What is a Bluegrass Hoosier?

I’ve always had a sort of mixed loyalty between Kentucky, the Bluegrass state and Indiana, the Hoosier state.

There is a certain level of rivalry between the two states. It includes, but is not limited to, NCAA basketball and having the cardinal as a state bird. Unambiguous natives of one state tell jokes about the other that are as completely, seamlessly reversible as a polyester jacket from Walmart. My own divided loyalty will brook no such disrespect for either place.

I was born in Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky. My family heritage is firmly planted in Franklin and Owen counties, along with almost all my antecedents in the tiny cemetery in Monterey. There is a certain pride of place whenever I see stacked limestone fences with one vertical row at the top, or black fences surrounding a horse pasture.

I know that you can’t serve true Kentucky burgoo in a restaurant and abide by health department regulations that prohibit game meat.

So part of my heart is Bluegrass.

But I’ve lived most of my life in the rolling hills of southern Indiana. I went to a rural high school where everyone’s devotion to high school basketball was as feverish as Friday Night Lights’ Texas football obsession.

I know that Corydon was the first state capital, and furthermore I know how to pronounce it. I remember the smell wafting from Jocko’s around lunch time. One of my first jobs was working at WOCC, the little 250 watt AM radio station in town.

I spent my summers swimming, fishing and hunting wild waterfalls around Patoka Lake.  I still kayak Blue River whenever I can. My kids have attended the same elementary school I went to as a kid. My eldest attends that same basketball-obsessed high school.

So part of my heart is Hoosier.

I can’t bring myself to choose between them. So I choose them both. I live in Indiana. I work in Kentucky. I do my best to contribute and enrich them both.

That’s what a Bluegrass Hoosier means.

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