Many days, lately, go by without me thinking once about the little farm where I grew up. City life is busy; balancing a full-time job, business on the side, marriage, friendships, fitness, ministry, etc., often take precedent over my old Kentucky home. But when the weather turns warm and the grass smells sweet (you know, before the infamous New York summertime trash smell overtakes), I start listening to a little more country music on Spotify and begin to reminisce over Thursday riding lessons and weekends schooling my Thoroughbred over 4-ft jumps across rolling hills.
Last year when nostalgia set in, I invited as many people that could fit in my apartment over so we could watch The Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. Eager to introduce all of my buddies to what life was like back home, I cooked and baked every dish that even so much as nodded towards southern hospitality: pulled pork, Kentucky Caviar, sweet tea, strawberry salad, Mint Juleps, and Kentucky’s own Derby Pie (you must make this pie, it’s divine). The Derby is all about tradition, so I preemtively wrote “First Annual” on the invitations. You can imagine how excited I was when the first glimmer of spring rolled around and I received a text asking if I was having the party again. Duh.
This year our party roster was comprised of new and old friends, a fresh menu: ribs, chicken and waffles, Hot Brown Sliders (an actual sandwhich type—see above), and some crowd pleasers: Juleps! Pie! We crowded in our one bedroom and all became racing experts for about 20 minutes.
I highly recommend overspending on food and drinks and fresh flowers, just once a year. Draw names out of a hat and scream at the TV. And give everyone pie. Pro tip: after the race, take a camera and all of your friends up to the roof to watch the sunset.
One time, my husband had an interview in which he was asked, “What is the fabric of you?” We laughed hysterically afterwards because #WUT. The joke’s on me though, because I’ve realized that the South is in the fabric of me. That’s why I always look forward to the first Saturday in May.
See y’all later! – Haley