Saturday, October 07, 2006

BUTCHER HOLLER

Sadly, we left Branson Missouri yesterday. I wish we could have stayed longer, but "work" calls. We covered a lot of miles, driving through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. After fourteen hours on the road we finally stopped to sleep in Lexington, Kentucky.

In Illinois I could feel and see signs of winter. The leaves had turned, fields lay fallow, and the air felt chill. It seemed as if the land were waiting for winter.

In spite of the long hours on the road I truly enjoyed our time in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The countryside was colorful, expansive, and restorative.

The landscape changed as we approached Kentucky. There were more hills and they were steeper and demanded our attention. The reds, oranges, and yellows on the trees and foliage seemed vibrant and I don't know that I've ever seen fields as green, not even in Oregon. Horses and cows confined by white fences grazed in lush pastures. The forests changed, too. They were dense, the trees crushing each other as if fighting for space.

After a night's sleep in a very comfortable bed (Praise God!) we set out again, crossing the mountains and traveling through the Daniel Boone National Forest. We stopped at a place called Paintsville Lake. One day I'll return. It is one of the most tranquil spots I've ever seen. Hoping to find a town called Van Lear, we wound our way through country roads where small farms rested in green meadows.

It took a bit of doing, but we managed to locate Van Lear. It's a small town and we felt as if we'd stepped back in time. Our ultimate destination was Butcher Holler, Loretta Lynn's birthplace.

Although we got lost a few times, we managed to find her home. We drove back roads, some only wide enough for one car and some areas weren't even paved, although that's not so unusual for us--we're Oregonians. We weren't sure we were even in the right place and considered turning back but then we came upon a boulder with Butcher Holler and an arrow painted on it showing the way. We kept going and finally made it!

Loretta's brother, Herman, a real friendly fellow, was there and happily showed us around his childhood home. The simple old house was much as it had been when Loretta and her family lived there. There were few luxuries for the "Coal Miner's Daughter" and her siblings.

The original furnishings had been preserved and Loretta's grandfather's guitar rested on one of the beds. Herman told us stories about the old days, including Loretta playing that old guitar. He proudly showed us pictures of his family and many of the famous people who've visited there.

My visit was a moving experience, reminding me of the strength of the human spirit. So much can be accomplished if we will only believe in the One who can do all things.

Tonight we're in Nashville and plan to do some exploring tomorrow before heading south into Georgia. I'll be writing again soon.


Blessings to you,

Bonnie

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