Here's Johnny - Small town, big hearts
Alright, alright: I know Versailles isn't technically a small town (though Midway is) and Woodford is not Kentucky's least populous county. In fact, I looked it up: In 2013, 8,949 people lived in Versailles, 1,657 in Midway and 25,275 in Woodford County. Still, sometimes it seems as if I've met a remarkably high percentage of y'all in the 25 months I've had the pleasure of gracing the pages of The Woodford Sun with news articles, columns and mostly in-focus photographs. Not having lived in each of Kentucky's 120 counties, the following conclusion is hardly scientifically sound, but it feels right: Woodford County has to be one of the friendliest places in the commonwealth, if not the world. I grew up on the east side of Lexington, a few miles from the Clark County line, only a half-hour or so from Woodford County. Lexington-Fayette County, of course, is hardly the Big Apple, but it still boasts - if that's the right word - 12 times the population of Woodford County. I've also worked or lived in Louisville, Orlando, Fla., and Washington D.C., each of which offered good times and good people, but little of the warmth of the place most Dear Readers call home. Perhaps that's simply a function of what happens when you put too many people in one place, especially on the roadways. Maybe it's something in the water - folks are always talking about the karst system here. Whatever the reason, Woodford Countians are almost invariably nice - not just polite, but nice, and there's a difference. The latest example: District Judge Mary Jane Phelps just returned a call to make sure I had the correct names for the photo caption of her Bunco Babes for Life group. Had I done my job properly at Friday's Relay for Life, she would have not needed to do so. She even gave me her cell phone number, which I promised not to call in order to glean insider information for the weekly "Guilty or Not Guilty" local gambling pool. I then reassured her that there was no such gambling pool. (If there is, please call me at 873-4131, ext. 13 - with an extension like 13, you need all the luck you can get.) Do you think I would get a call returned from a Fayette or Jefferson district judge, and if so, feel comfortable pulling a robed leg about a gambling pool? I think not. I don't mean this to be a valedictory address, but it occurred to me the other day while jaywalking across Main Street that it was past time to thank the good people of Versailles, Midway and Woodford County. (Not to mention Millville and Nonesuch, et al.) Thank you for telling me your stories, and returning my calls, and holding on to my phone or digital recorder or glasses after I absent-mindedly walk away. (Versailles City Hall holds the record in this department, followed by the good people of the Woodford Circuit Court Clerk's office.) Thank you for not storming The Sun with torches and pitchforks when I torch the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican party, or take a stab at a personal favorite sacred cow. Thank you for putting up with my flights of fancy about the Ghost of Past Award Ceremonies from my Navy days and frequent mentions of Ansel, the Ribbon-Cutting Dog. Truth be told, Kenny Smith's dog shows up in full drool mode for the treats Woodford Chamber Executive Director Don Vizi brings, not for the ribbon-cuttings themselves. Thanks for slowing down when I'm jaywalking across Main Street and for not running me off the road on the more narrow portions of my near four-mile loop around town. I'm usually on deadline, and a broken pelvis would cause me to miss at least a couple. Thank you for reading my stuff in The Sun, and Bob Vlach's stuff, and Rick Capone's stuff, and editor Steve "The Silver Fox" Peterson's stuff - and for submitting your own stories, pictures and captions from time to time. Thank you. And now to set up that judicial gambling pool.