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July 26, 2004 » 4:14 pm

Honest Abe, Monk Cheese, and Kentucky Bourbon

Spent the day with Sujean Kim and Isaac Watras touring Kentucky. Our first stop was the Abbey of Gethsemani, home of Thomas Merton and homemade cheese, bourbon fudge, and fruitcake. The abbey itself is beautiful, nestled in the heart of Kentucky and surrounded by acres of fields and forest.    (1YF)

We attended a prayer service, where the monks chanted their prayers, and afterwards, we lunched in silence with the brothers. Lunch was disappointing. I expected monks to eat earthy, natural foods. Nope. Frozen fish sticks, frozen fries, frozen vegetables, and canned fruit. Not exactly God’s food.    (1YG)

Afterwards, we drove to Hodgenville to visit Abraham Lincoln‘s birthplace. We stopped off at the Lincoln Museum, where I was stunned to see that they sold Confederate flags. I’ve heard all those arguments for Southern pride, but at the Lincoln Museum?! Strange place, the south. Not sure that Honest Abe would have approved.    (1YH)

We ended our day in Bardstown, a great little nearby town that happens to lie smack in the middle of Kentucky’s bourbon trail. Had dinner and drinks at the historical Old Talbott Tavern, where I tried Four Roses bourbon for the first time. (I also tasted Booker, a Jim Beam varietal. All I have to say is, Kentuckyians like their whiskey strong.)    (1YI)

I enjoyed Four Roses so much, we went around the corner to buy a few bottles at the neighborhood liquor store. The clerk was Frederick Noe‘s (“Booker”) nephew, and he told us some good stories about the Beam household.    (1YJ)

Lots of local folks hung out at the store, buying beer and opening it there. While I was deciding how many bottles of bourbon I could haul home, my brother-in-law overheard the following conversation between a portly man and his companions:    (1YK)

“Had an accident at my house the other day. Fell off a ladder.”    (1YL)

“How far’d you fall?”    (1YM)

“Ten feet.”    (1YN)

“That’s not so far.”    (1YO)

“Ten feet’s a long way for a fat man.”    (1YP)

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