Salt Lick author Marjorie Dufault retired a few years ago to Kentucky to find a creative environment in which to write.
Her first work, Child of the Mountain, won the 2009 bronze award from the Independent Publisher Regional Book Awards, South-East region, for Best Regional Fiction.
Her latest novel, New Life at the Krossroads (iUniverse, $27.95), has now been named the 2011 silver medal winner in this same category.
The story focuses on Karen Christian Beckham, whose world has been upended suddenly by her husbandï¿½s indiscretions. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Karen focuses on her grandmotherï¿½s long-ago advice, ï¿½Decisions are like crossroads. Every time you come to one, you have to make a choice. Will you settle on the well-worn path where everyone elseï¿½s tracks make it easy; or will you take the more difficult path and help create a new road that will allow you to shine rather than live in the shadow of others?ï¿½
What she doesnï¿½t expect is to find everything her life has been missing when a cross-country road trip and her grannyï¿½s spirit lead her to take on the renovation and reopening of the dilapidated Krossroads Diner in Farmers, Kentucky.
Though the Krossroads Diner really does exist, the story remains fictional. Dufault says, ï¿½The first time I saw the Krossroads Diner, I knew a story was there; so choosing Karenï¿½s career was natural. Of course the idea of tying the name of the diner to a person who had come to a crossroad in her life was an easy choice as well.ï¿½
She hopes that Karenï¿½s story of second chances will provide a sense of understanding that all things happen for a reason.
ï¿½As long as you are willing to accept the bad with the good, there is always hope,ï¿½ Dufault says.
As for finding her creative writing environment in her new home state, Dufault says, ï¿½It is definitely the people who inspire meï¿½The sense of ï¿½familyï¿½ is such an important aspect of life for Kentuckians and is reflected in every person that weï¿½ve met since moving here.ï¿½
One of the easiest ways to make your home more energy efficient is to add insulation in the attic. To see if you need insulation, look across an uncovered attic floor. If the insulation is level with or below the floor joists, you probably need to add more.
Among the several Relay For Life cancer research fundraisers around Kentucky each year is the 2nd Annual Sarah Kayï¿½s 5K Run/Walk, October 1 in Columbia. The event honors a local woman who died of brain cancer last year, and raises funds for SWATï¿½Sarahï¿½s Whipping Astrocytoma Team. This yearï¿½s event promises a scenic rural course, raffles, coupons, and a blue Team SWAT silicone bracelet. Registration starts at 8:15 for the 9:15 a.m. event at 1070 Bull Run Lane. Entry fee is $12 and there is no pre-registration. For more e-mail JamieLSchafer@hotmail.com or phone (502) 645-9240.
When 8-year-old Cee Cee Creech of Campbellsville learned about the tornado devastation in Joplin, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, she wanted to help. With the support of mother BeLinda, father Chad, and brother Kai, Cee Cee began knitting colorful elephants for the children whoï¿½d lost everything. A friend suggested they put up a Facebook page, and they put pictures of the animals on Facebook asking for sponsors. In the first week, they attracted 380 people who liked what they were doing and supported it. Then overnight the number leaped to more than 1,000, and Cee Cee began knitting nonstop. A sponsor would, for instance, pledge $2 per elephant for the 12 elephants Cee Cee knitted, and their final donation would be $24 (or $10 per elephant for a donation of $120, etc.). The money they raisedï¿½more than $3,000ï¿½went to the Red Cross of the Ozarks, and the entire family drove to Joplin to deliver the elephants in person. ï¿½We thought the elephants might give people hope,ï¿½ BeLinda explains. ï¿½Weï¿½re planning to do an auction on eBay for Tuscaloosa very soon.ï¿½ For information, go to Facebook and type in ï¿½Elephants Remember Joplin.ï¿½
Iraq War veteran and Kentucky resident Troy Yocum is in the home stretch of concluding a crisscross hike of more than 7,000 miles across the U.S. Yocum began in his hometown of Louisville some 19 months ago trekking to the West Coast. His return loop took him on a southern route through Texas to New York state. Yocum was inspired by a friend and fellow veteran to raise awareness of and funds for troubled military families. His return walk from New York state will lead him home this month.
ï¿½Itï¿½s been quite a roller coaster ride. Support has been more than I ever imagined. The police and firemen have been very niceï¿½without them I couldnï¿½t have made it through some situations. There have been places where weï¿½ve had 25,000 people walking with us. My wife, Mareike, and my dog, Emmie, have been by my side all the way tooï¿½often in a support vehicle. Weï¿½ve slept in cabins, tents, B&Bs, shedsï¿½you name it. Weï¿½ve made donations to over 50 military families so far.ï¿½
To donate or for more info: www.drumhike.com.
The All-New Old Fashioned State Fair
The All-New Old Fashioned State Fair offers something of interest to all Kentuckians. For the housewife there will be style shows, television programs, kitchen displays plus other attractions dealing with all phases of homemaking exhibited in the East Wing of the coliseum.
For men there will be all kinds of livestock judging, horse shows, thrill shows, auto racing, baseball games, and tractor pulling contests.
The youngsters will enjoy the live television shows, 4-H demonstrations, military displays, rodeo, and many novel and interesting exhibits.
Cooperative members will be interested in the Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Beauty Pageant in which their respective queens will compete for the state crown.
Not far from downtown Stamping Ground, Don Saager is busy tinkering with all things mechanical. A self-proclaimed train nut, Don has taken the hobby of model trains to a whole new level. You see, outside the house and just around the bend lies 4,500 feet of train track built by Don and his train enthusiast friends from around the country.
ï¿½Each May we try to have a get-together and take everyone who will show up for a ride,ï¿½ says the tall, lanky Scott County resident.
A 30-year transplant from Wisconsin, Don says he has always been interested in mechanical design, and his hobby turned to building a coal-fired steam engine back in 1997.
Today, Don takes his show on the road. His miniature, full-blown working engines and tracks are always a big hit at model train shows around the area.
ï¿½Don has a unique talent to achieve any goal he sets his mind to,ï¿½ says Dale Smith, past president of the Collis P. Huntington National Railroad Society.
ï¿½A friendly, warm, caring individual with a grin a mile wideï¿½you have to like a guy like that,ï¿½ Smith says.
When asked why he drives all over the country to give rides to kids of all ages, Saager says, ï¿½Just to see them kids smile!ï¿½
For more about the annual train show, contact Greenbo Lake State Resort Park at (800) 325-0083.
Jim Owen, country singer/songwriter, considers himself ï¿½the luckiest man in the world. I love performing and love to make people laugh.ï¿½
Growing up in Robards in Henderson County, population 300 then, his earliest memories of entertaining came as a child when he sang and starred in his own plays for his Grandmother Royster.
ï¿½I had a vivid imagination and we only had radio, which stretched your imagination,ï¿½ he says.
Many life-changing encounters led to his future successes. For instance, in elementary school he saw a local PTA production and realized hometown folks could be talented yet ordinary people. A few months later his parents took him to the Grand Ole Opry where he watched Hank Williams and Roy Acuff perform. (Years later, he wrote and starred in a one-act play honoring Williamsï¿½ life.) He bought his first guitar for a dollar and sang for his 5th grade class. He attended Murray State. He married his longtime girlfriend from Sebree, Yvette Robards.
After that Owen traveled the world singing, acting in movies, and writing numerous hit songs recorded by such greats as Mel Tillis, Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn, and Crystal Gayle. In 1985 and 1987, he was named Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year and in 2009, his autobiography, Country Musicï¿½s Jim Owen, was awarded the Readers Favorite Award.
Asked how one person could be so blessed heï¿½ll tell you, ï¿½It was a bunch of componentsï¿½hard work, drive, talent, and luckï¿½being in the right place at the right time too, I guess. I wasnï¿½t ever going to accept less from myself and was never taught to lose. I donï¿½t intend to lose running for Congress in 2012 either.ï¿½
Say what? Yes, representing Missouriï¿½s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives is his new goal. His fund-raising efforts are under way and heï¿½s in the process of filing for the office.
Today he lives in Branson, Missouri, where heï¿½s raising his great-granddaughter and continuing to be a favorite of visitors with the Jim Owen Morning Show at the Branson Mall Music Theater.
To learn more about the joys and sorrows of a country singerï¿½s life or to order a book, go to www.jimowenmusic.net.
Electric vehiclesï¿½if widely adoptedï¿½could reduce petroleum fuel consumption by 70 to 90 percent.
ï¿½Plugging In: A Consumerï¿½s Guide to the Electric Vehicle, by the Electric Power Research Institute
The Bobby Driver Memorial Scholarship Fund Inc., initiated in 2006 by wife Betty, awards scholarships to one senior each from Barren County and Glasgow High Schools who pursues a degree in education.
This year the Foundation is holding a ï¿½Singing for Scholarshipsï¿½ fund-raiser at the Plaza Theater in Glasgow, Friday, September 9, at 7 p.m. Host Glen Rice and Friends will honor the 30-year teacher and coach with a concert featuring a variety of music. Local star Shaylin McGuire will open with a pre-concert segment at 6:45 p.m.; doors open at 6.
For tickets: www.plaza.org or phone (270) 361-2101. Advance tickets $10, at the door $12.
This yearï¿½s celebration of the 100th birthday of Bill Monroe crescendos this month with events around Rosine and Owensboro. September 10 costumed guides will re-create history at the family farm in Rosine for Homeplace Life Day. September 11 enjoy a tour of the Rosine Methodist Church and a gospel service and music at Rosine City Park. In Owensboro, September 12, see an original musical, The Life & Lively Music of Bill Monroe, and September 12-14 catch star-studded concerts, all at RiverPark Center. Back to Rosine on the legendï¿½s actual birthday, September 13, for the Birthday Party on the Lawn. Get more details at www.billmonroe100birthday.com.