Kentucky ice storm 2009

While traveling the last two years, I have heard some pretty funny stereotypes about Kentucky.

Many Chinese people I met in China that could speak English would ask me where in the U.S. that I was from. The conversation went like this:

“Where you from?”

“I’m American.”

“Ohhhhh…are you from California or New York City?”  [ Any place not related to Hollywood excrement doesn’t exist or count.]

“I’m from Kentucky…it’s kind of between the two.”

“Ohhhhhhhhh! KFC!  You eat lots of chicken! You a cowboy?”


Sadly, many people right here in the U.S. think Kentucky is part of the South. For me, the “South” conjures up images of days spent sipping lemonade from the porch, walking around barefooted, and watching the cotton wave from baking hot fields.

Not quite. Sure, it can be 90 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit here in the summer, but thanks to the wind stream delivering the worst Chicago has to offer, winters can also really suck. Add to that the fact that the government budget monkeys are also under the misconception that this is the South, and only appropriated two snowplows and enough salt to clear one street. Suddenly, you have problems. Half the city is shivering in the dark without power right now for the third day in a row.

The temperature outside — and inside for some unlucky people — is lingering around a ghastly 21 degrees. Yuck. Luckily, I haven’t heard any gunfire from outside yet, so I am assuming martial law hasn’t been enacted. I guess I bought all those cans of SPAM for nothing…just like Y2K. Bummer.

The trees have it worse than us. They have barely recovered from the pounding taken during the 2003 ice storm, and now the cracks! of ice-heavy branches splintering off can be heard all around the neighborhood. If I were a tree, I would just pull up roots and leave.

I finally managed to slip and slide my way down to a nice wooded park just a few blocks away, where some kids were enjoying their brutal pounding trying to sled on the packed ice. At the bottom of the hill lay lost gloves and twisted metal wreckage from sledding incidents. It was a scene of young tears and carnage.

“Wanna give it a try, mister?” One 8-year-old looked at me with a snot-sickle. He had a black eye, abrasions on his head, and stood like his spinal cord had seen better days. I assume they were sledding injuries from today.

“No thanks,” I told him and he dutifully drudged back up the hill, his one good leg doing all the work and one seemingly broken leg dragging the snow behind him. If the hill could do that to a rubber-boned 8-year-old, you would probably have to put my assorted parts in a bag at the bottom of the hill. Sledding a concrete half-pipe would have been softer.

Just for fun, here are some random shots from the Great Kentucky Ice Storm.

Ice storm 2009

Ice storm Lexington Kentucky

Sledding in Lexington, KY Stonewall

Stonewall Woods Ice Storm