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HOME RANGE: Notes on Literature, Nature, Working Dogs, History, Martial Arts, Other Obsessions and Sundry Annoyances by Henry Chappell

Home, Too Briefly

With dear friend Cathy Bishop. No trip to Bowling Green is complete without seeing Cathy and Mike Bishop. (Thanks to Mike for snapping the photo.)

I spent last Saturday at the Southern Kentucky Book Festival in Bowling Green. What a great day. I met and chatted with David Madden – one of my literary heroes – and sat next to Dana Chamblee Carpenter, whose new novel, Bohemian Gospel, is selling briskly and receiving strong reviews. Over the course of the day, Dana and I covered a lot of conversational ground, ranging from Southern literature to football (she wanted to play in high school) to the merits of introversion to the virtues of coffee.

This was one of the nicest, best organized literary events I’ve attended; big enough to draw a good crowd, but not so big as to be hectic and confusing. My thanks to event coordinator Sara Volpi and other staff members and volunteers. Of course I’m proud of the festival’s association with my beloved Western Kentucky University.

J. and I spent four of the happiest years of our lives in Bowling Green. We left, reluctantly, only because the careers we’d prepared for weren’t available there. It’s hard to convey the feeling of peace and gratitude I experience whenever I visit familiar places in my old home. Driving from Louisville, where I enjoyed a long lunch with my niece Courtney Chappell Boyer, I got off I-65 as soon as I could, and took backroads to Bowling Green. As I drove into Edmondson Country, Grayson County, and Warren County on once familiar roads I hadn’t traveled in 34 years, the dogwoods blooming in the greening woods and the familiar accent at stops for gas and coffee brought on something close to heartache.

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