“Are we there yet?” I asked.
“Woody…” Mom smiled, reminding me I’d asked the same question earlier.
“Yes ma’am,” I replied. I looked at Chloe, hoping she could help.
“Does anyone know our ETA?” Chloe asked. Mom and Dad grinned at each other.
“There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” Mom replied. I didn’t know anything about a skinned cat but I did know my sister was brilliant. Mom had recently explained that ETA was an acronym for Estimated Time of Arrival.
“We should arrive in 30 minutes,” Dad informed. “We’re traveling east on Highway 69 and just passed through Hartford, which is the county seat of Ohio County.”
“County seat?” I asked.
“A county seat is the capital of the county,” Dad answered. “It’s the home of the courthouse and county government. In fact, the courthouse is on your right.”
“I see the American and Kentucky flag,” I announced! In the blink of an eye we had driven through the pretty town.
“There are lots of parkways in Kentucky,” I replied, seeing a sign for Natcher Parkway. “We’ve already been on the Purchase and the WK.” Chloe picked up the Kentucky map sitting between us.
“Kentucky has nine parkways,” Chloe announced.
“Why do we need parkways when there are 2-lane roads?” I asked. “We love the back roads.”
“Kentucky is a long state” Dad answered. “If I’m remembering correctly, it’s 417 miles from east to west and only 182 miles from north to south. Parkways are convenient when we need to travel long distances because we can bypass the stop-and-go traffic that comes with driving through a town. But back roads allow us to learn more about each county and town. We see things we can’t find on the interstate – like farms and country stores. And we meet people.”
“Like the man in the overalls from Benton,” I replied.
“Exactly,” Dad confirmed. “If he hadn’t come to our car, we wouldn’t have known about Fordsville Days.”
“And here we are,” I said, reading a sign that said, “Welcome to Fordsville!”
“What’s that?” Chloe asked once we were parked. She was pointing to something that looked like a train car.
“A trolley,” Mom answered.
“Hop on board,” the driver announced. Minutes later we were seated, enjoying a tour of the small town.
“I’m Mike. I would shake your hand, but I’m busy driving,” he announced. “Welcome to Fordsville Days – one of Ohio County’s biggest events. It began in 1990 as a fundraiser for the L&N Depot Museum.”
“L&N was a railroad that originally operated freight and passenger services between Louisville and Nashville. Thus, the name L&N,” Mike informed. “Over the years it grew much larger than just Louisville and Nashville and later became part of another railroad. This was one of the depots. The Historical Society maintains the museum and uses it to showcase things about Fordsville. The money Fordsville Days brings in goes to help finance the museum. You’ll find all sorts of things at Fordsville Days – beauty pageants, tractor shows, carnival rides, games, and lots of food! Don’t forget to check out the Highway 54 Yard Sale.”
As the trolley slowed down, I noticed a diner up ahead.
“I wonder if this is the diner Montgomery Gentry sang about in My Town,” I said, pointing to the sign that said “Diner.” Immediately, Chloe softly sang the line “A bunch of us still go down to the diner,” causing us to smile.
“I hope you folks enjoy the festival,” Mike said, once the trolley stopped.
Immediately a teenager approached us. “Does anyone play Checkers?” he asked. “There’s a Checkers Tournament and we need another player.”
“I’ll play,” I answered, following the teen to the Checker board. Ten minutes later, I shook the hand and offered congratulations to my opponent whose name was Rob. I asked how I could improve my skills at the game.
“Let me give you a piece of advice,” Rob answered. “You’re so focused on your next move that you can’t see the end.”
As Chloe and I walked through the festival, gnawing on the biggest – and most delicious turkey leg – we’d ever seen, I told Mom and Dad what Rob had said.
“Sounds like great advice for life too,” Dad stated.
“If I hadn’t made those last two moves, I might have won,” I said, before laughter erupted.
“Look at those yard sales,” Chloe said, pointing ahead. The four of us began browsing through the various items. Mom searched through picture frames while Dad checked out the tools. Once Chloe and I finished our drumstick and wiped our paws, we dug through the toys and books. Chloe was looking at a set of Nancy Drew books when I spotted a treasure I had to have – one that would change my life.
Chapter 4 Podcast
Be sure to visit www.thewoodybooks.com for information on other festivals.