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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Road trip to "Sweet Owen", KY

Yesterday, my sister, Jean and I left for a day together to take in the new outlet stores in Mason, Ohio and then on to re-visit a home site of our dad and mom in Owenton, Kentucky.
We leisurely browsed the shops looking at shoes, clothing and kitchen goods.   We took in for future reference what the outlet mall had to offer.  The air felt a little cool but still a nice day to be out and take it in.  We strolled the whole mall, it seemed, very quickly as we filled our time with reminiscent stories of home life and growing up.  Jean is eight years older than I am and me being the youngest child, I believe I had a life of less exertion and stress of daily living to a couple of five children. 
After leaving the outlet mall we headed our way and set our sights on a ride to Owenton, to the childhood home of our dad and  home of our dad and mom just after dad's retirement.
After a time we reached our exit 57 to Sparta and Warsaw, Kentucky.  When you get off at the Sparta exit and begin the ascent up the Sparta hill toward Owenton, you get a sense of the countryside and why Owenton is known as "sweet Owen".  Like everything, nothing stays the same.  Everything has to change with the times, thoughts and needs of today's existance. So apartments are built where old houses once stood, pre-fab homes are scattered on sections of land that only knew a grazing cow or horse or wild honeysuckle vine.  Small family owned businesses like farm implement sales, flower and plant shops or occasional junk/antique shops also sprinkle the land.  As we arrived onto our old street, our grandparent's homestead has been replaced with such as a pre-manufactured small house.  The clang of an old bell placed on a wooden gate will not be that couple's announcement that someone has come callin'.  A small trailer beside them where our uncle lived is a small plot of green grass with a sign stated by hand, for sale.  As we proceeded to our folks home, trees had grown over powering the land even though they had been trimmed.  Black diamonds no longer embellished the white shutters that our dad had made by hand to place on the house that he spent time with cups of coffee and cigarettes in the wee hours of the morning designing and creating.  The yard was no longer impecably kept and his barn had been replaced with two small houses.  Lastly, the house of our aunt that sat on top of a small hill will never allow anyone to engulf the aroma of coal smoldering from it's chimney venting the exhalation of the iron wood burning stove that heated it year in and year out or the squeaking of the chains holding the porch swing that inherited many hours of ponder and calm repose or hand clap tap rhythm of a song come to mind.  The plot of weeds engulfing her land will be the only benefitters of the memory of her home made jam cake setting thoughtfully and tenderly under a covered cake stand.  The berries in which to make the jam collected along the fence row of the cemetery where her parents, my grandparents and other family members are burried.
After we gazed over these properties for a moment we headed to Elk Creek Lodge for lunch in their winery/cafe.

Jean and  me taking in the view and surroundings of Elk Creek Winery after having lunch.  In the background is the home of the original owner of the establishment and since turned bed and breakfast.  The property also entertains headliners in an amphitheatre below with golf course in the distance.
Jean and I took a closer look inside this grascious, well decorated bed and breakfast home.  It was exceptional with large rock fireplace and gathering room, immense kitchen with views of rolling ridges.  Upstairs were four large king size bedrooms with their own decks and large baths.  The entire basement was finished in hunting memorabilia with bar area, large rock fireplace, and sitting area with a distinctly itlian twist.
We left the Elk Creek Winery and headed back toward town for a little tour and then on to our final destination to view graves of our departed relatives.
The Owen County Courthouse refurbished.
The Owen County jail.

Interesting, I went to Tippecanoe High School before attending Owen County High School.
Used to be original site of the People's Bank.

Owenton was always a quiet little town of generations of folks that knew one another and waved at everyone and anyone.  They mainly made a living tobacco farming.  The area is filled with twisting, turning roads in countryside too numerous to count.  To give you an idea, a few photos follow from the area and surrounding areas of the lifestyle that our grandparents and dad may have known and is long gone and replaced.

A neighboring town of Wheatley.  Owen County was first surveyed in 1783.  Owenton is the county seat of Owen County and it's population today is about 10, 500.  It's motto is:  Pretty-quiet-close.

Circa 1890-1900

The Falls City steam river boat that traveled from Frankfort to Louisville, Ky. carrying goods about 1908.

A group of wheat thrashers heading out to work.

A general store.
Inside the general store.  Looks like it might have a christmas decoration hanging.

An old one room school house.  Dad was born in 1914 and went through third grade.
Jackson family plot.
A dedication to my Dad and Mom and your young life together.

Our Dad and Mother
Thank you Jean for going with me.  Thank you for everything.

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