If you’ve ever moved out of the Bluegrass State, chances are at some point you yearned to move back. Maybe you were lucky enough to return, and questioned why you ever left in the first place. Kentuckians do things a little differently than the rest of the country, and we like it that way. Here are 14 thoughts that have probably gone through your head if you’ve ever left Kentucky.
1. Where's the sweet tea?
Sweet iced tea is a favorite in the South, and is much loved by Kentuckians. However, if you travel up north or out west, it isn't as common. The worst is when you try to order it at a restaurant and the server has no idea what you mean by "sweet tea."
2. People actually work on Oaks Day?
The Kentucky Oaks is held the Friday before the Kentucky Derby, and attracts hundreds of thousands of people to Churchill Downs. At this point, the entire city of Louisville has been partying for nearly two weeks straight, and many schools and businesses are closed for the day. The Oaks is treated like a holiday, so it can be a rude awakening when you move elsewhere and find out it's just a regular Friday anywhere else.
3. If you don’t stand up during “My Old Kentucky Home,” you might as well just curse the state of Kentucky.
"My Old Kentucky Home" is Kentucky's heart-wrenching state song. One of the best moments of the year is when it is played as the horses make their way to the gate to run the Derby. Everyone in the crowd stands, removes their hats, and sings along. Many people cry. Obviously, non-Kentuckians aren't familiar with this ritual, so if you're watching the Derby with people in another state and stand up while this equine procession is happening on the TV, you'll probably get some weird looks.
4. It's January. Time to start shopping for my Derby hat.
There is no piece of clothing more important on the first Saturday in May than your hat. The bigger and more outlandish, the better.
5. Did you really just order a bourbon and coke? If you’re going to ruin it by mixing it with something, at least order a bourbon and ginger, but come on!
Kentucky bourbon is meant to be sipped slowly and enjoyed, like a fine French wine, not polluted with coke and chugged like some cheap foreign whiskey.
6. No matter what's in it, a big bowl of burgoo is the best meal ever.
Burgoo is a thick and spicy stew that was traditionally made with what meats and vegetables were available at the time. Venison, game birds, squirrel, and rabbit used to be common meats used in burgoo, but now it's typically made with chicken, pork, or mutton.
7. The Red River Gorge is the best place for climbing, hiking, and camping.
Red River Gorge is one of Kentucky's favorite playgrounds. It's a world-renowned destination for rock climbing, but there's also great hiking, kayaking, camping, and even zip lining.
8. And there's no better place to explore subterranean tunnels than Mammoth Cave.
The longest cave system known in the world is located in western Kentucky. Mammoth Cave National Park is one of Kentucky's favorite places to visit.
9. And the best boating and fishing is on Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake.
These two huge lakes in western Kentucky will make you feel like you're on vacation in your own state. Moving away will make you long for the good ole summer days spent at the lake.
10. The game is on! Shhh!
Sure, other places love their sports, but to Kentuckians, there is nothing more sacred than their allegiance to either the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville. Oh, and they hate each other's guts, which makes things interesting.
11. Rick Pitino is the best/worst.
Sometimes it can be hard to explain to outsiders either the love or disdain you have for this man. Kentucky fans hate him because even though he won them a National Championship in 1996, he then left for a brief stint as an NBA head coach, and then returned to college basketball to be the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals. Obviously, Kentucky fans felt betrayed to see their hero move over to the side of their arch rival, but Louisville fans love him. He took the Cardinals to the Final Four in 2005 and 2012, and won a National Championship in 2013.
12. That's not how you pronounce the name of that city.
The absolute worst is when people ask "How do you pronounce Kentucky's capital city? Lewisville or Looeyville?" and you have to look them dead in the eye and say "The capital city is pronounced Frankfort, but Louisville is pronounced Loo-a-vull."
13. Why did I ever leave?
We don't know.
14. It sure is nice to be home.
If you've returned home to Kentucky after being away for a long time, we're sure you've had this thought. We're glad to have you back.
Are there any displaced Kentuckians out there who have found themselves asking these questions?