Monday, March 15, 2010


I’m beginning to detest KFC. Don’t get me wrong, the Colonel’s battered and crispy fried poultry is as tasty as ever, and I’m sure the grilled version is just as good. I love the mashed potatoes and gravy, the coleslaw, macaroni, green beans, buttery biscuits, and all the other goodness that can be found beneath the wide red and white stripes. The buffets were always a great value as I recall... do they still do those? I haven’t actually eaten KFC in a long time (maybe 4 years?), but it’s been thrust into my life again and I have quite an aversion to the manner in which it’s come back.

It seems that the french have two possible responses to me when I tell them I’m from Kentucky. One is to go quiet and possibly say “Kantuuki? I have no idea where that is.” The other is to immediately and enthusiastically shout “Kentucky Fried Chicken!” To which I must simply nod and say, “yes, that Kentucky.”

We’ve had other fun responses to our homestead while abroad. Once in Tanzania we were driving north to visit Kenya. I was pulled over by a police officer. In the conversation that ensued he asked me where I was from. Much like in France, simply saying ‘USA’ doesn’t work. They want to know what state.
So I told him Kentucky.
“Tokyo?” was his reply.
“No sir, not Tokyo. Kentucky.”
“Yes, yes, Tokyo, I know it.”
Sure, I’m from the great state of Tokyo. You should come visit.

What was amazing about this encounter came about 3 hours later. We’d just crossed the border into Kenya and stopped to buy a coke. We were in just as much of the middle of nowhere as we had been earlier at the police stop. I was talking to the guy working the coke stand, and he wanted to practice some English. He asked where I was from and the conversation made its way to Kentucky. “That’s strange,” he said, “you don’t have an accent.” What?! The last guy I talked to thought Tokyo was a State in the Union, and this guy knew that Kentuckians have an accent! Wow.
Back in France we get the same dichotomy. But why must my home state be always known as the Fried Chicken state?

(*occasionally we get stories of someone they once met from KY, with the assumption that we must know them, and once a guy responded “I know KY, John Wall right?” :-D )


Dan and Tami said...

The shape of the state does kind of resemble a fried chicken leg, after all...

Kent Billingsley said...

I must say, John Wall is by far the best response. I had the same response in Germany, "Kentucky Fried Chicken??!!" And we would just nob yes. I love you guys, miss you.

Michael & Joe Joe said...

I'd not before noticed the chicken-leg-likeness of our state's shape, but you're exactly right! Maybe I'll begin describing it that way. Seems like some sort of clever literary device that I can't name.

Thanks Kent, we miss you too! GO CATS!

Lisa said...

It's funny you write about the state of KY. People look at my charm shaped like Africa, and people can not come close to guessing what it is. I've even had people say it looks like KY, or TX. Those are the 2 most popular guesses. I guess geogrophay is not most people's strong suit, even mine. Love the pics of Sawyer! He's really grown, and cuter than ever. Good words about playing in God's playground. HMMMM!

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Thanks Lisa. Geography's a funny thing. We remember as kids watching and playing endless hours of Carmen Sandiago, and were it not for that, I don't think we'd have any geography to speak of. Now living in Europe where countries and capitals are like states and cities in the US, we feel so lost with so much to learn!