TALKING TO MYSELF: 3 July 2013 I have an odd fascination with obituaries, even those of people I don’t know. I try to piece together the kind of life the deceased may have led by the details included in the paper. Occupation, number of spouses or lack of any, children and where they’ve scattered as adults, the strange inclusion of pets’ names among the survivors, hobbies and avocations – yes, I guess I’m sort of crazy to find these random little life stories of strangers interesting. But then, no one ever said I was normal. This morning’s Lexington Herald-Leader contained two that I want to share, the first a traditional one for a woman whose life appears to have been filled with both purpose and joy; the other, the fall of a once great Central Kentucky farm whose name has recently become important to me. 

Virginia Henry Kingsolver, age 83, died in Carlisle, Kentucky, on Monday. Married for 63 years to her girlhood sweetheart, Mrs. Kingsolver’s involvement in her community and beyond leaves a rich and impressive legacy. At the end of her list of achievements, my eye was caught by a little phrase, “She loved flowers … ” So do I, and I hope someone remembers to include that in my obituary.

Mrs. Kingsolver was the mother of three children, a son and two daughters, who survive her along with her husband Dr. Wendell Kingsolver. Years ago, when Ernie served a term or two on the board at Kentucky Wesleyan, we had the pleasure of meeting her son, Dr. Rob Kingsolver, who was a gifted and much beloved member of the faculty. What a difference Rob's work has made in the lives of so many who have gone on to medical school or other professions in the science fields! Ernie would come home from each meeting raving about the amazing work Rob Kingsolver was doing at this little school. It took me a while to realize that his sister was Barbara Kingsolver, whose novels had begun to pop up in the New York Times best-seller list with regularity. According to her obituary, "Ginny said her most fulfilling work was her family life, and she delighted in her extended family and friendships." That defines a good life, to my way of thinking. I offer my condolences to all who loved her. 

You may read more about Mrs. Kingsolver and arrangements here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/kentucky/obituary.aspx?n=virginia-kingsolver&pid=165653692&fhid=11901#fbLoggedOut

Then my eye was drawn to a different sort of obituary. Horses, pastured not far from where I live, had been neglected to the point of intervention by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. At least one of the animals had  to be "put down." To my surprise, the horses were found on a 42 acre leased section of the Hopewell Farm which was once home to the likes of the great Skip Away. The entire farm--547 acres located in Woodford County--is in receivership and scheduled to be auctioned on July 16. This is a kind of death, the collapse of dreams and financial solvency, and in the case of the neglected horses, a death of respect and morality.

The photograph on the cover of my book Butter in the Morning was taken by Herald –Leader photographer Frank Anderson at Hopewell Farm in 1999. I love that photograph, and I was tickled when I found out it was taken at a place named Hopewell. Although I think the name refers to the ancient Native American tribe that once lived in the region, I’ve fancied the layered symbolism of the name. My religioius faith assures me that there is always hope for second chances, and I hope as much for Hopewell. 

Read more about the horses at Hopewell here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/07/02/2701020/alleged-horse-neglect-investigated.html

©Copyright Georgia Green Stamper 2013