I've been meaning to write about my trip to Kentucky for the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) design conference and award show for awhile, but after returning home I received some news that overshadowed everything else and changed my life in ways that I am still navigating through and coming to terms with.
Kentucky was never on my list of travel destinations; admittedly, the stereotype in my head was not kind. Having said that, I am a member of UCDA and was greatly looking forward to their annual design conference held in Louisville, KY this year. It is completely energizing to be amongst people in the same industry, in the same roles, and become inspired by them while learning that your problems/issues are not solitary, no matter how bizarre they may seem. I was also excited because of the corresponding design competition and gallery show. I always put 110% of effort into my work and, being a type A personality who has a mean competitive streak, I greatly savour the anticipation of being rewarded for it. Informing my father of the pieces I entered, he wisely told me to not get my hopes up too high as I would be competing against major U.S. institutions like Harvard and Yale, that politics are often involved in this sort of thing and that their budgets may be drastically higher resulting in a different scale of work.
When I later told him that I won an Award of Excellence for one of my entries, he was ecstatic and proudly declared that he would be joining me in the bluegrass state. It was all he talked about.
Upon hearing the news, my grandfather hinted that he had always wanted to travel to Kentucky as he always wanted to visit Churchill Downs. My grandfather's side of the family has a history with horse racing and at some other time I will have to write about how his brother cheated someone at a track, got involved in the mob and then faked his death in the early 90s only to be discovered living a secret life for nearly two decades after he actually died in New Jersey a few years ago. However, I don't want that to be the focus of this passage. I'm not even sure I want to be associated with it (however interesting it is).
In mid-October my grandfather joined my father in driving all the way to Louisville and thus it was three generations of Clague that explored the city and ate more fried chicken than was necessary. Here is my grandfather Edward Clague and I with Colonel Sanders at the Louisville Visitor's Centre:
To view more images of Kentucky, click here.
To be continued...