COLUMN: Just a small-town girl

Marianne Hale

I am what my 81-year-old grandfather would call a wild chicken. I like to be on the go all the time, with the exception of the occasional 20-minute power nap to help me recharge.

But when fall break presented me with a few days without school and work, I went against my wild chicken ways and took life at the only pace you can take it in my hometown in northeastern Kentucky: slow.

I wasn’t taking time to stop and smell the roses, though. Instead, I was smelling fatty, fried foods as Greenup brought me the scents, sights and sounds of Old Fashioned Days, the town’s annual celebration of a simpler time.

The three-day festival includes both tractor and talent shows, apple butter making and vendor after vendor, who line the city of Greenup’s Main Street with offers of antique jewelry, homemade pork rinds and fudge and other such trinkets or treasures.

Oh, and there are costumes too. Some women don bonnets and dresses with petticoats while most of the men playing dress-up prefer the cowboy look, though I did see some Civil War soldiers.

This was my perfect place to slow down for a few reasons. One, if you’ve got corn dogs, funnel cake or any other food modified by the adjective “deep-fried,” you can count me in, although you might have to help me finish off the funnel cake.

Two, I consider myself a professional talent show commentator. I’m like Simon Cowell but without the musical prowess to back it up. As my oldest pal and I watched this year’s competition line-up, we took to creating a recipe for success in a small-town talent show. Among other ingredients, we decided that country tunes and Golden Oldies go over best, you should never do an original composition and always remember that you can’t go wrong with a Jesus song.

And three, it’s home. I can always count on finding my family members, friends and other folks from my small-town past taking the slow stroll through the Old Fashioned Days’ festivities.

There, among family, friends and funnel cake, I forgot about looming deadlines and my to-do list. I lived in slow-as-molasses moments without appointments or plans – except for my agenda of must-eat foods, of course.

Sometimes I just need a little dose of home to help me get through the semester stress.

If you’re from a small town, I’m sure you have your own Old Fashioned Days or some other event celebrating quilting or some sort of fruit or vegetable (apples, pumpkins, etc.). I recommend making the trip home to take advantage of a few slow days in a simpler time.

If your town doesn’t have a festival or you’d like to attend one elsewhere, check out

You might not get as much out of the festival experience as I did, but you’ll likely score a corn dog, and isn’t that what really matters?