Do People Really Still Believe These Old Myths About Kentucky?
My cousins used to have a field day when we'd visit them in Silver City NM. While they didn't have northern accents, they were most definitely not southern...more influenced, I'd say, by the Hispanic population in the southwestern portion of New Mexico where they lived.
But they would make fun of our southern accents. And even though I've never had much of one, it was noticeable out there, just as it is when I visit my friend Jeff in Cleveland. Here's an audio clip of a phrase they used to ask us to say. The first part is how I would normally pronounce it. The second is not, but it IS how my cousin Jean Ann pronounced it when she went with us one time. She was from Texas, and they have far more southern accents there than we do here.
Don't ask me why they came up with "I like ice fights," but it did help illustrate their point, to a certain extent. It also, as far as I'm concerned, dispelled the myth that all Kentuckians have southern accents.
Dispelling Common Myths About Kentucky
There are other myths that have existed for decades about Kentuckians, too. And I wonder if folks outside of the Commonwealth still believe them.
We All Run Around Barefoot
Of course we don't, and why would we. There are nails. There's glass. There are those wild plants on the ground that have stickers. Also...there's WINTER. Hey, I love going barefoot, but there's a time and place for everything.
We All Love Horse Racing
I know that to be true because neither I nor my sister enjoy horse racing. So there's two people right there. Yes, the Kentucky Derby is a wonderful old Kentucky tradition and I love that we have it. And I would never want it to go away. And I love horses (even if they don't love me.) But I have never been a fan of the sport. And yes, I know plenty more who simply don't get into thoroughbred racing; it's not just a family thing.
We're All Kentucky Basketball Fans
Of course we're not. Ever heard of the University of Louisville? You know, the Wildcats' arch rival? To be fair, I'm a fan of both programs, in addition to my alma mater Western Kentucky University. There are five other division one programs in the Bluegrass State, as well. The wealth is sufficiently spread.
We're All Hillbillies
First of all, in some circles that's considered derogatory. In others, it's embraced. But for our purposes, it refers to people who live in the mountains. And once you move west of Interstate 75, they will be hard to come by.
All the Grass Is Blue
Nope, just about all the grass is green. And, yep, that calls the nickname "Bluegrass State" into question. So I'll let the scholars at Encyclopedia Britannica take this one:
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) was introduced from Eurasia. It is a popular lawn and pasture grass and is common in open areas and along roadsides. It is 30 to 100 cm (12 to 40 inches) tall, with soft, blue-green leaves.
You want to know something? I've never seen any and am not exactly sure how to find it, unless I just stumble across it and assume that's what it is. Regardless, the nickname is here to stay.
Everyone Likes Bourbon
This one's easy to dispel for the simple reason that not everyone drinks alcohol. And not everyone who DOES indulge enjoys bourbon. But if you do, I say you better get it in Kentucky. Everywhere else? It's just whiskey.
Cousins Marrying Cousins
I think this one HAS devolved into merely a joke, but not a good one. I actually really hate this myth and hope against hope against hope that folks don't REALLY believe it.
Looks like I saved the worst for last. Enjoy the rest of your day.