Wed, May 23, 2018 12:36 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
This n' That
Amusement parks, cold weather and Republicans
It won't be too long before amusement parks open around the country, signaling the start of the summer tourist season.

I was crazy about amusement parks and carnivals when I was a kid and always looked forward to when the James H. Drew Exposition shows would come to town. Talk about a happy kid. I remember one time they had this sideshow where a man or woman changed into a gorilla and got loose from the cage. I was out of the tent in a flash, and I didn't use the flap — I went right under the tent. James H. Drew eventually stopped coming to Paintsville, opting instead to take their show to Prestonsburg.

I also loved Camden Park in Huntington, but I was heartbroken when a friend and I made a trip there last summer just to see how it changed, which it definitely had. It was rundown and didn't seem as big as it was when I was little, but then again everything seems big when you're a kid. Simply put, it destroyed my childhood memories.

I also went to Kings Island last summer and surprised myself by actually riding rides. As I got older I started getting sick on rides, so I stopped riding them. Surprisingly, I didn't get sick and actually enjoyed the day at the park. In fact, I hated to leave. I might have to make another trip this year.

I think an amusement park would go over well in Eastern Kentucky if it was put in the right location. Talk about helping our tourism industry. Maybe one day it will happen and I can be a kid again.

* * *

Just when you thought it was safe to wear summer clothing, Mother Nature has decided to play more tricks on us. One day it's hot as can be and the next day it's winter weather. It's no wonder everybody is getting sick.

I remember not too many years ago when Mother Nature threw a big snow storm on us in April. I hope she doesn't do that this year, but considering how the weather has been this year, it wouldn't surprise me.

So, please, people, knock on wood and hope for warm weather really soon.

* * *

The Republican race for Kentucky governor has turned ugly with the recent withdrawal of Ernie Fletcher's running mate, prompting one state newspaper to compare it to past Democratic primaries.

There is one difference, however. Democrats have always kissed and made up after a brutal primary fight, but something tells me that there will be a lot of bitterness after the GOP primary, making it even more difficult for the winner to mount a strong campaign in the fall.

Consider the 1991 Republican gubernatorial primary in which then-U.S. Rep. Larry Hopkins narrowly defeated Lexington attorney Larry Forgy. Hopkins was bruised following the primary — mainly because his weaknesses as a candidate had been exposed — and was trounced by Democrat Brereton Jones in the general election. Four years later, Forgy easily defeated Bob Gable in the GOP primary and went on to mount an extremely strong campaign against Paul Patton. That race, of course, resulted in indictments against Patton cronies who were accused of illegal, behind-the-scenes dirty tricks.

Republicans have always had a hard time winning the governor's race, mainly because the GOP powers-to-be don't get behind the party's candidate. Considering the Fletcher controversy, the same thing will likely happen this November.

Appalachian Regaional
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