Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spending the 7th in Louisville...Day 2

Thursday April 7-

It was the day.  The big one.  The one that I reflect on every single year.  And this year would be different.  It would be special and unlike any other year since the first time.  I was back in the place that miracles had happened.  The place that changed me.  I had my list of places to go and people to see and we headed out.

Sheri and I went back to my old apartment on Fountain Drive where it all began.  I had remembered the street lined with apartments differently.  They were pretty and well taken care of with a new playground on the property.  We drove down the street around several fountains until I could see it on the left at the very end.  It was so tiny.  Could I have possibly lived there before?  It had been a home to me, D and my two little boys for over three and a half years, but I stood in front having my picture taken just like I had remembered taking a picture of my grandma when she and my grandpa had visited.  I was now just a visitor myself.  It seemed strange and foreign.  It was just a place now.  As I got into the car to leave, I pointed across the street to Jasminka's apartment where she once lived and we had become friends.  Visit old apartment.  CHECK

In the evenings, Sheri and I would be on our phones looking up places to eat, checking out their menus, reading the reviews, and deciding where we would be eating the next day.  So we had the day all mapped out.  We headed down town to a place called Toast on Market for breakfast. 

They were well known for their Lemon Souffle pancakes.  It was in a really cute area just a couple blocks from where we had lived the first year we lived there.  All kinds of cute and quaint restaurants and cafes around.  It was a foodie's paradise.  We were welcomed in and taken back to a table in a room that had once been outside with cobblestone floors and fireplaces, now it had strings of lights, big windows in front and propane heaters.  It was really neat.  It was cold there in Louisville, so when we saw hot chocolate on the menu we couldn't resist.  Caramel Cream and Heath bar and they kept our hands nice and warm.

We ordered the Lemon Souffle pancakes with blueberry compote, and the Monte Cristo with orange marmalade and  Hash brown Casserole.  (with roasted red peppers)  The entire breakfast was delicious and we left happy with our first Louisville meal.  Breakfast at Toast on Market.  CHECK

Right next door was a candy store that Sheri had pinned on Pinterest on our Louisville board we had made together.  We decided to check it out.  We walked in and it wasn't anything fancy.  In fact, I was kind of disappointed that it could have been around about hundred years without fancy displays, candy rolled in wax paper, chocolate made from molds, empty display cabinets, etc.  We had just eaten so we weren't hungry but how do you walk in and not buy anything?  The store was run by two little old ladies with blue hair net things on their heads.  We asked what their best selling candy was and Sheri bought a bag of eight Modjeskas.  We got out to the car and whipped the candies out and both tried them.  What in the world?  They were so good!  Homemade marshmallow dipped in homemade caramel equals heaven.  How could something so simple be so extraordinary?  In fact, after eating them throughout the morning driving around, we went back and bought another bag of 16.  haha.  I asked the lady if we could peek around the wall and take a picture of them wrapping the candies.  It was so fun.  She brought us back to a little room and showed us how they cut them, what different chocolate molds they had, and invited us back again.  Once we got home I looked up a Modjeska candy.  They originated right there in Louisville!!  How awesome was that?  We've decided that we are going to try to make some together.  Visit Muth's Candies.  CHECK

Across the street from Muth's was a huge antique store.  We had a few minutes on our meter so we headed over to check it out.  We walked in and a man at a desk without greeting us asked, "Do you know how we do our pricing here? " And then went on and on in practically another language.  Weirdest thing ever.  The first floor had ornate chandeliers hanging everywhere with countless rooms full of things.  Then we made our way over to an architectural antique floor that we could have spent hours at.  It had some really awesome things.  

In that same area was a cathedral that we snapped a picture of.  It was amazing what I had forgotten over the years.  I remembered maybe two cathedrals there.  There were hundreds of churches everywhere and cathedrals all over town.  They were beautiful and grand and their architecture was amazing.  I couldn't believe that I had forgotten what a religious area of the country I had once lived in.   

Sheri hadn't been to Indiana before so we drove around trying to find the freeway entrance with construction going on everywhere around us.  I was lost and really had no sense of direction anymore.  That morning had been somewhat frustrating to me.  I asked myself, "How could I have driven these freeways and streets hundreds of times, and have no idea how to get somewhere?"  I mentioned to Sheri that this was just a place.  That I was just another tourist.  That I was seeing this city through different eyes.  We finally got on the freeway to get on the bridge and went over the Ohio River and found her an Indiana sign.  Where in the world did that modern bridge come from?  And why wouldn't they make it look like the others?  It changed the whole look of the city.  I hadn't approved of that.  The Louisville bridges weren't my bridges anymore.

Take Sheri to Indiana.  CHECK

We pulled off and took the exit that I thought would take us to see the skyline of Louisville. And then I saw it.  We pulled over, jumped out of the car for about two seconds, grabbed a picture and jumped back in the car for shelter from the crazy winds and cold weather.  I sat there looking at the skyline I've remembered for 18 years, and it wasn't right.  Now there was a huge building that said, "KFC yum Center" on it.  Really?  In my Louisville skyline picture??  It too had changed since I had driven away.  As we drove away there was this cute little house across the street.

Picture with the Louisville skyline.  CHECK

Because we had driven over on a different bridge, the Colgate clock wasn't visible so we hunted it down and found it.  At least I remembered it being the Colgate clock, but there wasn't name on the building and it was all shut down.  I don't know that I had seen it up close like that before.  It was huge.

See the Colgate Clock.  CHECK

Heading back to Louisville we drove over a bridge I had remembered and all was right in the world again.

We went to the Louisville Slugger Museum and turned down the tour once we found out it was $14 a person and neither of us enjoy baseball.  I couldn't rationalize that when I had seen the tour a dozen times for free when I had lived there.  So, we peeked through the window, bought a couple souvenirs,

I'm not sure why the super hero things out front, but we had fun with them.

Louisville Slugger Museum.  CHECK

It was fun seeing the painted horses around town.  Actually up to almost an hour away.  This is the one down the street from the museum.  Painted horses.  CHECK

I stood next to the tallest man in the world and felt petite for the first time in my life and headed on our way.

Down the street was a little old car with whisky barrels on it.

Then we saw something you don't even see in Vegas.  A DIY half marble embedded car.  So funny.  Hats off though for doing a killer job.

We continued west on that road and realized we were in less than desirable neighborhoods.  The roofs were sunken, houses falling apart, trash everywhere, no yard care, nothing maintained.  I had forgotten how dire some living situations are.  I left the neighborhood so grateful.  You can't drive through something like that and think you're better than someone else.  Nothing but gratitude for what you have.

We then headed to the University of Louisville Hospital where I had been a patient a couple times.  One to deliver my Louisville baby, the other as a burn patient in the burn unit.  It was strange going in again.  Strange to be asking where the burn unit was.  And even stranger to be able to walk right into the burn unit.  I was sure that we would have to ring a bell, put on certain clothes, sterilize ourselves, and be quickly taken back to a room some distance from the patients.   But things had changed in 20 years.  The unit was now on the 5th floor and not the eighth.  We walked right in and I saw a patient laying on his bed to the left of me.  I had never walked in or out of that unit.  I had just been rolled on a bed, so it was weird to return walking as strange as that sounds.  I had an appointment with Lori the unit manager.  We sat in her office for awhile visiting.  She thought it was neat that I would return after 20 years and that I was doing well and life had moved on.  I told her that I hadn't enjoyed my time there, but I valued my time there because of the miracles I had seen, the growth in myself and knowing for the first time in my life that God was there for me all.  The.  Time.  We talked about my desire to volunteer in the burn unit where I live today and how it's gone nowhere.  She gave me some names to contact and how she personally would value what I want to do for the patients and sees it so important for their recovery physically and emotionally.  I think that's all I needed from visiting there.  I needed my good intentions validated by someone that works with burn patients everyday.  I've second guessed myself over the years thinking what I wanted to do was ridiculous and that I was such a rare and almost desperate circumstance.  But there is a need for me.  There are people in the burn unit that can benefit from my experiences.  I left there feeling normal.  (And now I'm laying on the computer desk sobbing, remembering that that was my first tender mercy on the trip.)

 It was right around lunch time now so we made our way over to the Brown Hotel.  I had gotten reservations at Graham's Cafe to have lunch with Patty B my nurse that I have kept in contact with over the years.  I had never even had a Hot Brown while living in Kentucky for five years, so I was not only going to have a Hot Brown when I returned, but I was going to have the original!  We met Patty at 2:30 where we enjoyed visiting and catching up on children and grandchildren.  Patty and I each ordered the Hot Brown, Sheri got a Bourbon Pulled Pork sandwich and we got a slice of Derby Pie to go.  It was fun eating it and comparing to the ones I make every year on Derby.  It was something I couldn't have done back then.  Ordering an open faced sandwich for $16 would have been ridiculous.  But it was perfect and I was so happy to be able to have the real deal.

Hot Brown from the Brown Hotel.  CHECK

It was fun seeing Patty again.  It was as though I had seen her last week.  She remembered my little boys she had once met.  And I remembered the first time I met her.  I wasn't doing well and I had just been bumped over to the trauma unit.  She came in and sat down next to me, held my hand, and told me that she would take care of me as if I were here own child.  That's exactly what I had needed that day all those years ago.  It was as if she was sent to me personally.  Oh how I loved my dear angel nurse, Patty.

 When we went to get our car from the valet, they all seemed quite concerned.  It took longer than we thought it should  Then one of the valet guys came up to me and said, "I hate to ask this awkward question, but do you have your key?"  My eyebrows went up and I quickly told him, "No, I left the car running."   He left and then it got really uncomfortable.  All the valets were talking to each other, making phone calls, one left to possibly go find the Hotel owner himself I know it. {haha}  I'm sitting there wishing I had bought the third party insurance since my car had no keys and I was busted.  The guy returned to me again and asked if my car, using some terms I don't understand, is a car that doesn't need a key to start the car and if I might have kept the key.  Oh shoot.  My hand went to my purse and I slowly reached in there and dreaded pulling the key back out knowing I had just had quite the airhead moment and D would love to have been a fly on the wall.  There it was.  The key that I didn't have.  So, they then brought up the car and the three of us jumped in to take Patty to her car around the building.  Oh boy.  That was embarrassing.  But a good giggle a lot embarrassing.  We drove Patty around the building and shared a Modjeska with her going on and on about how good they were.  At that point I saw Patty as a human outside of nursing when she said the funniest thing.  When I stopped to drop Patty off, we hugged and told each other we loved them.  Then she said I was the daughter she never had.    All those years that I hoped I would get to see her again and I just had.  What sweet second tender mercy. Oh sweet Patty.  I love you.  You'll always be my angel nurse.

See Patty my angel nurse.  CHECK

After lunch we headed to the Old Louisville District and St. James Court.  It was fun seeing the neat architecture, (What am I saying?  Every ounce of architecture there is amazing down to the grossest shack!)  The blossoms were out, the lanterns lit, the fountain, the homes, and the Caldwell Mansion and it's wood work is what I had remembered it being and reminded me of the Provo City Temple.  It was beautiful and we just kept imagining the opportunity to live in a home there for a period of time and how fun it might be.

 Old Louisville District and St. James Court.  CHECK

We then went to check out Cave Hill Cemetery but the gates were closed and we never went back to go in.  We tried but weren't able to check it off of our bucket list.  Sorry Colonal Sanders.  RIP  Silly Sheri kept saying she didn't get to see where KFC was buried.  haha  It ended up being the only thing we didn't get to do on our list.

We drove down Bardstown Road which was the first street I ever knew there.  It was fun seeing a couple places that I recognized and remembered with all the little shops, restaurants and cafes.  Just as we were approaching the freeway we saw the Krispy Kreme that I had driven by a thousand times and had never even gotten a donut from.  It was the original Krispy Kreme {after learning so on Pinterest}, so we had to stop and get a donut or two.  I mean we just had to.  It ended up being our dinner that night in the motel along with our Derby Pie we had gotten to go.

See the original Krispy Kreme.  CHECK

We headed back to the motel satisfied with what we had done that day.  We watched the finale of the very last season of American Idol where La'Porsha didn't win!  I jumped into bed and buried myself in the sheets discouraged with the American voters and wondering what the heck they're all thinking!!!

As I knelt in prayer that night, my heart was so full.  I was so grateful for a husband that let me return on such short notice and not really question my needing to go.  I was grateful that Sheri had come with me.  The trip hadn't been the trip I had envisioned or dreamt of.  Things had changed.  Louisville was now only a place I had once lived.  I was on a trip with my friend.  A girls getaway.  I would have sat there the next three days in my room waiting for my flight to take me back home.  But she was there with me, and I was giggling the whole time having a fun trip with a good friend, sharing some of the most intimate times of my life.   She was my third tender mercy.

As I continued to pray, I poured out my heart with gratitude for the woman that I've become because of the things that I've been through and experienced. I thought back and wondered how could it really have been twenty years ago?  I was grateful for my children, the miracles, my relationship with my Heavenly Father, and coming to the realization that my accident and miracles simply happened there.  That miracles can happen anywhere and I've continued to see them since I moved away.  I was grateful that I was there.  The opportunity to return.  But home where my husband and children were, really is my favorite place on earth.  I had received some closure to this almost sacred place.  I could move on, enjoy my trip with my friend, and truly be content if I were never to return to Louisville again.  I would always be grateful for the the experiences I had there, the people I knew, the growth in myself, and so much more.  Realizing that was my  fourth tender mercy.  I discussed my feelings about the day with Sheri.  She agreed that I had found some closure, and I told her that we were just going to have fun and see and do as much as we could the next couple of days.  I was going to get to know the Kentucky I never knew.

Sheri and I did our normal night time routine looking up restaurants and making our to do list for the next day.   I thanked Sheri for coming with me, turned out the lights, and went to bed happy.

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