ferrells 500

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (12/27/12) – Well it’s almost that time of the year, again and again.
Lots of smiles, laughs and a big glow over near the red and black bricked Fire Station Number Two.

Thank goodness that fire station is close by, cause let’s be honest… that’s a lot of candles on a cake.

Yes indeed, Thelma Jean is having another birthday.

No woman I know loves telling they are having a birthday more than Thelma Jean. But the problem is she never knows how old she’s going to be… or was. First off you’ve got to understand that under that gray touched hair is a blonde. She’s been blonde a lot longer than she’s been having her next birthday. Trust me.
Now let me see if I can get Thelma’s age right. See she’ll be two years older next Tuesday than she will be Monday if she tells the story because her birthday is that Monday night. Or is it she’ll one year younger on Monday than she’ll be on Tuesday. Oh crap I’m all confused already.
Her birthday is New Year’s Eve so the next day she always says she’s two years older. I think it’s got something to do with the Mayan calendar, or blonde logic. But I think she’s added a bunch of candles to her cake than she’s actually earned by years and apparently she knows more than the rest of us… maybe the Mayans counted years the same way and we are actually only halfway thru this world. Only Thelma Jean and the Mayans really know.
She’s quite a character. One of Madisonville’s best. Just glad she’s got ole Googie around to explain that birthday thing, cause he’s the only one that can keep it all straight, and her, for that matter. Love them both.
Now ole’ Googie’s a character himself. He used to be a race car driver. That stuff right there comes in handy on days like yesterday when all the roads turned snow covered and slick. That ole boy can handle a little slick.
Speaking of which how about that Blizzard? I’m pretty sure the one you get out on South Main during the summer is a lot thicker than that winter-sized one we got this week. Don’t you think Mr. Branson turned over in his grave at us calling that a Blizzard. He’d been downright ashamed of such. Remember the only time you could get a curly Q’d ice cream cone was during the warmer weather? Now-a-days you can get it any day of the week, any month, except on Christmas I guess, and maybe a couple of other holidays that they are closed. You thought the check-out line at Wally World was long on Christmas Eve, that’s nothing to the line of cars that would line up on Main Street that day each year that Dairy Queen would open for the summer season and the curb service started.
Talk about a slice of Madisonville. You could pull in the parking lot and learn it all. The elders of the town would float thru; the younger generation would cruise thru. The curb service provided a chance to watch the world go by for sure. Not to forget there was always a car or two parked in the back where it seems the windows got all steamed up. It’s still a good window on the town I guess, you see both group of people still learning the knowledge of the day there. Course there is no car hops today but you’ll still find the high schoolers there making Q’s on the cones and the older generation sitting inside in the booths talking about the day.
I guess we all have got used to Dairy Queen being open year round, but one thing that just doesn’t seem natural is to go by Ferrell’s on Christmas Day or night. It’s dark. All you see is just the glow of green from the neon clock inside. It’s a strange sight to see, more than any other thing in this town 24 hours a day, 7 days a week you can count on there being life right there downtown on Main Street. There’s always a hot cup of coffee ready, or a thin burger only moments away from being placed between buns on wax paper.
But Christmas Day and night the coffee pot gets a rest.
I’ve traveled out of town and not gotten back till the wee hours of the night and sometimes you’ll cross by the city limits signs and not see a soul stirring anywhere except maybe a cat or two sneaking around in the ally’s. Just for a moment or two you wonder if, while you were gone, did a UFO swoop down and take everyone away from town. But all it takes is a glance inside Ferrell’s to know life is normal in town where you can count on seeing a cook and waitress and more times than not someone sitting sipping on a cup of coffee.
It’s an odd feeling you get looking inside the big pane windows and seeing no one though. When it’s the one place you can count on no matter when the hour or day that someone else is here in The Best Town on Earth with you unless you go by that one time a year like I did Tuesday night and think for just a brief minute… maybe the Mayans were right.
Happy New Year fellow Hopkins Countians!.. If you are still here.
Richard Cunningham is a Hopkins County native and a Kentucky Arts Council Community Scholar. Contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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