Jonathan Field - Maker of Random Stuff

Monks & Booze

So the day after fishing Charlotte and I went to go check out the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Bardstown isn’t too far from the New Warehouse, and it’s a lovely drive. This state really is gorgeous.

We got a terribly late start because of the late night fishing. When we got to Bardstown around 2PM we walked down the main street a bit and were very disappointed as there didn’t seem to be much of anything going on. An extra street musician or two perhaps, and a table with some crafts, but overall it felt desolate. We decided to take off to get some lunch at a nearby place Charlotte felt had the best milkshakes in the world, and weren’t sure we’d even come back.

The milkshake place was indeed superb, but the mood was killed by some type of back country motorcycle gang. They were loud enough to cause my milkshake to start separating, and they never seemed to actually go anywhere, just driving around in circles and passing the shop every minute. While trying to ignore that, we came across some literature on a Trappist Monastery that was right nearby. The literature said that they only allow females to visit on alternate weeks. I figure the logic there is to give the monks a week to forget about women before they get tempted again. We didn’t know which week it was, but we figured to escape the marauding motorcycle gang we would check that out.

We got to the monastery right at 5:30 and heard a church bell ringing. We ran over to the chapel and quickly found a seat inside. It must have been a female friendly week, or they thought Charlotte was a guy, because they let us in without trouble. We sat and took in a peaceful service. I don’t think I’ve been to a non-wedding, non-funeral church service in 15 years perhaps? Only slightly shorter than my hiatus from fishing. But I liked it… they sang a handful of hymns, read a brief passage from the bible, and sang a few more hymns. It was simple, peaceful, and personal. And it helped me remember that despite my sometimes negative perception of religion, I do have great respect for people who practice their faith in a personal way. It’s just the evangelizing that bothers me.

After that we walked up a nearby hill and chilled out a bit before heading back to Bardstown. We were ambivalent about going back since we weren’t sure there was anything interesting going on anyway, but I’m glad we did… we stepped right into a regular hoedown. It was exactly what we had been expecting earlier: hundreds of people milling about sampling dirty fried food and meat on sticks, checking out local art, listening to great live music, and getting drunk. A regular Kentucky Fried good time.

It’s funny coming from Las Vegas where alcohol is about as regulated as sparkling water, but even at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival they still won’t let you walk around in public with alcohol. So the drinking was relegated to a couple small liquor courts… you’d buy your drink and had to finish it off before being allowed back out into the public areas. I suppose this seems normal to most people, but it seems pretty odd and pointless to me these days.

Charlotte had never tried bourbon, and despite my warnings was convinced that she wanted to try it without a mixer or chaser. So we got a couple servings on the rocks… Four Roses and Knob Creek (a name Charlotte couldn’t help but be amused by). As expected, the first sip was awful. Charlotte knocked one of the cups over a moment later, spilling all that glorious liquid hapiness in the dirt. She claims it was accidental. In any case we nursed the remaining one and noticed how it gets much nicer as your taste buds die off. We watched the music and the people while sitting on a high wall at the edge of the liquor pen. People watching in Kentucky is more interesting than in Vegas, and probably a little more dangerous too. We moved on to bourbon and coke, which is not only palatable, but is downright pleasant. In fact I’d say I actually like the taste of bourbon in coke. I did Makers and she did Jim Beam. And that was enough bourbon for us.

After that we had dinner at a nearby restaurant… “posh” by Bardstown standards, or so Charlotte said. Then we went back out and a different band was playing. We caught just the end of their show, and they hit us up with 3 British songs in a row; surely because they recognized Charlotte in the audience. They did the Stones “Honky Tonk Women”, and then “Don’t Let Me Down” and “The Ballad of John and Yoko” by the Beatles. They were very good. And they looked very Kentucky. The drummer had, hands down, the best sideburns either of us had ever seen. General Ambrose had nothing on this guy. Not only were they nice and muttony, they were jet white and they stood out from the sides of his head at least eight inches. He was also wearing a dead raccoon on his head, as Charlotte pointed out. I explained that this was a bit of classic American fashion.

And that was it for last weekend. I’m about to head into this weekend, but it’ll be different because this weekend we’re doing our last round of testing before a soft launch of the new warehouse on Monday. I had to ask my KY people to come in on Saturday, which I’m sure they are all absolutely happy to do because they love me and Zappos so. Then hopefully we get one day of rest, like God himself after creation, before all hell breaks loose. Also much like God and creation, I suppose.

The next couple weeks are going to be crazy.

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