Our family moved from California to Kentucky in 1997. Timberley and I had completed our master’s degrees at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and I was set to begin doctoral studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. My parents helped us with the move by driving their motor home with a U-Haul trailer attached. We brought along our own car as well. We must have looked a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies in reverse with the truck loaded up and driving from California to Kentucky.
When we arrived Louisville we decided to make a trip to see Mammoth Caves. It was a Saturday morning and I thought I would go find a newspaper before we set out on our trip. I found a newspaper stand selling the local Louisville paper and brought the morning’s edition back to our apartment. The headline that day was “Squirrel Brains Linked to Mad Cow’s Disease.” I had to pause for a moment. Two questions came to mind. Is eating squirrel brains and its adverse side effects a big problem here? And second, is there really so little news here that this story should be on the front page headline? I began to wonder what kind of place we had come to.
I had occasrion to wonder more about this on our drive to Mammoth Caves. We were driving through some beautiful country when I suddenly saw a huge banner on the side of the road announcing the annual Bucksnort Festival. Again, two questions came to mind. What is a bucksnort? And why in the world would you want to have a festival for one?
We came to love Kentucky and in many ways it has become our adopted home. My time at SBTS was crucial for me at that time. Our local church became our sending church when we came to Indonesia, and we formed life-long friendships there. Kentucky also holds a special place to us becuase our daughter Anna was born there. And I suppose you could say that putting squirrel brains in the diet helped prepare us for Indonesia. At least that is what I thought when Samuel and Anna started fighting over who got the chicken brains when we went out to eat in restaurants there!