The last time I went to Kentucky, I got lost. Ten minutes after I crossed the state line my GPS quit working and I found myself on a two-lane highway, adrift within an ocean of wild green hills that never ended.
The first thought I had was: “I think I’ve found heaven.”
I’ve read claims about certain U.S. states that boast the most greenery. Well, I think Kentucky is up there with the champs. We’re talking about a place that’s roughly 12 million acres of woodlands, which comes out to nearly 49 percent of the state.
Kentucky is also home to one of the biggest elk herds east of the Rockies; cradle to the Boy Scouts of America; the birthplace of Mother’s Day; also Abraham Lincoln; and the home of perhaps the greatest philosopher, thinker, and role model of our time, Jim Varney.
Which is why I was pleased to get a letter recently from Eastern Kentucky, sent to me from a man we’ll call Frank.
Frank has been working construction for
43 years. And last week, after a long day at work, he was riding home, feeling depressed because he had this nagging feeling he was about to be laid off before the New Year.
The company Frank works for has fallen on hard times since the pandemic hit; there have been lots of layoffs. Frank believed he was next to go because, in his own words, “I’m too old.”
Frank is in his 60s. His younger coworkers work for cheap, and are considerably more spry. You fall off a ladder at 23, you get up and keep working. You fall off a ladder at 60-something, your boss calls the local funeral home.
So Frank’s truck was rolling through a heavenly rural highway. It was already dark outside, the moon was out, and he saw something in the road.
The small object looked like an upside-down bowl, inching forward.…