Most of my life has been spent in the Bluegrass State. My favorite memories, happiest moments and worst days have all been spent in the land of horses and bourbon. Kentucky is also looked at as a place to escape.
Through high school and college, I’ve heard the phrase,“I can’t wait to get out of Kentucky,” countless times and I agreed with that statement for a large part of my life. It wasn’t until I left the state for an extended period of time that I actually realized how much I owe Kentucky and how much I will miss it if I ever leave for good.
We look at Kentucky like it has nothing to offer us. We are so busy talking about getting out, we never take the chance to look and see what the inside has to offer.
I spent my summer in New York City at a marketing internship and I loved it. A falafel was on every corner and a cup of coffee was in every hand. Even though I had a great time in the city that has everything to offer, my heart ached for Kentucky.
Don’t get me wrong, I can definitely see myself going back to New York either to work or to visit, but Kentucky will always be my home.
Time just moves slower here. People take the time to say hello and even as a large male with a questionable mustache, people will still smile and open the door for me.
Everyone has somewhere to be, but they will always have the time to toss you a good morning or a simple smile as your eyes meet theirs. That’s not necessarily the way it is in New York. The term “New York minute” isn’t just an expression; it’s absolutely true.
Everyone has somewhere to be, money to make and they are more than likely late getting there. This results in a lot of passive-aggressive eye-cutting on the subway and confrontations at even the most minute inconveniences.
Southern hospitality is a thing and it’s alive and kicking here in the Commonwealth. “Darling” or “doll” are acceptable aliases for anyone you come in contact with and the offer for a sweet tea is always open. This is one of the smaller things you don’t realize you miss until you’re no longer around it.
It’s a wonderful feeling being around people with a pleasant demeanor and having to tip toe around confrontation 24/7 like you have to do in big cities gets utterly exhausting after a while.
There is a lot of charm in Kentucky that people don’t care to see or realize, and I promise you they will miss it as soon as they leave.
Kentucky has made me who I am today. People from other states look down at Kentucky and have the predisposition that we are a bunch of hillbillies.
Everyone has the right to their opinion, but the practice of wearing footwear is commonplace among most of the people I know.
I grew up in a state where good manners are expected, you’re nice to everyone and you’re never too good to offer a helping hand. These things have helped me develop a strong moral compass and a generally positive outlook on life. I also made the choice to stay in Kentucky for school and it has led to great things for me. Whether it’s the rowdy family I call my fraternity or the leadership and internship opportunities, I have a lot to thank the Bluegrass State for.
Kentucky is a great place to raise a family. Of course no matter where you go you’re going to have a certain level of danger or crime, but according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Kentucky ranks 40 out of the 50 states when it comes to crime rates.
I would feel safer with Zac Jr. and Zac Jr. Jr. living in Kentucky than most other states simply because it’s a safer place than most. Also, I want my kids to experience the amazing environment I was raised in.
We don’t have a lot of millionaires. No railroad tycoons or movie stars. Just humble hardworking men and women who have a smile to share and a laugh to give.
You don’t know it, but you’re going to miss Kentucky. You will never give it the credit it truly deserves and I’m sure one day you will come back.
I know I won’t leave for a while. I’ve already accepted this, but for a period of my life I will have to explore what destiny has written for me in chapter two.
I plan on coming back. I want to raise my kids here and I want to grow old in Kentucky so I can give back to the state that has given me everything. There are a lot of things I don’t know and there are quite a few grey areas in my future, but there is one thing I’ll never let slip from my mind.
I’ll never be too good for my Old Kentucky Home.
Column by Zac Garrison, Senior from Franklin, Ky.