GOD BLESS KENTUCKY BASKETBALL.
Every eager man, woman and child was there wide-eyed to have Joe B. Hall sign their coveted whiskey bottle.
People fell out of rank on a constant basis coming up to me asking to borrow my poor pen as they had to fill out some official form that officified that their bottle had genuinely been signed by the Blue Zeus himself. And each time I explained, "A writer never loans his pen. Without it he is defenseless. Beyond his memory it’s all his got."
Each bottle metamorphosing from fifty dollars to over two hundred dollars at the stroke of Joe B's commanding signature. No mortal allowed more than two bottles. Each bottle carrying a serial number. The lower the number the more valuable the bottle. Everything in perfect logic.
I started to put up a sign on my table that I would sign the bottles for $1.00 each. And that they would own the signature of a future famous author. But I held still. There were two small boys being pulled on a blue wagon, both weary and crying on the passage. But no cry could deter this movement. It was Kentucky blue, bleeding blue, blue and blue yet. Let no man or child mistake that. Onward the blue line pushed. Each person reaching Joe B. and stopping to talk to THE LEGEND as he chuckled as though he were Santa in blue, telling tales of all blue manner over a loudspeaker that filled our room, barely understandable, but it didn't matter, it was Blue Zeus!
Little Mexicans, God only knows from which villages, ran all about like so many mice in a barn. Each with some cleaning weapon; them dressed in the Keeneland beige outfits denoting their lowly rank with those sorrowful green Keeneland hats and their little green lapel Keeneland insignia. Workers. No REAL green cards, likely. But then that was the way it was supposed to be; Kentucky proud relished hierarchy. Each Mexican sweeping and mopping and cleaning, putting in new trash can liners, wiping the plate glass, two of them singing making me wonder if they hadn't broke into my car. Such a delightful configuration of mankind in harmony; everything just it should Kentucky be.
Then the overhead TV screens all came on. On one, Martha Lane Collins, more square shouldered than Dick Tracy, began lauding Joe B. Hall. "ZEUS thwarted POSEIDON!" she clamored, relentlessly going on and on.
On another screen, Goose Givens, retold some begotten story between Joe B. and Bobby Knight. He spoke of it as one might speak of the Holy Grail. "Long into the night we battled...." or something like that.
The LONG BLUE LINE held reverent throughout. Some all but weeping. One tall sophisticated looking lady, probably in her early 70's, hair tied back in a bun, long blue velvet coat with a blue fur collar, accidentally dropping her blue leather pocketbook twice the size of a checkerboard, bottles hitting inside, extra bottles she had snuck by the Maker's Mark guards. Ahhh Kentucky!
Little did they know that the large bottle of orange juice I was drinking was three fourths vodka. I wished it was four fifths. The ordeal was maddening. In a state last in everything we had horses and basketball. I was soon to see jockeys dribbling basketballs as they raced their horses through the Kentucky Derby, I supposed. A lady stepped up to my table and started to give me a metal badge. "Are you a Maker's Mark Ambassador?" she mistakenly inquired.
"No ma'am. But I am an Earl."
Recently I had the good fortune to connect with ‘No Sweat’ – an author from Kentucky, USA. The story as to why he is called ‘No Sweat’ will be revealed in his upcoming interview, to be posted here sometime in November; an interview you won’t want to miss! No Sweat (aka Earl) has shared one of his entertaining adventures/journal entries from Keeneland Race Track (Lexington, Kentucky, USA) one of America’s most frequented horserace tracks. No Sweat was at Keeneland the day Joe. B. Hall, a former notable basketball coach, signed commemorative Maker’s Mark Distillery (blue) bottles on Friday, April 11, 2008, at Keeneland, along with Maker’s Mark president Bill Samuels Jr, and Keeneland Race Track president Nick Nicholcson; 1,300 fans lined up at 6:30 am for the signing of the special 18,000 numbered limited edition bottles made of blue glass and dipped in ‘Kentucky Blue’ wax, honoring Coach Hall and his late wife Katharine who died of cancer in 2007. The event raised funds for Kentucky’s cancer research program.