My Old Kentucky Home 2012

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Kentucky Derby Week Preview

The Big Red Barn aka Friends Drift Inn blog home

Checking Out the Field

I have never been to the Kentucky Derby. I am not sure it will meet with my expectations. Growing up, Grandma traditionally had a family party on the first Saturday of May. Generations before, my folks were horse people and considered wealthy. Kentucky Derby is a tradition we still relish. It is a family secret how we lost our money, but our love of horse flesh has cost more than one forbearer his life.

“All things in moderation” is how I approach horse racing and bourbon. Shoes and hats? Well that is a different story! Grandma would approve. Giggles

Jake ringing the bell at the big red barn; a Friends Drift Inn tradition

Here at the big red barn, our Kentucky Derby is a family friendly party. Even though we are four hours from Churchill Downs, Louisville is still part of The Bluegrass State. I want Jake, my nephew, to have a strong sense of place; a great love for Kentucky from Pikeville to Paducah. My campaign started early.

Jake was a preemie; spending the first six weeks of his life in a plastic box. Each hospital session that I was allowed to, I held the precious bundle singing “My Old Kentucky Home” and praying we would indeed bring the boy home. When it was Charlie’s turn, he would give a rousing rendition of the UK Fight Song – “On On U of K we are right for the fight today.” The child is a fighter.

Jake is a miracle child, now going on twelve. It is his responsiblity to ring the ancient ancestral dinner bell on Kentucky Derby Day. As a child, I rang that bell once to mark the beginning and once to mark the conclusion of our Kentucky Derby Party.

We have changed that tradition a bit. At the beginning of our festivities, Jake rings the bell eight times in memory of the filly Eight Belles. The peals echo down Johns Creek.

Welcome to The Big Red Barn KY DERBY 2011

We prefer a cookout style menu for the gathering; casual and relaxed. Friends bring side dishes, and we provide the staples. I drag out all my Kentucky Derby themed serving pieces and of course a couple of mason jars of simple syrup infused with mint. We make mint sodas for the kids and something a little more traditional for the adults.

We laugh. We choose our horses. We boo certain jockeys. We stand to sing “My Old Kentucky Home.” The tears flow. And then they are off…the most exciting two minutes in sports.

When the evening concludes we stop to reflect on the moment; thankful that no matter where we are WE ARE AND SHALL ALWAYS BE Kentucky hillbillies proud of where we come from, optimistic about where we are going. Even in Appalachia, the sun shines bright on My Old Kentucky Home.

On Sunday, Friends Drift Inn blog site will be infused with a series of Kentucky Derby Party Posts including Kentucky Derby Recipes, Cocktails, Bourbon Updates, a look at Kentucky heirloom gardening, and even a guest post on Thoroughbred Roses! The sidebar has already been updated with a list of archived Kentucky Derby recipes from last season. Stand by for Kentucky Derby Week with Friends Drift Inn!

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.