It always amazes me how much can happen in a single weekend when you break free from your routine. One sad event led my parents and me away from sunny Florida for the weekend and up to the always hospitable land of Bluegrass for a weekend filled with so much more than we anticipated.
My dad’s grandmother passed away last Thursday after a long and vibrant 102 years of life. She was a truly beautiful woman with a spirit that touched many and a legacy that lives on through her three daughters, 16 grandkids, over 50 great-grandkids, and some great-great grandkids to boot. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that my Gram will always be remembered.
There is also no doubt in anyone’s mind that when Bunnings get together chaos and laughter ensues. Even in moments of sadness we manage to bring joy and silliness to everyone around us. Throw in a couple other families and it’s bound to be an occasion to remember. I got to meet family members I have never met before, and there were pictures courtesy of my cousin, Erin Blinn (and when I say pictures I mean a full on photo session because it is oh so rare when we are all under one roof).
After we had all finished celebrating the life that brought us all together, it was yet again time to say goodbye. This is always quite a production when you have 50 people to hug. But, eventually, the Bill Bunnings and the Mark Bunnings were all in tow and en route to Lexington for a relaxing afternoon before an exciting evening (I swear there is never a dull moment when you get us Bunnings together). So, after a quick pull through the McDonald’s drive-thru to get five Diet Cokes, we were all happy campers and ready for round two.
That evening, the six of us donned our cocktail dresses and sport coats and headed to downtown Lexington for the Lincoln Day Dinner (thrown by the GOP and honoring my Grandpa). We all got to meet the up-and-comings in Kentucky politics and enjoy a delicious meal while listening to hilarious and heartfelt stories about “The Big Right-Hander.” We heard stories about “Buckles Bunning,” Yogi Berra and beating reporters on the head with the Courier Journal. It was quite an experience to hear so many nice things about my grandfather and all the great things he has done for our country throughout his 30 years of public service.
Finally, it was time for my first Lexington night-scene experience. The Mark Bunnings had raved all weekend about the Penguin, a dueling piano bar. From the moment I walked in I was entranced. I had never been to any establishment quite like it before, and I sang and danced along until my heart was content (many of you can probably imagine this scene quite easily). It always shocks me how you have to go a little north to find the South. Southern gentlemen were a plenty this weekend, something rare and unusual down in Gainesville. I must say I could get used to the treatment.
But now, Sunday (Happy Mother’s Day, Momma!), and the 12-hour trip home commences. I am sad to leave behind the family that always reminds me a little more of who I am and where I come from. I am going to miss the plush pillows and cloud-like comforter, the way the wood floor creaks as you tip-toe down the hall, the cool breeze that makes it, not just pleasant, but magnificent, to sit outside and have a delicious dinner on the patio. I know the fireflies will be there soon, and I can only hope I will make it back to see them before they leave once again.