“Purdy” Green Hills

A couple of months ago, my sister-in-law, told me about a Bluegrass Festival she recently attended with my brother. She mailed me a CD of David Evans, one of the musicians she heard at the event. I have listened to the recording dozens of times—I especially like the song called “Purdy (Pretty) Green Hills.”  That’s the way Mr. Evans sings the word “pretty” in the song.

The song tells the story of a man who picks up an old hitchhiker. The driver asks the old man where he wants to go and this is his reply:

 “Purdy green hills, purdy green hills”….He said, “take me into them purdy green hills.”

Now, before you even think it, I know those words would make an English teacher sweat like a UK Football season ticket holder, but hang with me. The song even talks about going into a country store and buying some “bloney” (bologna). You know you’ve got a great song when it talks about eating country bologna. Can I get an “Amen”?

Let me say that I LOVE Shelbyville. I LOVE living here. I LOVE our church. I LOVE the topography and beauty of the area. Every morning when I lace on my New Balance running shoes and trot around our community, I thank God for placing us here. BUT, as a person who grew up in the “purdy green hills” of Eastern Kentucky, I perfectly understand the old man’s words in the song. You can take a boy out of the hills, but you can’t take the hills out of the boy.

This past Saturday, as a part of KBC’s Super Saturday, I traveled back down into those “purdy green hills” to teach three conferences in Prestonsburg. Prestonsburg is in Floyd County, my home county. Saturday morning I rose early and ran a 6-mile loop through the streets of the town where I spent so much time as a boy. I recalled Saturday outings with my mom, trips to town with my grandfather—I even ran right by my great Aunt’s home before she rose for the day. We ate at the Jenny Wiley Lodge where I played many a game of ping pong as a teenager and where I attended my high school prom.

Laura and I will probably never live in Eastern Kentucky again, but every now and then, it does my heart good to visit “them purdy green hills.”

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