincoln's bicentennial. The marriage license marking this event can be found in Washington's 1816 courthouse, Kentucky's oldest still in daily use.

We ventured north out of Sprinfield past the Lincoln Homestead Park, using KY555, Kentucky's proposed Heartland Parkway. Although this is a very wide two-lane highway, you can see the even wider right-of-way marked by the fencelines, right-of-way which someday could allow for the construction of another two (or more) lanes. I've written before about this connecting road between Green River Lake and Taylorsville Lake, and it was on KY555 and its connecting KY248, that we returned home to Louisville, thus completing our tour of the 14th District's five counties, counties we will need to know all we can in a few weeks as we approach the Special Election.

I will add pictures later.

1 comment:

MLCooper said...

St. Albans (Vermont) Raid (thanks to Google)

M. L. Cooper

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.