With another birthday come and gone, I’m unable to lie to myself: I’m old. But now I’m not only old, I’m an anachronism.
You see, I still love Fancy Farm, that peculiarly Kentucky political tradition of “pork, pie and politics” as it is billed on KET. It’s the largest political picnic in the world, full of bombast, but also full of history as well as histrionics.
Where else can you find 15,000 people descending on a small farm community of less than 500 people, where close to 20,000 pounds of pork and mutton are served to those thousands, and where politicians must submit themselves and their ability to make a stump speech to the hoots and hollers of hecklers?
The ghosts and memories of A.B. “Happy” Chandler, Alben Barkley, Emerson “Doc” Beauchamp and even George Wallace hover over the place. Some sort of news seems to happen every year, even in those years when no one expects any. Little Green Men haunt politicians like Jim Bunning and Jerry Lundergan brings a basket of blackberries for Gov. Ernie Fletcher. In 100-degree heat, Mitch McConnell’s young supporters sport the garb of Middle East oil sheiks, their perspiration-soaked fake beards sliding down their sweaty cheeks, while they taunt McConnell’s opponent Bruce Lunsford.
But nothing ever stays the same as we old people are apt to lament. Even at Fancy Farm – where at one time the politicians gave their speeches beneath an old oak tree rather than from the relative comfort of a roofed pavilion with ceiling fans over the speaking stage. In 1974, lightning struck and killed the tree, prompting former Republican Gov. Louie B. Nunn to observe, “Too much fertilizer will kill anything.”
For the full story, see the print or e-edition of the Glasgow Daily Times.
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