I haven't been there since April 2002.
I was there for a month in the mid-1990's, not long after a two week vacation during the more humid, "butt-crack" hot summer.
It was late fall, and the tobacco fields had been harvested, leaves drying in large barns, and the trees just beginning to change color. The cooler days of fall were a welcome change from the summer months, and more than one morning I would wake up to thick fog hovering over the fields like a fluffy down filled comforter. Some mornings were cool enough that I could smell the smoke of a wood stove or fireplace warming up a home with the damp musty smell of the harvested tobacco fields.
That fall, I was there to help my then-brother-in-law after a tragic training accident at nearby Fort Campbell Army Post that nearly killed him. His 49th birthday would have been this past Monday, but he died in August 2001 from complications of one of the many reconstructive surgeries after his accident.
His death was a tragic loss that changed his entire family... and me. I can't think of Kentucky without thinking of his laugh and his wry sense of humor. His injuries and surgeries left him many scars in a "private" area, and he used that as a pick-up line when he began dating after his divorce... asking if women wanted to see his battle scars. It was something that always got a laugh when he started to show them, but it was his way of dealing with a very painful experience and heart-wrenchingly difficult times.
Later when I was dealing with picking up the pieces after my own battles and wounds... it was the memory of his sense of humor that carried me through many dark days.
When I went in 2002, it was to see my "other mother." My Gypsy Momalaw. By then she was an ex-momalaw, but she still was my "mom" then and I went with her to see the brick memorial placed for her middle son.
So here is a hug for Rob ... and a laugh ... I miss you so much, and cherish the memories of you in my heart. IMYMTWHWF.