Kentucky is known as the “Bluegrass State”. That’s because most of the pastures in Kentucky are blanketed with large amounts of blue grass. Is it really blue?
Kentucky is also famous for it’s thoroughbred race horses. Everyone has heard of the “Kentucky Derby”. Right?
Why are there so many thoroughbred horses in Kentucky?
It has to be due to all those pastures being covered with that magical “Kentucky Blue Grass”. With all those horses munching on all that “Blue Grass”, shouldn’t they be “Blue” also?
Just a rhetorical question...
Most people probably don’t know it but Kentucky, the “Bluegrass State”, also has the world’s longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park; the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the contiguous United States; and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River.
Other interesting and important facts are:
It’s also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, the largest free-ranging elk herd east of Montana, and the nation’s most productive coalfield.
Kentucky is also known for horse racing, bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, automobile manufacturing, tobacco and college basketball.
Now aren’t you glad your reading this document?
But none of the above were of any interest to the members of the Special Forces Association “Green Beret” Chapter XXXIII, except maybe the bourbon distilleries. No! It wasn’t all that “Blue Grass” or the longest cave system in the world or the nation’s most productive coalfield. No! None of these! We were most interested in the second occurrence of our Spring Chapter meeting in the biggest, little town in Kentucky—Madisonville. It was the idea of spending a few hours in an antebellum plantation mansion, circa 1898. The town and house Judy Hines now calls home.
And at 1200 hours (noonish for you legs), on Friday, 20 April 2012, our very able Secretary, Judy, officially kicked off our Spring meeting. And so began a weekend of camaraderie, story-telling and the modest sipping of the spirits of beer, wine and cognac.
Just another normal, enjoyable quarterly gathering of the men and women of Chapter XXXIII.
And as is the norm, some of the more adventurous souls signed in on Thursday, just to get a jump on the area events. Or maybe just to spend a day at the Fort Campbell PX, Commissary and Class Six stores. This is especially important for us chapter members who do not live close to these military facilities.
By 1800 hours, Friday night, all members (all fifteen) had arrived, parked their suitcases (and maybe their better halves) in their rooms and carried their BYOB to the Hospitality Room. Sometime around 1900 hours (give or take an hour or so), most of the troops walked or drove (their cars needed the exercise) across the street to the “Oasis, the South-Western Bar and Grill”. The longest cave in the world has nothing on the “Oasis”. Who wants to meander through dark, damp caves when you can have sizzling, hot (as in jalapeño hot), Nachos.
Then it was back to the motel and the Hospitality room and several dozen rounds of combat stories dating back to Custer’s Last Stand at the “Little Big Horn”. Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning the last of brave stumbled off to bed as bottles of beer and cognac danced through their heads.
Saturday, as it usually does, followed Friday and the members meandered, staggered or maybe even floated into the breakfast area. There was the standard fare of scrambled eggs, sausage, SOS, and waffles. Most of the troops gathered at the coffee pot trying to chase the cobwebs from their foggy brains.
The men departed for the hospitality room to discuss the worldly events and how to solve all the problems of the country...and there are plenty. The ladies, not wanting to mix with the politics of the day, gathered in the hotel lobby. Both groups waiting for the convoy to the antebellum plantation for lunch, the meeting and the Facial SPA.
Judy had conjured up a number of biscuits and country ham, cheeseburgers, hamburgers and salads. She must have thought half the membership of the SFA was going to show up because there was enough food to feed an army. Even though beer and other spirits were brought to the meeting, very few members partook of the liquid refreshments. Maybe it was just too much to expect our group to sip on the nectars of the hops and grapes.
The meeting kicked off at 1300 hours. We did not have enough members present to form a quorum so the meeting dissolved into a gathering for information. The highlight of the meeting was Stan Shank taking the floor (not literally, you understand) and opening the discussion about the upcoming SFA election. There was some concern about the ballots Stan mailed to each member of this chapter and the ballot found in the “Drop”.
Stan had received a copy of the ballot from Jeff Hotujec and it was this ballot Stan mailed to all members of this chapter. Jeff Hotujec also sent that ballot to the publishers of the “Drop”. Somewhere between sending the publisher the draft of the “Drop” and receiving the published “Drop”, the face of the ballot found in the ”Drop” had changed from a “square” to mark to an “oval”. There was also a comment placed in the “Drop” that the “oval” had to be completely filled in.
Stan contacted Jeff Hotujec about the discrepancies and was told “...if the ballots are marked clearly and indicates who the person is voting for, the ballot will be counted...”. Everyone at the meeting, completed their ballots, filled in the required information, sealed the ballot in the envelope furnished by Stan and gave them to Judy. Judy will mail all the ballots to the Teller Committee, SFA.
Stan went to a lot of trouble, expense and time to mail out the ballots, envelopes and a letter outlining the chapters recommended pick of officers. We have over 100 members in this chapter. I hope there were over 100 ballots sent in. The last National election, Chapter XXXIII was one of the leaders in election participation. Hopefully, due to Stan’s efforts, our chapter will lead the SFA in voter participation. Chapter XXXIII could be a “King Maker”—literally.
Rev. Candyce Loescher, “St. Mary’s Episcopal Church”, briefed the chapter on her participation in engraving the names on the Viet Nam Memorial. Now you might wonder how a church leader could possibly be involved in putting names on the Viet Nam Memorial. Prior to entering the ministry, Candyce was an executive with “GlassCraft”, the company contracted to add the names on the Viet Nam Memorial Wall. Believe me, guys and gals. There was a great deal of involvement in the creation of this Memorial. Rev. Candyce Loescher explained where the granite was mined (and why South Africa wasn't the place), who did the polishing and how many pieces were required. She also discussed how the names were engraved on the granite slabs, her company’s task. All in all it was a very informative briefing.
In the meantime, the ladies were upstairs getting instructions from Ms. Tami Wiggins with Beauti Control, on how to do a “Facial SPA”. Ms. Tami Wiggins was also selling the various bottles, jars and tubes of creams, pastes and lotions. It must have been a big hit because most of the ladies purchased numerous items.
All good things must eventually come to an end and our meeting and the ladies “Facial SPA” were no exceptions. We returned to the motel and the hospitality room to await the convoy to the “Country Kitchen” and our dinner. Judy had even found a local guitarist to play the mood music while we ate. I have no idea where Judy found him but he was really good with the guitar and a very nice voice.
Then it was back to the hospitality room for more of the combat stories, tales of old and just reminiscing with days long gone. Surprisingly, both men and their ladies remained in the hospitality room or lobby until well after the “Witching Hour”.
Sunday dawned bright and clear and everyone met in the breakfast area for a final farewell meal and saying the good-byes. Slowly, but surely, the breakfast area and the lobby and the parking lot emptied as members and ladies departed for their individual abodes.
And so ended another chapter meeting in beautiful downtown Madisonville, Kentucky. The Summer meeting will be in Monteagle, Tennessee on 20-22 July. This meeting will be sponsored by Bill Little and Bull Durham. You can read more about the meeting on our chapter web site Bulletin Board (use the “Back Arror” to return to this page).
We do not have a location or sponsor for the Fall meeting in October, but Sid has volunteered once again to host the Winter meeting in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. He’s not sure just exactly where the hotel will be but it will be somewhere on the “Strip”
I've added a few photos taken at our meeting.
See you in Monteagle, Tennessee the week-end of 20 July 2012.
Copyright © 1994 Chapter XXXIII SFA. All rights Reserved.
Chapter XXXIII, SFA, The Larry Alan Thorne Special Forces Memorial Chapter
Spring Meeting was created 26 May 2012