Georgia Green Stamper – Georgia On Her Mind

  • Family pawpaws a far cry from fruit of the same name

    I wanted to love pawpaws. The name enchanted me. One of the earliest nursery rhyme ditties I learned featured this indigenous fruit. “Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch, “ we’d sing, as we skipped in a circle holding hands.

  • Tragedy remains clear among murky stories

    Each person who tells the story changes some detail as though we were archiving various versions of an Appalachian ballad. Sometimes they add a bit information I do not know, shared with them by a relative long dead. More often, they confuse the location, placing it here, then there, on the wrong farms, in the wrong county. They’re hazy about the names of the players. All but hers. Calla Lily Hudson.

  • Geraniums vivid colors never go out of style

    My daughter and son-in-law once dismissed my annual geranium extravaganza as “too 1970s.” They were newlyweds back then, infused with youthful confidence, and less tactful than they would later become. Before they brought it to my attention, however, I’d had no idea geraniums were as out of style as harvest gold kitchen appliances.

  • Email reveals facts about maternal ancestry

    When I opened my email account on Mother’s Day morning, I was surprised to find a “holiday greeting” from, of all people, the search engine at Ancestry.com. I’ve pictured him as a C-3PO sort of robot hunkered in a lonely basement alcove of the National Archives who earnestly tries to answer my requests for old census records and land deeds. Previously he had displayed no sense of humor. Now, out of the blue, he wanted to share “fun facts” about the mothers in my family tree.

  • Aunt Bessie's spring flowers live on decades later

    I’m pretty sure I gasped. Maybe I only think I did, embellishing the memory, but a sight that unexpected can make you gasp, and I’m pretty sure I did.

    We almost didn’t stop by the farm that afternoon. I was tired. Early that morning, we’d driven to Cincinnati where I’d given a lecture. We needed to get home to Lexington for an evening obligation. But my family’s vacant home-place is halfway between those two cities, and only a few miles off the Interstate. Ernie and I agreed we needed to check on it after a winter of neglect.

  • Seeking the groundhog's forecast in modern times

    If I were naming a holiday for an animal, I might go with Giraffe Day. They’re elegant beasts, and I’ve felt a kinship with them since I was in high school. That’s when Tony Denny observed to everyone in earshot that I had a neck as long as a giraffe’s.

    Or Zebra Day – is there a more beautiful creature than a zebra? If it had its own day, might it become a symbol of racial harmony or world peace?

  • Close the French doors and keep the grown-ups out

    My husband would say that we bought our nothing-out-of-the-ordinary suburban home because it had a walkout basement. That’s an uncommon feature, we were surprised to learn, in our more flat than not sub-division. The real reason, however, was its tiny front room.

  • Cedars of Owen bring back Christmas memories


  • Uncle Murf: The man who defied the odds of survival

    Veterans Day – formerly known as Armistice Day until we realized peace would ever elude us – seems a good time to tell my Great-Uncle Murf’s story.
    This November day of observance first began to honor the veterans of his war, World War I.  And he was the archetypal American soldier. A Kentucky farm boy who’d never been more than a 100 miles from home, drafted but willing and patriotic, he did his duty without glory, without complaint.

  • Reliving a cold and rainy 1988 Breeder's Cup

    The Breeder’s Cup gallops into Lexington next weekend for the first time in history. Since it’s about the biggest do in horse racing, our town is putting on its company best. From abundant flowers to stunning street murals, to charming sidewalk cafés and gourmet food trucks, we’re looking good. We’ve even gilded the lily, and made  Keeneland – already one of the prettiest places in America – more lovely and accommodating.