For more information:
Segment producers: Ernie Lee Martin, Dave Shuffett, Joy Flynn, Valerie Trimble, Gale Worth
A Kentucky Life Christmas
Music and good spirits abound in this special expanded edition as we celebrate the traditions of Christmas around the state.
First up is a visit to Lindy Evans’s Berea studio, Images of Santa, where she creates figures of Santa Claus and his friends and helpers. They range from tabletop figurines cast in resin to life-size—and remarkably life-like—Santas that people just have to touch to find out whether they’re real. Sculpted from polymers, the life-size figures are modeled on real people (usually friends or family members of the artist) and lovingly dressed in vintage fabrics. Though she has branched out a little, creating a line of Halloween-themed figurines, Santa remains Lindy’s favorite subject—because, she says, she still believes in him herself.
To accessorize that Santa, how about a nice poinsettia? Our next segment visits W.P. Pemberton & Sons in Lexington, where the family has been growing the showy December decorating staple since the early 1950s. The business has been around since the 1870s, while the poinsettia made its American debut in 1825, when ambassador Joel Robert Poinsett brought a few back from Mexico. The red-and-green plant, now so strongly associated with Christmas, was first cultivated by the ancient Aztecs.
Heading west, we next stop in for dinner and carols at Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Livingston County’s Grand Rivers. This family-run business started in 1975, when Bill and Patti Tullar and kids visited the Land Between the Lakes and fell in love with the area. They opened a small motel, with a restaurant called Hamburger Patti’s. But as word about Patti’s cooking spread, the motel rooms gradually got converted into dining rooms, and the restaurant kept expanding. Things have come full circle now, as the Tullars have added new lodging (in the form of a log-cabin village), plus extensive gardens and other recreational activities, to turn the place into a family resort. Patti’s 1880s Settlement is open year-round, but the holidays are an especially magical time to visit. Our tour includes high school choirs and a walk through the Settlement’s Festival of Lights.
Another dinner is next, but this one’s a community effort. The people of Forkland, in southwestern Boyle County, gather each year for a cooperative holiday celebration at the Forkland Community Center, a former school that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. This old-fashioned neighborly gathering features a children’s choir and a cornucopia of home-cooked food.
An even older-fashioned celebration can be found in Woodford County, where a pioneer-style Christmas at the Jouett House in Versailles offers both holiday cheer and a little Kentucky history. The house was built in the late 1790s by military hero and politician John “Jack” Jouett. As a Virginia militia member in 1781, Jouett made a daring night ride to warn Thomas Jefferson, then governor of Virginia, about an impending attack on the state capital—and was credited with saving Jefferson and most of the state legislators from capture. Moving to what was then Virginia’s Kentucky County, he represented his new home in the Virginia legislature and fought for its separation as a new state, then promptly was elected one of the first members of the Kentucky General Assembly. He and his wife lived in several different homes in Kentucky and had 12 children, one of whom was renowned 19th-century portrait painter Matthew Harris Jouett. One of his sons was James E. Jouett, who joined the U.S. Navy during the Mexican War, accompanied Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan in the 1850s, commanded a gunboat under David Farragut in the Civil War battle of Mobile Bay, and retired as a rear admiral in 1890.
Our final two stops offer seasonal sights at two Kentucky parks. The display at Burnside State Park in Pulaski County has moved to nearby Lee’s Ford Marina since this visit. But in Bardstown, My Old Kentucky Home still dresses up for the season in high Victorian style.
Throughout this episode of Kentucky Life, several musical guests offer sounds of the season. Host Dave Shuffett welcomes Appalachian duo Zoe Speaks (husband-and-wife team Carla Gover and Mitch Barrett) to the studio. Also heard are the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers, an a cappella gospel group from Covington; the Sisters of Nazareth Choir from Nelson County; and two musicians from Dave’s hometown of Greensburg: Warren Wolf, who’s also a town policeman, and Ron Curry.
|< Previous Program | Next Program >|